Intoxicating Liquor Bill, 1962— Second Stage.

I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time.

I should like, first of all, to outline briefly the background of the present Bill and to deal with some of the criticisms of a more general nature which are being levelled against it. When my predecessor came into this House with what subsequently became the Intoxicating Liquor Act of 1960, he, and the Government of the day, sought to establish order out of chaos and they succeeded in doing just that. An effective licensing code was established and consistently enforced. Despite a great deal of criticism, and even cynicism in the early stages, it gradually came to be regarded by the vast majority of our people as eminently satisfactory, except in certain limited aspects. For the first time we had in this country a licensing code suited to our needs, giving general satisfaction and universally and impartially enforced. Law and order prevailed. My simple intention in introducing this present measure is to safeguard that situation.

The 1960 Act has been very successful in meeting the reasonable needs and requirements of our people—surprisingly successful when one remembers the circumstances in which it was introduced. In its main provisions, it has stood the test of time and I am satisfied that it will provide a solid and stable basis for our licensing code for many years to come. It has, however, caused inconvenience and dissatisfaction in some ways. I am concerned to ensure that that element of inconvenience and dissatisfaction should not develop to the point where it would interfere with the consistent observance of the code as a whole. What is not generally acceptable cannot ultimately be effectively enforced. If we find that there is excessive pressure at some of the seams, it is better to do a little letting out in time than to risk a serious rent.

To establish where pressure existed did not cause any great difficulty but to provide acceptable and satisfactory solutions called for careful, anxious and detailed consideration of a variety of factors. I have met deputations from all the principal organisations involved and I have studied views and representations on as wide a scale as possible. Having conscientiously considered all the views and suggestions I received, I finally settled upon the proposals contained in the Bill as the most reasonable and indeed in many cases the only possible solutions. Despite this long process of investigation and consideration to which the proposals have been submitted, however, I am still prepared carefully to consider everything that Deputies will have to say and to examine on their merits any suggestions for improvement which may be put forward.

I wish, at this stage, to emphasise something which I think goes to the very root of this whole matter. There is very little, if any, connection between opening hours and the problem of excessive drinking. The amount a person will drink is determined by a variety of factors—characters, social background and so on—but primarily, in the vast majority of cases, by the amount of money which is available for the purposes. People will, by and large, drink the same amount whether the hours of opening are long or short. I therefore reject emphatically any suggestion that I am, by these proposals, encouraging increased drinking in any way. I am merely proposing, by extending the hours of opening in some minor respects, that those who drink will be able to do so at somewhat more convenient times and in a more civilised and dignified fashion.

I want also to correct an impression which some people are endeavouring to convey, that is that the Bill proposes considerably extended opening hours. It does nothing of the sort. The extensions proposed in the hours of general opening are of a very minor character. What is proposed involves the addition of no more than two or three hours a week to the existing total of approximately 80 hours. Furthermore — and I am very surprised how little advertence there has been to this by some organisations which have been quite critical of the Bill—the Bill contains some very important provisions which are in fact directed to restricting facilities for the sale and consumption of drink.

It has also been suggested that the changes proposed in this Bill are not wanted by anyone and that they are in fact unnecessary. That suggestion is completely incorrect. I shall be dealing later, when I come to the details of the Bill, with the reasons for each of the main provisions, but I want at this stage to say that the demands made upon me for a change have been steady and insistent. There is not one single thing proposed that has not been strongly urged by some responsible organisation or section of public opinion.

I now turn to look at the contents of the Bill. Deputies will have received a copy of an explanatory memorandum which sets out in some detail, and I hope in easily understandable terms, the proposals in the Bill, section by section. In view of this, I am sure that the House would not wish me to go through the proposals in great detail now, but I think that I should, nevertheless, give an outline of the main provisions.

Three changes are proposed in regard to week-day hours. The first relaies to the general closing hour at night. Under existing law, the ordinary closing hour on week-nights is 11.30 p.m. during the months June to September, inclusive, and 11 p.m. during the rest of the year. The Bill proposes that the 11.30 p.m. closing should apply during the period of official Summer Time, with 11 p.m. closing during the rest of the year.

The second change relates to the afternoon closing hour in the four County Boroughs of Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford. At present, public houses in those four places are required to close between 2.30 p.m. and 3.30 p.m. in the afternoon, and offlicensed premises, while not required to close, are forbidden to sell intoxicating liquor during that hour. The Bill proposes that those restrictions should in future apply only in Dublin and Cork.

The third change that is proposed relates to the general hours of opening for unlicensed business in the morning. The general opening hour for licensed business on week-mornings is 10.30 a.m. but, where a "mixed business" is carried on, the law allows a licensed premises to be open for unlicensed business from 9.0 a.m. onwards. The section proposes that such premises should be allowed to open for unlicensed business from 7.30 a.m. onwards.

The present hours of opening on Sunday are also applicable to St. Patrick's Day and the Bill proposes to retain that arrangement. Accordingly, what I have to say about the hours of opening on Sunday may be taken as referring also to St. Patrick's Day.

The present Sunday opening hours are 12.30 p.m. to 2.0 p.m. and 5.0 p.m. to 9.0 p.m. during the months June to September, inclusive, and 12.30 p.m. to 2.0 p.m. and 5.0 p.m. to 8.0 p.m. during the rest of the year. Generally, the Bill does not propose to alter the first period of Sunday opening, that is to say, the period 12.30 p.m. to 2.0 p.m. There is, however, a qualification to that. It is proposed that in any town or village, other than a county borough or borough, the district court may authorise general opening at 12 noon. This provision is subject to certain conditions. First of all, the licensee who makes the application to the court will be required to prove that his application has the support of a majority of the licensees in the town or village concerned. Secondly, the application cannot be granted if during this half hour between noon and 12.30 p.m. (or any part of it) "a considerable number of people in the locality to which the Order would relate would be likely to be attending Divine Service".

As well as this, the Bill has a similar provision, also applicable only to places other than county boroughs or boroughs, whereby an application may be made to the District Court for an Order permitting opening for a period not exceeding 45 minutes for unlicensed business on Sunday mornings.

Although it is not strictly a question of opening hours, this too is, perhaps, the appropriate point to mention that the Bill has a further provision, applicable to places other than county boroughs or boroughs, to allow persons to put animal-drawn vehicles in the yards of licensed premises on Sundays and certain other days even at a time when the law requires the licensed premises to be closed.

As regards general opening on Sunday evenings, the proposal in the Bill is that the hours should be 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. throughout the year.

So far, I have been dealing with ordinary opening hours. I now come to the question of drink with meals in hotels and licensed restaurants. At present, drink may be served with a substantial meal in hotels and licensed restaurants during certain hours outside the ordinary opening hours. Generally, those additional hours are (1) from closing time on week-nights until midnight; (2) in county boroughs, during the hour 2.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m., i.e., the hour when the general sale of drink is prohibited in county boroughs; (3) on Sundays between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. which is, of course, the hour immediately after the first period of general opening, and also from the general closing time in the evening (i.e. 9 p.m. from June to September, inclusive, and 8 p.m. during the rest of the year) until 10 p.m. These are, of course, the privileges that are available for non-residents. I am not concerned here with residents in hotels or licensed premises: residents have almost complete exemption—within the premises in which they are staying—from the licensing laws and the Bill does not affect that position.

The proposal in the Bill is that the right to serve drink with a substantial meal in hotels and restaurants after the ordinary closing time on weeknights should be extended to 12.30 a.m. and that on Sunday nights it should be extended to 11 p.m. The Bill does not propose to change the other provisions. All the provisions relating to the serving of drink with meals would, however, be affected by another provision in the Bill which is in effect, though not in form, a definition of "substantial meal."

Under the existing law, clubs are subject to the same restrictions as licensed premises as regards the hours during which drink may be served and have the same privileges as hotels and restaurants as regards the serving of drink with a substantial meal. The Bill proposes to continue this arrangement and, accordingly, the changes that it proposes correspond to those that I have already mentioned in relation to licensed premises. It is not proposed, however, to give to clubs the benefit of the provisions which I have mentioned relating to opening before 12.30 p.m. on Sundays in certain circumstances in areas outside the county boroughs and boroughs.

Since there is sometimes some doubt as to what is meant by a club in the context of the licensing laws, may I mention that what I am referring to are members' clubs and nothing else. In particular, I am not referring to late-night restaurants—whether or not they have music or other entertainment. Such premises are not recognised as clubs under the Licensing Acts.

I now turn to the question of exemptions of one kind or another. The Bill proposes to allow a new type of exemption, namely, one applicable to a particular locality during a period of special festivity. The proposal is that only one such exemption may be granted for any locality in the year and that the period of the exemption may not exceed eight days. The Bill proposes to make a corresponding provision in relation to sports clubs, where there is a special event in the club which is likely to attract a considerable number of spectators. As in the other case, the proposal is that only one such exemption may be granted in the year and the period of the exemption is not to exceed five days.

The Bill also proposes to impose certain restrictions both on the granting of special exemption orders, which are exemptions granted to hotels and restaurants, and on the granting of occasional licences, which are licences to sell drink at an unlicensed place on a particular occasion. The restrictions, in both cases, have special reference to the question of the sale of drink at dances. As this is one of the matters to which I intend to revert later, I shall not go into further detail in regard to it at this point.

The Bill also proposes to impose certain restrictions on the granting of general exemption orders. These are the orders that may be granted for the accommodation either of persons pursuing a lawful trade or calling or persons attending a fair or market. Except to a certain extent in Dublin, the restrictions proposed would not interfere with any existing practice with regard to the granting of these orders. The proposal in the Bill would mean that, outside Dublin, these orders could still be granted entirely at the court's discretion for any period from 5 a.m. onwards, in the case of persons attending a fair or market, and from 7 a.m. onwards in the case of persons following a lawful trade or calling. Apart from places where these Orders have been given for the benefit of persons engaged in sea fishing—and it is not proposed to interfere with orders of that kind—no orders have, in practice, been effective for periods earlier than the hours now specified; and the proposed restrictions are intended, not to deal with an existing problem but, rather, to provide a safeguard against possible developments which have been foreshadowed in certain applications that have been made—unsuccessfully so far—in the district court. It is not proposed to interfere with the granting of these orders at any time for the benefit of persons engaged in sea fishing.

What I have said about these orders is not applicable to Dublin. As regards Dublin, general exemption orders have been granted, in the main, to premises in the vicinity of the markets and premises in the vicinity of the docks. In both cases, the tendency has been that applications have been made—and granted—for more and more premises, so that we have had what I might describe as an everwidening circle. The Bill proposes, as far as the markets are concerned, to "freeze" the position as it is at the moment. As drafted, it proposes to prohibit entirely the granting or renewal of these orders in the dock area or, indeed, elsewhere in the city otherwise than in the market areas. This latter proposal was made in response to representations received over a period from various quarters including, in particular, representations on behalf of the workers. Since the workers' representatives concerned have now come to me to say that on fuller consideration they have changed their minds on this issue, I have decided to move an amendment on Committee Stage which will preserve the present situation but, as in the case of the markets, prevent any further extension of the granting of these orders in Dublin.

The Bill proposes to increase from 12 to 15 the number of authorisations that may be granted by the district court to a registered club in any year for the supply of intoxicating liquor at times outside the normal hours. Without at this point going into the merits of this proposal, may I take the opportunity to clear up a misunderstanding that seems to be fairly common about club extensions. From some criticisms one reads from time to time, one would get the impression that a club can get an extension every night of the year, including every Sunday, on the flimsiest excuse. The fact is that, no matter how good a case a club can make to the court, it is limited to 12 extensions in the year: that is, 12 days out of 365. I think that it is well to mention this so that we may see it in proper perspective.

The Bill also proposes to allow licences to be granted to greyhound racing tracks. Here again, the licences would be subject to special conditions, the conditions in this case being that drink could be sold only on the day of race meetings, sales or trials and then only during the period beginning 15 minutes before the commencement of the meeting, sale or trials and ending at the start of the last race or the end of the sale or trials as the case may be.

Another provision which, I think, I should refer to here is one relating to the granting of new licences in rural areas. The 1960 Act permitted a new licence to be granted in a rural area, subject to certain conditions. The most important condition, perhaps, is that the applicant must be in a position to extinguish two existing licences, but these two existing licences may be in any part of the State. The Bill proposes to amend that provision to the extent that in future a new licence can be granted under the section in question only if there is no existing similar licence attached to premises within one mile of the premises for which the new licence is sought. However, of course, a licence that was itself granted by virtue of the 1960 Act is not being given the protection of this new provision.

May I mention—since I have received some inquiries on the point— that if it is not already sufficiently provided for by the rules of interpretation set out in the Interpretation Act, 1937, I have in mind moving an amendment to ensure that this change will not prejudice the rights of anybody who has already commenced proceedings to get a new licence under the law as it stands.

In this summary of the main provisions of the Bill, the last proposal to which I intend to refer is the proposal to prohibit the establishment or maintenance of what are popularly known as "locker lounges." I refer to this, not because I think the matter in question is of any great practical importance, but because there has been a considerable amount of newspaper publicity about these places.

So much for the actual content of the Bill. Most of the provisions in it are, I think, appropriate for discussion on the Committee Stage rather than on Second Reading but I would like, at this stage, to deal with a number of matters.

I think I am justified in assuming from the terms of various Parliamentary Questions put to me in recent months, and, indeed, from the terms of the motion of which the main Opposition Party have given notice, that the need for some amending legislation is accepted by all Parties in this House. Agreement on the principle does not mean, of course, that there is not room for differences of opinion as to what the amending legislation should contain, and, indeed, it is quite clear that such differences are not just a possibility but a reality. I hope, however, to convince the House that the proposals in the Bill represent a carefully-considered and reasonable approach to the problem.

May I begin by adverting to one point that I think it is particularly important to bear in mind? There were a number of Deputies who, in the course of the debate on the 1960 Act, criticised the Sunday hours, for instance, as being both excessively long and excessively late but who afterwards asserted that they were neither long enough for holiday resorts nor late enough for country people. Of course, these Deputies did not seriously believe, when they spoke here, that the enactment of the Bill by the Oireachtas would lead to any noticeable change in the extent of illegal drinking. Time has proved the contrary and, thanks to what has been done in that respect, we now meet here knowing that what the Oireachtas decides will, in fact, be made effective. But to know this is also to acknowledge the heavy responsibility that rests on each and every Deputy here. Nobody can any longer take refuge in the belief that it does not greatly matter what restrictions the Oireachtas imposes because any problems that result will be solved by the exercise by the local Garda Síochána of what used to be called discretion. We must all face the full consequences of what we decide now; and if I lay particular stress on that point I think that it is right that I should do so, especially because it seems very probable, in the nature of things, that the decisions which the Oireachtas will now make will not be reviewed for some considerable time.

One does not get, or expect, unanimity in relation to the licensing laws but all the trade, tourist and sporting organisations which I have met showed a remarkable degree of unanimity on two major matters: first, that, subject to some qualifications that I shall mention, the present week-day hours are giving general satisfaction and are reasonably adequate even in holiday resorts and, secondly, that the present Sunday hours are very definitely unsuitable.

The first qualification to the statement that the present week-day hours are regarded as satisfactory even by those most directly concerned is that the present four-month season during which we have 11.30 p.m. closing is too short and that the change from 11 p.m. to 11.30 p.m. closing should coincide with the change from ordinary time to Summer Time. The second qualification is that there is a need for exemptions on important festive occasions, where the town is, so to speak, en fête, and there is insufficient accommodation, including shelter, toilet facilities, etc., in the town for the visitors, a proportion of whom remain overnight and perhaps for several days. Certain race meetings which traditionally have a carnival air associated with them have been mentioned as good examples of the kind of occasion that is envisaged but there also are other, perhaps, lesser-known, occasions, such as when important music festivals or fleadhanna ceoil are promoted in small towns. The Bill makes provision for an exemption on such an occasion, but as a safeguard against abuses, there is a specific limit to one a year in any locality.

I believe that the proposals regarding week-day opening will be accepted generally as both reasonable and adequate.

I now turn to the question of Sunday opening. We may as well recognise frankly that the question of Sunday opening is both controversial and difficult. Perhaps, I should deal first with those aspects of it which will, I hope, be accepted by Deputies on all sides as both necessary and reasonable, namely, those provisions that affect rural areas on Sunday mornings.

In dealing with those provisions, I shall have occasion to refer to certain well-recognised social customs; and if I speak of them in the context of persons attending Mass, I do so simply as a convenient way of pinpointing the problem and I am not overlooking the members of other religions.

I think it will be generally acknowledged that in most parts of rural Ireland there was a long-established custom whereby the licensing laws were not strictly enforced for a period after each Mass in the smaller towns and villages. When I speak of a long-established custom, I am not referring merely to the relatively recent period preceding the enactment of the 1960 Act when the enforcement of the licensing laws generally had become very lax. This is something that in some cases goes back to the days well before the establishment of the State. The Bill proposes to give a certain degree of recognition to this custom in villages and towns other than county boroughs and boroughs.

In practical terms, and in relation to a typical country town or village where there may be two Masses, the effect of the proposal would be, in the first place, that the District Court could authorise public houses to open for a short period not exceeding three-quarters of an hour after the first Mass for the sale of goods other than drink. This is designed to permit the sale of goods such as newspapers, cigarettes and the like which are likely to be on sale at that time in other premises that are not licensed. It is not proposed, during that period, to permit drink to be sold. This, admittedly, is a compromise in that it may safely be assumed that a certain amount of drink used be sold even after the first Mass. However, the main problem at that time is the permission to open for unlicensed business and, if we permit that, I feel we are going a reasonable way to meet the legitimate needs of the public and, incidentally, of the traders.

Secondly, where, as is the case in many areas, the second Mass is over, perhaps, at a quarter to 12, the position at the moment is that anybody wanting to go into a public house, whether it be for licensed business or unlicensed business, has to wait three-quarters of an hour. To meet the problem that arises in that sort of case, the Bill proposes that the District Court can authorise opening for any type of business at noon.

The Bill has explicit provisions to guard against any practice of opening of public houses before Mass is over.

As well as those provisions, it is proposed to allow animal-drawn vehicles to be put in the yards of licensed premises, as has been the custom down the years in some places, while people are attending Mass. This proposal, like those that I have just mentioned, relates only to places outside county boroughs and boroughs.

I now come to the question of Sunday evening opening. The main Opposition Party have given notice of their intention to move that the House decline to give a Second Reading to the Bill and the motion sets out the grounds. One of these grounds expressly relates to Sunday evening opening and one relates to holiday resorts and is, I assume, intended to be taken as referring, primarily at all events, to Sundays also. As I have already said, various interested parties have represented to me that it is in respect of Sunday opening that establishments in holiday resorts have the most difficulty in meeting the requirements of the general public.

I can, of course, well understand the main Opposition Party criticising or opposing what is in the Bill as regards Sunday opening and advocating some alternative, but, quite frankly, I find it extremely difficult to understand why such opposition should be a ground for opposing a Second Reading of the Bill. As I said earlier, it is, I believe, common ground that there is a need to change the present law and I would have thought that that would have been sufficient ground for them to accept the Bill on Second Reading, making clear if necessary that they disagree with certain proposals, and then proceeding, on Committee Stage, to put down the necessary amendments. After all, it is not as if it could be said with any show of reason that the Bill is not reasonably capable of being amended to meet whatever views the main Opposition Party may have: if they want to substitute some other hours for the Sunday evening hours proposed in the Bill, all that is needed, basically, is an amendment of one single word or, at most, two words in Section 2 of the Bill, and, if they wish to put in a special provision exclusively for holiday resorts, there is nothing to prevent their putting down an amendment to insert an additional section or subsection setting out what they have in mind.

Yet, in one sense, I actually welcome the motion—and, of course, I am duly grateful for the fact that advance notice of it has been given. I welcome it in the sense that I take it to be an indication that the main Opposition Party this time have an agreed policy in relation to the Bill. That in itself is an advance. To say this is not to decry the value of the contributions of individual Deputies, who express their personal views. Indeed, in a matter of this kind, which transcends Party allegiance, it is particularly desirable that expression should be given to different points of view. But at some point in the discussion, decisions have to be made—decisions which in some respects involve a balancing of partly conflicting interests—and I do not think that there can be any gainsaying the fact that a definite policy by each Party, at least on the major issues, is what is most likely to lead to responsible and acceptable solutions.

Broadly speaking, the present opening hours on Sunday evening have been criticised on two grounds. The first ground is that there is too great a gap on Sunday afternoons. This criticism has been voiced mainly, though not exclusively, in the context of the needs of people in holiday resorts, and on special occasions elsewhere. The second main ground of criticism has been that the closing hour of 8 p.m. or 9 p.m., as the case may be, is too early for the needs of people, especially in rural areas.

It will, I think, be better if I deal first with the evening closing-hour. It has been stressed repeatedly by persons from all walks of life, and persons representing different interests, that the present closing hour of 8 p.m. or 9 p.m., as the case may be, is seriously out of harmony both with the needs of the situation and with the practice that had actually obtained before the 1960 Act was passed. The general view of those people was that anything earlier than 10 p.m. would be quite inadequate. Many suggested that a later hour—up to 10.30 p.m. at any rate—was justified, but there seemed to be a fairly general acceptance of the view that a 10 p.m. closing could be accepted.

As regards the afternoon, the problems that arise in towns on the occasions of football matches and the like are immediately obvious; but while we all, I suppose, tend to take the big occasion (such as the occasion of a big match) to illustrate how a problem arises in the afternoon, the same need arises, more regularly if not quite so obviously, with people who are away from home for the afternoon for any reason whatsoever, if only out for a walk. The present hours beginning at 5 p.m. cater to some extent for these needs but, if there were any question of confining the general opening hours to the period after the usual tea-time on Sunday night, there would be a significant unsatisfied demand from the many people who seek a drink in the late afternoon, before tea. And, whether we like to admit it or not, there are dangers in any arrangement which tends to ignore a significant unsatisfied demand.

Holiday resorts, of course, present another problem but, unfortunately, perhaps, they do not all present the same problem. We have some resorts in which practically all the demand is for opening in what I might call the mid-afternoon period: certainly earlier than the present 5 p.m. opening. These are the resorts which cater to a large extent, and in some cases apparently almost entirely, for what are called "day-trippers", that is to say, persons visiting the resort for the day only or, as it often means in practical terms, for the afternoon. The picture as presented to me by various interested organisations has been something like this. Those "day-trippers" may have travelled up to 30 or 40 miles, or even more. They may or may not have had their lunch before leaving home but, one way or the other, they are not as a general rule interested in going in to public houses when they arrive. They prefer to swim or walk, and generally, to enjoy themselves in the open air. However, after a couple of hours in the open air, many of them wish to have a drink or two, but, under the present arrangements for opening at 5 p.m., they are unable to do so with any degree of relaxation, because by that time they have to be making arrangements to return home.

On the other hand, other resorts have a demand running right through the present opening period and, for them, the present closing hour is not late enough. In this respect, their needs are much the same as the needs of other areas where there is an obvious demand for more facilities than are at present allowed on Sunday nights.

I do not suggest that the 4 p.m. opening proposed in the Bill will meet fully all the problems that arise in certain holiday resorts. I might have ventured to make such a suggestion if, in fact, our resorts never experienced anything but sunny weather on Sunday, but, since occasional rain is not unknown in some of them, the problem arises as to where a bus-load of visitors is to go if the afternoon turns out to be wet. It is easy, of course, to comment that it is a poor showing if the only facilities available in a resort are the public houses but, while there is some validity in that comment, we have to have regard to the realities and one of the realities, in my view at all events, is that in many cases a good sing-song in the bar or lounge of a public house on a wet evening is not merely a pleasant way of passing the time if the hopedfor sun does not emerge, but may be the only alternative to a few hours' boredom sitting in a bus looking out at the rain. I am alive to that problem. The Bill does not meet it fully but I do not think we can do more.

Various people have advocated that the needs of holiday resorts should be met by the device of area exemption orders applicable to the resorts every Sunday during the season, with, perhaps, variations in the hours as between one resort and another to suit local conditions. This is an approach to the problem which certainly merits consideration, and, for my part, I can assure the House that I myself, first of all, and, later, the Government, looked at this very closely. As is clear from the Bill, we rejected the idea.

When one comes to consider the idea of area exemption orders, two difficulties immediately present themselves. First of all, there would be the objections—the serious objections —that arise from the very fact of there being a differential between one area and another. We have had this problem, in one form or another, more than once before. If it were the question of exemptions during part of the afternoon only, that might not—I do not say would not—create very much of a problem in respect of some resorts, but I think that there can be no doubt that, in the case of those resorts within easy reach of the bigger centres of population, there would be a very real risk that we would once again have large numbers of people travelling to get drink.

The second problem that would present itself is the finding of a reasonable and workable definition of "holiday resort". I do not suggest that this is a completely insurmountable obstacle but, if any Deputy thinks that an easy and completely satisfactory solution is to leave it to the district court to decide, I will remind him that, in the days before the passing of the 1960 Act, when we had provision for area exemption orders on Sundays, district justices were known to grant them for isolated premises on no better ground, apparently, than that quite a few people went for walks in that direction on Sunday evenings, and if anybody hazards a guess that more people went for walks in that direction after the exemption order was granted than before, his guess will probably be right.

We should, I think, also ask ourselves what precisely are the objections to extended opening hours on Sundays. As I understand it, the objections are, first of all, on religious grounds and, secondly, on social grounds. But if we object to opening in an inland town beyond a certain number of hours—whatever that number may be—on the basis that more extended opening hours would seriously conflict with the sanctity of Sunday, can we, in the same breath, advocate additional hours in holiday resorts? I merely put the question. The answer I would prefer to leave to somebody else.

These are some of the aspects of the problem of Sunday opening. Obviously there are, and will be, conflicting views and conflicting interests. No solution will satisfy everybody, and, if we exclude the extremes of complete closing on the one hand or opening throughout the entire day on Sunday on the other, one might say that no solution would satisfy anybody completely. The proposals in the Bill exclude the idea of exemptions for holiday resorts but go, I think, a substantial way to meet their needs as well as the needs of other areas.

I turn now to what is, in my view, the other really important proposal in the Bill, namely, the proposal to restrict the granting of occasional licences for ordinary "house" dances in commercial dance halls and to restrict, on somewhat similar lines, the granting of special exemption orders for hotels and restaurants.

I believe that these provisions will be generally welcomed and, if they are likely to be criticised at all, they may be criticised on the grounds that they do not go far enough. However, I think that the proposals in the Bill with regard to drink at dances strike the right compromise. There are some who advocate a complete prohibition on the sale of drink at dances but, while one may respect that point of view, it is, I think, too rigid, and if put into practice might well, indeed, lead to greater evils than any of those which it would be intended to combat. Besides, there is a valid and important distinction between the special dance, such as the annual dance of the staff of a business firm, or the members of a particular association, or of some group with a common bond who like to get together for an outing once or, perhaps, twice in the year and, on the other hand, the regular "house" dance which is apt to have substantially the same clientele week after week and, perhaps, in some cases, several times a week.

In the first case, one is dealing with a special social event of which the average patron is unlikely to attend more than one or a couple in the entire year. With regular "house" dances, one is dealing with what is, or may easily become, little more than a front for an ordinary public house trade, especially when the price of admission to the dance is insufficient to deter people whose only interest is in getting drink after the normal opening hours. To permit this is clearly inconsistent with the accepted public policy that public house trading is to end at a fixed time, be it 11.30 p.m. or 11 p.m.

I should also mention that with some isolated exceptions—there would not be much more than half a dozen in the whole State—the granting of authority for the sale of drink at "house" dances in commercial dance halls is a very recent development. Unfortunately, it has shown every sign of spreading. A recent survey by my Department showed that, in the preceding 12 months, there had been an increase of roughly 50 per cent, in the number of occasional licences granted for "house" dances in commercial dance halls as compared with the preceding year. This does not reflect any real need for these facilities but, rather, the well-recognised fact that where somebody succeeds in an application of a particular type, others tend to follow suit, and the court which allowed the first application, possibly in a moment of weakness, finds itself a victim of precedent. In any case, the entire licensing code is based on the proposition that, in the sale of liquor, the law of supply and demand cannot be allowed free operation, and there will be few who will deny that it would be a most undesirable development if the sale of drink at ordinary dances should become a regular feature.

Similarly, in relation to special exemption orders, there has been a growing tendency for hotels to apply on what I can only describe as the flimsiest of excuses to the courts for these orders and since the courts have, in recent times, shown an unwillingness to confine the operation of the order to persons attending the function —nominal though the latter be in some cases—the effect has been that certain hotels have been allowed to do what is for all practical purposes a public house trade with casual passers-by at a time of night when the ordinary public houses are compelled to remain closed. There can be no possible justification for this. If public houses are forbidden to serve drink at a sing-song in the lounge at 1 o'clock in the morning, nobody could justify allowing hotels to do so. If it is contrary to the public interest to allow it in one case, it must equally be so in the other.

The proposals in the Bill with regard to the granting of special exemption orders for functions of this nature are based on the principle that, since these exemption orders are in the nature of privileges available to hotels and restaurants only, they should be related to functions which include a meal. This test is, I feel, both reasonable in its practical application and logical in principle, for it is the serving of meals which is the main if not the only feature of hotels or restaurants which justifies their getting privileges not available to the ordinary public house.

I would mention in passing that there have been newspaper reports to the effect that some persons have taken time by the forelock and applied to the courts for special exemption orders and, perhaps, occasional licences for the entire summer period. When the 1960 Act was drafted, it was thought that the repeal, not only of the provisions under which area exemption orders were actually granted, but also of the provisions which gave force to such orders, sufficed to cancel all existing orders. In the event, the Supreme Court held otherwise. In the present Bill account has been taken of that fact, and there is a specific provision relating to this matter.

I mention this now, lest it be said later that persons innocently incurred expense on making applications to the court which, if the Bill becomes law, will prove a waste of time. I do not think I need offer any defence for this provision. We are seeking to stop what is clearly and obviously an abuse and it could hardly be contended that persons who, when they see the terms of a Bill, seek to evade it by making applications for periods far ahead of what they would normally apply for, have any grievance if their efforts are frustrated.

Finally, I want to come to Section 15. Section 15 was designed to meet a particular problem. As a general rule, our public houses do not supply meals and in the ordinary course of events a person who wishes to have a drink with a meal cannot do so unless he goes to an hotel which, for a variety of reasons, he may not wish to do. Practically any restaurant can get a wine licence, but, because of the limitations on the type of drink which may be served under such a licence, the majority of restaurants have not bothered to apply for one. It is true, therefore, that to a large extent eating and drinking in this country have been kept in separate and distinct compartments. I think that this is entirely undesirable. Food and drink are complementary and, I think, it is socially desirable that we should get more and more away from the custom of indulging in fairly long periods of drinking without partaking of food of any kind. Section 15 was put forward in an effort to do something about that situation. However, it has been represented very strongly by very responsible sections of the community that the proposal as published could lead to serious abuse. The Government, accordingly, have decided not to proceed with this particular proposal on this occasion. I believe, however, that there is a situation in this regard which must be remedied. An establishment which is devoted exclusively to selling drink and nothing else is an anachronism and if our publicans do not make an effort within the next few years to provide reasonable facilities for meals for their customers it may be necessary to make some further provision in this regard.

That is all I have to say at this point about what is in the Bill but, before concluding, I should like to refer briefly to one other matter. A number of people have spoken to me about the desirability of improving the toilet accommodation in public houses generally. I agree that, over a wide area, there is considerable room for improvement in this regard.

The 1960 Act provided that the court might refuse to renew a licence on the grounds of unfitness of the premises and as the health authority is competent to object either to the granting of a licence or to its renewal, I hope, that, over a period, a substantial improvement can be expected. I think that I have covered the main points and it only remains for me to commend the Bill to the House.

I move amendment No. 1:

To omit all words after "That" and substitute:—"Dáil Éireann declines to give a Second Reading to the Intoxicating Liquor Bill, 1962 on the grounds that:

(1) the Bill unnecessarily extends total drinking hours on Sunday evenings;

(2) the Bill by Section 15 in granting licences to restaurants further extends unnecessarily existing drinking facilities;

(3) the Bill fails to make appropriate provision for holiday resorts and other special areas."

The Minister obviously believes that attack is the best method of defence and I think his taunts at the Fine Gael Party and his rather provocative taunts in the course of his address were probably borne out of a hope that by distracting attention from the extraordinary state of affairs that is apparent in relation to this Bill, he might save himself, his Government and his Party some degree of criticism. I do not propose to follow the red herring thrown out by the Minister. I am proposing the amendment standing in my name to decline to give a Second Reading to the Bill on the grounds set out in the amendment.

The Minister indicated that so far as one of the grounds urged in this amendment is concerned, it is accepted by the Government. The Government are surrendering completely with regard to what was indeed the principal feature of this Bill, that is, the proposal contained in Section 15. I am glad the Minister has climbed down with regard to Section 15; I am glad he has reversed his policy. I am glad he has jettisoned the section and abjectly and completely surrendered——

Do not overdo it.

——that section. While the Minister is to be complimented on showing a certain amount of courage on climbing down, because it does take courage and the more public the surrender is, the greater the courage it takes, he should and must before this debate concludes give a rather fuller account to the House as to why this proposal was ever brought in and having been brought in, why it was upheld and defended by the Minister as recently as 12 days ago in the House and why, when the Bill is brought in, the Minister should in a few words dismiss what as I say was one of the main features, or props, of this Bill.

On 17th of this month, I asked the Minister some Parliamentary Questions with regard to the possible or probable effect of Section 15 of the Bill. I think the Minister will not disagree with me if I say that any reasonable person could only interpret the replies which the Minister gave, and his attitude in reply to Supplementary Questions, as one of all-out defence of Section 15. I am glad he has changed his mind since. I am glad he has discovered the error of his ways.

For the sake of ensuring that in future Ministers will make a proper estimate and assessment before they bring forward reckless proposals such as were brought forward by the Minister in this Bill, I should challenge the Minister with regard to a statement he made in introducing the Bill just now, in contradistinction to a statement he made in reply to Parliamentary Questions to which I have referred on 17th of this month. Concluding a few minutes ago in his reference to Section 15, the Minister said:

Practically any restaurant can get a wine licence, but, because of the limitations on the type of drink which may be served under such a licence, the majority of restaurants have not bothered to apply for one.

I think that is correct. The Minister was making a correct assessment of the position when he made that statement, but when he was defending Section 15 some ten or 12 days ago in this House, he endeavoured to persuade the House that Section 15 was not going to have any great effect and that a true assessment of the position, or at any rate a reasonable guide as to the number of restaurants who might take advantage of the proposals under Section 15, was the number who obtained wine licences. In a Supplementary Question, Deputy Sweetman put this question to the Minister:

Does the Minister not agree that the number who would apply for a limited wine licence is no real indication of the number who would think it worth while to apply, if they could apply, for a wine and spirit licence?

and the Minister's reply was:

I do not fully accept that. I think the fact that so few restaurants, out of the total number, who have applied for wine licences is a good indication of the number who will apply if Section 15 becomes law.

The Minister has changed his mind on that even inside the past fortnight and this is the Minister who taunts the Opposition about not having an agreed policy with regard to liquor legislation. I want to make this claim and I am justified in making it. I do not include the Labour Party in this, because I am not aware of their proposal but certainly as between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, I think I am correct in saying that Fine Gael were the one Party in the general election who published and made it known absolutely by their election manifesto what their proposals were with regard to liquor legislation.

The Bill introduced by the Minister even in its mutilated form is not likely to satisfy any substantial section of the people. Certainly in the form in which it was originally drafted and introduced into the House, it aroused vigorous and widespread opposition from many sections of the people.

Undoubtedly, there was a demand for an amendment of the 1960 Act in certain respects. When the Act had been in operation for a while, it became quite apparent that the Sunday hours as finally fixed by the House were not entirely satisfactory and that some alteration in them was necessary. Fine Gael announced during the general election that they believed a rearrangement of the Sunday hours was necessary. We still believe that, but we do not believe that any extension of the total drinking hours on Sunday is necessary at all. From the views that have been made known to me both from the public and from publicans, I believe that the hours now proposed by the Minister will not give satisfaction either to the public or to the publican.

From the point of view of the publican, if he is a small man, a family concern, he is going to find it virtually impossible to have any leisure or ease at weekends, particularly on Sundays, under the proposal now made by the Minister. From the point of view of the ordinary member of the public— I am talking now of the drinking public — there is evidence that the existing hour from 5 o'clock to 6 o'clock or even the two hours from 5 o'clock to 7 o'clock have not been utilised to any great extent. I am told reliably by publicans that the hour from 5 o'clock to 6 o'clock has been regarded by them as a dead hour. I do not believe it was necessary from the point of view of the publican, and certainly not from the point of view of the public to permit drinking any earlier than 6 o'clock or 7 o'clock.

Our proposal to the Minister is that there should not be an extension of the total drinking hours on Sunday evenings, that the requirements of the public and the convenience of the publican could be met by rearranging the hours to the period from 7 o'clock to 10 o'clock. That, I think, would satisfy people all round. There was a case for later opening than 8 o'clock or 9 o'clock, as the case might be, depending on the time of the year, and it became apparent after the 1960 Act was passed. It was apparent in rural areas, particularly during the harvesting season, when farmers or farm labourers found it necessary to take advantage of fine weather and work late. They were deprived under the existing hours of the opportunity of enjoying a drink, and on these benches at any rate, we recognise that that was so, and that those people were entitled to enjoy a drink after their work, but that that facility could be afforded to them by a rearrangement of the hours so as to provide for somewhat later closing.

I have spoken of the circumstances of what I have described as the family publican. I met a publican in my constituency who told me that he is making good money as it is and he will make better money if these provisions go through with regard to Sunday opening, but it is not worth his while. He would not even have the time to go out for a walk on Sunday after his meal. That is the pattern which the Minister is going to set for those smaller family public houses throughout the country, if these provisions go through.

As far as the bigger public house is concerned, which has a number of staff employed, I do not believe that extension of this sort is wanted. It will cost such public houses more money. It will mean that either they have to pay out more in wages for overtime or must endeavour to increase their staff.

I know from representations made to me that a number, if not the majority, of the workers employed in public houses, do not want the hours proposed by the Minister in this Bill. Consequently, it is true to say that the new hours are not sought by the public, are unsuitable to the publican, and are not wanted by the publicans' staffs.

I do not think that it is necessary to say anything further with regard to Section 15 of the Bill, which the Minister has now jettisoned, except to say that it did occur to me to be rather an extraordinary coincidence that this Bill containing the provisions in Section 15 was introduced into the House on precisely the same day as the Taoiseach intervened in the Budget debate on the General Budget Resolution to put on record his view that there had been an increase in the consumption of spirits and to say, as he did at column 1786 of volume 194 on 11th April, 1962: "These increases in public outlay on and public consumption of tobacco, beer, and spirits have been the cause of concern to everybody interested in the health and well-being of our people."

The Taoiseach went on then to make the case that if the taxation imposed by the Budget slowed down the consumption of these commodities, there would be some social gain and no economic disadvantage. That statement was made by the Taoiseach on the same day as the Minister introduced the legislation which, perhaps, not by design, but certainly, to my mind, very clearly, was going to have the effect, if it were passed unaltered in this House, of giving very widespread extensions of drinking facilities.

The Minister has decided that so far as that is concerned, discretion is the better part of valour. I would be unfair in commenting at any further length on it. I am glad the Minister has come to the conclusion he has come to, because one of the dangers that were going to be created if the Bill remained unaltered was that no matter how ill the effects of the Minister's proposal might be, and no matter how damaging the proposals contained in Section 15 might ultimately prove to be, it would have been exceedingly hard for the Minister or for the Minister in any future Government to get away from these provisions, once they had been enacted, because vested interests would have been created, licensed restaurants would have acquired considerably greater value than unlicensed restaurants, people would have their money invested in them, and many of them would probably have purchased their premises by means of loans, and it would have been a very difficult task, indeed, to withdraw the concession from them. I do not take seriously the Minister's threat that that may come about in the future. The Minister has withdrawn that provision and I think his remarks about the possibility of reintroducing it at a later stage can safely be regarded as so much face-saving on the part of the Government.

Having withdrawn that provision, the Bill is left in rather a peculiar state because it is quite clear that the provisions which the Minister had written into the Bill in Section 15 were incorporated because of tourism considerations. It is no secret — in fact it has been publicised in the newspapers — that the bodies interested in tourism had made representations to the Minister in respect to the licensing laws and had sought some changes. I have here a cutting from theIrish Independent of May 11th in which a promotions manager of An Bord Fáilte is quoted as addressing a group of travel agents and saying that An Bord Fáilte had made representations to the Minister in this connection for the betterment of tourism. “This connection” was, of course, the drink laws.

Rightly or wrongly, I believe the Minister introduced Section 15 out of consideration for tourism and that he felt that allowing the operation of this section, under which licences would be granted to restaurants to sell drink to the same extent as public houses, was a complete answer to the drink-with-meals requirement of the tourist trade, since that provision would enable restaurants to stay open for an hour later. Pointing out again that that provision has been taken out of the Bill, first of all may I say my criticism of the Minister's handing of the Bill was mainly caused by my belief that while he had regard to tourist considerations, he endeavoured in the Bill to superimpose these considerations on the ordinary domestic requirements of the people. However, he did make an effort in that way — I disagree with it — to meet the tourist problem.

Section 15 having been jettisoned, we are left in the position that no effort is being made in the measure as it now stands to meet tourist requirements. As I have said, even if Section 15 had gone through unaltered, I do not think it would have dealt with the problem adequately. My complaint then was that instead of legislating for our own people, we were allowing tourist considerations to outweigh our own needs. The position now is that there is no provision adequately to cater for what one would call tourist areas or holiday resorts. The Minister indicated that he and the Government had considered again the question of area exemption orders to meet the needs of tourist areas. I think the Minister might do well to consider that matter further.

I realise that an effort was made in the 1960 Act — it was one of the principles running throughout the Act — to apply the drink laws uniformly throughout the country and I want to say — I say it without apology — that the principle of uniformity is an excellent one, if it works. I believe it has been demonstrated since the passing of the 1960 Act that it is not possible rigidly to enforce this principle of uniformity in our liquor legislation and that some adequate provision must be made for resorts and other areas of that sort which are likely to get a large influx of visitors at any time. Accordingly, I say it would cut across what is otherwise a very excellent principle — that of uniformity.

I do not want to delay the House very much longer but I would take up with the Minister the proposal in the Bill to abolish the 2.30 to 3.30 p.m. closed hour in Limerick and Waterford. It has always been regarded — the Minister's predecessor and another Minister in a previous Fianna Fáil Government also regarded it — as one of the most valuable features in our liquor legislation that the break of one hour between 2.30 and 3.30 p.m. in the county boroughs was enforced.

An amendment was moved during the debate on the 1960 Act by a Limerick Deputy to abolish that closing hour. It was very strongly resisted by the Minister's predecessor who was supported by the Minister for Lands. It is, therefore, inexplicable that in the short space of time since the passing of the 1960 Act, there should be such a complete reversal of Government policy in this matter. During the debate on the amendment to which I have referred, when the last Act was before the House, the then Minister for Justice, Deputy Traynor, said on 24th March, 1960, as reported at column 1070 of Volume 180 of the Official Report:

This feature of the licensing laws——

he meant the hour's closing

——was introduced as far back as 1927. It has been regarded by almost all shades of opinion as being one of the most valuable features of the licensing laws inasmuch as it brought about a break in drinking. Without this closing certain individuals — I do not suggest that everybody indulges in it — could go into these licensed premises in the early morning and continue drinking without cessation.

In the very next column, he says:

I would not be prepared to accept an amendment that would bring about an abolition of the closing for one hour which is provided in the licensing laws. It would be a retrograde step and one that would not commend itself, I think, to the vast majority in the House or to the vast majority of people outside.

Similar sentiments were expressed on that occasion by the Minister for Lands who supported the Minister for Justice and now, without any apparent demand, certainly without any widespread agitation, the Minister introduces a proposal to abolish the 2.30 to 3.30 p.m. closing hour in Waterford and Limerick.

My colleague, Deputy Lynch, who, I hope, will give his own views on this Bill, informs me that in Waterford city, 80 members of the licensed trade have signed a memorial asking for the retention of this closed hour in Waterford. The Minister should give us some more detailed explanation as to why, in the short space of a couple of years, his Party have reversed their policy in this regard and what benefit it is hoped to achieve by the proposal.

So far as the Bill generally is concerned, there are some features of it which might be acceptable to all sides of the House. I think the Minister would be doing a better job if he took back the Bill to the Government and brought in a new Bill amending the objectionable features, some of which he proposes to jettison in Committee and others which he hopes to continue. If he does that, he might possibly find himself in the position of getting an agreed measure through the House.

Is the amendment seconded?

I second the amendment and, in doing so, I should like to point to the fact that when the last Intoxicating Liquor Bill was going through the House, most of the opposition came from the temperance societies.

On a point of order, Sir, does an amendment need a seconder?

Standing Orders state that a seconder to an amendment on a Second Reading debate is necessary.

I accept that.

Most of the opposition to this measure has come from the licensed trade itself. I think that is the experience of most members of this House. This House gave prolonged and thoughtful discussion to the 1960 Act and it seems unnecessary that in the short space of two years, we should be back again with a prolonged and thoughtful appraisal of a Bill which seems to amend much of what was done in the Act of 1960. It is a bad principle that legislation should be changed so quickly and so radically, unless it is that the Minister comes before us as a brave new Minister dealing with a brave new world.

On examination of this Bill, one finds that Sections 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 deal with amendments of the Acts of 1924 and 1927. If it was necessary to amend these, why was it not done in the Act of 1960? Is it that the 1960 Act has been found to be inadequate? If that is so, this is something the House should object to. Certain things such as the Sunday opening hours were decided on in the 1960 Act and I have not seen anything happening in the meantime which calls for a drastic rearrangement of these hours. I realise that in legislation there must be some operating norm or standard but when we find in a Bill a substantial disagreement with what has been done only two years previously, there must be an anomaly somewhere. If the Minister has any reason for making these changes, I should be glad if he would tell me what it is.

It is to be hoped that people who have already had plans approved of under Sections 15 and 16 of the 1960 Act will not find that Section 17 of this Bill will destroy them. Many people have already expended up to £7,000 or £8,000 on buildings and others have further plans. My own view is that under Section 17 of the 1960 Act, these people will be sure to get their licences but I should be glad if the Minister would set their fears at rest.

I feel that the extension of the opening hours to 11.30 p.m. from March to October is absolutely unnecessary. I am giving no hearsay to the Minister when I tell him that, for the Tostal in Cork, the hours were extended to 11.30 p.m. and many publicans paid £3 for the privilege of keeping their premises open and also for the privilege of looking at their staffs with their arms folded. I know that the licensed trade in Cork, employers and employees, do not welcome this. The Minister might well look at Section 21 in that regard again.

Section 15 would never have been suggested by any Minister who had his finger on the pulse of the Irish people. It is all very well to say that you must have something to eat as well as something to drink but to suggest that, in a country where we spent a lot of money extinguishing licences over the years, we should now give licences to restaurants is fantastic. If the Minister had persisted in trying to push the Section through the House, it would have led to most undesirable consequences.

I am glad the Minister has withdrawn this section because it showed a most undesirable trend. It is a good thing that the views of the people were heard and understood by the Minister and, in my view, the suggestion should never have been made. If there is any restaurant in which one can now get a substantial meal for 5/-, I should be glad if he would direct me to it.

The proposal in Section 26, which gives the Central Statistics Office power to do certain things which were formerly done by inspectors and officials sent down the country, is reasonable, but I do not know if it is properly drawn. It states that the returns shall be made to the person in charge, for the time being, of the Central Statistics Office. I imagine that at times the person in charge of the office would be the cleaner or the porter. This is a broad section which could and should be narrowed down.

The Minister stated in his opening remarks that the determining factor in the amount of drink being consumed and the amount of time spent in drinking by the working man was determined largely by the amount of money in his pocket. I want to congratulate the Minister and his Government on the great work they and their Party have done for temperance in this country by reducing to the irreducible minimum the amount of money available in the working man's pocket at the present day.

It is pretty difficult to talk on a measure of this kind because, feeling as I do, there is a tendency to be regarded either as a killjoy or as a lay preacher. I was filled with hope and pride in the Minister when he came to one portion of his speech and, for a Minister who has gained so much notoriety since he became a Minister, I think he could have earned a little fame and have shown himself a bigger man, if he had developed along the lines on which I hoped he would have developed. He said, on page 23 of his speech, speaking about the opening of licensed premises:

Indeed, in a matter of this kind, which transcends Party allegiance, it is particularly desirable that expression should be given to different points of view ...

But he went on to say:

... but at some time in the discussion decisions have to be made — decisions which in some respects involve a balancing of partly conflicting interests — and I do not think that there can be any gainsaying the fact that a definite policy by each Party, at least on major issues, is what is most likely to lead to responsible and acceptable solutions.

I agree wholeheartedly with the first portion of that quotation in which the Minister says that in matters of this kind, which transcend Party allegiance, it is desirable that expression be given to different points of view. But why does the Minister go on to state definitely that decisions should be made by Parties in respect of the proposals in this Bill? Unlike Deputy O'Higgins, I want to praise the Minister for his courage in withdrawing Section 15, but it would have been much more courageous if he had left that section in the Bill until it came to this House, had it debated by Deputies and then, if the House so decided — and undoubtedly it would have — had withdrawn the section.

Both the Government Party and Fine Gael are regarding this as a Party issue. I want to say quite clearly that the Labour Party do not. We do not consider it interferes one way or another with either our economic or social policies. Every member of the Labour Party has the right to express his own views freely, to vote in accordance with the views he expresses or his feelings towards the Bill as a whole or any section of it. Nothing I say here is designed to influence any member of my Party or any member of this House. I am expressing only my own opinions.

First, I want to say I propose to vote against the Bill. I want to challenge the Government, through the Minister for Justice, to have a free vote of the House. The general tenor of the Minister's speech indicates that it should not be a Party matter. He posed certain questions in his speech and left them unanswered. Obviously, he did not want to answer them in any definite fashion. I do not pretend to tell publicans how to run their own businesses or to tell consumers what they should do, whether they should drink themselves to death, whether they should be moderate or whether they should not drink at all.

It is very difficult for any Party to say they represent the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association, the publicans, the drinkers, the housewives or the children. The Minister would have made himself an even bigger man than he is, if he had left this Bill and every proposal in it to a free vote of the House. He could do that even at this late stage. I appreciate that these proposals, especially the major ones, may have gone before the Government Party and that there probably was a vote on them. I venture to suggest they were not accepted unanimously. Again, I do not want to appear to be preaching to the Fianna Fáil Party, but the Government should have given their members the right to vote according to their feelings on it. As far as I am aware, the Fianna Fáil policy does not include, nor did it ever include, any reference to the licensing laws or to the time when pubs should be open or if there should be exemptions or extensions in particular cases. There is nothing in the Fianna Fáil policy to say that the supporters of the GAA should get a drink at 4 o'clock, 5 o'clock or 10 o'clock on a Sunday. However, that is the business of the Fianna Fáil Party. If the Minister and the Government have decided to treat this as a Party issue, that is all right with me.

It has been suggested — not in this House yet, but outside it — that we should not attempt to control drinking here at all and that there should be free and open house as there is on the Continent. I do not think we should take our example from Continental countries, particularly in regard to drinking habits. It has been suggested by people coming back from France, for example, that you can get a drink there any time or any place. But we should remember that France is noted for its large percentage of alcoholics. If we want it that way, there might be a case for imitating the licensing laws there — or, perhaps, I should say the absence of licensing laws there.

The principle of fixed times for drinking seems to be agreed and we must approach this Bill on that basis. The idea that people should be free to drink any time any place could be extended. It could be adopted in regard to the enforcement of the School Attendance Act, that any parent can decide whether or not to send his children to school. But it has been accepted here that we should control drinking. I accept that but I disagree with the actual proposals for drinking times.

I do not think the Minister can brush off as lightly as he appears to the idea that extended drinking hours do not mean an increase in the consumption of drink. When speaking on the Budget here the Taoiseach was of the opinion that there was too much drinking in the country at present. Yet the Minister says in his speech that the longer hours will not have any effect on the amount people drink. I think they will. I am particularly concerned about drinking on a Sunday. I do not object to people drinking on a Sunday but I do object to the longer hours proposed in the Bill. At present a man engaged in employment has about three or three and a half hours in which to drink. Assuming he finishes his work at 5.30 p.m. and is not ready to go out, as in the majority of cases, until 7 p.m., he does not arrive in the pub until 7.30, 8 p.m. or even later. No matter whether he stays until 10 p.m., 11 p.m. or 11.30 p.m., he has only a limited time to drink. As far as I know, people are satisfied with the amount of time they have to drink.

Sunday is different from many points of view. In many Christian countries, Sunday is being abused by people working. If we can avoid it, we should not adopt the practice of having our people working on Sunday. Sunday is the day of observance and we should treat it in a special way. It is not right that we should pass legislation that on a Sunday the public can drink for seven and a half hours. Somebody may say that on a weekday the public houses are open from 10 o'clock in the morning until 11 p.m. or 11.30 p.m. but, in actual practice, people have only a few hours in which to drink. They do not work on a Sunday. People go to their various churches and they have seven and a half hours after that in which to drink. I do not object to their getting a drink after Mass from 12.30 p.m. to 2 p.m. but it is too much that the public houses should be open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. If they are to be open on a Sunday, 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. is adequate.

There may be a case to be made for seaside resorts in relation to tourists and certainly for our own people, the day trippers. I do not know whether there is the strong case people pretend there is to be made for the extension of drinking in what are called seaside and tourist areas. The Minister and his advisers should devise some system whereby on special occasions on a certain number of Sundays in the year, there can be exemptions for particular areas. Again, it is a matter for the individual, for the family or, I suppose, a matter of control in the home. It is difficult to talk about this because we should not control or appear to control family life by way of legislation. However, many of us have seen people go from the towns to the seaside resorts and immediately on arriving, go into the public house, leaving the wife and children to go down the strand and amuse themselves as best they can. There may be a special case to be made for the seaside towns during a particular period of the year.

I was impressed, and I think most Deputies who were in the House when he spoke were impressed, by the speech Deputy Colley made here on the Health Estimate when he spoke about alcoholism and the effect on one's health of an excess of alcohol in the system. He appeared to be sincere and he knew his facts. While he was not speaking in the same context as we are now, he did demonstrate to most of us here that there was an excess of drinking by maybe a limited number of people and he did, by inference, advocate that the members of the Government as a whole could and should do something to curb it.

As regards Sunday, we are not regarded and never have been regarded as a puritanical people, nor have any of our Governments been regarded as puritanical, but we are always talking about our Irish traditions and one of our traditions over the centuries has been to keep Sunday in a special way. I do not believe it was deliberately intended by the Minister for Justice but I believe this is the thin end of the wedge. If the hours of 4 to 10 p.m. for Sunday are accepted, there may be an occasion in two or three years time or in a very short time when some other Minister for Justice will, to satisfy everybody, as I am sure he will say, bring in a proposal to have public houses open from 10 o'clock on Sunday morning until 10 or half past 10 on Sunday night.

One of the proposals in the Bill is to extend the opening hours to 11.30 p.m. during what is regarded as official summer time. At present the 11.30 p.m. closing time is from June to September. The proposal in this Bill is to extend that to the period from 25th March to 28th October. I certainly would not see any objection to that. If there is a case for the public houses being open from June to September until 11.30 p.m., there is an equally good case for having them open for the extra half hour during that period when we have longer and brighter evenings and when we have what is regarded as official summer time.

As regards the 2.30 to 3.30 p.m. closing period which applies in Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Limerick and Galway, the proposal in the Bill is that this provision be confined to Dublin and Cork. Although I am not from any of these places, from what I have heard I believe that those who now have this break for an hour during the day want it retained. I know the publicans want it retained and the barmen, in any case, those who are represented in the trade union movement, want it retained.

I have said I do not believe there was any great volume of public demand for further extensions. It is very difficult to know what sort of deputations the Minister met or of whom they were representative. I can speak on behalf of the Barmen's Union and I want immediately to say that the union representative of barmen in Dublin, Dún Laoghaire and Bray certainly did not ask for, nor do they want, an extension of hours. It is true that many barmen throughout the country are not organised but if we are to listen to the voice of the union that purports to represent 2,850 barmen in Dublin, Dún Laoghaire and to some extent in Bray, we know they do not want any extension of hours. They are concerned mainly with the point of view that their family life will be disrupted in that they will have to attend for longer hours in these licensed premises and that they will not get home until one or half-past one in the morning, that is, when they have cleaned up and prepared for the next day.

In all fairness to them, I should read for the Minister a resolution which the Executive Committee of the Irish National Union of Vintners', Grocers' and Allied Trades' Assistants passed at a recent conference they held in connection with this new Liquor Bill. I quote the resolution:

That we, the Executive Committee of the Irish National Union of Vintners', Grocers' and Allied Trades' Assistants, view with alarm the proposed extension of hours under the new Intoxicating Liquor Bill to be introduced in the National Legislature next month, and we call on the Labour Party to oppose strenuously any extensions which would tend to impose hardships and slavish conditions on the workers engaged in the trade.

This union made similar representations to the then Minister in 1960. They gave very good reasons why there should not be an extension of the hours. It seems to me, as far as the barmen in Dublin, Dún Laoghaire and Bray are concerned, that the Minister is not prepared to listen to them on the subject of the repeal of hours.

In Section 4, the Minister has attempted to define what a substantial meal is. I appreciate, as this House does, how difficult it is for him to define what a substantial meal is. The attempt in Section 4 to describe it as one that would cost at least 5/- will cause trouble. I think the Minister will find that in many cases there will be evasion. Furthermore, in most cases the evasion will be by those people who can afford to pay 5/- for a meal, described as a substantial meal, in order to get drink or more drink.

In Section 9, there is provision for occasional licences for what are described as dinner dances. The licence for the sale of intoxicating liquor in that case is from 10 p.m. until sunrise. Perhaps the Minister would define what sunrise means or is there a special provision or will the Meteorological Office or some other place determine what the actual hour or minute of sunrise is from day to day? I am not so much concerned with the provision for the granting of these licences from 10 p.m. to sunrise. My concern is that these occasional licences seem to be confined to organisations who run dinner dances. These organisations are exclusive to some extent in that their members can afford to have the dance and the dinner. There are other organisations who can afford merely to have a dance.

To have a dinner dance in any part of Ireland means that the all-in cost would be 12/6d, 15/-, 25/- or 30/- in many cases. The hunt dances go up to £2, £2 10s. and so on. If occasional licences are to be granted to that particular type of organisation, I believe that for football clubs, no matter what the code there may be, there should be some provisions for the granting of occasional licences, say, on the occasion of a reunion, the celebration of an outstanding sporting event, and so on. To say that they can have occasional licences only with a meal or dinner, is not fair. Therefore, the Minister should consider occasional licences for a club which wants a dance only.

For the present, I have given my comments broadly on the sections of the Bill. I propose to intervene on the Committee Stage and to give more detailed observations on the various sections. The views I have expressed today are purely personal views. I again ask the Minister and the Government seriously to consider leaving an issue like this to a free vote of the House. The Government Party are the Party who will carry or defeat a proposal. For the benefit of the country, not for the benefit of the Fianna Fáil Party but for the benefit of the country, I hope every Deputy will be able to express his views freely and to vote in accordance with his conscience. This is not a Party matter. We do not regard it as a Party matter. I do not think anybody should be bound by a majority decision. This issue is neither economic nor social as far as the policies of the various Parties are concerned.

Reference has been made by all speakers to the proposed extension of hours. This is correct in so far as the 1960 Act is concerned: it is not correct in so far as the position appertaining before the 1960 Act is concerned. In all areas outside urban areas, the hours were greater tobona fide travellers before the 1960 Act. The closing time on week days was 12 o'clock and the bona fide houses stayed open throughout the day without a break on Sundays. Therefore, the emphasis on extension of hours is unfair. In fact, in so far as some of the recommendations are concerned, the Minister has not gone as far as the Commission itself in the matter of hours.

I have one major objection to this Bill and it is the very same objection I had to the Road Traffic Bill of 1960. This is a Bill to amend the Licensing Acts from 1833 to 1960. In the Bill, we are referred to the Acts of 1833, 1902, 1910, 1924, 1927, 1943 and 1960. It is most unfair of any Minister to come here every once in a while and to expect Deputies to refer to all these previous Acts in order to get the exact interpretation of the Bill. However, I did some research in that respect.

I found out that in the Public and General Statutes, 1833 in the reign of King William IV, the section referred to in this Bill laid down that applicants for an on-licence shall give notice to two magistrates, the Church wardens and the Clerk of the Peace 21 days before the application is made to the Sessions. The Clerk of the Peace would make an alphabetical list of the applicants and transmit it to the magistrates ten days before the Sessions. At a fixed hour of the Quarter Sessions these names were called out. The Justice of the Peace of the City, Town or County or any inhabitant of the parish was authorised to object to the granting of a licence on the usual grounds that still apply today. If the Justice of the Sessions, on an examination of the objections, decided to grant a licence then it was granted on payment of a fee of 2/6d.

We had to refer back to that section, which has absolutely nothing to do with the Bill we are discussing today. Nevertheless, the amendment is based on that section and it should have been scrapped years and years ago. An example of that came up, as reported in theEvening Herald of Friday, 18th May, where, under Section 14 of the 1927 Licensing Act, people were prosecuted for drinking in a hotel in which they were residents because they were drinking in that portion of the hotel which was normally used for selling drink. It was made out that, under the provisions of the 1921 and 1927 Acts, they should have been drinking in some other room. I see nothing in this Bill to amend that position.

Surely a resident in a hotel should be entitled to drink in any part of the hotel that he sees fit? We also had the prosecution regarding the shop which was selling liqueur sweets. I am glad to see that at least that point has been dealt with here. However, these types of mistakes will continue to arise so long as we base our Acts of to-day on ancient statutes, in this case a statute of 1833: I have often seen earlier ones than that.

On the other hand, I should like to congratulate the Minister on the Bill itself. I believe that, with great ingenuity, he has dealt with every complaint that was prominent in the past two years, since the 1960 Act came into operation. The trouble now is that as each group is satisfied, some other group becomes dissatisfied.

While we have restrictions on the hours of trading, there will always be complaints, and no matter how far the Minister may go to meet one section, it is very likely that he will offend a different section. To my mind, the only way to abolish such complaints is to adopt the suggestion made by Deputy Dillon on 18th February, 1960, as reported at column 579 of the Official Report when he stated:

I think there is force in the contention that the only really effective way in which you will ultimately get unanimous public support for licensing laws controlling hours to operate would be to abolish the hours of opening and ... to have it on a perfectly free basis.

I think Deputy Dillon is correct there, and I made that point also during the debate on the 1960 Bill.

We are told that where that applies in France there are a great number of alcoholics, but, in actual fact, in France, while there may be a problem of alcoholism, there is no problem of drunkenness. In this country, the position is reversed: we may occasionally have the problem of drunkenness but we very seldom have the problem of alcoholism. To my mind, the problem of drunkenness here is caused by the basic laws which are laid down under which we have a man rushing to have "a few small ones" when it comes near closing time, instead of continuing to have a few pints of stout — the national drink — and making up his own mind when he should go home. It is the "one for the road" that causes a great deal of drunkenness. I do not like to find myself in agreement with Deputy Dillon, but on this occasion I agree with him. He said at the same column that he thought that if we were to consider any closing hour, 11.30 p.m. was an outrageous hour to be open.

I believe that in Dublin, Dún Laoghaire and Bray, where we have organised labour, in the main, in the public houses, reasonable hours could be worked out between the employers, the trade unions and the employees. Conditions of working could be laid down which would make it unprofitable in many instances for the publicans to go outside the hours proposed in the Bill. Be that as it may, I am afraid a proposal of 24 hours opening would not be generally acceptable at this stage in Ireland, although I believe that eventually such a proposal will be acceptable.

Other speakers have pointed out that the requirements vary from locality to locality. I am quite sure that the seaside resorts are very pleased with the early opening hours on Sundays, whereas most city publicans say they would do no business before 6 o'clock. There is no compulsion on any city publican to open until 6 o'clock, and indeed if the associations which have been making representations to us are as strong as they purport to be, they could reach some agreement about staying closed from 4 o'clock to 6 o'clock.

Some of them will open.

That is the trouble. Some will open the back door and keep the front door closed.

What about the family houses?

They are non-trade union.

That is the point.

As I say, this Bill goes a long way to meet the various problems. I am glad the Minister has made it clear that he is prepared to listen to the views of the House, and that if he feels as a result of these discussions, some amendments are desirable, he is prepared to make them. His predecessor took the same attitude in 1960, and certainly no one can accuse him of having rushed the Bill and forced it through the House with a Fianna Fáil majority.

In the course of the debate, Deputy Rooney read a letter signed by T.S. O'Dwyer, Honorary Secretary, Irish Country Vintners Association, Collinstown, Killucan, County Dublin. One of the points made in this letter in paragraph (4) was:

In the official report of the recent Intoxicating Liquor Commission, all the commissioners (21) after hearing exhaustive evidence unanimously decided that the areas outside the county boroughs should have 11.30 p.m. closing hours on weekdays all the year round.

The Minister has not gone to that extent. He is merely proposing that the 11.30 p.m. closing should apply to summer time. Earlier in the letter, the point was made that in the opinion of the Association earlier closing would result in shebeens, drinking in crowded homes and private cars.

It is quite true that since there has been a more rigid enforcement of the licensing laws and since order has been restored to the licensing laws there have been additional cases in the papers of what we might call shebeen drinking, barbecue parties and locker clubs, and we now have to enact further legislation to deal with them. If we enact a law here, we should have the intention of enforcing it. If we bring in a proposal without the intention of enforcing it, we are wasting our own time and everyone's time and we should drop it completely.

The enforcement of the 1960 Act has, to my mind, restored a great deal of order to the drinking habits of the people of Ireland as a whole. In that context, I should say that I do not believe the endorsement clauses were mainly responsible. In some cases, those endorsement clauses could lead to severe hardship and it might be as well to consider easing the legislation in that regard. The important thing in regard to the 11.30 p.m. proposal is that all the commissioners voted for 11.30 p.m. closing all the year round and they included representatives of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association.

It is proposed in the Bill to restrict to some extent early opening in the dock area and I am glad this provision is dropped. In that connection, I should like to quote the former Minister. At that time, Deputy Belton was opposing that early opening, and he took the line that if those public houses opened at 7.30 a.m., they should be forced to close at 7.30 p.m. He thought that the publican should make up his mind whether he would open for the normal hours, or from 7.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. I suggested that a stamp duty or fee of £100 per annum should be charged to anyone who was granted that early opening facility. I felt that in that way the large increase which had taken place in those exemptions would be reduced.

The objection at the time was the fact that so many publicans in a very short space of time got that facility. Some of them said that they wanted to open only because their next-door neighbour was open and they might lose customers, but that they did not consider it profitable to them. On the other hand, certain publichouses find it very profitable and certain people appreciate the services they are offering. All these houses serve soup, sandwiches and other food but the Minister for Justice said, in 1960, when dealing with this problem, that as far as this type of house was concerned in Dublin, the police kept a very strict watch over them. So far they had found nothing in the nature of abuse and they could only assume these houses are serving a public purpose, especially around the dock areas.

I do not think anything has happened in the meantime to change that attitude of the Minister. I should like him to deal with this point when replying to the debate, as to whether there has been a change in that situation or not. If the situation is the same, I should like the Minister to take another look at the Bill and consider bringing in the type of restriction I had in mind, the £100 stamp duty, at a later stage.

We have heard people talking about the thin end of the wedge and in 1960, I expressed the view that some facilities should be made available, for example, for bus drivers and conductors, to have alcoholic refreshment, say, for half an hour or three-quarters of an hour after they have parked their buses in the depots because when these bus drivers and conductors have finished their day's work, all the public houses, by legislation, are closed. I am sure arguments could be made for several other trades as well. We must face up to the situation that in face of the competition we expect in the Common Market, it is almost certain that every principal industry will have to discuss with their trade unions the question of going on to shift work—two or three shifts—and if we are to compete against Germany, where they work around the clock, or other European countries where they have shift work, we must be prepared to do the same here. It will perhaps involve a change in our social pattern but nevertheless, if that situation arises, then these licensing laws will again become obsolete and will be ready for further amendment.

I should like to refer also to the new provision regarding licences at dances, to which Deputy Corish also referred. Some ballrooms traditionally hold licensed dances. Admittedly, I am thinking of a couple in particular. In these ballrooms, at seaside resorts, the pattern was to hold two dances that were unlicensed and on one night a licensed dance each week. In variably, the ballroom was rented to a club or association in the vicinity, for the licensed night. These clubs depended not on bringing in the dancers but the older members associated with the club and I know many who would say: "Oh, a dance for the club—is there a bar? Right, we will be along." These are people who are gone beyond the stage of tripping the light fantastic, or doing the Twist or Rock 'n' Roll. The provision in the Bill is that on four occasions of special festivity, these licences can still be granted. I should like the Minister to consider increasing that figure of four. I could not say what the proper figure would be, eight, or 12, or 15 as applied to clubs, but four is on the small side. As the debate goes along, perhaps the Minister might consider increasing that number, particularly in order to help the clubs who have members who would not be the type of people who normally would like to go to the expense of attending a full dinnerdance.

I understand that Section 15 has been dropped in its entirety. I am rather sorry to hear that it is gone in its entirety. I agree with the Minister when he says that it could be open to certain abuses.

That is the under-statement of the year.

I believe that any restaurant that at present holds a wine licence should at least have that licence extended to a full licence, if no further licences are to be granted. I had occasion to take some Americans to dinner where they had one of these wine licences and the funny thing about it was that the two drinks these people wanted could not be got there. One was a glass of Guinness' stout and the other was an Irish coffee. All we could give them was French and Spanish wines. That is a ridiculous situation and perhaps in some limited way the intention behind Section 15 could be incorporated at a later stage.

The Deputy took them to the wrong place.

I was going to say that.

This was quite a serious situation when the Redbank was opened and quite a lot of money was spent on it. There are a number of other cases I could think of.

They had a licence there before.

Section 12 of the 1927 Act introduced a new provision regarding restaurant certificates, which may be granted to premises if they comply broadly with the provisions in this Bill. However, subsection (4) of that section provided:

A Justice of the District Court may, on the application of an officer in charge of the Garda Síochána for the licensing area, at any time revoke a restaurant certificate if he is satisfied, after hearing such officer and the holder of such certificate, that the premises to which such certificate relates, have ceased to be structurally adapted for the use or to bebona fide or mainly used as a restaurant, refreshment house or other place for the supplying of substantial meals to the public.

Now, if Section 15 were here, I would be mentioning that particular point to deal with the licences of the clubs referred to by Deputy Mullen. It would certainly be up to the Garda authorities to be able to make such provision if that section were still there, which it is not. Another thing I would have referred to was the fact that in the 1910 Act a committee of justices was set up to consider whether these premises were in fact suitable.

In some way it might be possible for the Minister to introduce some extension to the existingbona fide restaurants at present in possession of a wine licence.

There is provision also in this Act to deal with what are now called locker clubs. This is a very good and useful provision and one with which every Deputy will agree. The one fear I have, however, in this regard is that if a person who owns a hut or chalet at a seaside resort, in which he does not normally reside, attends a social function or meeting of a club with some friends at that resort, and if he and his friends buy themselves half a dozen stout apiece and return to the chalet and drink it, then to my mind that would be committing a breach under the section as I read it. The wording of the 1910 Act avoided that danger entirely. Section 93 of that Act provided that:

If any intoxicating liquor is supplied or sold to any member or guest on the premises of an unregistered club, the person supplying or selling the liquor, and every person authorising the supply or sale of the liquor, shall be liable to imprisonment, with or without hard labour, for a term not exceeding one month or to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds, or to both.

Subsection (2) says: "If any intoxicating liquor is kept for supply or sale on the premises of an unregistered club every officer and member of the club shall be liable to a fine not exceeding five pounds, unless he proves to the satisfaction of the court that the liquor was so kept without his knowledge or consent."

I see that difficulties could come out of the provisions of that Act also in so far as proving the source of supply is concerned owing to the fact that in the clubs the drink is not sold. It is bought before you go to it. However, it is the first possible danger I have mentioned in connection with the 1962 Bill that I am mainly concerned about, and I should like to feel quite sure that that type of thing could not arise because of an over-diligent member of the Garda Síochána.

I should like also to suggest that clubs might be included in the provisions of Section 5. The reason is that most clubs have their principal activities at weekends, and the Minister might consider the inclusion of clubs, which are excluded from the provisions of Section 5. This is only a minor thing, but it might serve a useful purpose to have it clarified.

I am also concerned as to why Dublin should be excluded from the provisions of Section 8. Admittedly, there is at first sight apparent administrative difficulty about Section 8, but special festivities occur in Dublin in parishes and certain functions are held which encourage a good civic and national outlook, and if this is so Dublin should not be excluded from the provisions of this section. More and more householders are coming together in associations and committees, in many cases encouraging traditional sports, dancing and other pastimes, and if they find it necessary to put on special festivities in order to keep paying their expenses the provisions of Section 8 might assist them in that regard.

I should like also to refer again to the fact that there is no specific provision in the Intoxicating Liquor Bill regarding hygienic conditions. There are certain provisions in the Health Acts, but I believe that under the licensing law in force there are no provisions, though there should be, regarding basic standards concerning toilets, washing facilities, etc. It is a pity that this is not dealt with in the Bill. However, it is a matter which we could bring up again on the Estimates, and, perhaps, it might more appropriately fall under the jurisdiction of the Minister for Health, though I should like to see it incorporated in a Bill of this nature.

I should like to remind Fine Gael before I sit down that on the Fifth Stage of the 1960 Bill a strong plea was made by prominent members of the Party to extend the closing time on Sundays until 10 p.m.

The closing time in the tourist areas.

Deputy Belton said at Column 337 of Volume 182 that the Minister would discover "that the public, the trade and everybody else concerned would be unanimously in favour of 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday in preference to 5 p.m. to 9 p.m."

Mr. Belton

Hear, hear.

You walked into it.

I did not. If Deputy Lynch had paid attention to my earlier remarks he would have heard me speaking about the difficulty of providing for the rural areas as distinct from the city, when I pointed out that it was quite clear that people in seaside resorts require this 4 o'clock opening and the people of the city do not. Unless we are going to revert to thebona fide system, which I do not think anybody in the House desires, and which I know is not desired by the Total Abstinence Association, there is nothing else we can do.

Deputy Burke wants that.

The principle of uniformity is a good one, and I am glad that the Minister has by great ingenuity managed to deal with that problem while maintaining the spirit of uniformity. I feel sure that he will be able to use the same words as his predecessor, Mr. Traynor, did on the concluding Stages of the 1960 Bill when he said at Column 344: "Nobody can accuse this House, the Government, or myself of having acted hastily and without full consideration of all the issues involved." I am sure that is what we can expect on this matter.

Mr. Belton

The Minister told us in his opening statement that it would be a long time before another Intoxicating Liquor Bill would be introduced, but we were told that when the 1960 Bill was introduced. As regards this Bill, there are some good points in it, but there are a lot of very controversial points as well.

I should like to point out to the Minister that there is at present no definition of a public bar in the Bill. It depends on the whim of a local superintendent. Hotels, as a result of this, have an unfair advantage over public houses. What I mean by that is that any hotel can carry on a full licensed business and a full public house business without having the problems that confront the public bar. I should like to point out also at this stage that many critics of any Intoxicating Liquor Bill make various suggestions about what would be best for this country. They compare the licensing laws here with those prevailing on the Continent, but café proprietors or people who have permission by law to sell intoxicating liquor on the Continent have no staff or wage problems. The public, the customer coming into the cafés and bars on the Continent, pay the wages of the staff that serve them in the ten per cent. service charge. That is something that we in this country must bear in mind, particularly critics of any Intoxicating Liquor Bill. Our whole social setup is completely different from what applies on the Continent.

Section 2 deals with the opening hours of licensed premises. I have very little comment to make on the opening hours on weekdays. The only alteration from the 1960 Act is the extension of the change from 11 to 11.30 to a period of approximately six months instead of four months. It has been extended in accordance with the clock rather than for June, July, August and September.

I should like to make a comment about the closing period from 2.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. I shall not argue whether or not the 2.30 to 3.30 p.m. closing period which now will apply only to Cork and Dublin is necessary. Why should it apply only to those two cities and not to the rest of the country? I understand the purpose of introducing that provision in the 1927 Act was to prevent the all-day sitter in a public house from drinking his head off. He can still, under this Bill, drink his head off by going 100 yards outside the borough boundaries of Dublin or Cork. I cannot see the sense of it at all. First of all, I do not think it is necessary at all, but if it is felt we should have it, I do not see why it should apply only to those two areas.

The Deputy would not carry the Dublin publicans with him in that.

Mr. Belton

I am expressing my own viewpoint. There is another point about this closing period. I say that 2.30 to 3.30 p.m. is not a suitable hour any longer, if we are to have a closing hour. In his opening statement, the Minister more or less exhorted licensees of ordinary public houses to introduce facilities for the serving of food on their premises. He made that statement in connection with his proposal to drop Section 15 of the Bill. I would point out to him that numerous professional and business people resort to these public houses at the moment in the city centre where snacks and reasonably substantial meals are now being provided. They are not able to get to these premises until nearly 2 p.m. and they have to leave them at 2.30. I suggest that if the hour is to stay, there should be some alteration in the time — say from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. or 3.30 to 4.30 p.m.

I now come to the next provision in the Bill — the Sunday hours of opening. I am in agreement with the first period — 12.30 to 2 p.m. Any reasonable member of the community will agree with the Minister on the suitability of those hours, particularly from the point of view of facilitating people in rural areas who wish to have a drink after last Mass. I do not, however, agree with the suggested second period of opening on Sundays — 4 p.m. to 10 o'clock. Deputy Lemass, I think, slipped up in quoting me when I spoke to my amendment to the 1960 Bill on this question. He quoted me as advocating 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. He did not go far enough, because my amendment also suggested that special exemptions might be granted — which would not lend themselves to any abuse — on a regional basis in centres outside Dublin.

I had in mind areas such as Thurles where there are a number of GAA matches throughout the year. A half-a-dozen exemptions per year could be granted to towns such as Thurles, Portlaoise and Ballinasloe which would permit them to open from 4 o'clock to 10 o'clock on Sunday afternoons when these matches are played. This, I think, would meet their requirements. They could then revert to the ordinary countrywide hours of opening on other Sundays, even those on which smaller, county matches were played.

In places like Dublin, Dún Laoghaire and Bray, there is a problem in this respect which involves trade unions as well as the licensees. At the moment, publicans who employ trade union labour work with half staff on Sundays. How could any publican possibly work the suggested new Sunday hours on half staff? The Minister must realise that Sundays are particularly busy days for public houses. The Minister, I suggest, must give this problem special consideration.

Section 4 deals with hotels and restaurants. At the moment they are permitted to serve drink with substantial meals and they can serve substantial meals between 2.30 and 3.30 p.m. and on Sundays between 2 and 3 p.m. They can serve meals up to 10 o'clock at night on Sundays. Now it is proposed to permit them to serve drink with meals up to 11 o'clock on Sunday nights. Why should hotels and restaurants be permitted to do this, to the exclusion of public houses who also have facilities to serve substantial meals?

They must have a limited restaurant certificate.

Mr. Belton

The Minister, in his opening statement, said he would welcome an effort by licensees of ordinary public houses to serve meals. He should therefore include all licensed premises who have facilities to cater for the public in the matter of food.

If they have limited restaurant licences, they are on the same footing.

Mr. Belton

The difficulty about qualifying for a limited restaurant certificate as well as for a public house licence is that it would involve major structural alterations. It would require the provision of an apartment in which food could be served out of sight of the normal place in which intoxicating liquor is served. I suggest that section should be reconsidered by the Minister. I am delighted to see that an effort is being made to define the phrase "substantial meal". When Deputy Traynor was Minister for Justice, he dealt with this matter at length and I believe he believed he had dealt with it adequately, but the last couple of years have proved that he was wrong and that we were wrong in believing at the time that he could deal with it. This section may give a lot of trouble in the future.

I agree with Section 8 which gives special facilities in the case of public festivities in rural areas. Deputy Lemass suggested that it may apply to Dublin. I cannot see where it would be necessary to have it in the Dublin area but I do agree that in the rural area, where you have fleadhanna ceoil and other events at which a great number of people gather for social, political and religious purposes, there would be a necessity for it. I believe there are such occasions in the west, where you have pilgrimages to Knock and to Croagh Patrick and there is concern that better facilities should be provided for the people who visit those areas.

We come finally to Section 15 which I am delighted the Minister has decided to withdraw. However, I should like to make a comment on it. I do not know who advised the Minister on this and I cannot see what good it would do. Deputy Lemass spoke about having two American visitors to this country and that all they could get was——

They never heard of The Rendezvous.

Mr. Belton

We close at 11 o'clock and he was talking about after 11.30 p.m. I do not know where or in what country any person in a normal walk of life would be looking for a dinner or a substantial meal after 11.30 p.m.

It is very unhealthy.

Mr. Belton

Many of us have found that out. Many of the restaurants that would come within this section are small restaurants that are being run on a shoe string, restaurants that are employing young girls. These are the restaurants that would get licences for the sale of beer, stout, whiskey and brandy. It is a well-known fact that we had a number of these small restaurants springing up after the war and that they changed hands very quickly. The bulk of them are rented; very few of them are owned by the people who run them. Another obnoxious feature of the section is that these people could get a licence to sell all kinds of drink by applying for and getting a certificate from the Revenue Commissioners.

That is gone.

Mr. Belton

I know it is.

I should hate to hear you if it were still there.

Mr. Belton

You would have heard me. There is one final comment and that is about Section 17 providing that where a new licence is granted in a rural area the premises must be more than a mile away. I can see that creating a great deal of difficulty where the rural area includes the villages or small towns. In a small town there might be seven or eight licensed premises and a new licence could be granted if there were a population there to carry it. I think that confining it to one mile could cause a great deal of difficulty to the trader.

It does not apply in the case of a population increase. It only deals with the provision in the 1960 Act where you could get a new licence by extinguishing two.

Mr. Belton

Yes, but that new licence cannot be granted within a mile of existing premises.

That was strongly urged upon me by your own brother.

Mr. Belton

There are many things on which I do not agree with my brother.

I realise that no one could bring in a Bill dealing with intoxicating liquor which would satisfy everyone and I sympathise with the Minister in his difficulty of trying to secure a code that would satisfy the greatest number. A Bill of this kind is often used in this House for the exercise of a lot of pietistic humbug about the evils of drink and of the bad influence of what we used to call thebona fide in days gone by. I think that in this day and age we should look on these problems in an adult manner and seek a set of rules by which we could live as a free and untrammelled society within the limits of public decency and order.

It has been found that wherever restriction is applied with too great a rigour it has always had the opposite effect to that which was intended. The most obvious example of that was prohibition in America when the pussy foots and total abstainers got their way and introduced the Volstead era with all the evils and all the dangers and excesses that followed on it. Any system of restriction in so far as the sale of liquor is concerned should be related to the needs and inclinations of the mass of the people. We can talk about what is traditional with the Irish. One thing is traditional and that is that they like to drink; they like to drink on Sundays, no matter what people may say about them. They like to escape for an hour or two from the hardships to which they have been accustomed during the week.

There is one spancel on the mass of the people here so far as drink is concerned that is far more effective than any laws we can make here and that is the amount of money they can afford to spend on drink. That is what determines the drinking hours and the consumption of alcoholic liquor so far as the main body of the people are concerned.

A number of considerations must enter into any discussion of this Bill. It is obvious that no matter how people may try to deny it laws which may be excellently suited to rural Ireland and to seaside resorts very often have little or no application in the cities, especially in Dublin. I would suggest that before the Minister comes to consider whatever amendments may be put down on Committee Stage, he might consider the advisability of regarding the four county boroughs as being in a class apart from the rest of the country. It has been mentioned here that Dublin city and county borough and Bray urban district are highly trade-unionised, so far as the licensed trade is concerned. I do not know what the position is in the other county boroughs. I assume there is some degree of trade unionism among the workers in the non-family houses. Certainly, in the Dublin area, the licensed trade is almost 100 per cent. trade union. There are not, to my knowledge, very many family houses within the city and county borough boundaries.

There are a number of family houses outside of these boundaries throughout north and south County Dublin. These family houses, these rural houses, outside the city area were dealt a deadly blow by the existing Act when thebona fide trade was abolished. I do not know whether anybody had the temerity to stand up here and defend that trade. I assume “temerity” is the word to use. Frankly, I could not see anything whatever wrong with it. There were crimes laid at its door which did not properly belong there and should not have been so laid. It used to be said that he bona fide trade was responsible for the number of fatal accidents late at night on the roads in County Dublin. That trade has been abolished —though I hope I would be more correct in saying it has been temporarily suspended pending reintroduction — but the number of accidents has not decreased in those two years. On the contrary, it would appear to have increased, so that that argument did not have any value. The Government have a duty to the publicans outside the city of Dublin whose main livelihood was derived from the bona fide trade— and quite a number of publicans and their employees are involved — to restore in some degree the position which obtained prior to the 1960 Act.

As a Dublin trade unionist myself, I feel, in company with other trade unionists who are members of this House, that I have a duty to support the claim of the barmen that the proposal to work the Sunday hours in the city area from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. is unreasonable. Apart from that fact, I think it contravenes the Conditions of Employment Act for workers to spend six continuous hours on the job without a meal break. I will probably be given the answer that it is up to the publican so to organise his staff that his men will get their meal break. That probably will mean for the publican the employment of additional staff. That, in turn, will lead to an increase in the price of drink. The Dublin worker will then face the prospect of paying 2/1d or 2/2d for a pint of stout. That situation is one to be avoided. The price of the pint — I am not referring to spirits — represents a very considerable hardship on the working men of this city, whose sole relaxation is to "take a few" at weekends. The Minister should be anxious to avoid anything which might further increase the "cost of living", as it is called, on these people. I would suggest to him that when he is considering the amendments I shall put down on the subject of Sunday hours in Dublin, he will take another look at this problem. If the Bill is so altered as to provide that the hours of drinking in the four county boroughs be less than those in the rest of the country, we shall then be as near as we possibly can get to a perfect licensing code.

I understand there is under the existing law a provision whereby a speculator can go to any part of the country and buy a couple of what are called derelict licences. Then he can come to Dublin, buy up premises and open an hotel. I am not sure whether or not he can also open a pub. This is highly undesirable. When a hotel opens in an area where there are a number of pubs, naturally it is going to draw a certain amount of trade from the existing pubs. The whole aim, we are told, has been to try to reduce the number of licences. That has been the aim of Governments and commissions.

I understand there are something like 11,500 licences at present. In some towns like Killarney I believe there are 100 licences, and in some parts of the west every other house is a licensed house. It is quite easy for speculators to go into these places, many of which are denuded of their population by emigration, buy up a couple of licences, come to Dublin, invest some money in an hotel and put the hotel on the market purely as a speculation. It has happened; it is happening, and it is a bad thing. So long as we have this permissive thing here — that a person may buy two derelict licences and transfer to another area — this will continue to happen. Listening to Deputy Belton and the Minister I take it the proviso in the Bill is to ensure that no new licensed hotel may be opened within a mile of any existing hotel? Then I misunderstood? I could not follow it. The Minister could have done something about that problem.

I am glad the Minister has dispensed with Section 15. From the moment I saw it, I felt it would cause such an outcry that any responsible Minister could not but react to the feelings which would be engendered by it. The Minister, being a reasonable man, has withdrawn the section.

There is another matter which seems to me to be attempting the impossible, that is, the attempt to define a substantial meal. The explanatory memorandum suggests that under the Bill a substantial meal will be a meal of such a nature or character for which a person will be reasonably expected to pay 5/-, that this payment of 5/- will not be operated as a cover charge and that only in such cases will a person be entitled to a drink. It is impossible to define what is a substantial meal. What might be a substantial meal for the Minister might——

Not be for Deputy Dunne.

——might very well be three days' food for another person. It would depend on one's condition of health. Recently a prominent person was asked in the British House of Commons how he would define a substantial meal. He said a loaf of bread is a substantial meal. Who is going to eat a loaf of bread and nothing else? Who will determine what is a substantial meal? Supposing this provision is enacted and a question arises that a premises supposed to be operating the substantial meal provision is not in fact doing so, what authority will be called in to investigate and to say that what is provided is or is not a substantial meal? Will it be the local Garda, the sergeant, the superintendent or some culinary expert who will determine this matter?

For 5/- one can get very little or one can get a fairly good meal, depending on the part of the city one goes to for the meal. For that sum one may get in some places a sandwich, in other places half a sandwich and in another place a half sack of potatoes. Who will be the authority on this matter? The provision is inoperable, unreal. The Minister has restated the obvious, fundamental tenet that if a law cannot be enforced it should not be written into the Statute Book. I do not believe this provision can be enforced. The whole business of meals as operated at present has abolished the illusion of uniformity.

Why was there a fetish made of this thing called uniformity? Why was it made important? Why should one section of people living in the heart of the city of Dublin have to live to exactly the same set of rules as apply to people living in rural Ireland where the pattern is entirely different? Why, for instance, should the small farmers in Rush — constituents of mine and of Deputy Burke—and Lusk and that area, who do not finish work until the sun goes down, which is pretty late in mid-summer and into September, often up to 10.30 p.m., be required to obey the same set of rules in regard to drinking as apply to people who finish work at five in the afternoon? This uniformity is imposed upon them, to my mind, unjustly. That is a matter the Minister should consider and see how far it is possible to argue for the system of uniformity. It should be abolished.

Regardless of what may be said in praise of the previous Minister for Justice — and I had as much respect for him as anybody in this House — in may cases he might have left well enough alone. Very often when one tampers with existing laws, even with the best will in the world, one succeeds, not in improving matters, but in disimproving them.

I do not know what purpose Deputy O'Higgins sought to serve by trying to secure the refusal of a Second Reading for this Bill. That is a very negative attitude and totally wrong. We should work to try to get this very important measure amended as suitably as possible in Committee and to produce a measure which will be acceptable to the greatest number. It would be impossible to produce a measure acceptable to everybody.

If I am asked what hours I would suggest, my answer would be that 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays for the city would suit everybody fairly well, would meet the Croke Park position and the Dalymount Park situation. It would meet the trade union objections. It would also meet the drinking man's point of view. The drinking man does not want to spend more time than he can afford in a public house. It may be said that there is no need for him to go in until 7 p.m. or later. It is all very fine to talk like that but there has been a pattern amongst large numbers of people that they go into the pubs when the pubs open and leave them only when they close. That may be an undesirable practice but it has to be recognised as existing. I think 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays and 11 o'clock on weekdays all the year round is late enough for the city.

I am an unashamed believer in the restoration of something approximating to thebona fide trade, the position wherein a large number of small publicans throughout north and south County Dublin were conducting businesses decently and well — no matter what may be said to the contrary. They were deprived of their livelihood and put to tremendous expense and difficulty because of the 1960 Act. I would ask the Minister to reconsider that matter.

I am voting for the Second Reading of this Bill in order to give myself and the other members of the House an opportunity to amend it in Committee.

I, like Deputy Dunne, congratulate the Minister on his courage in introducing this Bill. I do not agree with Deputy O'Higgins's proposition that the Bill should not be read a Second Time. I have sufficient common sense to realise that the 1960 Act is unsatisfactory and has been crying out for alteration. I should be very surprised if every Deputy did not share that view. I am sure every Deputy has been canvassed ever since the 1960 Act came into operation and has been asked to try to have it amended to meet the many complaints created by it.

I must ask the Minister to reconsider his attitude with regard to some sections of the Bill which he now proposes to put through the House. I am glad that he has seen fit not to discriminate between the dock area and the marketing area of Dublin. My understanding is that he has withdrawn that discrimination. That is a very good thing. I am also pleased that the Minister proposes to withdraw Section 15. I was not wholly against this section. A good number of people were not wholly against it but many people were worried about its implementation. Now that the section is being withdrawn, I sincerely hope the Minister will be able to control the matter which he intended to regulate under the section as drafted, that is, the irregular and unfair traffic or trade indulged in by certain establishments in the city of Dublin.

I am concerned about the Minister's proposal in regard to opening hours on Sundays. I appreciate that the Minister is attempting to bring about uniformity throughout the country. I join with Deputy Dunne in entreating the Minister not to do that. The pattern of life is not the same throughout the country. Tourists get the impression that themodus operandi is not uniform throughout the country. While I recognise the need to provide facilities for people to have a drink during the hours from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. in certain parts of the country, I do not think it is necessary that public houses in Dublin should be open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. I can understand the necessity in seaside resorts and holiday resorts. I can well understand the Minister's anxiety, in the interest of tourism, to ensure that facilities will be available in tourist resorts.

The position at the moment is absolutely ridiculous. People who come into Ireland via Dublin go down the country to find what was described to them as a place full of Irish songs and Irish life report on their return to Dublin that what they experienced was a dead centre. I can well imagine the effect of the 1960 Bill on Ballybunion, Salthill, Killarney and such resorts.

I cannot see the necessity for having Dublin public houses open on Sunday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Not only will the Dublin publicans be open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. but also before lunch, at 12.30. That postulates that the bar worker goes in before 12.30, perhaps at 12.15 p.m., and remains there until 2 p.m. or longer. He will be lucky to get out at a quarter past two. He may be interested in soccer or Gaelic. Suppose he wants to go to a match, he cannot do so because he must be back again for the opening at 4 p.m. The obvious thing for him is to get a meal and come back, possibly at a quarter to four, and remain until 10, keeping open when the customers are away at a football match or the seaside. I think the suggestion that public houses should open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. is wrong. I know that already applications or submissions have been made that the time should be from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. or, if that cannot be done, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. but there must be a break for the working man.

One of the worst features of this Bill is the absence of anything to indicate how the operatives should be treated. It can be said that the trade unions take care of that. That is not the point. This would not be the first piece of legislation introduced here which would provide for the interests of the workers. I think it is wrong to leave it so that there will be the mother and father of a row, so to speak, between the employers and the unions over the working conditions of employees. Winning improvements in working conditions is not an easy matter. The Act presumes that a man working in a public house will work longer hours and will be compensated by money, while at the same time we have the trade unions agitating for a reduction of the working week so as to give more recreation to workers. Money does not buy that, or it should not. It can be said that the publican is well able to afford overtime but that is not the point. It could easily happen that as a result of workers demanding more money or more time off, we would have a very serious dispute not only in Dublin but throughout the country. That would not be good for tourism nor is it the way to tackle the problem. It is not laid down in the Act that the worker must be treated this way or that way but that he must have a certain break at least before taking up duty. The employer can get out of that.

Speaking in terms of Sundays, we are always inclined to think of public houses but what happens hotel workers? The hotels are allowed to serve until 10 p.m. Then we go to the weekend and suggest that during summer time closing time will be 11.30 p.m. Buses stop at 11.30 p.m. Let nobody tell us that is a matter between the unions and CIE. For many years people have been agitating for later buses and the unions on behalf of the workers say they will work after 11.30 if they get overtime and CIE have said "no". We still have no buses later than 11.30 p.m. That means that nobody working in a public house can get a bus home in summertime.

We can go further than that. The hotels are allowed to work until half-past twelve. It does not mean that only the person serving behind the bar is affected but possibly also the chef, the female cook and waiters and porters are faced with having to walk home. Many things are done in the name of tourism but one of the major problems is to try to attract people to this business. This is something that will deter people from coming into the business They will not work these hours. Can one imagine a washup woman being paid overtime for working late and then having to put a few bob to it to get home to Finglas? It may be said that we can change that and have a serious row about it and so disturb the tourist industry.

These are things we must approach and consider very seriously. I sincerely hope that when it comes to the Committee Stage, the Minister will be able to indicate that the fears I have expressed are groundless.

I am also concerned about occasional licences. I know it has been found a very difficult matter to regulate, that district justices have taken a stand in regard to the issue of these licences and that their judgments have been changed in the higher court. I can appreciate the Minister's desire to regularise the situation. I know there are many pirates operating in this business but we must think in terms of tourism and the loss of employment. There are two establishments in Dublin city which are well-known tourist resorts and they run dances every night in the week and attached to these premises are licences. If this section of the Bill is passed, approximately 300 people between the two establishments, will be put out of employment. That is a fact.

It is a very serious matter and it does not even end there. Bord Fáilte can give evidence and so can the local Garda that these are well-run establishments; they are tourist attractions and because of the pressure which is being brought to bear, perhaps by publicans in County Dublin or Bray or throughout the country, who have complained about occasional licences being granted to other types of dancehalls, these two reputable establishments must fall. I hope, when it comes to the Committee Stage, the Minister will agree to amend this section so as to allow establishments with licences attached to them to continue to operate and also allow those who seek to have a transfer of licences for the purpose of selling drink at dances to be dealt with.

Speaking about occasional licences, I am also concerned with the stipulation made by the Minister about the meal. It is all right when you go into either of the two establishments to which I have referred. If you dress up in evening clothes and pay sufficient money to have a meal, you are all right and if the section is passed, it will continue to be all right for these people. However, for the fellow who dresses informally, that place is taboo. That, to my mind, is class legislation.

It is the meal, not the dress.

Yes, but there are only two of these establishments and because of the price they do not get many undesirables. People can get into other places for 2/6d. or 3/-. However, in these two establishments you pay 6/- and you get a drink; there are people employed there serving drink and these establishments are well regulated. The section stipulates that the person must have a meal and that is what I mean by class legislation. I do not say that it is the Minister's intention but the people who will benefit most out of this section are those who cause most trouble in this country and in this city, namely, the "debs" who have more money than brains. These are the people who can dress up and if you stipulate they must pay a guinea or 30/- it is nothing to them. I would appeal to the Minister to do something about that section. It was a great cause of concern to a considerable number of people in the city of Dublin, patrons, workers and employers, when it was in operation under the 1960 Act. It was felt the district justice was being very severe but now it seems the provision is being stuck right in. Whatever chance there was of operating under the 1960 Act the situation will have worsened considerably under this Bill.

I hope the Minister will give serious thought to the possibility of safeguarding the employment of the people to whom I have referred. There is abundant evidence that people will lose their employment. It is a natural thing because they are waiters employed to serve drink. I was amused listening to Deputy Belton when he commented on Section 15 and said he would have more to say if the section were still in. He spoke about the wages paid to people who operate in public houses. It very often amuses me, as a person who looks after hotel and restaurant workers, when publicans and people who represent publicans challenge the right of a hotelier or restaurant owner to serve drink, while they do not blush one whit when they move in and start serving food. In connection with the serving of food in public houses, seeing that Section 15 has gone, I sincerely hope the Minister will take notice of what Deputy Lemass said and go to town on the hygiene regulations, particularly as regards public houses.

With regard to the hours of working on Sundays and during the week, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions representing a number of unions interested in the catering business which takes in hotels, restaurants and public houses and which includes the Irish National Union of Vintners, the Amalgamated Transport and General Workers' Union, the Irish Union of Distributive Workers and Clerks and the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union suggest that the hours should be left as they are and if they are not to be left as they are, in so far as Sunday is concerned they submit the Minister should try to arrange for the evening time to be 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. or else 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and that for week days there should be all-the-year-round closing at 11 p.m.

No Minister has gone as far to meet the wishes of every section of the people as the present Minister for Justice. He went out of his way to hear the various suggestions and demands that had been put to him and every organisation associated with the hotel trade or licensed trade was received courteously by him and given an opportunity of expressing its point of view. No Minister no matter how good he was could bring in a Bill to suit everybody. The Minister has provided that people who go to Mass in country towns may go into their local grocer on a Sunday although he is carrying on a mixed trade. He has allowed an old system to continue to operate that those who have ponies and traps are allowed to leave them in the yard of a licensed premises without contravening the law. He has also tried to meet the demand on behalf of the tourist industry for a later opening on Sunday. There is no legislation as inflammable as our licensing laws. That is a very live issue. The people who are associated with the licensing laws are very active public men who are associated with some political Party or other.

Although the Minister has gone a long way to satisfy me and other Deputies, there are a few points I wish to raise. In County Dublin the previous Minister tried to do something about thebona fide trade, especially in the non-populous areas where the traders had to depend solely on people from the city. The 1960 Bill wiped that out because it provided for uniformity of hours. The Minister at that time introduced a section into the Bill dealing with restaurants in order to save the livelihood of the people in the isolated areas of County Dublin who otherwise would have been out of business. I am delighted to see the Minister has continued that privilege for the type of people to whom I have referred. I know pressure was brought to bear on the Minister's predecessor in regard to uniformity. Public opinion demanded uniformity. Many allegations were made here that the bona fide traffic was responsible for a great many accidents. We were told about people rushing out from the city to have a drink. I did not agree with that point of view at all.

I represent part of Dublin city as well as Dublin county and people in Dublin city have made very strong representations to me that the hours on Sunday should not be as long as from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Nobody who has spoken so far in this debate has suggested a differential but I suggest that the hours in the city should be 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and in the country 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. I do not think that would be too much of a differential. I do not think it would upset anybody. I shall not speak for Cork city because there are enough here to speak for Cork.

Hear, hear.

In Dublin, there is anxiety that the hours should not be so long as 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Representations have been made to me on this matter. Strong representations have been made to the Minister. He received, very graciously, a deputation from the interested parties. Even though those on that deputation may disagree with the action the Minister takes, they are appreciative of the fact that he received them and discussed various points with them. As Minister, he has a very difficult job, if he wants to maintain uniformity. I believe 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. would suit the city best — that is what those interested want — and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the country generally. If the Minister can see his way to accepting this suggestion, it will go a long way towards ensuring an excellent Bill.

I had a bone of contention here on the 1960 Bill. I do not believe there is any legal power, with all due respect to the Department of Justice, to define what a substantial meal is. I raised this matter on the earlier Bill. The Minister is trying to introduce the same yardstick in this Bill. A substantial meal, he says, should cost at least 5/-. I believe it will be impossible to administer that provision. I might go into a restaurant and order a meal costing 7/- or 10/- if I felt hungry; I might equally order a meal which would not cost more than 2/-. A Garda might easily argue that a meal did not cost 2/-, if he wanted to be contrary. I believe this provision will interfere with the constitutional rights of the individual. It will, I maintain, be difficult to implement. Sometimes I eat a little; sometimes I eat very little. A hungry man may want a good meal; a man who is not so hungry may need only a light meal. There are people who do not eat meat. They may need only a light meal in a restaurant, but that light meal might be quite a substantial meal for them. Another man may order a very heavy meal. Administering this section must inevitably prove very difficult.

I have been considering the position of a restaurateur trying to conform to the regulation that a substantial meal must cost 5/-. I have given considerable thought to the difficulty since the Bill was introduced. I congratulate the Minister on his attempt to define a substantial meal. He has, at least, given us something about which we can argue. There is an important principle involved here, one that can be debated at great length. I cannot understand how we can have this yardstick that a substantial meal must cost 5/-. This is one section of the Bill with which I disagree because I think it is unworkable. I shall not say any more about it, but I think the Minister should have a look at it between now and Committee Stage; he should consider the point of view put up by a number of other speakers here and leave the matter open, as it was until this legislation was introduced. A man should be free to have the meal of his choice, not a meal dictated to him at a certain price. If he likes to pay three times as much, let him do so.

The Minister has gone a good way towards meeting objection raised in another matter. The matter was debated at great length on the relevant section of the 1960 Bill. I described that section as a "penal clause". I want the House to understand clearly that I am all for having the law observed, but it is impossible for one publican to carry on when another publican can get away with disobeying the law. I believe every publican should obey the law. I am wholly out of sympathy with the over-zealous Garda who looks at his watch and says: "It is nine o'clock; everybody should be off the premises." Now, for one reason or another, three or four people may be dallying inside. The publican knows they are good customers. He knows that he has not served them for perhaps ten minutes before that. I have known cases in both the city and county of Dublin where prosecutions were taken because there were people on the premises at two minutes past nine, and the prosecutions were sustained. If the district justice so desired, he could endorse a licence under the section for just one prosecution. If there were three successful prosecutions, the licensee lost his licence. I much prefer the provision in the new Bill whereby a fine can be imposed. That is much better than that penal clause. An endorsement affects a licence for all time. Even if the publican sells, the endorsement is still there.

The Minister, while insisting that the law must be observed, should give some discretion to the Garda. I admit that 99 per cent. exercise discretion. But there is just that one per cent. who will not. Indeed, there was a case in which people were pushed in from the door and their names taken. I am glad the Minister is now trying to meet the unsatisfactory position in relation to endorsement and I wish him success in his efforts. I hope that the law will, in future, not deprive a man of his livelihood while ensuring its own observance.

The Minister has made a jolly good job of trying to meet every section of the people here. While we have been a bit critical, possibly, of certain sections, we should like to be as constructive as possible. I hope the Minister will appreciate that I have endeavoured to be constructive. I should like to see this Bill a perfect Bill as far as our licensing laws are concerned. I should like if we could all say to ourselves that the Licensing Act, 1962, is impartial, just and tries to meet the wishes of every section of our people.

Whatever else can be said in criticism of the Bill I do not think anyone can accuse the Minister personally of lacking an objective approach, of failing to take a national view in his approach, because this Bill does not suit his own constituency at all. It is a Bill which does not suit the city of Dublin as far as its major provision in extending the licensing hours is concerned. There is no demand in Dublin city for extended licensing hours, either on week-days or at week-ends, either in summer or in winter.

In particular, I want to ask if the Minister has caused any inquiries to be made as to the effect of these extended hours which he proposes on the price of the pint of stout in the city of Dublin. The barmen in Dublin are highly organised and are paid a fair wage. As far as I know, the average barman has at least £10 a week. He gets reasonably good time off and high overtime rates. As a previous speaker explained, at week-ends Dublin barmen are entitled to every second Sunday off. The imposition of these new hours will mean longer overtime. They will mean quite a considerable increase in the publican's wages bill. Will that increase be passed on to the general public in the form of a higher price for the pint of stout or for the small one?

Already in Dublin, unlike the country, a pint costs 1/10d. and a bottle of stout costs 1/1d. These are outlandish prices for our native drink. I would greatly deplore any further increase in these prices. I am very apprehensive that these proposed hours will result in increased prices.

The circumstances as between the city and the country are, as other speakers have explained, very different indeed. The average public house in rural parts is staffed by family labour. It may be staffed by part-time labour. That is not the position in Dublin and, to that extent, the circumstances are very different. There is no demand for these hours from the public at large, from the publicans or from their staffs. The position will now be created whereby barmen will be expected to work unreasonably long hours at a time when, to a greater extent than ever before, other sections of organised workers are being granted a five-day week.

I concede the possible desirability of a change in the Sunday hours in rural areas. Far be it from me to deprive the countryman of his right to drink at week-ends. For that reason, I suggest to the Minister that the time has come to depart from the principle laid down in the 1960 Act — the principle of uniformity throughout the country. Its adoption in the 1960 Act has succeeded in killing the undesirable features of thebona fide trade which nobody wanted to see continued.

If the Minister would amend his present hours as between city and country, the lack of uniformity on Sundays would not result in anything like the abuses with which we were familiar under the provisions in force up to 1960. I notice that the Minister was very careful in his introductory remarks not to refer to the needs of the tourist. I cannot help feeling that the Minister must have had at the back of his mind the demands and the requests from representatives of the tourist industry for extended hours. From time to time we see references in the public press by American or British visitors to our peculiar licensing hours. I always feel that that type of visitor would like to come here to patronise us and would enjoy coming here, under the old law, to see us break our laws. They thought it——

——an engaging characteristic of ours. I fear we are in danger of pandering too much to the interests of the tourists in this respect. The type of tourist who comes here to drink his head off is not one to be encouraged. I believe that vested interests, speaking on behalf of the tourist industry, are inclined to overstate the case for extended hours. One is tempted to ask where one can draw the line in pandering to tourists. There are all sorts of features in holiday resorts on Continental Europe which we do not want to see introduced here. To what, principally, must we have regard in this connection? Do we want strip-tease shows and do we want casinos in this country? These are considerations relevant to any demand to extend the licensing hours beyond the needs of the native people of this country.

Some speakers have suggested that the Minister might be inclined to compromise on these Sunday hours by operating the hours 6 to 9 p.m. or 6 to 10 p.m. or 7 to 10 p.m. for the second part of the Sunday trading period. If that is done, the Minister will most certainly do a disservice to the many thousands of Dublin people — his own constituents — who like to go to a football match on a Sunday afternoon and to conclude their afternoon with a pint of stout at 5 o'clock or at 5.30.

Hear, hear.

The Minister is obviously conscious, as I am, that we both represent that part of the city which adjoins Croke Park and other prominent centres of sport. The suggestion that sporting fixtures in Dublin, at any rate, can be catered for by exemption orders is not practical. There are major fixtures in Dublin far more frequently than in other parts of the country. I have not much more to say on the Bill beyond expressing my personal protest against any effort to extend the hours any further in Dublin or any provision which might result in a further increase in the price of the pint.

I should like to conclude on one small point about which I feel rather strongly. I noted with interest that the Minister is concerned about the question of serving food with drink. In that connection, I am sure the Minister is aware that there is an increasing tendency for more and more licensed premises to serve snacks and, indeed, in some cases, quite substantial meals. What about the premises which decline to serve drink with food — the licensed premises — the snob Dublin hotels in which you cannot get the wine of the country, a bottle of stout? I wonder if we could fit into this Bill a provision which would oblige every licence holder to serve the native brew, stout, because there are too many establishments which are too snobbish to serve a bottle of stout on their premises. I refer to the leading Dublin hotels. Tourists always look for the wine of the country they visit and it is very undesirable and unfortunate that it is not always available in our leading establishments.

The Minister is to be congratulated on introducing this Bill. He is looking for uniformity but it is well known that when conditions between the city, the country, the towns and the seaside places differ, uniformity cannot be achieved except, perhaps, in the opening and closing hours.

I believe that with the exception of the four summer months, June, July, August and September — apparently summer time is now to be continued from March to October — every licensed premises should close at 11 o'clock to enable people to get home, have a sleep, and do their work in the morning, and to enable the people working in those licensed premises to get home at a reasonable hour. To suit tourists and, perhaps, others, in the four summer months I have mentioned, 11.30 p.m. should be the closing hour for the ordinary working day.

The suggestion that the Sunday hours in Dublin should be from 4 o'clock to 8 o'clock, or from 4 o'clock to 9 o'clock, is a bad suggestion. At present the position is that the premises are open from 12.30 p.m. to 2 o'clock and then there is a break. That break should be extended to 7 o'clock and then they should remain open until 10 o'clock, and, perhaps, 11 o'clock during those four summer months. In that way you can have uniformity in the city and county of Dublin, but what applies to Dublin does not apply to the seaside places, the rural areas or the country towns.

If the Minister had been wise, he would have consulted with members of the two other major Parties before he told the gentlemen who draw up Bills what he wanted in this Bill. If that had been done there would have been no necessity to take out Section 15. Anyone can reasonably understand that Section 15 could not be worked. It would need all the Garda in the 26 counties to make it work in Dublin. It is just as well that it is gone.

In his speech the Minister said he expects the owners of licensed premises in the near future to try to have some eatables on their premises for people who want them. That is very necessary. We see tourists from Britain and other places at seaside resorts such as Howth and Bray, sitting around having a drink and a snack of some description — not very much, just a little, but it is there for them. The result is that when they leave the premises they may have drunk more than an Irishman but it has not the same effect on them.

Section 12 also affects people in this city. Exemptions are given and have been given to a certain number of licensed premises in the dock area. That facility has been extended, I understand, over the past five years. I understand that it is proposed to take it away. I hope the Minister will see his way not to do so. It is very necessary in that area.

I have indicated that I am not taking it away.

I am very glad to hear that and if that is the case, I have nothing further to say on it. I was anxious to speak on that matter, but if the Minister has decided not to take it away, there is no necessity to say anything except to thank him for not taking away the livelihood of a number of these publicans, and for retaining facilities for the dockers, long-distance lorry drivers and other people who go to those premises. The Minister deserves credit for that.

I have heard other people talking about the 1960 Bill. I was not here then but I have no doubt that it was that Bill which practically ruined the tourist seaside resorts and the owners of licensed premises in those areas. As I say, you cannot have uniformity. It is necessary to grant exemptions. There are different conditions in different localities. The same thing applies to dances, or anything else which raises funds for any purpose, charitable or otherwise. Exemptions must be granted. Otherwise injustice will be done.

There are other race tracks besides horse racing tracks; there are greyhound racing tracks. I notice in this Bill that they may get a licence to serve intoxicating drink but they cannot open until 15 minutes before the first race. Anybody with any practical experience, anybody who ever went to a greyhound meeting, knows that people from the country bring up their dogs which must be kennelled before 7.30. The first race usually starts at 8 o'clock. If they must be kennelled by 7.30, it means their owners must be there before that and that they arrive at 7 p.m. or 7.15 p.m. and they must remain until 7.45 p.m. before getting something to quench their thirst. Then they can get it only at a time when perhaps they will be looking at the parade of the dogs, or watching the other dogs to see if their own dogs had a chance, and they have to go out to the Tote or the bookmaker, all in one quarter of an hour. I think that at least 7.30 should be the hour as 7.45 allows too brief a period.

Perhaps more will be said about this on Committee Stage. I should like to finish on those two points. I congratulate the Minister on not taking away the exemption and I suggest that in regard to greyhound racing tracks, he should consider the hour at which people can come in for a drink and also the time after the races, say, a quarter of an hour after the races, but certainly it should be half an hour before the first race.

The first thing I should like to do is to congratulate the House on growing up. It took a long time to get a bit of commonsense into the heads of some Deputies, but evidently they have got it now, if I am to judge from the speeches I heard on the Bill in 1960, and from the speeches I have heard today. I have before me the Official Reports of the Dáil proceedings for November, 1948, and it is rather extraordinary that only one Deputy from Dublin, in fact, only one Deputy from all of the northern side of the country, was then in favour of opening the public houses in the rural areas for a couple of hours each Sunday. That was Deputy Belton. The list is here and might I congratulate Deputies on having reached maturity? I shall not read out the list as it might cause too many blushes.

I heard Deputy Belton and others looking for differential treatment for the city of Dublin and, I take it, for the city of Cork and I must recall that Deputies representing those constituencies, particularly the Dublin Deputies, and Ministers, in the majority representing the Dublin areas, or living in Dublin, thought for 30 or 40 years that the rural people had no rights. They thought that it was just that in a city a man living in number 49 could walk out at 1 o'clock and walk into number 50 and sit down and enjoy his couple of pints whilst the ordinary countryman had to walk three miles before he was entitled to a pint at all.

Mark you, on 17th November, 1948, 106 Deputies voted in favour of that and 23 against it. It took the complete wiping out and the non-recognition of the licensing laws from 1948 to 1960 to bring in the present legislation regarding the opening of public houses on Sunday in rural areas. It took that length of time and I congratulate the Minister and his Department for having so few breaches of the licensing laws since the last Bill was brought in. You had a state of affairs in which there was no law for a long number of years, during which the law was so evidently unjust that the Garda Síochána were not prepared to enforce it. I am proud of the commonsense of the people that when they did get a measure of justice, there are so few breaches of the peace now. Other Deputies besides myself realised that position. I have a statement here by the then Minister, Deputy MacEoin, and he expressed himself very clearly on that. I shall not quote him now.

No, except that he told me then to leave it to himself and he produced nothing. I cannot see what the Dublin Deputies are looking for now in differential hours. We had to put up with the heavy hand of the Dublin Deputies and Dublin law for a long number of years in the rural areas, where the unfortunate man, the ordinary agricultural labourer, who had to come out in the morning, feed his cattle, milk them, go to Mass could see the city brats coming down in their cars and pulling up at the door of the public houses and marching in while he had it shut in his face. You had that state of affairs, which was considered just even by Deputy MacEoin. It was allowed to continue during the whole of that period.

I hear these complaints about the 9 o'clock closing in the city and complaints about the 4 o'clock opening and all the rest of it. The only conclusion I could come to has been borne out very definitely on the few occasions I have gone into pubs here in the city and stood a drink to anyone, that they had shoved up the price so high that they could afford shorter hours and less drink sold. When they speak to me about trade unionism and all the rest I suggest that they should go the whole hog in that, and as trade unionists are now looking for a five day week, we would not object to the city publicans closing all day Saturday and all day Sunday. That would be in keeping with trade union rules and regulations. If it is good one way, it should be good the other way as well.

I have never yet seen an Act passed by this House in which after a period of working faults were not found out which needed amendment, and there are a lot of Acts now that need amendment. The lawyers in this House did not improve matters by the preparation of them except to make them in such a way as to give a happy and good living to their brothers outside in finding loopholes in them. When an Act has been worked for a couple of years, we find out the blunders and loopholes and mistakes, and I congratulate the Minister on getting so quickly to work on this and finding out the difficulties and blunders in the previous Act, and endeavouring to do something that no one ever succeeded in doing or ever will, that is, to please everybody.

So long as it pleases the Deputy.

It cannot be done — do not ever try. I had three boys up to the Minister last week or the week before that. Two of them were looking for 10 o'clock and the other for 9 o'clock, on the one deputation. What could you make out of that? That is the position.

I would like the Minister to have another look at the dance hall licences. I firmly believe that there should be no such thing as the licensing of the sale of drink in a dance hall. It is scandalous, and we have come to the point where the scandal is so great that even the Garda Síochána are finding it impossible to control the rowdyism going on in dance halls where drink licences are being abused. The large bulk of people going into those halls do not go in there to dance. They go in solely because they can get drink there that the ordinary publican earning his livelihood by the trade cannot serve at those hours. This is one of the things that the Minister should look into — it is largely responsible for drinking by teenagers. Something should be put in to deal with it.

The Bill does provide new restrictions.

Not enough. It is not restrictions you require — it is the complete wiping out of such licences.

I advise any new Deputy here who wants to have a look at human frailty at work to take the Official Report of 17th November, 1948 and 17th February, 1949 and have a look at the division lists in both. Then he should have a look at the 1960 division lists, in the few cases that there was any division on the 1960 Bill, for the very people who came in here in that November and voted, 106 of them, against giving the rural worker in the country——

The Deputy has already dealt with that point.

I am dealing with two different phases. I am now dealing with the phase in which the Deputies came along here and voted against opening rural public houses for workers on Sunday and then came along the following February, the same team, and voted against closing the public houses in Dublin city and Cork city. I do not care what Party they belong to. I get a kick now when I see a Bill brought in here opening public houses from 12 to 2 p.m. on Sunday and opening them again from 4 to 10 p.m. on Sunday. I am absolutely in favour of opening from 4 to 10 p.m. They have increased the prices so much in the city, and the profit is so great, that now they want trade union hours, and they are not going to get them. Deputies should read what the Dublin Deputies did about the country boy in 1948 and what they did for themselves in 1949. When you have that situation, you cannot wonder at the attitude of rural Deputies here today. Nobody could wonder at them, looking at the condition of affairs in the country at the moment. I am in favour of these hours. As a matter of fact, if I had my way, there would not be any hours and I do not think there would be an extra 100 barrels of stout drunk in the year as a result.

I have seen the other phase in operation and I do not want to see it again. I would never again want to see put into the hands of any body of men the power the Garda had under that previous Act. To give the majority of them their due, during the whole period of the operation of the 1927 Act, very few members of the Garda came along to enforce the licensing laws. Consequently, on the last occasion that a Bill of this sort was going through the House, I said we were getting a pretty fair measure of freedom and I therefore wondered when I heard this evening Deputy Dunne speak about the man in the rural area in his constituency working until 10.30 at night. If the same Deputy had his way, the public houses would be shut at 9 p.m. and that poor dickens, after a hard day's work, would not have the ghost of a chance of getting a drink.

We must remember that in the rural areas we have not got the five-day week for the cow yet. The cow must be milked on Sunday as well as on Monday and Saturday and in order that she may have milk, she must be fed. So must the bullock be fed and the men doing that job are far more entitled to facilities for a drink than the Dublin city hero who finishes at 12 o'clock on Saturday and need not look at work again until Monday morning. They are far more entitled in the rural areas to legislation enabling them to get their couple of hours' drinking and their bit of recreation on a Sunday.

I am glad the Minister has introduced Sunday hours which will allow people in the country to enjoy a drink after Mass. My difficulty here is that I do not think the hours will suit everybody but the only thing we could do about that, I suppose, is change the Mass hours and I do not know so much about that. However, the Bill as I see it is a good one and I congratulate the Minister on introducing it. To my mind, he has done a good day's work.

In so far as there is any principle underlying this Bill, it is one of increasing in some respects the hours during which licensed premises may remain open. It may be that I misunderstood the Minister when he introduced this Bill and said he was not, to any great extent, increasing the hours during which licensed premises may be opened but that he was really making a readjustment of the principle which I see in this Bill of increasing the hours of trading for premises. I must register my vote against that principle.

Consistently, as far as I could from the point of view of my social philosophy, I have wished to give reasonable trading hours to licensed premises and wished to give people the proper facilities but, while I recognise there may be many points of view on that, my own is that the shorter the period during which public houses are allowed to stay open late at night, the better. Anybody who has had experience of the evil effects — I do not want to preach a sermon here — of late night drinking in public houses cannot but feel appalled at the notion of giving any additional scope for those very terrible evils. I have registered my point of view on that.

Coming to the Bill in detail, there is something to be said for the Minister's point of view that it is a Committee Stage Bill essentially. I was under the impression when the Act of 1960 became law after prolonged discussion in this House that none of us here would see another licensing Bill introduced in our time in Dáil Éireann. I understood it was the purpose of the Minister's predecessor in the 1960 Act that the new licensing law should get a long period of trial in order to bring into operation the notion he had of providing the same sort of hours, the same law, for all parts of the country.

Consequently, when this Bill was promulgated, we wondered what was the purpose of bringing it in at this time. I knew of nobody looking for it. I had come across, in my practice, a number of instances where difficulties had arisen under the 1960 Act but I want to underline that the solution of those difficulties does not appear in this Bill. The provisions that do appear in this measure, apart altogether from the extension of the hours, are provisions which — I may be wrong in this but it is my definite impression — were brought in through pressure and at the instance of particular vested interests.

I always understood that the purpose of an Intoxicating Liquor Act was, first of all, to secure the public good and the public interest, that that must be the underlying principle of all Acts dealing with the sale of intoxicating liquor. It is proper, of course, that those who make their livelihoods from the sale of intoxicating liquor should be given a square deal from this House, but, having that in mind, we must realise that the paramount purpose of any Bill regulating the sale of intoxicating liquor must be the public good. I do not find that to be so about this measure.

I find in it a seria of provisions dealing with particular arguments and particular viewpoints and matters of that kind but no question of principle. I take the case of the split hours. Why is that provision confined to Dublin and Cork? The philosophy behind the split hour has entirely gone long since. It is reasonable therefore to imply that the reason Dublin and Cork are still to have the split hour is that the publicans' organisation in both the cities want that split hour. There is no other reason why that particular provision should be allowed to remain unless it is for the public good.

I remember well when this principle of the split hour was first introduced into Dáil Éireann. It caused great controversy. It was the concept of the then Minister for Justice, the late Deputy O'Higgins, that the drinker who sat in the public house all day, never leaving, continuing to drink on with impunity right through the day without opportunity for food or rehabilitation of any kind, should be ejected. The purpose of the split hour was to give that man a chance. At that time it was sound philosophy. Undoubtedly a number of people did not agree that it was good but there was something to justify it, whether it was good or bad. What is to justify it now? Over the years, that particular split hour, with the objective which I have stated, has been eaten into and now it is left only in the two cities of Dublin and Cork. I cannot speak for Cork, but in Dublin it is not left because it is going to do any special good but because a majority of the Dublin publicans want this hour because it suits them in their business. I may add that it is only the smaller publicans it does suit. The publicans in the centre of the city will tell you that they do not want it. I am not advocating it; I think it is a useless position now. It is something that is there now as a matter of expediency for some traders in the city of Dublin.

That is one of the matters I urge on the House as indicating that there is no justification for any extension of hours. Section 15 of the Bill caused tremendous controversy when it first came out. My belief is that underlying that section there is something that was sound but that worked out wrong. As it stood in the Bill, there was nothing to be said for it but if it had been a provision to regulate licensed restaurants that would have proper facilities for giving meals, for giving decent food to the public and to tourists coming here, restaurants for our own people travelling through different parts of the country and going on holidays, if it provided for the giving of licences by court order to suitable persons for suitable premises, giving suitable conditions and with suitable kitchens and suitable staff, there might be a lot to be said for it.

Tourists coming in here start looking around for a good restaurant. Some years ago, when I used to go abroad, I used to go with a list of restaurants in my pocket. If I intended to travel in any particular country, I went around to the people who had been in these countries and asked for a list of good restaurants and I would get it from them. What are you to look for in the city of Dublin? You get the Shelbourne, Gresham, Russell, Hibernian, Bailey and very little else. People are sick of hotels. They want good restaurants where they can get good food, good drink and good wine of every sort.

That may sound curious talk on the part of a Deputy who is against the extension of licensing hours. I am not a killjoy or anything in the nature of a puritan in these matters but I think the Minister went wrong and that, nevertheless, there is something to be said for it. I give him the credit of having the germ of an idea which germinated the wrong way.

The existing law has given a great deal of trouble to the holders of restaurant licences and it has given me very considerable trouble. In fact, when I saw the provision in the Bill, I wondered what it meant, having regard to another Section of the Act of 1943. I do not know how Section 8 of that Act is meant to operate at all. Some Deputies have spoken on the subject of those restaurants which have a wine licence. That is a most extraordinary licence. It is one under which it is very difficult for the person who holds it to know what precisely his legal obligations are, to know what are his hours of drinking, and what he is entitled to do.

He gets a licence from the excise authorities under an ancient Act which is couched in somewhat archaic language. It is the Refreshment Houses (Ireland) Act of 1860. Under that Act, they get a licence to sell wine. Under that Act and under the subsequent provisions of the main Acts, if you were carrying on an eating house, to get a wine licence. Under you had to have a licence for an eating house to get a wine licence. Under that Act of 1860, there were provisions as to the hours when they could open. These provisions were subsequently repealed by the Intoxicating Liquor Act of 1927. No provision was put in to replace them, but I assume that when the Act of 1927 and subsequent Acts prohibited anybody from drinking during prohibited hours, it was meant to include premises with wine licences.

I tried to determine what were the rights of the holders of wine licences in accordance with Section 8 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act of 1943 and I found that the same old trick had been done here as has been done in all these Liquor Acts, that is, that we have been legislating by amendment and we have put these unfortunate people into very serious difficulty trying to find out where they stood. Section 12 of the Act of 1927 has been amended by the inclusion of a new subsection in the Act of 1943. That subsection is:

A person who is the holder of a wine retailer's on-licence within the meaning of the Finance (1909-10) Act, 1910, may, at any sitting of the justice of the District Court, apply to the Court to certify that the premises to which such licence is attached are a restaurant for the purposes of this Act and the Court, if satisfied after hearing the officer in charge of the Garda Siochána for the licensing area that such premises are structurally adapted for use andbona fide and mainly used as a restaurant, refreshment house or other place for supplying substantial meals to the public, shall grant to such person a certificate (in this Section also referred to as a restaurant certificate) certifying that such premises are a restaurant for the purposes of this Act.

If that does not mean what Section 15 is supposed to mean, I do not know what it means. Section 15 says that if you have a wine licence, you can get you have a wine licence, you can get an ordinary licence. If the district justice is satisfied the premises are properly adapted for use as a restaurant, you are to get a licence and the premises are to be called a restaurant for the purposes of the Act. I am perhaps wrong in saying you are to get a licence— you are to get a certificate, a certificate that your premises are a restaurant. I have not been able to find what happens after you get that certificate from the district justice. It seems to me that all that means is that once you got a certificate, you were a restaurant and if you were a restaurant, you could remain open during the hours a restaurant, for the purposes of the Act, could remain open.

A further provision of this section was that you had to have an on-licence. If this meant anything at all, it meant once you got a certificate, you could carry on a licensed trade. If it did not mean anything at all, it was utterly purposeless. I looked it up in the Dáil Debates to find out what it meant. There were about four lines on it. What the Minister at the time said was: "This section is only inserted for a few people, Mitchells and others." Mitchells of Grafton Street are gone now. I still do not know what it meant. It must have meant that Mitchells were entitled to have a wine licence added to their on-licence and were entitled to go to the district justice and become a restaurant. I do not know whether they did or not, because, unfortunately, they disappeared.

I should like the Minister to give me some information, not merely for my own intellectual benefit but in order to enable me find out what is the meaning of that section at all. It is still there in law. If you go through the Act of 1960 and find out the meaning of a restaurant under that Act, you find you must have an on-licence. If that is not so, that section was meaningless and should not have been there. But it must be assumed it had some meaning. If it has any meaning at all, it means that you can go to the district justice, if you have proper premises and get a certificate and carry on, if you were a restaurant within the meaning of the 1960 Act. Is that the position or is it not? It cannot be brushed aside now by saying it is only for a few firms like Mitchells and some others. I do not know what it means at all.

Section 17 is another section on which I wish to make a comment, again for the purpose of emphasising the point I am making on this Bill that these provisions are merely strung together, unrelated matters that are brought into this Bill because of pressure from some vested interests. Section 17 provides, as I understand it—and the Minister will correct me if I am wrong—the following: Under the Act of 1960, which is not yet two years in operation, in areas that were not county boroughs—towns and urban districts—if a person looked for a licence for new premises in the urban district, if he wanted to get a new licence, he could, as the phrase has it, "kill" two existing licences anywhere and then, provided he complied with all the other provisions of the 1902 Act, namely, that he was a fit and proper person, that his premises were fit and proper to be licensed, and that there was a need in the area, he got his licence.

It was not an easy thing to get a licence under Section 13. I can assure the Minister of that because I had to battle for it myself on a number of occasions. Section 13 provided for giving a licence if you "killed" two other licences somewhere else in the country. As well as that, you had to give practically all the proofs that were necessary to get a new licence under Section 2 of the Act of 1902. What this Bill proposes now is that you may "kill" two licences or, if you like, 42 licences, but if there is a vested interest within one mile of where you have built your premises, you cannot get it. I charge the Minister—I hope he does not think I am using that phrase in any derogatory way—that that is brought into being by the vested interests in the publicans' trade. Is it not obvious? The purpose of Section 13, as I understand it, was, first of all, to give something to the rural areas they never had before.

Remote rural areas.

There is nothing remote about it.

Not the boundaries of cities.

That is not remote.

But not the boundaries of cities.

What I said when I was stating the matter is that it was areas that were not county boroughs—towns and urban district councils.

But what was happening?

The Minister can answer me when I am finished. I have not seen in the Minister's speech any reason for this. He may give it to me afterwards or tell it by way of interruption now. I think I am right in saying that the Minister merely stated he was doing this and did not give any reason for it.

Is the reason not obvious?

It may be obvious to the Minister but it is not to me. I think I am correct in saying that in the speech he made introducing this, the Minister did not give any reason justifying it. He merely stated he was going to do it. I want to make a case here against these proposals. The purpose of Section 13 was to enable people in rural areas to get a new licence. That could not be done before the Act of 1960 since 1902. There was no way of getting a licence. Once you were outside the city of Dublin and some other areas, you could not get a new licence in a rural area. The idea of the 1902 Act was that there were so many licensed premises in the country that you had to stop any more new licences before it got out of hand altogether. But it was always subject to this: that under the 1902 Act the whole purpose was to safeguard the public interest. That was the underlying principle as far as possible.

The public interest comprised those people who legitimately wanted a drink at legitimate hours and with reasonable facilities provided. Section 13 had that first purpose, but in fact it had a wider and deeper purpose. It had the purpose of reducing the number of licensed premises throughout the country. You "killed" two licences and got a new one in a proper area in a proper place. The people who were to do that were not excise officers or anybody else. It was the circuit court, with an appeal to the High Court. That was a safeguard against anybody abusing that section. You applied to the circuit court under Section 13. If you wanted to make sure you were going to get it, you applied under Section 15 first for a declaration and then you applied under Section 13 for your licence. You had to give very strict proofs. I want Deputies to understand I am not making this case on behalf of anybody. I am showing it is a section that ought not to be changed and I hope I shall induce some Deputies to go into the lobby with me on an amendment. In order to get this new licence, you had to "kill" two licences anywhere. You had to show that the valuation would not be over £10. You had to show it was in a rural area. I use that as a popular expression for the purpose of showing that it was outside the cities.

Like Rathfarnham.

Like Rathfarnham, like the Bray Road or, if there is any Cork Deputy present, like Glanmire or some of these places. That may be so, but you had to prove in court and still have to prove. This was passed less than two years ago after months of debate by the Dáil.

That was not the purpose of it at all.

The Minister may have his own point of view, but I have mine. The whole purpose of that Bill was to "kill" licences in rural areas. There were too many of them. An effort was made in the 1927 Act and subsequent Acts to do away with superfluous licences by means of levies from fellow publicans. That was a failure. I see now in the public press efforts made by the publicans themselves to resurrect some idea of that in order to kill these superfluous licences. So far as I am concerned, and I submit it to Deputies, who are reasonable people, the purpose of that Section 13 was to enable new licences to be got in rural areas in the sense I have mentioned.

Not in the suburbs of the city?

Why is the Minister continuously interrupting? The Minister had his chance of making his case in his speech. I again state, and emphatically state——

You misrepresent me.

——the Minister has not given one single reason——

I will now, if you will let me.

In introducing this Bill and recommending it to Deputies, not one single reason was given by the Minister. I ask Deputies, who are reasonable people, to support me in this. I want to continue what I am at without interruption. The Minister will have plenty of time to make his statement.

The Deputy is asking for the reason and he will not let me give it now.

I am asking the Minister to be orderly in debate. I am asking the Minister to give it when he is concluding the debate.

You will not be here then.

I do not know why the Minister should make an observation of that kind. It is quite rude and unwarranted and quite uncalled for. If the Minister cannot carry his Bill without rudeness, then I think it speaks very little for the arguments behind it.

I do not like to be misrepresented.

I shall be glad, if the Minister persuades me that I am misrepresenting him, to recall any misrepresentation. I shall certainly recall any misrepresentation.

It would be better if we had a debate on the Bill.

You could ask the Minister to allow Deputy Costello to continue without interruption.

I am interested in the House.

I want to point out to Deputies that there was, in my view, in the Act of 1960, Section 13, a certain purpose. That purpose, or purposes—there were two purposes and they were good purposes—now remain. You could not get a new licence in a rural area for the asking. You had to give very serious proof, not merely to one court but probably to two courts—the circuit court and the High Court. You had to prove that there was a certain valuation; that there was a need for a new licensed premises; that the applicant was a fit and proper person and that he had constructed or adapted premises to be fit and proper for a licensed premises. Then you had to do this—you had to prove a negative, which is an extremely difficult thing— you had to prove that the new licence, if granted, would not be detrimental to existing business. That is stating in a shorthand way what the provisions of this Act were. You had to prove it would not be unreasonably detrimental. Now the Minister proposes to sweep that away. These provisions are rigorous provisions in the Act of 1960. Now the Minister says he is going to add that you must be a mile away from anybody.

Again, I come back to fundamental principles—principles, not expediency or the rights of vested interests. Under the 1902 Act, it was the needs of the public that were the criteria and that runs right through most of the decisions in court on these Licensing Acts and the licensing codes: the needs of the public are paramount; not the needs of the publican, but the needs of the public.

This proposed amendment looks after the interests of existing publicans, existing vested interests, and not the interests of the public. I can quote two cases in court recently where a licence was granted by the circuit court on the ground that there was a need for it and all the other premises were listed. There was an appeal and the appeal was not allowed. They were in the city, of course, but the same thing would apply outside. I had another case in the city of Dublin where premises were within 50 or 100 yards of two very big public houses. The circuit court held that there was need for the particular type of public house being erected and, on appeal to the High Court, it was upheld. In a case to-day, which was decided in the circuit court, although the circuit judge actually on other grounds refused it, he held in the particular case that there was need for the new premises. Although there were no fewer than two public houses within 100 yards of the new premises, he held there was a need for it but he refused the licence on other grounds.

Now, the public need is not to be the criterion. The need of the public for new premises is to be put away— the need does not matter. We are now told you must be a mile away from any existing public house. Is that not merely giving in to some sort of vested interest and not having any regard for the public interest?

I certainly see, both in the Minister's speech and in the philosophy underlying the Bill, something which is bad for this country but something which persists in debates justifying measures in this House in a rather alarming degree—lack of confidence in the courts. That brings me to the question of general exemption orders. The provisions of the Act of 1960 were stated by the Supreme Court to be as the Minister has said in his explanatory memorandum. What was wrong with that? It was the courts decided that —the Supreme Court of this Country. Then the Minister goes on to say there was an elements or inclination in various court decisions to do this, that and the other. In all these applications, the courts exercise their functions independently; they exercise them, I think, impartially and they have the assistance of numbers of objectors before them in court, but, because it does not suit certain vested interests, this general exemption clause is to be taken away.

One of the Labour Deputies—I think it was Deputy Mullen — referred tonight to some houses in Dublin who have what appears to be the bad habit, as I understand the Minister, of having house dances. That is what appears to be a bad thing. I think it is a good thing. People may differ on that point but I think it is a far better thing to have house dances in the Metropole, Shelbourne or Gresham than to have people wandering around the streets of Dublin, going into public houses until 11 p.m. and, when finished, coming out and parading on the streets. Properly regulated dances in properly regulated houses of that character would do social good and give very good employment and make a very extensive contribution to the rates of the city of Dublin.

Where is the principle?

The principle is —I will give it to the Minister—that the young people are entitled to proper facilities for amusement properly regulated. If they have not got them, they will have improper facilities improperly regulated or not regulated at all.

Drink with dancing.

That is the principle. When you find that not merely is the principle sound but that it gives tremendous employment to not merely the band but the catering staff and to various subsidiary trades that are necessary to carry on a business of that kind, I see no reason for giving in again to some vested interest. I think it is the publicans. They say: "Why should these people go into a dance and be able to dance and at the same time, have a drink? You are taking our customers away." That is the contrary principle, if the Minister wishes.

If the Minister will bear with me, I will just point out two, three or four imperfections that have appeared in the 1960 Act——

I shall not interrupt any more.

——which he may or may not wish to consider. If this is a Bill after a year and three-quarters, as some Deputies have said, to clear up the imperfections which have appeared in the Act, I make the Minister a present of those which have occurred in the course of the administration of the Act. The first one I would refer the Minister to is under Section 15. There is at present a case pending in the Supreme Court on this point. Surely we should make up our minds what is the proper thing to do and not have litigants going to court faced with this difficulty. Under Section 15, a person who has applied for a licence—under any of these sections —may ask the court, if he builds a house in this way and the conditions laid down are fulfilled, will he get a licence. These people come to the court before they go to the expense as they used to do, of building the entire premises at very considerable cost—it can run into £20,000, as it did in one case—and the person could be at the loss of that amount, if he did not get the licence, as very nearly happened.

One of the conditions that have to be complied with is that you have to give evidence that the building would have a poor law valuation of over £10. Of course you could not give that proof because there is no building there and therefore, of course, the statute just became inoperative. That is the matter that is now before the Supreme Court Perhaps the Minister would have a look at that.

The same situation, practically, would arise where, in order to comply with the statutory provisions, the applicant has to purchase or otherwise extinguish, as the case may be, one or two licences. He makes those arrangements. He must do so when he comes before the court under Section 15. He has those licences but perhaps he will not be able to build the premises for a year or, as in a case which I had myself, for more than two years. What is to become of the licences during that period? He should be able to extinguish the licence on the first application.

Another difficulty has arisen under Section 19 in connection with a hotel licence. Under that section, you can get a bar in a hotel, if you extinguish a licence. Again the whole point is to try to extinguish as many licences as possible throughout the country as many of them are considered to be only nuisances. Then you get a bar. Suppose an owner wants to extend his hotel premises: hotel business has increased and the owner wants to add a few bedrooms. He cannot do it. Those are some of the matters that have arisen in the course of the operation of this Act. They are not very serious but, as the Minister has this opportunity, perhaps he would look into them. My objections to this Bill may be summarised by saying that, in so far as the Bill deals with the extension of hours I am against that principle. So far as there are other matters, I shall await confirmation or otherwise of my views on Committee Stage and the Justification of each particular section, and on that confirmation and justification or otherwise, my vote will be recorded.

I have listened to all the complaints about the hours. Some Deputies maintained they were too long but with the exception of Deputy Corry, nobody referred to the hours in the dancehalls. I speak with practical experience of what happens in my own constituency. I had expected some Deputies to make some protest against the hour of 4 o'clock in the morning as the time given by district justices in respect of dancehalls. I know the Minister has attempted under this legislation to curtail the number of dancehalls in the area but he has left the loopholes, the exemptions for members of an association.

The Minister must be aware that there are very clever owners of dance-halls and as they have got over other difficulties, they will get over the difficulty of trying to convince district justices about special exemptions for associations. I am aware of a dance-hall and licensed premises in my constituency where drink is available until closing and the men are given a half dance-ticket free to remain in the bar so that when the Gardaí come in, these men can prove they paid for admission to the dance. The dance-hall is in the yard of the licensed premises. Several rows have taken place in the last year and a number of men have been brought to hospital. It is well known to the clergy and others that this is nothing more than an excuse for getting beer under the pretence of being at a dance.

An experienced superintendent in my constituency, when opposing these exemptions, described the premises concerned as legalised shebeens. Here was a responsible official who was not speaking lightly but giving evidence of what was taking place within his own knowledge. The Minister must be aware even in Dublin of the accidents that have taken place in the early hours of the morning, not even on licensed premises, but coming from these dance-halls.

I hope he will ensure that no person under 21 will be supplied with intoxicating liquor in these dance-halls. If not, we shall have to put in an amendment. No publicans I know would supply teenagers in a licensed premises; they would not be asked to do so because the families would know about it, but we know that in dance-halls their partners buy intoxicating liquor for young girls and we know the results. That would not happen in a licensed premises. I do not see what is the use of closing licensed premises at a certain hour and allowing people to go up the street or down the street or even remain in the same place and continue drinking on the pretence of attending a dance.

I hope the Minister will not yield to appeals made by various organisations under the guise of charity. There is a dance-hall near my constituency, not ten miles from Dublin city, where there are 600 couples every Sunday night and there is no drinking. The city people are coming down for quiet enjoyment without any trouble.

There is this question of meals. The Minister is giving special exemptions under Section 10. One would be surprised at the number of special exemptions and the special reasons given by members of associations. The Minister is under the impression that it will convenience members of associations. Does he not realise that in the particular village or area concerned everybody will go to the place? I think if I were a member of the licensed trade, I should have a bigger grievance about drink being allowed in dance-halls than I would have about some of the other sections. There are a number of dance-halls in the country which are well regulated and where no drink is consumed. I am concerned with the person who devotes his time to organising dances which are really only an excuse for serving drink. It is surprising the number of people who have been brought to hospital drunk from some of these dances.

I realise the Minister cannot please everybody but let us do our best to promote the right kind of legislation in this respect. I am concerned only with trying to control the amount of drink consumed in these dance-halls. The Taoiseach has pointed out that there has been more drink consumed in Ireland in the past couple of years than previously. I venture to say there is more drink consumed at these dances than in many of the licensed premises whose proprietors have to pay rates and rent and keep up a certain standard in their area.

Much to my surprise, I have heard the publicans taking a beating here this evening from all sides of the House. I have never looked upon publicans as these disguised devils they appear to be in the thunder of Deputy Corry. I have always looked upon publicans, both in cities and towns, as the people who provided the rallying points in this country when they were needed. It is very easy to come into this House and run down these men. We should look upon ourselves as a nation of adults. If a man wants to go into a public house to have a drink, he is entitled to do so. Therefore, it is the duty of the Minister to have well-regulated hours.

I am one of the people who would take into consideration what the publican would tell me and particularly what a large number of publicans would tell me. Dublin and Cork are county boroughs and I leave them to their own business. I come from the county borough of Waterford and Waterford is exempted from the mid-day closing. I presented the Minister with a memorial that was signed by between 70 and 80 publicans to the effect that they wanted the hour in Waterford. We should take cognisance of that. There is something else of which the Minister should take cognisance in regard to Waterford and the rest of the country.

I heard Deputy Costello saying times have changed, that we are living in a different era and that it is not necessary to have this 2.30 closing. I disagree with Deputy Costello there and I say it is necessary. Housekeepers, workers' wives have come to me saying that the hour should be retained. I am talking from the point of view of the people for whom we are supposed to cater. In the past year a great number of our workers have got a 40-hour week which means they finish their work on a Friday night. Many of these "boyos" will find their way into the public houses at about 10 or 11 in the morning and will stay there for the day. A great many of them will stay there with their wages in their pocket and it is not good. With the 2.30 closing they would have to go home.

Let me come to the publicans. It may be said that if the publican wants to close at 2.30 he can do so. It is foolish to say that. The publican is in a highly competitive business. If there are two or three men in a city or town opening between 2.30 and 3.30, if the law permits them, all the publicans will have to open. This matter must be looked at democratically. In the city of Waterford the publicans want the 2.30 to 3.30 closing hour. I submit respectfully to the Minister they should get it and I shall give the Minister the opportunity of providing it for them by putting down an amendment.

I am a reasonably abstemious person but when I hear Deputies here speaking about dance-halls and the conduct there I ask: Are we not adults? There have been scenes in dance-halls and there has been rowdyism but it is not a Liquor Bill that will stop rowdyism in the dance-halls. If the district justices looked to their business and imposed severe punishment on these "boyos" who go to dance-halls to kick up a row, that would die out very quickly.

Deputy Everett surprised me by talking about a dance in Arklow where there are 300 or 600 couples every week and where there is no drink and everything is fine. With all respect to him, I do not know anything about this dance-hall but any of these dance-halls I have seen where there would be 100 or 150 cars there would be drinking in every car outside the dance. If there are to be dances—and why should there not be dances? —it is usually a local publican who is running the dance. He knows how to run it. There is no such thing as giving anybody free tickets going into the dance. There are plenty of people going there. It is better the drink should be under his control, because he is the professional, than to have the hip-flasks and the cases of stout in the cars up and down the road.

I hear people even still speaking in horror about thebona fide traffic that was stamped out by the last Liquor Bill saying it was a most evil thing. I never saw any great harm in it at all. If you went out of Dublin or out of Cork or Waterford and came to a place where you could get a drink, there was nothing wrong with that. There was not a big percentage of people who constantly went out to get drink. As a matter of fact, these are the people who will get drink no matter what will happen. We should not have to legislate for the whole country and put everybody in a strait jacket just to tie up a few wrongdoers.

With regard to the Sunday hours of 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., I have already presented the Minister with the memorial from my area. I should like to remind the Minister that publicans are just like other people—they can work only a certain number of hours. Organised workers today are seeking a 40-hour week. The publican is expected to stand on his feet from early Sunday morning to late on Sunday night. He has to get his place ready for the morning opening. He has to go back again at 3.30 p.m. to get the place ready for four o'clock opening. He has to stay there until ten o'clock at night. In actual fact, he is there until midnight because he has to clean up. Some people may brush that argument aside and say that the publican should employ more men. That is all very fine, but there are a number of publicans who cannot afford to employ anybody. There are also publicans who can employ people. If the latter want to keep open during these hours, they will have to employ more people. I offer no apology for pleading the publicans' point of view. They are big ratepayers; they are big employers. As I said, their houses are not alone social centres but rallying points. They were rallying points in the days when rallying points were needed.

It would have been a dreadful thing if Section 15 had been passed by this House. It gives me some hope for democracy that the pressure brought on the Minister by the Fine Gael Party, and some of his own back benchers, caused him a little tremor. He obviously said to himself: "If I bring this in, I may not have the troops". If the Minister had 78 Deputies over there, he would probably have steam-rolled this provision through the House. Perhaps it was a good thing that, remembering his position, he withdrew the section.

That consideration never worries us.

It would have worried the Government all right. It would have been a grave injustice to have passed this section. It is not a good thing for a Deputy on the Government benches to say his Party would not worry, would steamroll a provision through the House, and crush the people under an unjust section like Section 15. If Section 15 went through every licensed premises in the country would not be worth half its present value.

Deputy J.A. Costello said we should not mind that.

I have always held my own opinion.

It is a pity the Deputy does not vote that way.

I have always given my own opinion here and I have supported my opinion with my vote. I do not want advice from the Deputy from Mayo. I do not want to listen to his claptrap.

It is a good thing that there should be a certain amount of control. I do not think the pubs should be open the moment a football match finishes. It would be better if the supporters went home to their tea and came out to the pubs after their tea. I am giving the Minister the opinions of the wives and mothers, and not just one or two of them, but groups of wives and mothers whom I questioned about this opening. They threw up their hands in holy horror at the idea of 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday opening. I do not see why we should sacrifice everything for the sake of uniformity. I do not see why we should crush, or hurt, people merely for the sake of uniformity.

Many tourist resorts do great business in the months of July and August and are practically idle for the rest of the year. These hours are all wrong for them. I have been in tourist resorts. I have seen busloads of people coming into them on Sundays. I have seen these people thrown out of the pubs at two o'clock on wet Sundays. I have seen the buses leaving at four o'clock or five o'clock in the evening in bad weather. We very of ten have bad weather. We should cater for these people. People out for a day are in a different category altogether from the young fellows who may go into the pub on Sunday morning and want to stay there all day. I appeal to the Minister to consider giving the courts power to permit these places to open at special times on Sunday. When one goes to these resorts, be they in Donegal, Mayo, Galway, or southern Ireland, one does not want to be compelled to end the day at 10 p.m. when on holiday. The Minister should consider that aspect of the matter, not alone in relation to tourists but also in relation to our own people who go to the seaside for a day.

It may be said that I want the pubs closed in Waterford. That is not so. I want the hours that the Waterford publicans asked for. I asked these publicans why they wanted to close at 9 p.m. on Sunday and they told me that, in the Summer especially, they would like to go to Tramore and have a drink in someone else's pub. I think that is very reasonable.

With regard to the adequate meal, the Minister has withdrawn the section but he hinted that he might becoming back again. I advise him never to come in here again with anything like that. Other people made an attempt to prescribe an adequate meal. There was a time when adequate meals had to be served in London night clubs. The proprietors smashed through all the licensing laws. An adequate meal was served, but nobody was allowed to eat it. The one adequate meal was served up to successive patrons. You would have all this chicanery coming into the business by legalising that.

I would say to the Minister, too, that I was surprised when this Bill came out. I could not find anybody down in my area in favour of it. Nobody seemed to want it. A great number of people will be satisfied because the Minister has withdrawn Section 15. That was a good thing. I hope the Minister will apply the same policy to certain other sections in the Bill when we reach Committee Stage. I intend to move one or two amendments and I hope the Minister will meet them as he has met what evidently was the opinion of the whole House on Section 15.

Fearaim fáilte roimh an mBille seo mar dúnann sé na bearnaí a bhí fágtha ar oscailt san Acht, 1960. I welcome this Bill because it closes a lot of the gaps which were left open under the 1960 Act. I want to refer in particular to Section 17, about which Deputy J.A. Costello spoke. He opposes subsection (2). I think it is the most justified subsection in the Bill.

We all realise that there are far too many public houses in the State. It is a great pity that it was not possible to enforce the 1927 Act which closed many of them and gave compensation. I hope many of the redundant public houses will be closed. There are 1,300,000 people in the Six Countires and there are 2,500 public houses. In our part of the country, there are 12,130 public houses. It is held in the Six Counties that there are too many public houses there. If our proportion were as low as their proportion, we would have in the vicinity of 5,000 public houses instead of over 12,000.

There is hardly a town in the mid-lands or west of the Shannon where you can say there is not an extensive number of public houses. Ballaghaderreen, a small town, is famous for having 70 or 80 public houses. A fault in the 1960 Act was the fact that a rich man could buy out two licences and set up beside one of these unfortunates who is trying to struggle along. Under this Bill, he must be a mile away from the existing public houses. In that respect, I welcome this subsection of Section 17.

Deputy Everett spoke about dance halls. In my county, the dance halls are properly run. It is not correct to say that every car driver has a shebeen: that statement is a great injustice.

It is. I have been on the committees of many dances. In Mullingar, the position is that when the bar is closed, the attendance is better. The people conduct themselves properly. There are fewer accidents when there are no bars. Consequently, I deprecate what has been said to the effect that where there is a dance, everybody outside has the boot of the car full of liquor. That is a misstatement and should not be made here.

I welcome this Bill because it closes a lot of the gaps in the 1960 Act and, in particular, I welcome subsection (2) of Section 17.

At the outset, I want to compliment the Minister on the introduction of a sane and sensible Bill. In fact, with very few alterations, it could be the sanest and most sensible Bill of its type introduced into this House for many years. I realise perfectly well that it is impossible for any Minister to introduce a Bill of this type which will meet the wishes of all sections of the community. In fact, I wonder if it would be possible to bring in a Bill which would meet the wishes of even two publicans, not to mind the number involved.

On this occasion, it happens that a reasonably good Bill has been introduced and, with little doubt, will go through this House. I am a publican. It may be thought that I am biased in favour of the publicans: I am not. Anything I have to say in relation to this Bill will be in favour of the public. I remember the time, previous to the 1960 Act, when in practically all parts of the country, the last customer went out when he had no money left. As far as I know, nobody seemed to raise any objection to that. Despite the fact that a man could drink away, so long as he had either money or credit, nobody in the State that I know of raised any serious objection to that situation. It was only when the Government had the guts and commonsense to regulate drinking hours that anybody found it necessary to start grumbling and castigating the Government.

It is rather remarkable that as a result of a reduction in drinking hours —there was a reduction—drinking increased. It increased for the simple reason that when people could not drink during the hours they wished to drink, they bought drink and took it out in cars. That happened all over the country. There is no use in anybody here saying it did not. It would be much better for people to drink in public houses at any hour of the day or night, where there is some control, than to have a position in which they can drink outside in cars without let or hindrance, anywhere they want to, whenever, whenever and however they like.

One would think, from what has been said here, that a law has been passed to compel people to drink. There is no such law. Everybody here is perfectly free. There is no more obligation on anybody to go into a public house than there is to go into a church or any other place. It is a matter of free will.

When the Dublin people want to lord it over the country people, they get no support. In the light of the prices charged for drink in Dublin, there is no reason, good, bad or indifferent, why the Dublin publicans should not be able to staff their houses properly and, incidentally, to keep them properly and to use the proper types of utensils. They are nothing but usurers charging exorbitant prices, as evidenced by the fact that they can sell their public houses at colossal prices. We are told by certain sections of the House that they have not sufficient staff, but there is so much labour available and so many people out of employment that it would be a good job if this Bill were introduced only to give more employment.

I have no interest in the Dublinman; I am interested only in the rural community. I have a letter with me from theSunday Review of May 27th. I quote:

If the present hours for public houses are continued in the country districts—especially on Sunday evenings—even the payment of a subsidy to remain on the land will not prevent the greatest migration from the land ever recorded.

We in the country are not convicted criminals. We are human beings leading a hard and often unrewarding life, and we do deserve in fact we demand, fair treatment from our Government, despite the rantings of every crank in the country.

The Government should go ahead with its proposals, and so make life bearable in the country districts.

If it surrenders to those cranks and vested interests, farming as a lot of us know it will disappear, because no one will be found to remain on the land.

The letter is signed: "R.H., Co. Cavan", and he must be the most sensible man in that county. There is no question about it: the man who wrote that letter speaks for the vast majority of the rural inhabitants.

You can have a 40-hour week for the Dublin worker, if you wish, but you cannot train the west of Ireland cow into observing a 40-hour week, or anything like it, either from the point of view of feeding or milking. In view of the fact that most of the exodus from the country by way of emigration is from the rural areas, we must take cognisance of that fact, and give those people at least the ordinary amenities and facilities to which they are absolutely and justly entitled. If Dublin people do not want to work or drink except within certain prescribed hours, that is no concern of mine or the people I represent.

The Minister has taken a very sensible stand in his attitude towards the opening of public houses on Sundays. He has made it possible for the first half hour, from 12 o'clock to 12.30 p.m. to be dealt with by court order. I would suggest to him that if it appears that there is reasonable demand for it, the hours from 4 o'clock to 6 o'clock in the 4 o'clock to 10 o'clock opening could be dealt with in a similar fashion and that if the majority of the public houses in an area wish to have those hours, they could be dealt with by a court order.

We must consider the tourist areas, no matter what onyone says, because tourism is a tremendously big industry in the west of Ireland. It is of very great importance. Surely if the day is wet, we cannot expect tourists to go around twiddling their thumbs? Anyone with commonsense or intelligence would probably like to ramble into a public house and have a chat with a neighbour and perhaps criticise another neighbour. We could do a lot worse. We must give these facilities and the Minister is reasonable in giving them. Deputies know that over the past two years, they have been pestered by people looking for longer hours. No Deputy expected to get those longer hours and now that the Minister has treated them reasonably, some people say they do not want them at all. I do not believe that.

In the west of Ireland, half the licences are six-day licences. When the 1960 Bill was introduced, provision was made whereby publicans could change their six-day licences to seven-day licences by paying £200 to the Revenue Commissioners but there was a time limit. I do not want it to go on until the end of time, but I suggest that even at this late stage, the Minister might give an extension of that term. It would not cost the Government anything financially.

Publicans will change their licences eventually, anyway, and if the Minister were to give that extension it would, in my opinion, be beneficial to the seven-day licensees because it would mean that at least for a term they would not have to face increased opposition. If the Minister does not extend the term, the position will be that, beg, borrow or steal, everyone will get the money for a seven-day licence on the final day. I suggest that as a token of goodwill, politically and otherwise, the Minister would be doing a very good turn for himself, his Party, the publicans and the country generally if he gave that extension— I am not saying for how long; I leave that to himself. It would have no effect financially on the Government and it would be beneficial to everyone concerned.

I should like to make a plea that the privilege extended in Dublin to dockers and others who have to go out early in the morning which enables them to get a drink will not be withdrawn. I think I heard the Minister say this evening that it is not be withdrawn. I suggest to him that no matter what pressure is put on him to withdraw that provision, he should ignore it. If the publicans who open early in the morning, do a legitimate trade and give the necessary facilities to those who support their public houses, are forced into a position where they will not have those facilities, naturally enough they will have to find some other way of maintaining their incomes and their revenue from the sale of drink. I can assure the Minister that if he withdraws that provision, they will find a less legitimate means to keep up their revenue. No matter what type of letters are written and no matter what pressure is brought to bear I suggest the Minister has done the right thing and I compliment him on doing so.

I do not intend to deal in detail with the various sections of the Bill at this stage. I intend to reserve until Committee Stage specific suggestions for alterations which I have to offer. I shall confine myself simply to general remarks on the Bill as I see it.

First and foremost, I should like to congratulate the Minister on the fair and open way he has tackled this problem. He has reviewed what, in his opinion, were the objections to the 1960 Act. Having read his speech carefully, I cannot but say that on the whole I can agree with the conclusions he has drawn, and in general, I favour the remedies he suggests. In my opinion, it would be impossible for any Minister to introduce a Bill that would meet with the approval of everyone in the Dáil. There are different interests here. There are some people who think we should not drink at all. Others think we should drink all day, or that facilities for drinking all day and all night should be available.

The Minister has to decide what is in the best interests of the public and what are reasonable laws for the people which will win the support of the majority. I believe the main reason for disagreement on the last Bill was the attitude taken then by the Minister that there could not be any differential between the cities and the county boroughs and other parts of Ireland. If the present Minister is taking the same view I believe any Bill he introduces will cause dissatisfaction and unrest because it is quite clear, and it must be clear to everybody, that the interests in the county boroughs are all in favour of less drinking hours on Sundays. The publicans' representatives in my own city of Waterford are strongly in favour that the closing hour of 2.30 to 3.30 should remain. In the rural and urban areas throughout Ireland, certainly in the rural portions of my constituency of Waterford, the opinion is that Sunday opening hours should be extended as the Minister proposes and I am in agreement with that. I think it was the last speaker who said that you would want to invent a 40-hour cow that would not need to be milked or fed at 5 o'clock, if the rural worker was to take advantage of the present Sunday opening hours. I saw some lunatic writing to the paper on Sunday last to the effect that the new Bill was going to interfere with Devotions. If Devotions do not take place in rural Ireland between 5 o'clock and 8 o'clock I do not know when they take place. Certainly, extending the hour to 10 o'clock is not going to interfere with Devotions.

My big grievance against the previous Act was that the very hours you were permitted to drink in the rural areas were at a time when, if you were a rural worker, you would be feeding cattle or doing some other work or in an urban area you would be going to Devotions and you would have the pleasure of seeing other people coming out. Extending the hours to 10 o'clock is an excellent extension. On the whole, the grievances of rural people were confined to Sunday drinking. If there is to be no differential, 4 o'clock to 10 o'clock have to be the hours. In Dublin if you have to cater for GAA matches and other games you do need to open them after 5 o'clock. You must cater for people who go to sports meetings on practically every Sunday in the cities.

I cannot for the life of me see why there should be no differential. There is a good case to be made for a differential and everything tends towards that. Already the Minister has proposed a differential when he says that if in a country area all publicans agree and if there is no objection from the Church the justice may be permitted to extend the hour from 12 to 12.30. That is giving a differential for a country area compared with an urban area. I suggest that in tourist areas the hours from 4 to 10 are not satisfactory and that there is a case to be made for places like Tramore. If the tourist is so wealthy as to be able to become a resident in a hotel, what drinking hours has he got? The Minister said that he can drink practically the whole day or night. Is it because he is a privileged person that he can do that while the working man has to confine himself to his time off, when he has got the children to bed, to a limited period of between 8 o'clock and 10 o'clock, because he has the misfortune to have to stay in a boarding house rather than in a hotel de luxe?

I suggest that is unfair discrimination and that people, whether they stay in boarding houses or with friends in private houses, are just as welcome here and should get the same facilities. Privileged sections should not be created by giving to de luxe hotels or any kind of hotels special privileges that are not made available to the rest of the people who come here. The Minister in his speech asks how are you going to define it. I suggest that his advisers would be able to define it if asked to do so. Surely something could be arranged whereby district justices could not grant exemption orders unless there has been produced to them evidence as to the habits of the people attending that particular place, during a certain period of the year, for refreshment purposes? It would be quite possible to make a case for genuine tourist areas. I could produce proof that Tramore strand is visited on Sunday by some 20,000 to 30,000 people. You could produce the same evidence for places like Ardmore and other resorts and, perhaps, inland places could do the same. Surely the onus of producing proof could be put on those seeking exemption and the question of satisfying himself whether they were right or wrong could be left to the district justice?

It is true that some district justices in the past have given unusual decisions. I suggest that that was because in their hearts they did not accept the law. They had to administer the 1960 Act but they did not accept it because they knew it was wrong for the people and they administered it in such a way as to give the utmost leniency within their power under the Act. I believe that the Minister is wrong when he suggests that to avail of a licence for a dance, to have a bar at a dance, it should be conditional that a full meal should be served or charged for at the door. I know that for a hunt ball in, say, a small town like my own, they hire a hall and if they charge 30/- or 35/- they can get Mrs. Lawlor of Naas down to do the catering, but what about a hurling club which can only charge 10/-? They will not be able to get Mrs. Lawlor down to do the catering. Does that mean that hurling or soccer clubs or other clubs have to be deprived of their only means of revenue, in addition to their sporting fixtures, because they are deprived of refreshments at a dance? I suggest that is unfair and the Minister should examine the matter. As I said, these are some of the objections I have. I propose to table amendments to try to induce the Minister to accept an alteration in that.

I suggest an omission in the Bill is that there is no provision for erasing the clause where it is made mandatory on a justice to endorse a licence. An endorsement of the licence is a good thing and it should be there where people are running disorderly houses and it is a final threat to them, but I do not think it should be mandatory on judges to do it each time after the first offence. I believe there are extenuating circumstances, and a publican can very well be caught out without any intention of breaking the licensing laws. He can be caught by a person delaying for a minute or two beyond the legal period.

It is not so easy in Great Britain because you have the system where it is delayed up to, say, 11 o'clock. There you are permitted, provided there is proof that there was no drink sold after 11 o'clock, a quarter of an hour to finish your drink. A Minister can say that the publican can do that by not serving drink after 10.45 and that he would still have a quarter of an hour to clear the house, but it is not as easy as that. Supposing the Minister said that there will be 10 minutes or five minutes' grace and if anybody is caught selling drink after 11 o'clock, he can be convicted, it is most unfair that if some local customer refuses to leave for a short period and the publican is genuinely endeavouring to ease him out, as he must do, if a Garda takes advantage of that, that man will be prosecuted and if found guilty of having been on the premises, the justice must also endorse his licence. The Minister should take advantage of this Bill to change that situation.

I repeat that I propose to avail of the Committee Stage to table amendments which I feel are proper, but I should like to conclude by saying that I recognise the Minister's attempt to meet the various complex problems that arise in these cases. He has done an excellent job and I should like to congratulate him on it.

I have no intention of holding up the House very long, and I just want to make a few remarks on this very controversial Bill. As the Deputy for a constituency which includes a large dockside area, I must compliment the Minister on the courtesy and broadmindedness he has shown in his approach to the problem of the early opening. He has met many deputations who were all anxious to present the case for the preservation of thestatus quo and he has listened patiently and with a sincere desire to meet the wishes of all concerned. I do not think it was the intention of the Minister to inflict hardship on any particular class. Dock workers and workers in the gas company have made the case that the abolition of the early opening would, in fact, have constituted a hardship, and I want to express my appreciation of the Minister's decision to retain early opening for licensed premises in the dockside area.

The aspect on which the early opening must be judged is whether the concession has been abused. The case has been made to prove that there has been no abuse, and it should be remembered that if the order is abused the court has power to withdraw it or alter it. A case has also been made that the description "dockside houses" has been too loosely applied. The Minister's decision to limit the number of licensed premises to those already enjoying the exemption order should meet that objection.

Dock workers, gas workers and other workers in the area have expressed their desire to have the 7.30 opening maintained. This desire has been made known to the workers' representatives, and those representatives would not have pressed that claim if they were not certain that the demands made were in the best interests of the workers they represent. Many people believe drink, and drink only, can be obtained in those licensed premises enjoying the benefit of a general exemption order. The fact is that it is a condition of every exemption order that the licensee must supply food and non-alcoholic drink at reasonable prices to any person demanding the same. This point, allied to the fact that most dockside publicans have spent considerable sums of money making their shops clean, bright and comfortable should dispose of the argument that houses that open early are squalid drinking shops catering only for workers who need what is known as a "cure".

The Deputy is not overlooking the fact that we are going ahead, that we have met him.

I know that, but I would still like to make the case that the Minister's decision is just. I do not want to hold up the House. Dockside workers need solid and liquid refreshment. The Minister has met this question in an excellent manner, and he is worthy of any help which can be given to him by Deputies on all sides of the House.

I had not intended to speak tonight, and I have left most of my material behind me, including 27 circulars from pioneer associations, dockworkers, barmen, publicans and individuals.

Deputies should judge the Bill on its merits, and while it is understandable that they have to take cognisance of certain groups in their area they ought to see the Bill in its entirety and to do justice to everyone, and not limit their views just to where it might serve themselves best. I have certain views on the Bill. Like my friend Deputy Cummins I was lobbied about the closing of the dockside early licences, and I was very much impressed by the deputations that came to me. I was satisfied that it would be an injustice to close those public houses, or deprive them of the 7 o'clock opening, because there is no question of public morals at stake. People do not lose their heads in the morning though they might at night. There are no women involved in 7 o'clock opening, anyway. The case was made that these dockers hang around waiting for work, often for hours, and that it was a rather desolate place to be, especially in winter, and that they would need to be able to have a drink. Anyway, the Minister has met the objection and withdrawn the section of the Bill.

I am a very reasonable man.

I would say that you are. Regarding Section 15, a case has been made by the publicans and I think they were justified. The value of their licences would be practically destroyed, if all and sundry were to get licences, and it would be extending the whole question of licences. Instead of those persons having to get one new licence or two, the proposal was that we should invent thousands more. Anyway the Minister has withdrawn that section.

I am particularly concerned with one aspect of the Bill, that is, the Sunday evening hours. The Minister proposes to extend the hours to 9 o'clock in the winter and 10 o'clock during the summer period. I agree with that although I was told not to vote for it. I disagree with the idea of people having to leave public houses on Sunday night at 9 o'clock. What can a person do if he is put on the street at that hour? To go to a cinema or a theatre show he must have booked, and anyway all these shows begin at 8 p.m. It is too early for him to go home. A man's night is ruined if he has to leave at 9 o'clock.

It can be said, of course, that he can always go home to bed. That is nonsense. Now if the public houses were allowed to stay open until 10 p.m., as is proposed in this Bill, a man can kill the night nicely. And if he still thinks 10 o'clock a bit too early to go home, he can always have a nice walk home for himself instead of catching the bus. The only objection I have to the proposed second opening session on Sundays is that I think 4 p.m. is too early. It makes the day too long for the barmen and is absolutely unnecessary from the point of view of those attending sports fixtures, who number thousands. I submit that if the Minister changed the second opening period to begin at 5.30, he would be catering for everybody—sportsmen and barmen. It would give them all a chance. I would not, however, object to the closing hour of 10 p.m.

That is what it is to be.

I am glad to hear it. However, as I have submitted, I hope the Minister will seriously consider a later opening to the second Sunday opening period—say 5.30. That would solve everybody's problem and would cut out the complaints of those who are shouting about this extension of the drinking hours. I shall press this on Committee Stage. Otherwise, I have no particular objection to the Bill as it stands now. It is always difficult for people from the city to put themselves in the place of those from the country areas in matters of this kind. Both types have very different approaches to such questions.

However, I believe we can all agree that there should be less restraint in tourist areas. After all, they can be described as being special areas to which people go to enjoy themselves. Part of that enjoyment may come from sing-songs in public houses, as, I think, the Minister pointed out. I wonder if the Bill proposes to allow such sing-songs on licenced premises. I think they are a very good idea, particularly since they give tourists something to do and somewhere to go for entertainment in seaside areas during rainy weather. From that point of view I think they are to be encouraged, in the proper surroundings, of course, rather than banned. As I said earlier, I am surprised that the main Opposition Party should oppose this measure at its Second Stage. I think it is nonsense to endeavour at this stage to defeat a Bill in which all will agree there are many good points.

I think it is true to say Deputies have given expression to a wide variety of views on this measure. I am entitled to assume that, by and large, whereas individual Deputies have objected to particular provisions and have in some cases spoken very strongly, the Bill in its main aspects is acceptable. In that way, I think the House is doing no more than reflecting the general public opinion throughout the country in respect to the Bill. My experience of the reactions to the Bill—the reservations with which it has been met, the representations I have received in respect to it—confirms me in the opinion that as far as particular provisions in the measure are concerned there will be a section of the public or a volume of opinion obviously opposed to it, but as against any such section opposed to any one provision in it, there is a very considerable majority which can be said to be in favour of the same provision. Accordingly, whereas one provision in the Bill will be opposed by one person or section, I can on my part mobilise a far greater number who approve of the very same provision.

I should like now to deal with the criticisms of those who said the Bill was unwanted. In my opening remarks I dealt rather cursorily with that. I say now that nothing could be further from the truth than to suggest this Bill was not wanted by anybody. The pressures and the demands made on me and, I think, on all Deputies in the House, for changes and alterations in the licensing laws far outweigh anything I have experienced in political life, so that it is absurd to suggest that nobody wanted the Bill or wanted a change.

I do not, at this stage, want to go into the merits of the various proposals enshrined in the Bill and I hope Deputies will excuse me if I do not now follow up the particular arguments that have been made with regard to specific points. It has been rightly said that the time in which to have a closely-knit discussion on these matters is during the Committee Stage. Then we can relevantly go into all the factors in all the proposals and come to a composite decision. This Bill is particularly appropriate for that type of discussion.

On the general principle of the Bill, I am more puzzled now than ever at the attitude of the main Opposition Party. I am like Deputy Sherwin. We are two reasonable and sensible men and in most things find ourselves in agreement. I am in full agreement with Deputy Sherwin in wondering what the reason is for the main Opposition Party's endeavour to refuse a Second Reading to the Bill. I was puzzled at the outset at the Fine Gael attitude but I am more than ever so now because, during this debate, Deputy M.J. O'Higgins and others have admitted that there are a number of good provisions in the Bill. Surely if that is so they should adopt the attitude of letting the Bill go to the Committee Stage and seeing what good things they can preserve and what bad things, bad things in their opinion, they can get rid of?

The discussion of the principles of the Bill has boiled down to two main issues. The first is the principle of uniformity and the second is the question of Sunday opening. On the question of uniformity, I am firmly convinced that it is an excellent principle in licensing matters. I think that the 1960 Act owes its undoubted success all over the country to its adherence to the principle of uniformity. The general acceptance of its provisions throughout the country is due to the fact that people feel that here is a law which is fair to everyone and for that reason they have more respect for and acceptance of it than they would otherwise have.

I am prepared to admit that there is nothing divine about the principle of uniformity and that the House might, if it so wished, depart from it but once we breached the principle of uniformity at one point we would gradually have to give in all along the line until eventually we would have a hotch potch of legislation. If we can at all, we should adhere to the principle of uniformity.

Where is the necessity to breach the principle? As far as I can see it boils down to this. We are asked to depart from the principle of uniformity because it does not suit the convenience or the profits of the publicans of Dublin and Cork. It seems to me to come down to that. Generally speaking, Deputies are prepared to admit that the provisions of the Bill are reasonably satisfactory in regard to seaside resorts, rural areas and country towns generally. Deputies can see good reasons for having the hours uniform over most of the country.

I am prepared to admit that they are not entirely suitable to Dublin and Cork. I do not think that opening at 4 o'clock on Sundays is essential in Dublin or Cork, but I do not think that is the issue. I think that something far more than the convenience of the publicans of Dublin and Cork should be put forward before I should be asked to breach the principle of uniformity. I want to say this about publicans generally. They must realise that they are in the catering business which is a very special type of business and one which makes onerous demands on those who go into it. If there is inconvenience for the Dublin and Cork publicans they will just have to put up with it. They are in this type of business and they cannot have everything to suit themselves and, for the general good, they will just have to accept this.

I do not accept the argument that this is going to be disastrous from the point of view of the Dublin and Cork publicans. If they come along and say that they will do no business between 4 o'clock and 6 o'clock on the Sunday afternoon the answer is that they are skilled people and have great experience in their trade and they must be able to come to some arrangements, through their various organisations, with regard to skeleton staffs. There is no obligation on them whatever to keep open at any time they do not want to. If they cannot get together through their own organisations and work out local arrangements I do not think they would be entitled to expect me to do it. That might be so if it were something for the overall public good, but I do not think it is fair in this case.

I want to say something about the question of the tourist trade. I am the first to admit that the tourist industry is very important and valuable from the point of view of our economy, but in this matter I am not primarily concerned and the Government are not primarily concerned with the tourist trade, and to attribute to the Government the motive of doing things in the interest of the tourist trade is erroneous and misleading. Our first aim in dealing with matters of this sort should be to provide for the reasonable requirements and good of our own people. That is the essential principle. We have our own traditions and social customs and we must legislate first and foremost to suit these traditions and customs.

Having done that and decided what is good for our own people, then we should endeavour to see that what tourists require when they come here is, where reasonable, provided for them. But there is practically no provision in this Bill which is designed to cater primarily for tourists. I am primarily concerned with meeting the reasonable requirements and demands of our own people. Having done that, I am prepared to go ahead and provide anything the tourist people may say would help in their own business. The backbone of our tourist industry is the working man from across the Channel. By and large, he constitutes easily the most important section of our tourist industry and I am fully in agreement with Deputy Kyne on the necessity of catering for him. In that respect I want to point out that some confusion appears to exist as to tourist resorts. There are more tourists in Dublin city than in any other particular part of the country. If you want to talk about a specialised tourist area I would say that there is no such thing because Dublin is as much a tourist centre as Tramore or Ballybunion or any other centre or resort.

On the question of Sunday hours, I am pleased to note that, by and large, Deputies agree that 10 o'clock on Sunday night is an appropriate hour for closing. It has been suggested that in rural areas 10.30 o'clock or 11 o'clock would be more suitable but I feel that 10 o'clock is a more reasonable hour because Sunday is a special day and there should be a distinction between Sundays and the other days of the week. Almost without exception Deputies have agreed that 10 o'clock closing on Sunday is correct. But there has been expressed a fairly wide measure of disagreement about evening opening on Sundays.

Even the Fine Gael Party cannot find agreement amongst themselves on this matter. Deputy Byrne, who represents the same constituency as myself, would refuse to have any other opening hour than 5 o'clock on Sunday. Deputy O'Higgins suggests 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. There, straightaway, is the hub of the whole question. Those hours will suit certain areas, but not others. The proposed hours of 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. are put forward as a reasonable compromise. It is not fully what the seaside resorts want; it is a little more than the cities want; but it is perfect for most rural areas. By and large, when you take all factors into consideration, all the different areas, if you want to preserve uniformity and achieve a balance of advantage and convenience for all concerned, you are inevitably driven back to the hours of from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The area exemption order is out. It is just not possible to consider reintroducing it. Unless it were to be made a complete mockery and a farce, it would not suit the needs of those for whom it would be introduced. It is no solution to the problem. It would create far more problems than it would solve. As somebody said to me, if you have to re-introduce the area exemption order, you can throw your that at the whole licensing situation.

Deputy Costello's remarks somewhat astonished me. I want to apologise to the House if I behaved in a somewhat unmannerly fashion when he was speaking. I apologise for interrupting him, but I feel I was under some provocation. First of all, he indicated in his opening remarks he supported the principle of fewer opening hours rather than more. In that regard, he objected to the Bill in principle because it would, to some extent at any rate, liberalise the situation and increase the number of opening hours. But the surprising thing about Deputy Costello was that, while he paid lip service to that principle, in regard to any particular point in the Bill about which he talked, he was going to the opposite extreme.

For instance, I think that among the soundest provisions in this Bill are the restrictions which are proposed to be put on the sale of drink in dance halls. There is nothing more perturbing for people than the trend towards drinking at these functions which has become evident in recent years. Social workers, clergymen of all denominations, parents, responsible groups of people of all sorts have expressed to me their serious perturbation about this trend. It is a trend which in recent years has shown a phenomenal increase. It is absurd to suggest our young people cannot enjoy dances without having drink. It is absurd to suggest our sporting organisations will not be able to exist unless they are allowed to carry on what amounts to a public house business. But Deputy Costello comes along, pays lip service to the principle of more restriction on facilities for drinking but nevertheless, as far as I could gather, does not want these restrictions on the sale of drink in dance halls. I interjected at that stage and asked him how was he adhering to his principles on that point.

Secondly, he was very critical about the provisions of Section 17. As Deputy Kennedy said, it is one of the most eminently sensible and reasonable proposals. To suggest it is being inserted as a result of pressure from any particular quarter is absurd. Do we not all know that the provision in the 1960 Act had one very special purpose? The purpose was to enable new public houses to be erected in remote rural areas where there was a need for them and where the reasonable needs of the people were not supplied by the existing facilities. Indeed, the Liquor Commission in adverting to this matter had in mind the more sparsely populated parts of the west.

But what happened? It was one of those things no legislators could foresee. What happened was that the provisions of the Bill were used to create new public houses, not in the remote rural parts but in the most thickly populated parts of the country —for instance, Bray. Indeed, one of the serious defects that arose was that this provision was being availed of to erect public houses where they were not needed—on the outskirts of Dublin city. That was something that was never intended. This new provision is doing nothing more than going back to what was really in the minds of the legislators when the 1960 Act was drafted, namely, to provide some machinery whereby new public houses can be provided where they are needed in the remote rural areas and not on the outskirts of cities and in large towns like Bray, where there are fat pickings.

It is absurd to suggest to this House that there is a philosophy involved in whether or not public houses stay open during the mid-day closing hour. I agree with Deputy Costello in one regard. I agree that the circumstances which brought about the insertion of this closed hour provision in the 1927 Act have largely disappeared. It is for that reason, in the interests of the principle of uniformity. I have proposed to abolish this closing in Waterford and Limerick. There is another reason why it is being done in these towns, which I shall deal with on Committee Stage. Generally speaking, it is in pursuance of the overall principle of uniformity. We propose to allow it to continue in the case of Cork and Dublin. I am not entirely convinced there is not a case for doing away with it in both these cities as well.

I have listened to all the arguments. I have listened to the publicans. I make no apology for listening to them. I think they are just as entitled to be heard as anybody else. I want to say that the Dublin publicans are divided almost equally on this point. The smaller Dublin city publican wants the closed hour retained because it gives him a chance to go for his lunch, clean up his premises and so on. The larger Dublin city publican, particularly in the tourist season, wants it done away with. With the advent of television and the influx of tourists, it makes things difficult for them to close for that hour.

There you have a practical situation, but not a situation involving any philosophical content. It is ridiculous to come in here and make charges against me because I refuse to adhere to some obscure principles with regard to a simple, practical matter like this. Either you are going to try to suit everybody's convenience as far as you can, or not. That is the only philosophy I am prepared to adhere to. Deputy Costello raised some technical points on the Bill. Indeed, we have already adverted to one of them and we propose to deal with it by an amendment on Committee Stage. I shall look into the others.

Finally, I want to return to what I said in my opening remarks. This Bill has one primary objective and was introduced for one real purpose. When the 1960 Act was introduced, it dealt with a chaotic situation. It restored law and order to the licensing trade. It brought about stability, enforcement, and impartiality. It brought about a situation which I think was welcomed by almost all Deputies and by the general public. I am concerned to safeguard that position. I am quite sure that in so far as any adjustments are necessary at this stage, they will be made before it is too late.

The 1960 Act to a very large extent met the reasonable needs and requirements of our people but because it brought with it fairly rigid enforcement it did cause dissatisfaction and inconvenience in certain respects. I want to try to ensure that those minor dissatisfactions and those isolated inconveniences will not be allowed build up to the point where they will interfere with the enforcement of the code as a whole. The code as a whole, I think, is generally acceptable and once it is generally acceptable it is capable of being enforced but, if there is any substantial volume of dissatisfaction with it then impartial and consistent enforcement becomes more difficult. Is it not better at this stage to try to find out where the reasonable complaints are and, where they exist, deal with them so that nobody will have an excuse for attempting to breach or infringe the Act? That is all that is done here.

I have sought representations from the widest possible sources. I have received views from everybody that I thought would help and I have established in so far as I could and as accurately as possible what the reasonable demands were which would make the 1960 Act as perfect as it could possibly be made because I think it is a very good Act, by and large, and I think its main provisions will remain for a long time in this country. It was obvious that some adjustments should be made and the right thing to do is to make them now and make them in time so that, as I say, the Act as a whole will be regarded by all thinking people as in its main outlines satisfactory and one which should be observed by all our people.

That is the simple principle which has inspired me and the Government to bring in this provision at this stage. I want to make the licensing law popularly accepted. I want to take all this atmosphere of "agin the law" out of licensing. There is no reason why that atmosphere should exist. There is nothing wrong about drinking, nothing criminal about it. It is a social custom and one, indeed, of which our people are reasonably fond and which by now they have learned to use in moderation, as it should be used. In that situation they are entitled to get, and we are bound as a Legislature to provide, a code which will meet their reasonable requirements and which they can universally accept as reasonable.

As I say, that is my simple motive and the motive of the Government in introducing this Bill and it is on that basis that I commend it and its general principles, and subject to whatever we may do on Committee Stage, to the House.

Will the Second Reading be put after the amendment?

Yes, immediately after.

That is assuming the amendment will be defeated.

Question put: "That the words proposed to be deleted stand".
The Dáil divided: Tá, 69; Níl, 52.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Lorcan.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Boland, Kevin.
  • Booth, Lionel.
  • Brady, Philip A.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Burke, Patrick J.
  • Calleary, Phelim A.
  • Carter, Frank.
  • Carty, Michael.
  • Childers, Erskine.
  • Clohessy, Patrick.
  • Colley, George.
  • Collins, James J.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Cotter, Edward.
  • Crinion, Brendan.
  • Kyne, Thomas A.
  • Lalor, Patrick J.
  • Lemass, Noel T.
  • Lemass, Seán.
  • Leneghan, Joseph R.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • Lynch, Jack.
  • MacCarthy, Seán.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • Meaney, Con.
  • Medlar, Martin.
  • Millar, Anthony G.
  • Crowley, Honor M.
  • Cummins, Patrick J.
  • Cunningham, Liam.
  • Davern, Mick.
  • de Valera, Vivion.
  • Dolan, Séamus.
  • Dooley, Patrick.
  • Dunne, Seán.
  • Egan, Kieran P.
  • Egan, Nicholas.
  • Fanning, John.
  • Faulkner, Padraig.
  • Gallagher, James.
  • Galvin, John.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Gibbons, James M.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • Haughey, Charles.
  • Hillery, Patrick.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Moher, John W.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Murphy, Michael P.
  • Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Ceallaigh, Seán.
  • O'Connor, Timothy.
  • Ormonde, John.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sherwin, Frank.
  • Tierney, Patrick.
  • Timmons, Eugene.
  • Treacy, Seán.

Níl

  • Barrett, Stephen D.
  • Barron, Joseph.
  • Barry, Anthony.
  • Barry, Richard.
  • Belton, Jack.
  • Browne, Michael.
  • Burke, James J.
  • Burton, Philip.
  • Byrne, Patrick.
  • Carroll, Jim.
  • Casey, Seán.
  • Clinton, Mark A.
  • Collins, Seán.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, Declan D.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Desmond, Dan.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry P.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Donegan, Patrick S.
  • Dunne, Thomas.
  • Farrelly, Denis.
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Gilhawley, Eugene.
  • Governey, Desmond.
  • Harte, Patrick D.
  • Hogan, Patrick (South Tipperary).
  • Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • Lynch, Thaddeus.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McLaughlin, Joseph.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'Donnell, Thomas G.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.K.
  • O'Keeffe, James.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick.
  • O'Sullivan, Denis J.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Reynolds, Patrick J.
  • Rooney, Eamonn.
  • Ryan, Richie.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
  • Tully, James.
Tellers: Tá—Deputies J. Brennan and Geoghegan; Níl—Deputies O'Sullivan and Crotty.
Question: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time", put and agreed to.
Committee Stage ordered for Tuesday, 12th June, 1962.