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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 5 May 1966

Vol. 222 No. 8

Income Tax Bill, 1966 ( Certified Consolidation Bill ): Referred to Joint Committee.

I now have to move a motion which does not appear on the Order Paper. It could not appear until the Second Stage had been passed.

I move:

That it is expedient that the Income Tax Bill, 1966, be referred to the Standing Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills; and

That a message be sent to the Seanad requesting its concurrence in this Resolution.

I would like a little further clarification from the Minister. I think I am the only member of a previous Committee of this nature who did not participate.

Deputy Sweetman and I were on a former Committee.

I did not appear before that Committee. There was a certificate from the Attorney-General saying that there was no change in the law. Supposing there are amendments which the Minister envisages may be necessary as a result of the 1966 Finance Act, is it the Minister's intention to appear before the Committee or will those amendments be presented? If the amendments are presented, by whom will they be presented? Will it be by the chairman or will there be a certificate from the Attorney General? Those changes merely represent changes effected by the 1966 Finance Act. Can either Deputy Sweetman or the Minister who participated in the other Committees—I think Deputy de Valera also took part—inform the House what the procedure is?

Deputy Dillon should recollect that in the case of the Fisheries Bill, the Committee which actually sat was the inheritor of the work of previous abortive Committees. I think I was chairman of the first one which was dissolved as a result of the general election. Approximately half of the work was done under that Committee. I think there may have been another Committee which was abortive, before the second one to which the Deputy is referring. In that Committee I can imagine the sections all went through but my recollection is that we took it section by section and that any member of the Committee who wished interrogated from the point of view as to whether the wording was introducing any change. We were very fully briefed on that Bill and one could compare it for oneself section by section. Why can that not be done on this particular Bill? I know it is a little more difficult to understand but I do not see why the same procedure cannot be followed.

My recollection is that that Committee sat as a Committee but that it took a decision in the very early stages. I am speaking of the first Committee. I think Deputy de Valera is not quite right when he says he was chairman of the first Committee.

Perhaps it was the second Committee.

I think the first Committee took a decision, whether by Standing Orders or by its own volition, that the Assistant Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, as he then was, who was in charge of fisheries had the right of audience for Deputy Dillon who was Minister for Fisheries. He and the other officials went through the Bill section by section. We queried the permanent officials in relation to whether the consolidation was a true consolidation. In fact, I can remember that we had a discussion lasting two days regarding gins and traps and that it went on for ages.

I think the second Committee agreed at its first meeting to take as read all the sections which the first Committee had already dealt with. The last Committee did the same thing. My recollection is that there were 49 sittings of those Committees, each of them lasting for about three hours. That was not as big a Bill as this one. Perhaps some of the language in the Bill was much older because the Bills were long before 1918. I think during the course of that Bill there were amendments to the law and those amendments to the law were incorporated in the consolidating measure. I cannot remember whether they were actually incorporated during the progress, so to speak, of one Committee or whether a new Committee took them into account.

This is the second time this Bill has appeared. I think the first Bill appeared about 15 months ago and it of course had not got the Finance Act, 1965. This one has it. My recollection of the other Committees is that after the Committee produced the amendments, the Attorney General's certificate was obtained as the last act, so to speak. At that very last date, the law was as set out in the Bill. Anybody would be optimistic if he thought that any Special Committee would be able to deal with this consolidated measure before the 1966 Finance Act was enacted. Much though I dislike it, the Minister must have a 1966 Finance Act and I hope for his sake he gets his 1966 Act before this is dealt with by the Standing Committee because if it is done carefully, it will take an awfully long time.

Deputy Sweetman's recollection is correct. Here I should like to pay a tribute to the memory of a very fine public servant, the late Mr. Rushe, was was Assistant Secretary in charge of Fisheries. The fact that he represented me on this Committee carries with it the implication that no amendments were moved.

There were a lot.

Who moved them?

I moved some. I was Chairman, and I do not know whether it was as Chairman or as a member of the Committee. I remember Deputy de Valera moving one about gins, cribs and nets. I persuaded him he was wrong.

There is a difference here between a Deputy challenging the judgment of the Attorney General as to whether the Consolidation Bill truly represents the law and acknowledging what is to be the new material put into the Bill. The Minister says he has not got the procedure ready to his hand. Doubtless an opportunity will arise——

The Minister is ex officio a member.

Of what?

Of the Committee.

Of the Consolidation Committee?

I have no recollection whatever of participating in the Consolidation Committee. I think Deputy Sweetman is correct in saying that the Committee had access to the officials of the Department.

The Minister may nominate the Parliamentary Secretary. My recollection may not be right but I think Deputy Cosgrave participated in his capacity as Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach.

Question put and agreed to.