Committee on Finance. - Intoxicating Liquor Bill, 1959—Recommittal (Resumed).

Bill recommitted in respect of amendments Nos. 7, 13 and 16.

I move amendment No. 7:

In page 9, between lines 25 and 26, to insert a new section as follows:—

"If, on the hearing of an application for the grant of a certificate entitling the applicant to receive a seven-day licence in respect of any premises, it is shown to the satisfaction of the Court

(a) that the applicant is at the date of the said application the holder of a six-day licence in respect of the said premises and

(b) that he has stamped his notice of application with a Court Fee stamp of £5,

it shall not be open to the Court to refuse the said application."

This is an amendment which was put down consequential on a protracted discussion which took place on the Committee Stage of the Bill. It is as well to recall the circumstances in which this amendment appears on the paper and to view it in the light of the amendment which the Minister himself has put down, No. 13.

When this matter was first brought to the attention of this House the position was that we were asked to legislate so that the seven-day licence holder, who heretofore was entitled to sell on six days of the week to all and sundry, and for certain additional hours to people who were travelling, and who also had the right on Sundays to sell to persons who were travelling only, would have conferred upon him an entirely new right—to sell intoxicating liquor to his neighbours for two periods on every Sunday.

On that occasion we pointed out that this was an entirely new right that the Oireachtas was being asked to create by legislation and, that being so, we could not see why the same right should not be made available to those who had a six-day licence provided they were prepared to pay the same rate of licence as the seven-day licence men were paying. Against that, powerful arguments were brought forward by the Minister for Justice that the differential rates of licence fee paid by the six-day and seven-day men constituted a very valuable vested interest and that this differentiation was going to be carried on and he could not see why it should be ignored. Between Committee Stage and Report Stage the Minister for Finance stalked into the House and under the Finance Bill swept away one of the principal grounds upon which the Minister resisted our amendment by equating all licence fees to a level figure all over the country. So that was one of the Minister's arguments blown sky high by his own colleague.

His second argument was that the seven-day licence man always had the right to sell drink on a Sunday whereas the six-day licence man never had that right. We laboured hard to convince the Minister that he was wholly mistaken in that concept and I am sorry to say that to this hour I am not satisfied that the Minister ever got the wheel of his intellect around the axle of our argument.

They had only an illegal right; they never had a legal right. You never convinced me.

I do not think the Minister understands the argument we are making. We conceded that under the existing law, before this Bill, the six-day licence man was confined to the sale of intoxicating liquor to six days of the week and could not legally open his premises for sale for any purpose on Sundays. The seven-day man could open his house for six days of the week and, when Sunday came, he could lawfully open his house only to persons who were travelling from one point to another, more than three miles apart, and who required refreshment to speed them on their journey.

We pointed out that of the existing so-called bona fide trade conducted on a Sunday, 90 per cent. of it was illegal because 90 per cent. of the people trading seven-day houses were not drinking to travel; they were travelling to drink, and there was no sanction under the existing law for any man to get on his bicycle and cycle four miles to a publichouse, consume what drink he wanted and cycle home again. That was travelling to drink and was an illegal practice and if a Guard raided a seven-day house and ascertained that the customers in that house when he raided it were not travellers at all except in so far as they had proceeded from their own place of residence to the publichouse to take drink, he would prosecute all of them and prosecute the publican for serving them.

So long as that was the law, the six-day licence man had no real grievance but when we come along to the six-day man in a country town and say to him: "Whereas heretofore neither the six-day licence nor the seven-day licence man had the right to serve anybody on a Sunday except transients, now under the new proposal we are making the seven-day licence man is going to be permitted for two periods on Sunday to open his house for the convenience of his and your neighbours—for his neighbours and the neighbours of his six-day licence competitor in the same town—but the six-day licence man will not be allowed to open his doors at all. In addition to that we fix you with notice that whatever laxity of control there has been in the past, that is going to come to an end and whatever police measures may be necessary to see that the precise terms of this new Act will be put into effect we are proposing to take them."

I submit to the House that in effect that meant that we said to the six-day licence man: "We all know there has been widespread disregard of the law in the past and that in practice, up till to-day, neighbours coming to town on Sunday have illegally frequented seven-day and six-day houses and there has been a wide toleration of that practice. That practice is going to stop and now the only house into which a neighbour may enter is a seven-day man's house. That door will be wide open for two periods every day but the six-day licensee's door will be padlocked so that nobody can get in at all." As we pointed out to the House, if that happened, anyone who understands the pattern of rural life knows that the majority of six-day licensees in rural Ireland would be forced into bankruptcy.

Again, I am obliged to say I do not believe the Minister for Justice understands the case we make, for he has little experience of the conditions to which we refer. There are over 10,000 seven-day licences in the country and only about 1,000 to 1,400 six-day licences and almost all of those are in rural areas. Everyone who understands rural life realises that a publichouse in rural Ireland is not only a place where a person can purchase refreshment for cash but is also a place that provides a variety of amenities and conveniences for regular customers who go to town on a market day or on a Sunday.

On a market day they park their bicycle, a horse and cart, or maybe an ass and cart outside when they frequent the publichouse. If by legislation we create a situation in which on a weekday everybody living in the immediate vicinity of a country town or village can use any licensed house in the town, not only as a place of refreshment but as a place of business and amenity, but that on Sunday they may use only the seven-day licence house, what will happen is that the customers who normally go to the six-day premises will not be able to get the amenities they had always enjoyed on Sundays and therefore they will begin to frequent the seven-day house on Sunday. Anyone understanding rural Ireland knows that there will be no welcome in a seven-day house for a man if the seven-day licensee knows that on the other six days of the week he goes to the six-day house, with the result that you are forcing the customers of these 1,000 six-day licensees into their competitors' house on the one day a week when everybody must go to town, because virtually everybody in rural Ireland goes to Mass on Sundays.

We have urged on the Minister— and this he must know as well as we know—that the vast majority of these six-day licensed houses are small family businesses and the margin between survival and bankruptcy is very narrow. That case having been pressed upon the Minister up to the conclusion of the debate on Committee Stage, he expressed himself as implacable and unchanging but said he would report to the Government the arguments advanced here. Apparently these arguments carried more conviction to the Government than they did to the Minister and the Minister now comes back with the proposal to do the very thing we asked him to do, that is, to allow any six-day licensee who wants to convert his licence into a seven-day licence to do so by application, but inserts the astonishing proposal that this must be accompanied by a deposit of £200.

Outside of bedlam, can you imagine a Legislature such as this asking 1,000 citizens to pay £200 for the right to survive in their own country under their own law? Would anyone explain to me why a six-day licensee in Bally-bay, Ballaghaderreen, Skibbereen or anywhere else—and most of them are in the West of Ireland or in county Monaghan—should be asked to pay £200 for the right to survive in his own country? All we are asking is that he should have the right to open his door in the same way as his neighbour. It is a right his neighbour never had before, and that is where the Minister for Justice has completely missed the point. We are creating an entirely new right, the right to open your door to sell intoxicating liquor to your neighbour on Sunday. No publican, seven-day or six-day, has had that right in the past. There is now no difference between the licence fee of one publican and that of another. They will all be equated at £4 10s. 0d. Why should we confer, free, gratis and for nothing, on 10,000 publicans the right to open their doors to their neighbours on a Sunday and charge 1,000 licensees who are notoriously the poorest amongst the 11,000 licensees, £200 for the right of opening their doors?

What Deputy wants that charge to be levied? That is what puzzles me. I do not believe any Deputy wants it levied. It is to be levied for some obscure purpose which is not even mentioned in the Bill and of which nobody knows, and, indeed, the Minister might have availed of the Financial Resolution to tell what is this mysterious purpose for which this £200 is being sequestered. Who wants this levy imposed on these licensees? I have been searching in my mind since the amendment was put on paper to find the answer to that question, and the only answer I can find is that somebody is concerned to maintain the sale price of six-day licences that may be on the market or of seven-day licences, so that if certain six-day licensees wish to avail of the other means provided in this Bill of acquiring a seven-day licence, they will have to pay something of the order of £200 to the licensee whose licence they seek to extinguish in order to qualify as seven-day licensees themselves.

Who are to be beneficaries of this levy? So far as I can understand the Minister's amendment its sole result will be to set a price of approximately £180 on a seven-day licence which a six-day licensee may purchase, or of £90 apiece on two six-day licences which he seeks to acquire for the purpose of enlarging his own six-day licence to a seven-day licence.

Whose interest is it that that should be done? I wonder have Deputies opened their eyes to the fact that this £200 is inoperable? All it does is to ensure that a person who offers a seven-day licence for sale will get £180 for two or the person resolving to purchase two six-day licences will have to muster a fund of approximately £180 wherewith to buy two and presumably the price will settle at £90 for the six-day licence.

Who is interested in that transaction? Does the House want to create this wretched limited market for the relatively few persons who have licences under option or who are authorised to sell and deal in licences to avail of this market at the expense of the poorest element in the licensed trade in Ireland? Is there not something utterly inexplicable in this proposal? I do not understand it. I cannot understand how this House could wish to levy on these people whom I know well this extraordinary charge.

The Minister will remember that since the Committee Stage of this Bill, I sent him a letter from a widow woman whose family lost their all in the Plan of Campaign. She has a small public house and she is trying to rear her family. Is there anybody in this House who wants to impose on that widow woman the obligation of either borrowing £200 for the right to survive or the obligation to go out and pay £180 for a seven-day licence or £90 each for two six-day licences in order to keep her door open?

If I could see any conceivable case being made for this, I could argue more effectively against it. It is the very extravagance of the proposal, when you work it down to what it truly means, that makes me utterly unable to understand the Minister's mental process. I think there is a grave obligation on him to tell us whether I am right in saying that the £200 clause will never, in fact, operate. Its only result is that the individual who has a seven-day licence to sell is guaranteed something like £180 or that the man who has a handful of six day licences available for sale can reasonably look forward to getting £90 apiece, whereas if our more rational proposal of a nominal fee were accepted, this whole question of trafficking in licences would not arise at all.

Our proposal is that if a six day licensee wishes to convert to a seven day licence in a limited period, he can do so by registering his application with the district court and depositing a fee of £5. The only reason I put down a fee of £5 is that under the rules and procedure of this House my proposal had in some measure to be different from the proposal which was rejected on Committee Stage. Our preference was for this proposal in the original form put forward by us on Committee Stage, that anyone who wanted to change a six day licence to a seven day licence would be permitted to do so on registering his application with the local district court. We now propose that he should pay a fee of £5 merely for the purpose of differentiating between this proposal and the proposal rejected on Committee Stage.

Who will argue against the justice of our proposal and make a case that the kind of people to whom I refer, the average six day licence person who must acquire a seven day licence to survive under the new law, should be burdened with a charge of £180 if he adopts the procedure of buying one or two licences or paying £200 if he adopts the procedure envisaged in amendment 13?

Does the Minister for Justice have any notion what £200 would mean to the writer of the letter I sent him? Most of these licensees on whose behalf I speak today belong in that order of economic strength. They are people to whom £200 is as unattainable as £250,000 would be to me. Who would give it? What security have they to offer? Where could they borrow it? I ask any Deputy if a small six-day publican rearing a family and with the very limited accommodation he normally has in rural Ireland came to him and asked him to go bail in the bank for £200, would he go into the bank and bail him for it? Is there anybody who knows this trade who believes that for a single moment any prudent wholesaler would give any such publican as those belonging to the category to which I refer credit for £200? If any of us heard that a wholesaler had allowed a publican in this category to stumble into debt to the tune of £200, would he not be inclined to say to the wholesaler: "If you lose the money, the devil mind you"? Will they not pile up debt in those circumstances and if a judgment is given against them will they not have to mortgage their house and in the end perhaps may be put out on the street? What good is it to these people if they go into debt to the tune of £200 if they have to borrow and pay £12 per year interest on it? What good will the seven day licence be to them?

Suppose they go to a bank and get £200 for this purpose, will they not be asked to pay it back in two or three years? Where are such people to find £2 5s. a week to pay off a debt of that kind in two years and to find, over and above, the weekly charges that come upon them for food, clothes and emergencies which every family must provide and in addition, £1 5s. not to speak of £2 5s. a week to liquidate a debt of this kind? When you come back and ask why we are putting this burden on them, one does not meet a single normal human being who can give any rational explanation.

I do not know the explanation of the proposed £200 charge, but there is only one conceivable explanation of it, and that is that somebody is interested in trafficking in licences and wants these licences in which he is concerned to traffic given a statutory value by this House. I do not think we ought to do that. We are doing it at the expense of a small section of the community ill able to bear such a charge and we are doing it for no good reason.

I would urge the Minister most strongly, seeing that he has come thus far to meet us by recognising that every six-day licensee has a right, in view of this legislation, to share in the new right which will be created by this Bill, to trade without restriction on Sunday, that he ought to come the rest of the way now and allow them to acquire that right without putting upon them a financial burden which will bring upon them the very nemesis from which we are concerned to protect them.

In all seriousness, I ask the Minister, reviewing the circumstances of the woman to whom I have referred, does he believe she can raise, in her circumstances, £200 as the purchase price of her survival? If he agrees with me that she cannot, I can assure him that more than half of the 1,400 six-day licensees who hope for deliverance under this Bill are more or less in her circumstances. It is bad enough to wipe them out by legislation, but it appears to me to be almost diabolical to adopt the policy of Tantalus and to say to these people: "Very well. We recognise the justice of your case. We recognise that you ought to be entitled to qualify as a seven-day licensee and we shall provide the machinery whereby you can do so at your own option, but we shall levy a charge upon it which will put it out of your reach."

If that is being done to convenience those who want to traffic in licences at the expense of the 500 or 600 small licensees who ought to be allowed to qualify under this legislation, it is very wrong, and I urge the Minister most strongly, seeing that we did succeed in carrying conviction to his mind in respect of the principle of these amendments, to come the rest of the way to meet us and say, in effect, as well as in theory, that we shall put all these licensees on an equal footing hereafter and that, having done so, we shall then be able to ask the Garda authorities ruthlessly to enforce the law. But if the Minister does not come the rest of the way to meet us, he will put on every Garda down the country the detestable obligation, and it will be a detestable obligation, of wiping out of existence those who, his own conscience will tell him, ought to be a first charge on his protection and his solicitude.

I do not believe there is any Deputy who, understanding the situation, wants to see that happen and I hope the Minister, who has changed his mind so radically since we last discussed this matter, will not think it beneath his dignity to change it this little more—this little more which will make all the difference between justice and injustice; and, inasmuch as he is Minister for Justice in this Government, I hope he will be prepared to vindicate the title of his office.

Judging by his interjections during the previous debate on this Bill, I think the Minister was under the impression that certain Deputies were pressing for a prolongation of the illegal drinking which obtained under six-day and seven-day licences up to this. I want to assure him that is not the object of the amendments standing in either the name of Deputy Dillon or myself. The object is to do no more or no less than not wipe out of existence as business people the present six-day licensees. We are not pressing for illegal drinking. Indeed, I do not believe in Sunday opening at all. I believe the Sabbath ought to be kept as a holy day and that neither unnecessary labour nor drinking should be indulged in. Universal custom has, I am afraid, forced the Government and the Minister for Justice to give increased drinking facilities on Sundays by legalising drinking during two periods.

Since the Committee Stage, the Minister has come in with what I can describe only as a very strange amendment. He proposes to grant a seven-day licence to a six-day licensee on the payment to the Revenue Commissioners of a sum of £200. Where does the Minister think the average six-day licensee will get £200? I do not know for what purposes these moneys will be used. Approximately 1,400 six-day licensees will be at liberty to take advantage of this proposal. If they do so, well over £250,000 will be thrown into a fund. It will not be used in the way ordinary revenue is used at the moment It will be used for some other purpose. Perhaps the Minister would tell us what that purpose is.

Secondly, why does he propose to charge 1,400 six-day licensees £200 each for an expansion in business which he is giving free of charge to seven-day licensees? It seems odd that the six-day licensees should be singled out, particularly in view of the fact that a couple of weeks ago the Minister for Finance in his Budget flattened out the rate of licence for both six-and seven-day licensees. I cannot see any justification for this proposal. Perhaps the Minister has some good reason. It was to help the Minister that I made the suggestion of the payment of three years' fee. I can see a certain slight justification for some small charge, but I think it should be a very small one.

It has to be admitted that up to this both the six-day licensee and the seven-day licensee sold drink on Sundays after hours. If the Minister cannot meet Deputy Dillon's amendment, he might consider mine. When the Minister offers the average six-day publican in the rural areas a seven-day licence for £200, he might as well make the figure £2,000 because most of them have not got the money. Most of them have a small holding of land as their principal means of livelihood rather than the licensed premises. I know an area between the town of Ballinrobe and the town of Balla— an area about 22 English miles long and two or three miles wide—and along that main road there are four or five six-day premises. Does the Minister propose to victimise people such as these by giving the six-day licence holders in the towns the right to open on Sunday? The Minister can argue, of course, that he is now offering to give them a seven-day licence for £200. Deputy Dillon mentioned that it is doubtful if any of these people would get anybody to back them in the bank for that amount of money. I can fully subscribe to that statement. It is not exaggeration by any means.

The worst feature of the position is that most of these six-day licensed houses are situated near a church. They have their own set of customers; and most of them have other businesses besides the licenced trade. In springtime, they sell seeds and so on and at all times they sell groceries and the necessaries of life for the average country household. If the Minister goes ahead with the Bill, even incorporating his own amendment, it means he is taking customers from the six-day licence holders and handing them over to the local seven-day men or to the local drygoods store, as the non-licensed premises are known. That is a very serious injustice for the 1,400 six-day licensees. I do not believe the Minister appreciates fully the seriousness of what is involved in this Bill in that regard. Being a Pioneer myself, I have not much sympathy with drinking. I never took a drink in my life but that does not say——

The Deputy would stand a ball of malt, I suppose?

I would, just as well as the next. While I do not take a drink, I think it is good for a certain type of person to take an occasional drink but I have no time for the person who wants to swim in it. Custom over the years has forced the Minister, the Department and the Guards to sanction a certain amount of drinking on Sundays. I am in full agreement with allowing it rather than having both publicans and customers breaking the law while the Guards, unable to enforce the law, feel themselves to be a bit of a joke, whereas otherwise they are held in respect.

Another bad feature of the Bill is that six-day publicans in the country areas between the towns are being victimised. The six-day licence holders in Mayo are mainly in such areas. The Minister is making fish of one and flesh of the other and that is bound to have a detrimental effect. He is actually interfering in the private business of the six-day licensee. I know he would not wish to do so but I think he does not grasp the situation down the country.

There is one other matter to which I wish to refer. I have been informed that a fee of £5 has been collected from six-day licence holders in the town of Castlebar. Does the Minister know anything about that? I cannot even tell him who collected it. If my information is correct, it was collected illegally. If the Minister knows anything about it, I should like him to tell the House what it means.

I tabled my amendment to the Minister's amendment with reluctance. My amendment asks that the six-day licensee be given a seven-day licence on payment of three times the amount of the licence duty he paid last year. If the Minister allows the Bill through in its present form, he will be shouldering a very heavy responsibility, a responsibility I should not like to take upon myself.

Apart from Divisions on the hours of closing which took place during the Committee Stage and in which very individual views were disclosed, I think this question of the six-day versus the seven-day licensee is the one that gave rise to the greater portion of any real controversy about this Bill. Let me say at once I am convinced that if the Whips were not applied in the course of the discussion on the amendment tabled by the Leader of the Opposition, Deputy Dillon, and myself on Committee Stage, it would never have been put to a Division but would have been accepted by the Government by reason of the large volume of support there was for it, even in their own Party. Be that as it may, the Whips were on and our original amendment was defeated.

Now the Minister comes in with an amendment which accepts in principle our amendment which he rejected on Committee Stage, with, of course, the impediment to its being carried into practice, namely, the imposition of what is virtually a fine of £200 payable to the Revenue Commissioners, upon application therefor at any time within two years, by the holder of a six-day licence. It is a matter of some perplexity to me, as I am sure it must be to every Deputy who has put this amendment of the Minister's side by side with the section which already allows the creation of a seven-day licence by the purchase of six-day licences elsewhere. The Minister has a duty to explain to the House why these two almost conflicting sections are allowed to stand, that is, if his amendment goes through in its present form.

What is the purpose of this £200 fine? What is the purpose of this fund which it is supposed to create which, we are told in the Minister's amendment, will be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General, and will be disposed of only in a manner consistent with an Act of the Oireachtas? What is it all about? What is the fund that is contemplated? In what manner is it proposed to spend it and for what purpose? Why is it not allowed to come into the ordinary Central Fund and be disposed of in bulk with all other Government moneys? Why is it necessary to start a fund? Is it to compensate people who become redundant?

This £200 can have several interpretations, but, like Deputy Dillon, I must confess I am driven to one interpretation. Having regard to the bitterness with which our amendment was opposed on Committee Stage by the then assistant to the Minister for Justice, the Minister for Lands, I have no doubt whatsoever that that is a selling price put on seven-day licences at the behest of a vested interest very close to the Government, a vested interest that has got options on seven-day licences for prospective purchasers in certain solicitors' offices.

It is an idea.

Let there be no doubt about that.

Make it clear.

If it has not been made sufficiently clear to the Minister by the present remarks and those that went before them——

It has not.

——then he is extremely dull indeed. This £200 is unobtainable from any source by at least half of the existing six-day licence holders. No doubt there are some in the six-day class who have sufficient resources at their disposal to pay £200, and pay it gladly, but where is the justice in catering for a portion of the number to whose needs the Government are now surrendering in principle, and ignoring the remainder who have not got sufficient resources?

I do not know anything about the collection of the £5 from six-day licensed people, to which Deputy Blowick has referred, but I do know at the very beginning of the agitation on behalf of the six-day people, when they were being advised by legal practitioners very close to the Government, the idea of a fund was put into their minds and, perhaps, it is that £5 which has been collected, whether to help them meet the creation of such a fund or for some other purpose such as to defray the expenses of securing such advice.

Once a principle is accepted, as the Minister is accepting a principle here, in making it possible for the six-day men to apply to the Revenue Commissioners within two years, with a payment of £200, the imposition of the £200 is placing upon him a restriction from exercising the principle which is being conceded to them. It is almost the equivalent of laying a platter of inviting dog food in the centre of a floor of a room and tying the dog out of reach of the platter.

The Minister must surely explain the reason for this imposition. Why has the figure been settled at £200 rather than £300 or £100, £150 or £250, because this £200, if it is an actuarial figure, must be related to the purposes of the fund which it is supposed to create? I do not see any useful purpose that can be effected by the creation of such a fund and I do not see anything at all wrong in the amendment in the name of Deputy Dillon and myself, or, indeed, in the amount of money specified in Deputy Blowick's amendment. Having taken the controversy out of it by surrendering in principle, and having come so much of the way to meet what are the demands of all of the six-day licence owners, I think the Minister could go the rest of the way by suggesting a figure somewhere in between that might well be acceptable to us and acceptable to him, but well below the £200 which is almost impossible of attainment by certainly half of the present licence holders. This is the demand of the six-day licence owners. It is not the demand of a Party or of individual Deputies. Our voice is the voice of the six-day people, no matter what their Party affiliations.

It has been nice to hear Deputies on the opposite side of the House speaking up for their own areas. The three Deputies who have spoken have made cases for their own areas, and more power to them. That is their purpose in this House. The six-day licence holders in the midlands and down the country are treated better than the bona-fide traders in county Dublin who did not get a chance like them.

They had their chance. Why did you not speak for them?

In my estimation, the six-day licence holders are being given a good opportunity. Though I spoke at great length about the bona-fide traders in county Dublin who will lose their livelihood after spending thousands of pounds reconstructing their premises, this House had very little sympathy with the case I made, though it is this House which is taking away the livelihood of these people whom I have the honour to represent.

I think the Minister has made a reasonable case to meet the six-day licence holders. I came from the country 37 years ago on a single ticket. I never made enough to return. There are very few six-day licence holders in the country who depend solely on the sale of beer, whereas the people in county Dublin to whom I refer depend solely on that trade and have no other. While the House has met the six-day licence holders reasonably, the House is taking away the livelihood of a number of them in my constituency.

The Deputy must not try to discuss one thing simply by referring to another.

I had not intended to speak on this amendment but I must express my disappointment inasmuch as I believed, when the Minister undertook to consider the question of the six-day licensees, that he would bring into the House an amendment altogether different from the amendment he has moved. The amendment makes no change whatever in the Bill as introduced inasmuch as the six day licensee, in order to carry on, is being asked to pay £200 within two years to the revenue authorities. Where is the difference between that and the original provision that in order to get a seven day licence they would have to buy two six day licences or buy one seven day licence? The £200 comes into the picture all the time. As far as I know the position of six day licensees, it will be very hard for them to get that £200. They simply have not got it. In my opinion this is nothing more or less than a Bill to wipe out six day licensees and to reduce the number from 1,400 to very much less.

If the 1,400 six day licensees could put up £200 each, that would amount to £280,000. We are not told for what purpose that money will be spent. It could not be devoted to a better purpose than to leave it in the pockets of the unfortunate people from whom it is to be extracted.

I should like to know from where the objection comes to the six day licensees. Has anybody representing the seven day licensees met the Minister to say that these people should not get a seven day licence even though, under the Bill, licence fees will be the same in all cases, namely, £4 a year? Why should the six day licensee be asked to put up £200 in order to get the privileges that his next-door neighbour will get for the same licence fee?

There is another matter which should be considered. There was no difference at any time between the six day licensee and the seven day licensee except the right to serve a bona fide traveller on Sunday. The seven day licensee could let him in; the six day licensee could not. That does not say that he did not go in. The six day licensee and the seven day licensee are in a much better position than they will be under this Bill. That is my honest opinion. Personally, I feel it is very wrong to ask a six day licensee to pay money which he has not got into a fund when nobody knows on what it will be spent. I repeat that, in my opinion, the best way to spend that money is to leave it in the pockets of the unfortunate licensees from whom it is to be extracted.

I do not want to restate the case that has been made effectively by previous speakers but it does strike me as somewhat anomalous that recently the Minister for Finance saw fit, and rightly so, to reduce the annual licence fee in respect of seven day licences and, within a month of the announcement of that change, a penalty is being imposed by this amendment which will involve, in the case of those who can afford to pay it, a penalty payment and which will be prohibitive in the case of a number of people whose circumstances have been outlined during the discussion this afternoon and on the Committee Stage.

Deputies representing constituencies in which there is a preponderance of six-day licence holders have explained clearly the circumstances of these people but I want to find out from the Minister what it is proposed to do with the fund which is to be established under Subsection (7) of Amendment No. 13, which says in sub-paragraph (a) that there shall be established a fund which shall be known as the Restricted Licences Conversion Fund and, in sub-paragraph (b), that the assets of the Fund shall be disposed of in such manner and for such purposes as may be determined by Act of the Oireachtas.

During the Committee Stage I moved an amendment which sought to preserve the livelihood of traders whose businesses will be adversely affected by this Bill. They are rural traders adjacent to urban areas whose business will be affected by the extension of drinking hours in the cities. These businesses have been built up over a great many years, in no case for a period less than 18 years, because the most recent Intoxicating Liquor Act— that of 1942—continued their bona fide rights. In other cases it goes back still further. These people have an unanswerable case for compensation. Their rights have been changed under this Bill. There is a change in the terms of their trading which they have carried on for a great number of years and which is different from the practice and custom which prevails in urban and rural areas.

I thought there was a very reasonable case made by Deputy Maher, on Committee Stage. He said he had experience somewhat similar to that which I had outlined. I said that I represented a constituency that was part urban and part rural, that the normal patterns of life in the two parts of the constituency are entirely different, that people finish their daily work in one part at a much earlier time than in another, that the pattern and custom of drinking in an urban area is completely different from that in a rural area, that people in an urban area finish work earlier and are, therefore, in a position to visit licensed premises at an earlier time. In the rural part of the same constituency, the normal avocation, farm work or other rural work, means that they finish later. Deputy Maher said that he had experience as a trader in the city and as a Dáil Deputy for a rural constituency.

I believe that the proposal in the Minister's amendment is unwarranted in so far as it imposes a penalty on people who have had their rights conceded by the introduction of the amendment which will enable them to convert six-day licences into seven-day licences. But in respect of the people I mention, the people whose trading has been completely altered, whose business, or certainly the profitable end of it, will in many cases be wiped out by the proposed change in opening hours, there is an unanswerable case for compensation. In fact, it is the only proper way in which their legitimate rights can be treated. Their businesses have been and will be jeopardised by the terms of this Bill and if this fund is for that purpose, then there is justification for it, because, undoubtedly, if this House legislates to change or amend by legislation the pattern of trading which has been built up over a number of years, if it wipes out a pattern of trading which in some cases goes back for 40 or 50 years and in no case less than 18 years, then the people whose business interests are jeopardised, who have involved themselves in heavy expenditure in modernising their premises or improving facilities for their customers, who, in many cases, have spent considerable sums and who give considerable employment of a permanent character dispersed over a wide area and in good conditions, paying trade union wages, and who provide a service which the community value, have, I believe, a case for compensation. If that is the purpose of the fund, there may be a case for it. If that is not the purpose of the fund, it seems to me that there is no justification for levying a fee on people who are entitled to get a new seven-day licence through conversion of the existing licence.

When it is recognised that there is no justification nowadays for the old-time fee which was imposed under ancient licensing Acts and which has been continued under Acts since the establishment of the State—and I believe the Minister for Finance has recognised the interests of these people—in a short period after that, there is certainly no justification for a penalty clause such as the £200 proposed in this case. In any case, the few might be in a position to pay this penalty but it is prohibitive as far as the vast majority of these traders are concerned. I should be glad if the Minister would consider the very strong claim in equity which the bona fide traders have, those traders whose businesses are now being wiped out, whose trade will be jeopardised under this Bill and whose livelihood will, in many cases, be seriously affected if not entirely wiped out. I would ask the Minister to consider their claim in regard to whatever fund is set up—if a fund is to be established—for compensation.

On Committee Stage, I expressed sympathy with Deputy Dillon's amendment and asked the Minister to have another look at the whole question. I think he has gone a good way towards meeting the grievances of the six-day licensees although I should have much preferred it if he had seen his way to put them on a par with the seven-day licensees without any fine such as the £200. The first suggestion I heard of what has now been called the penalty was actually made to me by a deputation representing an area in which there are quite a big number of six-day licensees. They said they should pay £100. That was actually proposed by the representatives of the six-day licensees. I thought they were a little foolish to put it forward because I think they have a case in equity to be treated in the same way as the others for the same reason that I think we all know—that those people who came even from three miles away were not properly bona fide customers because it was for drink they were coming. Nevertheless, the six-day licensees themselves did suggest that. They must have felt that over the years they had been paying a smaller licence and were breaking the law. They must have felt there was some justification for a fine. I met subsequent deputations with some other Deputies and these people pointed out that these licences were not for sale at all and asked: “Where are these licences?”

I think I mentioned this on Committee Stage. One man said that he had advertised in several papers and had got only one reply and in that case, it was, I think, £600 or £700 that was asked for the seven-day licence. We now have a proposal by the Minister that on payment of £200 a person can get a seven-day licence if he has a six-day licence. That disposes of the possibility of anybody asking for more than £200. As a matter of fact, that figure will be the maximum.

However, I think the Minister might take a further look at the matter and perhaps he could get the Government to agree to what was proposed by these people themselves, that is, £100, or failing that, put the payment on an annuity basis. The principle of the payment has been conceded by the representatives—if they were properly representative and I think they were— of these people. I had a letter from one of them some time ago—not from my own constituency—in which he suggested something like that, an annuity over ten or 20 years. If the Minister would have that considered, he might be able to bring in an amendment in the Seanad but, in any case, he has gone quite a long way to meet the grievances of the six-day licensees.

Has the Deputy any notion why he put down £200?

The first I heard of any fine—and I am sure Deputy Dillon must have heard it also—was a mention of £100——

I did not hear it.

——by the representatives of the six-day licensees. I suppose when a person goes to the fair, he does not offer as much as he expects to have to pay eventually and that is probably why the Minister put in £200. Perhaps these people did not offer the sum they were prepared to pay. The idea of paying a fine, as far as I know, came from the representatives of the six-day licensees, in the first instance.

I never heard of it.

I am surprised. I actually got a written proposal from county Mayo.

Strike a bargain now.

It was on an annuity basis. At any rate, the Minister did look into the matter; he did not close his mind. In my opinion, this will be the operative part of the new section because the other business of looking around the country for a six-day licence will not arise. People will not advertise for them. Perhaps people with redundant licences will now say: "We want to get rid of them and we may have to sell them cheaper." Perhaps the Minister will look at this proposal and cut it down a little more.

Hear, hear!

What section or amendment are we discussing?

We are discussing three amendments— amendments Nos. 7 and 13 and Deputy Blowick's amendment to the Minister's amendment.

Has No. 13 been moved?

We are discussing them all together.

But has it been moved? It is a bit daft to be talking about the £200 when the Minister did not say a word about it yet.

We are discussing all of them together.

No. 13 has not been explained yet.

It is self-explanatory.

The Minister might tell us——

The Bill was recommitted in respect of three amendments.

Some explanation of No. 13 is necessary.

I did not wish to interrupt Deputies who wanted to discuss the amendments.

We shall be very much obliged——

Deputies are offering all over the House and that is why I did not intevene.

The amendment is a very important one and the Minister should tell the House what is in his mind.

We shall be very much obliged if the Minister will give an explanation of the amendment.

They are being discussed together.

All three together.

I come from a constituency which has, I should say, the greatest number of six-day licences in the whole country. It is clear from the introduction of these formal amendments by Deputy Lindsay and Deputy Dillon, and the last amendment by the Minister that the Government have conceded the justice of the needs of the six-day licensees, but they have placed upon them an impossible imposition of £200.

Does the Minister realise that in Mayo where we have 448—I think that is the number—six-day licensees, these people have their public houses in name only perhaps, but they cling to them as their homes? The Minister is a Dublin man and does not at all realise that these people cling to these homes from sheer pride, and cannot give them up. They are all over the place in Mayo, and they cannot possibly pay £200 for a seven-day licence. The Minister may answer that as he wishes.

There is a dwindling population and rural Ireland is withering away. Trade in towns is very slack. I do not know why we are told that everything is completely all right and that we never had it so good. The Minister should go down to Castlebar, Ballaghaderreen or Ballyhaunis—the people in those areas sent a petition to the Minister through Deputy Dillon—and they will tell him that things were never so slack. How can he expect them to get £200 within two years to pay for a seven-day licence? They just cannot do it. I know that and I know it is true.

People here have an impossible view of the position in the west of Ireland. I do not know why it is that we are always coming here asking for things, but the truth is that the Government now in power do not know what is going on. According to the papers, everything is all right, but the Minister should go down to those areas himself where we have 448 six-day licensees who can never afford to pay £200. Their representative is, I think, Mr. Taylor of Galway city. They might, over a period of a few years, be able to afford £100, but I appeal to the Minister to cut down this vicious tyrannical imposition to £50. If he does, they will be satisfied, and they will cling to their homes in order to win a very precarious existence.

I am rather surprised at the statement that there are 448 six-day licensees in Mayo. I wonder where those 448 people were whilst the Commission was sitting for 12 months, why we heard nothing from them, and why no representative of these 448 licensees came before the Commission to make any case for themselves. They were completely silent.

They were not.

They were relying on the collective wisdom of the Commission.

We heard nothing about them. I think the Minister has been more than decent——

The Deputy will hear more.

I wonder by how much the change from a six-day to a seven-day licence will increase the value of that licence and of that publichouse?

By nothing, if they are all seven-day licences.

That is the first question to ask ourselves. The Minister has been more than decent in this matter. I should like to ask anyone who has a six-day licence to tell us how much, in his opinion, the changeover means. My personal opinion is that they can buy a seven-day licence-cheaper than £200 in some cases. If they cannot get them in Mayo, we shall give them a few from Cork.

That is the first thing you ever gave away.

I can see no justification whatever for any change, and in my opinion the Minister has been more than decent.

On the last occasion on which Deputy Corry spoke on this matter, he used an argument which he can no longer use. He referred to the fact that the seven-day licensee had to pay a higher licence fee than the six-day licensee.

That is certainly true.

He put it on record. His own Minister recently made a change, as we know, which put them on a flat rate, and put them on a par in that respect. Why not put them all on a par in this respect? At any rate, the House appreciates that it is a contribution to Parliamentary progress when we find that the Government have conceded a principle upon which they appeared to be so adamant at an earlier stage. It is good that the stand taken by the Minister for Lands, when deputising for the Minister for Justice, was not maintained, in the interests of justice. Having conceded that principle, unfortunately they have not gone further.

With others who have spoken, I contend that the redemption cost as proposed by the Government is prohibitive. Deputy Boland made an appeal similar to the appeal from this side, that the Government should look at this matter again and not insist on the prohibitive figure they have set out in their amendment, in relation to the purchase of a seven-day licence. There were some negotiations prior to the introduction of this amendment by the Government and the figure I heard mentioned in my locality was nothing at all like the figure Deputy Boland seems to have heard. The figure mentioned in my part of the country was less than half what the Government are demanding. I cannot see, therefore, that there is any justice or equity in what the Government are proposing in their amendment.

It cannot be alleged that there is any political advantage in this matter for anyone. What are those unfortunates compared with the vested interests throughout the country who are forever hammering at Deputies to take this line or that? These people are the weaker sections of the community and they amount to only about 1,000 odd. In the constituency I represent, I could count them on the fingers of both hands. What is there in it for any of us other than the fact that by an enactment of this House we are to perpetrate a gross inequity on a very small defenceless, weak minority of our citizens? As is written into our Constitution, they are entitled to fair play and equity.

That is the only case we are making on their behalf. We want to ensure that we do not enact something that would make their position more difficult. A far more beneficial amendment than this would have to be enacted to undo what otherwise would have been done to this class of people. Therefore, I wish to join with other Deputies who spoke for these people. The fact that so many Deputies on this side of the House are getting up in support of this point of view need not deter the Minister at any time. If the Minister offered, the Chair would immediately call upon him to contribute to the debate.

It might assist and make for a better debate if the Minister had intervened before now and explained how the Government had come to the point of view that this was a just figure. It would be interesting if the Minister at this stage gave that indication. We remember the effect his intervention had before when, completely contrary to the firm opinion expressed by his colleagues, he intervened in the debate and said the Government would look at this again. They have. They have conceded the principle on which they were so adamant at one time but what they have done is not enough because the figure mentioned here is prohibitive in so far as the vast majority of these people is concerned.

When I, as the responsible Minister for this Bill, see a number of Deputies on both sides offering to make a contribution to this debate I have the common courtesy to withhold anything I may want to say until they have had their say. It is always helpful to a Minister to hear what Deputies may have to say on a matter of this kind. I have no hesitation whatever in speaking in so far as giving information to the House is concerned. I think I have always tried to do that. I do not know what the implication is in the suggestion by Deputy Corish that they have not heard from the Minister and why is that so. The only reason is the reason I have just given, namely, that I do not feel I should intervene when I see all around me a number of Deputies anxious to make a contribution to the debate.

On the Committee Stage, I undertook to bring to the notice of the Government the arguments advanced here on behalf of six-day licensees. In the meantime, the Government have considered the matter carefully and decided to sponsor the amendment that is in my name, that is, amendment No. 13.

I should like to recall, briefly, what the position has been up to now. Since 1943, a six-day licensee could obtain a seven-day licence if he purchased an existing seven-day licence in the same or an adjoining District Court District. By accepting an amendment which I introduced on the Committee Stage of the Bill, the House agreed that it would be sufficient if the existing seven-day licence were abolished in any part of the State. Secondly, as an alternative, that amendment provided for conversion to a seven-day licence if the licensee abolished either one six-day licence in the same District Court Area or two six-day licences elsewhere. Thirdly, it provided for a much simpler and, therefore, cheaper procedure. That alone was a tremendous advance.

The amendment which I am now sponsoring will provide another alternative. For a period of two years, it will allow six-day licences to be converted to seven-day licences on payment of a sum of £200 to the Revenue Commissioners.

The amendment provides that the money is to be paid into a special fund, the use of which is to be determined by an Act of the Oireachtas in due course. The Government decided that this money should not be treated as ordinary revenue and their intention is that, if the fund amounts to a sum which would make it worth while, it will be used at a later stage for the purchase and extinction of existing licences surrendered by the holders. If the money received does not make it worth while to frame a scheme for the purchase of redundant licences, the fund can be used for some other purpose but consideration of that must be deferred for at least two years until we see how much money comes in. The fact that it can be used only in a manner to be prescribed by an Act of the Oireachtas means that the Oireachtas will have an opportunity of discussing the matter fully in due course.

The merits of the case made on behalf of the six-day licensees have been debated at length. The case made for them rests primarily on the contention that these traders have been disregarding the restriction in their licences and acting exactly as if the licences were seven-day licences. It is argued that the seven-day licences, too, engaged in illegal trading, but I must again stress that there is no getting away from the fact that even if we concede that area exemption orders were not of much practical importance in many towns in the West of Ireland, the seven-day licensees were entitled to do bona fide trading on Sundays and that in itself is certainly not something that can be ignored.

The amendment which I introduced on the Committee Stage was criticised on the basis that existing licences could not be purchased at a reasonable figure. The amendment I am now sponsoring will ensure that nobody need pay more than £200 and he is free to look for an existing licence at a smaller sum.

Deputy Blowick's amendment would mean in many cases that these licensees could obtain conversion for less than £12, since many of them have been paying the minimum duty of £5, less a remission of one-seventh for a six-day or early-closing condition in the licence or two-sevenths where the licence was both a six-day and an early-closing licence.

The Government are not prepared to accept any of the amendments which have been put down in respect to this matter. I do not think Deputy Dillon is taking a good line in stressing the poverty of the six-day licensees. He gives me the impression that all these people are on the verge of going into extinction.

They are in a very small way of business.

I do not believe that is a fact. I was recently a participant in a discussion on valuations and the valuations that were being discussed were valuations in regard to rural Ireland. The complaint generally was that where these small shopkeepers in the little towns of rural Ireland made extensions, improvements or reconstructions to their premises, for which they paid £400 or £500, their valuations went up excessively. That was the point that was made, but the point of interest to me, having listened to Deputy Dillon and other Deputies discussing the question of the poverty of the six-day licensees, lay in the fact that here was a representative body of people, representing rural Ireland, discussing the complaint of having to pay excessive valuations after they themselves had expended £400 of their own hard earned savings on these improvements.

We cannot have it both ways. I am not suggesting that everybody in rural Ireland can do that but I am suggesting that most of these people who are six-day licensees are reasonably well-off and that they would have no difficulty in getting the money from the bank. The bank manager would know their position and know that they were getting something which would be of considerable value to them in the future and would be prepared to advance them the money.

Listening to the debate here this evening I began to think of the dangers of compromise. Fortunately or unfortunately, as we may look at it, we compromised here on at least three occasions in the course of the debate on this Bill. I stressed the fact when I was reading that statement that six-day licensees could have converted their licences at any time in the past seventeen years by taking out a six-day or seven-day licence in a district court district and its adjoining districts.

But they were not for sale.

Then I decided to allow those people to get a full licence in any part of the State which they could convert to a seven-day licence. Under pressure from this House we went further, and we decided on conversion, on the abolition of two restricted licences in any part of the State. Then we went even further and said one restricted licence in the same district court area would do. Now we are meeting the demands which were made in the House by introducing this amendment which will provide for six-day licensees a straightforward, direct method of converting from their six-day licences to seven-day licences. The Government have given a considerable amount of time and consideration to this whole question and this is their further compromise. This is the way in which they think that this matter can best be dealt with.

Deputy Kenny in the course of his remarks suggested that I did not understand the position because I was a Dublin man. I do not object to his saying that. I am proud to be a Dublin man. I am not claiming to know all that is to be known about the licensing laws and I am not claiming to know very much about the licensing laws in rural Ireland but it is not the Minister who makes these decisions but the Government and the Government does not happen to be a Dublin Government. It is representative of Mayo, Wexford, Clare, Cork, Cavan, Meath, Donegal, Galway and Louth. I just thought of these counties as I was listening to Deputy Kenny and I was trying to think where my colleagues in the Government came from. It is a representative body from all over Ireland and if it is not a good cross-section of the Irish people I do not know what would be a good cross-section.

There is another point which I wish to make; this has been impressed upon me by a number of people whom I happened to meet and who happen to be licensees and, still further, who happen to be six-day licensees. They assured me that they were not interested in converting their own licences into seven-day licences. I have since mentioned that fact to several Deputies, and they pointed out to me that in their own areas there was quite a large number of six-day licensees who had no interest in converting and becoming seven-day licensees. I am not suggesting that out of the 1,400 six-day licensees that there is not probably a large number who would be inclined to become, given the opportunity, seven-day licensees, but I want to impress on the House that there is quite a large body of six-day licensees who want to have the Sabbath Day to themselves and who do not want to open their premises for the purpose of selling drink or anything of that kind.

Further, I want to say to Deputy Dillon who said that I could never get it into my head, or never understand the position he was discussing in regard to the six-day licences, that what I did get into my mind, as clearly as it could be got, was that Deputy Dillon was talking about converting six-day licences into seven-day licences without any fees or anything else, and endeavouring in the course of his discussions to convince me that it would be a hardship on these people not to grant them a seven-day licence because of the fact that they had been operating a seven-day licence all along.

That is quite wrong. The Minister misunderstood me.

The Deputy can look back over the records of the discussion. I want to say that as far as I am concerned these people have been operating as six-day licensees, paying an excise fee representative only of their six-day licence trade whereas the seven-day licensees for generations back—father, grandfather, great-grandfather and so on—have been paying the seven-day licence and operating the seven-day licence. They are entitled to do it and they have been doing it on Sundays under the bona fide law. When Deputy Dillon tells me that the bona fide people were acting illegally also, how does he know they were acting illegally? I myself do not know and I do not pretend to know. I do not believe that if Deputy Dillon were running one of these publichouses he would know who was an illegal drinker and who was not. The law is that if a person comes into a licensed premises and describes himself as a bona fide traveller the person who has the right to admit him—and does not know him—is the judge and as far as the law is concerned——

That is not the law.

The Guard, unless he can get sufficient evidence to prove that the person lives within the limit —definite proof—cannot prosecute him. The difficulty there is to prove that a seven-day licensed house operating the bona fide trade is acting illegally. It is very clear that the six-day man is acting illegally because he has not got the right to open at all so that the Gardaí can know directly that the man is operating illegally and can, if they do their duty, prosecute him.

The £200 these people are being asked to pay for this is very much less than the figures which were represented from that side of the House and by some of the speakers on this side of the House. We were told that the figure at which these redundant licences could be obtained went as high as £800. We heard Deputy Boland today say they could not be obtained at less than from £600 to £800. We heard Deputy Flanagan say here they could not be obtained for £150. The figures ranged from £150 right up to £800, and when the Government were considering this matter they had to keep these figures in mind by reason of the fact that I undertook to bring before the Government the arguments made by the Opposition and by our Deputies. I did that by taking the appropriate extracts from each Deputy's speech on the subject and submitting them to the Government in the form of a précis. The result was that they could very quickly see what the general views of the House were on the subject. It was on the basis of these statements that the Government decided that a figure of £200 was a reasonable figure and I can inform the House that the discussion ranged over higher figures than that which was eventually decided upon, which is the figure that the Government deemed a fair figure and one they are prepared to stand over.

I do not know what Deputy Blowick was talking about when he mentioned something that happened in Castlebar. I know nothing at all about what happened in Castlebar and I think the Deputy himself does not know except that he heard a rumour of something sinister happening there.

A publican in Castlebar told me that all the six-day licensees were approached to pay a £5 fee. That is a very serious matter and I thought it was something the Minister might know.

It could be their association.

The Deputy can take it from me that I know absolutely nothing about it——

That is all I want to know.

——any more than I know anything about the sinister charge that Deputy Lindsay made here in the course of his short speech.

It is not sinister; it is true.

He suggested it was graft, that someone near the Government was making graft out of this thing. I doubt if Deputy Lindsay's colleagues on the Benches there would stand for that sort of disgusting, dirty insinuation because that is all it is. It is not the first time the Deputy made charges of that kind——

Ask the Minister for Lands.

——and did not substantiate them. I ask him now to substantiate them for my sake, to give me the opportunity of having them investigated. If the Deputy gives me any evidence of the kind he has mentioned. I will undertake to have it investigated thoroughly.

From my previous experiences of investigations by the Minister I would not be too hopeful.

Deputies should not make statements of that kind in this House unless they have evidence to produce to substantiate what they are saying. I think it is not in the interests of the House to make such statements at all.

Ask the Minister for Lands.

The only thing I want to say now, and to say as firmly as I can, is that the Government has given a great deal of consideration to this question. It is, as I said in the beginning, a further compromise on our original stand. It is the final compromise and I just want to tell the House that this is what the Government stands by, and they cannot go any further.

I want to tell the Minister that when I asked whether or not amendment 13 had been moved, I did not imply any sinister motive on the part of the Minister in his non-intervention. My observation was merely to the effect that if he had explained the amendment, it might have saved a lot of the discussion that has gone on in the last hour or so. It can be said he has thrown a new light on the discussion in view of his remarks but it seemed he was reluctant to speak. He said he wanted to give way to the nine or ten Deputies who wished to contribute, but surely he is long enough in the House to know that he is recognised by the Ceann Comhairle or the Leas-Cheann Comhairle any time he wishes to intervene. However, as I have said, I did not want to imply there was anything sinister in the Minister's not speaking. The Minister seems to be somewhat ashamed that he compromised in respect of certain sections of this Bill.

I merely pointed out the danger that when you make one concession, you have to go on making another, and so on.

I do not think the Minister has done anything wrong in any of the compromises he has effected in respect of this Bill. It would be a good thing if we had some compromises in regard to other legislation. We do not want a complete turn about by any Minister, but if the Minister believes there is a good argument from the other side of the House, I do not think he should be reluctant to accept it, and, admittedly, he has done that in respect of two or three amendments on this Bill.

We find from the amendment that a fund is to be set up, a fund which may amount to something like £200,000, but it is only when the Minister explained the amendment that we could know to what purpose this fund might be devoted. He says that if the fund is of sufficient size it will be used to liquidate certain remaining six-day licences. He did not go further and tell us that every six-day licence might be purchased and liquidated. It may possibly be that the Minister's view or the Government's view is that there are too many public houses in the country. That may be, but to devote the money in this Fund to do that is a horse of another colour.

The attitude of the Minister and of the Government on the Second Stage and on the Committee Stage of this Bill was that the present six-day licence holders were not by any means entitled to have a seven-day licence. The argument at that time was that they had no right at all to change from a six-day to a seven-day licence. In this amendment the Minister does concede their right to change from a six-day to a seven-day licence but under certain conditions.

That is not correct. We have there all the means by which at any time they could be converted from one to the other.

The arguments as I heard them here on the Committee Stage from the Minister for Lands were to the effect that the six-day licence holders had no right at all to change over. I do not mean they had no facilities but the Minister for Lands contended they had no right in equity to have the same facilities as the seven-day licence holders. As I see this amendment, the right is conceded to some extent provided they pay a sum of £200. As I pointed out on the Committee Stage, there are changed circumstances and I believe the fee or the fine of £200 is excessive when one considers the tremendous changes this House decided should be made with regard to the licensing laws. Sunday is now an important day for the owners of publichouses. I say that as one who voted in this House against opening on Sunday at all. The majority of the House decided that there should be Sunday opening and, as it is a decision of the House, I want to make a plea on behalf of the six-day licence holders.

This fine of £200 means to me in any case that the small six-day licence holders will now have to find something like £2 per week over a period of two years. I believe that is excessive. The Minister said it is wrong to believe that all the six-day licence holders are practically poverty stricken. I would not argue with the Minister about that. There are some six-day licence holders who could pay £200 and I suppose pay it out by cheque to-morrow morning and not even have to borrow it but there are many other six-day licence holders who are in a very small way of business, indeed.

From the discussion here it seems to me that about one third of the six-day licence holders are located in county Mayo. I must confess that I do not know much about them or their financial circumstances. I know that in my own county of Wexford, whilst there are a number of six-day licence holders who could afford to pay this fee, there are many of them in a very small way. Some of them are located in the towns and there are many others throughout the country districts. Perhaps, over two years by scraping they might be able to get their hands on £200 but it would mean putting by over a period of two years a sum of £2 per week.

The sum of £2 per week is a formidable figure to be taken out of the profits in any one week. The Minister and other Deputies said that this offer was made by an organisation that was supposed to be representative of the six-day licence holders. As far as my information goes, that offer came from a certain part of the country. I do not know whether it was an offer that was made on behalf of all the six-day licence holders but I know many six-day licence holders who objected to paying any fee at all.

The Minister says this is the final offer of the Government. He seemed so adamant on the Committee Stage of this whole business of interfering with the six-day licence holders and giving them the right to sell for a seven-day licence, that it does seem as if the efforts of the Opposition and those who put down amendments are not going to be of any avail at all. It seems to me also that it is only the very well-off six-day licence holders who will be able to avail of this provision now in the amendment. My concern is for the small people I have in mind without mentioning their names. Their names would not convey anything. It means that this amendment is going to be suited for the wealthy six-day licence holders and the small man may well go to the wall.

I do not know whether the Minister would be prepared to fix the amount in accordance with their valuation and grade what we might call this fee, subscription or fine because it does seem to me quite unfair that, say, a six-day licence holder in a fairly big town, with a fair big business and another business attached, should be changed from a six-day licensee to a seven-day licence holder by paying £200, where as at a small crossroads there is a six-day licence holder who would not see £200 possibly in the whole year.

If the Minister is adamant, and he says he is, and the Government are adamant in this their final attitude, perhaps, the Minister would consider grading that subscription in accordance with some well accepted yardstick, say, the valuation of the house, the turnover or some other thing like that because it would be unfair that the small six-day licence holder in the backwoods of county Mayo should be changed to a seven-day licence holder for the same fee as would be paid by somebody in the cities of Dublin or Cork or any of the big provincial towns.

That is all I have to say. My final suggestion to the Minister in respect of this amendment is that he might possibly consider between this and Report Stage whether or not there might be a graded scale of subscription in regard to this fine.

I welcome this compromise. I must congratulate the Minister on amending the Bill to give the six-day licence holders a further opportunity of converting their six-day licences into seven-day licences. At one stage, I thought we were sticking out the sore thumb. Unfortunately, during the course of the debate on the Bill the Minister became unwell and was not present. We were sorry, indeed, that he had to leave the House for a short time. We begged his understudy, the Minister for Lands, to do something for the six-day licence holder. I was surprised at sensible people such as the Minister for Lands, Deputy Corry and Deputy Davern, telling us at that time that we could not do anything for them and asking why should we.

They were paying the six-day licence duty down through the years and their licence duty was one-seventh less than the licence duty paid by the seven-day licence holder. We spent days arguing here. The only argument offered against the amendment here was that it would be very unfair, but the Minister for Finance, evidently without taking any person into his confidence, strikes a flat rate of £4 10s. 0d. for a licence in any part of the trade. What the six-day licence holder would be saving would be one-seventh of £4 0s. 0d.—a mere trifle. I welcome this compromise. I am glad that we stuck our teeth into this matter and kept at it. I am glad the Minister was in charge of the Bill. I know he is a sensible man and he met us fairly reasonably.

We certainly are a most contradictory race. The Minister for Finance, introducing his Budget, tells us he expects so much revenue from the sale of intoxicating liquor. Here now we are going to set up a fund to close down some of the business from which we expect to get this revenue.

They do not sell much.

We are a most contradictory race.

They do not sell enough to keep open.

I would appeal to the Minister to accept these amendments. If he cannot see his way to accept them, I would appeal to him to stagger the payment of whatever fine may be imposed. Once a six-day publican has opted for a seven-day licence he should, whatever the fine, be permitted a number of years in which to pay it. We should extend the payment over two, three or four years instead of asking him to pay the money down in one lump sum or go to the bank and borrow it as the Minister suggests. I think that is a very bad system.

I am afraid that the Government are becoming very biased. They have an anti-rural bias. Everything they do is in favour of the city, particularly the city of Dublin.

That is what the Deputy thinks.

I should like Deputy Burke to bear with me for a moment. I never heard a publican outside Dublin complain about the amount of licence duty he had to pay. Some of the publicans in Dublin have to pay £100 or more. In the country it was never very much, but I never heard of a publican complain about the amount he had to pay. They did complain in Dublin, because it was £100. The Minister for Finance flattens it all out at £4.

In addition to that, this Bill extends the hours of trading in the City of Dublin and curtails them in rural Ireland. Hitherto, there was the bona fide trade until 12 o'clock. Under this Bill it will be 11.30 p.m. In the City of Dublin during the summer months the pubs close down at half-past ten. Under this Bill the hour will be extended to half-eleven. That is bias towards the city. But we go even further; 95 per cent. of the publicans are in rural Ireland. We shall make that 95 per cent. pay £200 each in order to convert from six-day licences to seven-day licences. The dice are loaded against rural Ireland. The bias is in favour of the city, particularly the City of Dublin. I do not accuse the Minister of being purposely biased. It may be a mere coincidence.

That figure is the ceiling figure. They can purchase for less than that.

The Minister is fixing the ceiling, and he is fixing it fairly high. The publican will have to pay £200 to convert from a six-day licence to a seven-day licence. Deputy Cosgrave made a very wise suggestion. Deputy Burke, like Deputy Cosgrave, represents an area which will be affected by this legislation. Deputy Cosgrave has spoken here for the bona fide traders in Dublin county and elsewhere. These people have spent a considerable amount of money in catering lawfully for the trade which was driven their way as a result of the archaic laws in force. The bona fide publicans went out of their way to make their premises as comfortable as any—to use the word Deputy Corry used—club. They introduced entertainment. They built luxury lounges. Under this legislation we shall wipe them out overnight.

These people should be compensated. The Minister will have an ideal fund from which to compensate them. He will collect £200 from practically 1,000 six-day licensees. That will be almost £250,000. I hope the Minister will see his way to accept Deputy Cosgrave's suggestion. I hope Deputy Burke will support that suggestion. These publicans should be compensated.

The Deputy will Shanghai Deputy Burke.

It is a pity that that Party did not Shanghai Deputy Burke long ago. He would be a very useful man to have. He is a man for whom I have a great respect. It is a great pity he is shackled the way he is and cannot speak his mind.

The Deputy must get back to the amendment.

Poor Deputy Burke is muzzled. Here the Minister will have an ideal fund at his disposal to compensate these publicans and Deputy Cosgrave should be congratulated for suggesting that these people should be compensated out of that fund.

I have already spoken——

I knew I would draw the Deputy. He should drop the muzzle while he is on his feet now.

The Minister has been very fair with the six-day licensed trader. In County Dublin, however, the bona fide traders will be very badly affected.

It was an illegal trade.

It was not an illegal trade. Thousands of pounds were spent on reconstructing the pubs of County Dublin.

That did not make the trade legal.

It was a trade that grew up long before the Deputy was born. However, I shall not be drawn by a red herring. Those who will lose their livelihood in County Dublin as a result of this legislation should be compensated. Nobody can say the Minister is unfair when he makes the ceiling £200 in relation to the purchase of a seven-day licence. In the open market such a licence would cost five times that. The bona fide publicans have spent a great deal on reconstructing their premises and, if the House is anxious to be fair to one section, it should also be fair to another section. If there is a fund available, I appeal to the Minister to consider utilising that fund for the purpose of compensating those who will lose their livelihood as a result of this legislation.

When this legislation was first introduced it was quite obvious that two classes of traders would be vitally affected—the six-day licensees and the bona fide traders. As a result of discussion here the Minister decided to reconsider the position of the six-day licensed holders and, having reconsidered, he came back with certain concessions. The ceiling price fixed is considered too high, but the fact remains that the Minister at least took steps to meet the case made on behalf of the six-day licence holders. Admittedly, they will be compelled to take advantage of the optional penalty suggested in the Bill. No optional penalty of any kind has been offered by the Minister to the bona fide traders whose businesses will be ruined as a result of this legislation.

I am glad that the moneys collected from the six-day licensees who wish to convert to seven-day licences will be put into a certain fund for the purchase and extinction of other licences, and for other purposes. What are the other purposes the Minister has in mind? May we take it that these moneys will be used to compensate those who will be put out of business overnight when the bona fide traffic ceases under this Bill? It is obvious they will go out of business. There is no population around their premises upon which they can depend for business. That business was dependent on the difference between the closing hours in Dublin city and outside it. Under the new legislation, the hours will be the same inside and outside the city.

This means that there will be licensed premises with no populations to support them. There will be no point in a man travelling six or seven miles from the city to a rural area in order to get a drink as he used to do previously. That is why I stress the point that the Minister, having met the six-day licence holders, should use this fund for the purpose of compensating the owners of bona fide houses. I trust the Minister has considered them but, if he has, they have not been given any facilities in the new amendments the Minister has introduced. Before this debate concludes the Minister should tell us if he proposes to compensate them and that should be possible from the funds available to him. These businesses were established and encouraged under the 1943 Licensing Act. Because they placed their trust in that Act, these people built up their businesses, extended their premises, provided extra facilities and employed large staffs. Judging by the new amendments, I think that the position of bona fide traders in Dublin city and county will be worse than ever.

Why should the claims of the bona fide traders be ignored to such an extent as they have been ignored? Concessions have been given to the six-day traders. When this Bill was introduced, both classes realised that their businesses would be affected. I know it will be some time before all the amendments are dealt with, but I would ask the Minister to consider the question of compensation for bona fide traders. He would have time to bring in another amendment meeting their case to some extent and helping to reduce the losses they are bound to suffer when this legislation comes into effect. Whenever legislation was introduced here previously which affected any interests in the country, an arrangement was made to have a compensation clause inserted. The bona fide trade was well known and recognised; yet, there was no such clause in the Bill originally introduced here. In fairness, I think they should have equal rights with every other citizen who carries on trade within the law, as they did. This Bill will have the effect of putting them out of business and there should be some compensation for them. Possibly, the Minister has that in mind when he says the fund will be used “for other purposes.”

I should like to correct one statement there. The Deputy, apparently, did not advert to amendment No. 13, because if he did, he would see there in sub-section 7 of Section 24:—

(7) (a) There shall be established a fund which shall be managed by the Minister for Finance and shall be known as the Restricted Licences Conversion Fund and all sums. received by the Revenue Commissioners under subsection (4) of this section shall be paid by them to that Minister for the credit of the Fund.

(b) The assets of the Fund shall be disposed of in such manner and for such purposes as may be determined by Act of the Oireachtas.

(c) An account of the Fund shall be prepared for each financial year by the Minister for Finance and the account shall be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General and, together with the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General thereon, shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas.

It might eventually emerge that there might be little or nothing in the fund. When I referred to the fact that this £200 represented a ceiling, I had in mind the figures quoted here, which went from £150 to almost £800. It was said that these redundant licences apparently were being withheld and were not available on the market. They will probably begin to disgorge now and no one need pay more than £200. Certainly they will all endeavour to get them for probably much less than that figure. However, that is the ceiling.

What will be done with the fund at the end of two years—and nothing can be done in respect of it until a period of two years has elapsed—will be a matter for the Oireachtas. It is not a matter for us to decide now. What we have been discussing is not the amendment but the question of compensation, something not in this Bill at all. That is not really relevant.

We have now reached a stage at which we are certainly not any more clear as to the purpose of the fixing of this ceiling of £200. The Minister in his last contribution made a very interesting statement, namely, that people with licences for sale— the licences cannot be redundant because they must be got by another process—will begin to disgorge them at a lower price and they will, I take it, disgorge at a figure under £200, or at least a figure which plus the legal costs involved, will not total any more than £200. But the traffic is allowed to remain. The amendment specifically allows the traffic in licences to remain and more than one Deputy— not all confined to any particular side of the House—know that traffic, know who exactly engages in it, and know how much information in relation to the Government's intentions, prior to their declaration, whether in the Bill or through amendments, there was in certain parts of the country, and an immediate traffic in seven-day licences ensued.

It is very easy for the Minister, in trying to make a political defence on an amendment such as this, to use the words "dirty, scurrilous and disgusting." That shows a capacity for political defence but in the rest of his argument and discussions, there is a very marked incapacity to appreciate the arguments being used in relation to six-day licence holders. For my part, I care little for the hurling of such epithets because I came into this matter with clean hands, aye, and into other matters which have already been investigated with such tragic results and a marked absence of the administration of justice. String after string of these epithets will not frighten me or any other person who has anything to expose in this House or outside it, and the Minister need not try to do it by way of threat or otherwise, or by vituperation in the manner of political defence.

The Minister fails to appreciate the case made for the six-day licence holders. Never at any time was it suggested by me, by Deputy Dillon, Deputy Blowick or any other Deputy that it was to validate something that was invalid, that it was to make legal something that was illegal. Once again let us try to make the position clear and try to rid ourselves of the atmosphere of political defence and political thrust.

Take a street in any town in the country and number the houses No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3. No. 1 is a seven-day licensed house; No. 2 is a private house; and No. 3 is a six-day licensed premises. Those people living in No. 2 who take a drink could not enter either No. 1 or No. 3 on any Sunday of the year, or any other day of the year on which the sale of drink was restricted. That was the position, but under this Bill, as it was envisaged at the beginning to give no concession to the six-day man in No. 3, but allowing Sunday opening to No. 1, the occupant of No. 2 could go into No. 1 on Sundays but not into No. 3 and, if he were in the habit of taking a drink in No. 3 on six, four or three days a week, he could not go into it on Sundays and would then get into the habit of going into No. 1. His custom would automatically be transferred to No. 1 and it was that interference with a man's livelihood to which we objected.

Never at any time did we try to make the case that we wanted to convert an illegality into a legality. The Minister talked about the increases in valuations down the country but the case he made is one that is not, to say the least of it, logical. He is arguing from a vague particular to a general and never at any time was it suggested, or even proved vaguely, that those whose valuations have been increased were, in fact, six-day licensed premises. For people to spend their own money on their own premises in order to build up their livelihood is one thing, but being asked to pay £200 into a fund, the purpose of which is still vague, is quite another thing. Why they should be asked to pay £200, or anything at all, is beyond my comprehension.

It has been said that many six-day licence holders are not interested in this and would not be inclined to take advantage of it. That may be true but, if there are only a small number, what is the purpose in creating a fund if it itself will be so small that it will be of no advantage? On the merits, I think the amendment tabled by Deputy Dillon and myself, with an extension of it into Deputy Blowick's amendment, represents a compromise which is just, even though the Minister may say he does not like compromise.

During his earlier remarks, the Minister cast a slur on my amendment for its suggesting a figure of about £12 or £15 to be paid by a six-day licence holder for a seven-day licence. What is wrong with that? It must be remembered that seven-day licensees have now got Sunday opening and at the same time, their licences are reduced to £4. I think the Minister ought to accept my amendment as going half-way to meet him. The £200 suggested is excessive. Many of the publicans concerned will not be able to raise that amount and I do believe the figure I mentioned represents a more reasonable approach.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 34; Níl, 53.

Tá.

  • Barry, Richard.
  • Belton, Jack.
  • Blowick, Joseph.
  • Byrne, Tom.
  • Carroll, James.
  • Coburn, George.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, Declan D.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Desmond, Daniel.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Giles, Patrick.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • Kyne, Thomas A.
  • Lindsay, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Thaddeus.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • Manley, Timothy.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, Michael P.
  • Murphy, William.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'Sullivan, Denis J.
  • Reynolds, Mary.
  • Rooney, Eamonn.
  • Russell, George E.
  • Spring, Dan.
  • Tierney, Patrick.

Níl.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Boland, Kevin.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Browne, Seán.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Calleary, Phelim A.
  • Childers, Erskine.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Cotter, Edward.
  • Crowley, Honor M.
  • Cummins, Patrick J.
  • Cunningham, Liam.
  • Davern, Mick.
  • de Valera, Vivion.
  • Doherty, Seán.
  • Donegan, Batt.
  • Dooley, Patrick.
  • Egan, Kieran P.
  • Fanning, John.
  • Faulkner, Padraig.
  • Gibbons, James.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • Haughey, Charles.
  • Hillery, Patrick J.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Humphreys, Francis.
  • Johnston, Henry M.
  • Kenneally, William.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Kitt, Michael F.
  • Lemass, Noel T.
  • Lemass, Seán.
  • Loughman, Frank.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • Medlar, Martin.
  • Millar, Anthony G.
  • Moher, John W.
  • Moloney, Daniel J.
  • Mooney, Patrick.
  • Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
  • Ormonde, John.
  • Ryan, Mary B.
  • Sheldon, William A.W.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
Tellers: Tá: Deputies O'Sullivan and Crotty; Níl: Deputies Ó Briain and Loughman.
Amendment declared lost.

I move amendment No. 13:

In page 16, section 24, to add to the section the following subsections:

"(4) Nothwithstanding anything contained in the Licensing Acts, 1833 to 1960, the Revenue Commissioners shall, upon application within two years after the passing of this Act by a person who holds a restricted licence in respect of any premises and upon payment by that person of the sum of two hundred pounds to the Revenue Commissioners, grant to that person a full licence in respect of the premises.

(5) Upon the grant under subsection (4) of this section of a full licence in respect of any premises, the restricted licence in respect thereof shall be extinguished.

(6) The sum payable under subsection (4) of this section in relation to the grant of a licence shall be in addition to and not in substitution for any sum payable on the licence under section 43 of the Act of 1910.

(7) (a) There shall be established a fund which shall be managed by the Minister for Finance and shall be known as the Restricted Licences Conversion Fund and all sums received by the Revenue Commissioners under subsection (4) of this section shall be paid by them to that Minister for the credit of the Fund.

(b) The assets of the Fund shall be disposed of in such manner and for such purposes as may be determined by Act of the Oireachtas.

(c) An account of the Fund shall be prepared for each financial year by the Minister for Finance and the account shall be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General and, together with the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General thereon, shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas."

I move the amendment to amendment No. 13:

In subsection 4, line 5, to delete "the sum of two hundred pounds" and substitute "a sum equivalent to three times the licence duty payable in respect of the premises in 1959 or the sum of fifty pounds, whichever is the lesser".

Question put: "That the words proposed to be deleted, stand."
The Committee divided: Tá, 53; Níl, 33.

Tá.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Boland, Kevin.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Browne, Seán.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Calleary, Phelim A.
  • Childers, Erskine.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Cotter, Edward.
  • Crowley, Honor M.
  • Cummins, Patrick J.
  • Cunningham, Liam.
  • Davern, Mick.
  • de Valera, Vivion.
  • Doherty, Seán.
  • Donegan, Batt.
  • Dooley, Patrick.
  • Egan, Kieran P.
  • Fanning, John.
  • Faulkner, Padraig.
  • Gibbons, James.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • Haughey, Charles.
  • Hillery, Patrick J.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Humphreys, Francis.
  • Johnston, Henry M.
  • Kenneally, William.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Kitt, Michael F.
  • Lemass, Noel T.
  • Lemass, Seán.
  • Loughman, Frank.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • Medlar, Martin.
  • Millar, Anthony G.
  • Moher, John W.
  • Moloney, Daniel J.
  • Mooney, Patrick.
  • Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
  • Ormonde, John.
  • Ryan, Mary B.
  • Sheldon, William A.W.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.

Níl.

  • Belton, Jack.
  • Blowick, Joseph.
  • Byrne, Tom.
  • Carroll, James.
  • Coburn, George.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, Declan D.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Desmond, Daniel.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Giles, Patrick.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • Kyne, Thomas A.
  • Lindsay, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Thaddeus.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • Manley, Timothy.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, Michael P.
  • Murphy, William.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'Sullivan, Denis J.
  • Reynolds, Mary.
  • Rooney, Eamonn.
  • Russell, George E.
  • Spring, Dan.
  • Tierney, Patrick.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Ó Briain and Loughman; Níl, Deputies Blowick and Belton.
Question declared carried.
Amendment No. 13 put and declared carried.
Progress reported: Committee to sit again.