Committee on Finance. - Livestock Marts Bill, 1967: Money Resolution.

I move:

That it is expedient to authorise such payments out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas as are necessary to give effect to any Act of the present session to provide for the control and regulation by the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries of livestock marts and the sale of livestock at such marts and to provide for other matters connected with the matters aforesaid.

We are opposing this Money Resolution for a number of reasons. We in this Party seriously object to voting money to enable the Minister to take with him, as is provided in section 7 of this Bill, a member of the Garda Síochána on a tour of the cattle marts of this country. In this way he is making out the farmers of this country to be Balubas who are going to jump on the Minister from the back of every beast and take his life.

Perhaps it might help the Deputy if I were to refer him to the circulated amendments where the particular section to which he takes objection is in fact being deleted?

You have proposed to delete it because you were kicked into it.

Do not be codding yourself.

We do not trust you as far as we can throw you.

If money is not being provided for the purpose the Deputy is referring to——

But it is being provided.

It is here in section 7 of the Bill. I shall read it for the Ceann Comhairle. Section 7 (1) (b) states that the Minister will be enabled:

to take with him a member of the Garda Síochána if he has reasonable cause to apprehend any serious obstruction in the execution of his duty;

Surely, Sir, that is one of the things we are being asked to provide money for by this Resolution.

Hear, hear.

We in this Party refuse to provide money to enable the Minister to bring with him a member of the Garda Síochána. We know that, when I put in an amendment to have this removed from the Bill, the Minister rushed in with a similar amendment. We know, too, that, when he introduced this Bill and when he saw the reaction to it throughout the country and the widespread objections raised against it, he decided he would then start to consult the people. He has since consulted the various groups. We have the recent business of his consulting the NAC, most of the members of which are the Minister's nominees. We have them consulted as to how this Bill should be drawn up to suit the Minister's purpose.

On a point of correction, most of them are not appointed by me, and the Deputy knows it.

Tell him to shut up.

Tell you to shut up.

We are not going to provide this money to give the Minister this protection for himself nor are we going to give it to enable the Minister to provide this sort of protection for any or every officer of his Department going in to make an inspection of the cattle marts and, worse still, to insist that any employee in the cattle marts can be approached and must act as a spy or informer on the man who employs him. We on this side of the House certainly will never stand for that.

Sit down for it so.

The Minister can stand up again and say: "But did you not see the amendments? I have another amendment in on that." What guarantee have we, if we provide this money, that the Minister will not say when the money is provided: "I will withdraw these amendments"? There is no assurance whatever that these amendments will go through the House. We are not going to take any chance with the Minister. We just do not know what he will do when he gets this money. We want to ensure, in opposing this motion, that he will never get the money.

Neither are we going to provide money to enable the Minister to send more of the farmers to jail, as he is providing for in section 8 of the Bill. Enough of the farmers are in jail already or have been in jail in the recent past. We are not going to provide him with more money to send more of them to jail when they should be at home working their farms and trying to recoup some of the £6 million loss suffered last year as a result of the way they were misguided and misled into a line of production for which the Government had no market. Neither are we going to vote money to ensure, as is provided for in section 1 of the Bill, that a farmer will not be allowed to sell his cattle in his own backyard or that he will not be allowed to take up his neighbour's cow and have her sold in his backyard.

This is a most far-reaching measure. There is no indication in this measure that there is any good in it or that anybody in the country is likely to reap any benefit from it. We are being asked to provide the Minister with money to enable him to wreak his vengeance on the farming organisations of this country, organisations that have done a good job. We refuse to do that.

We will have a Donegal fair yet.

We got one seat extra in the same area of Donegal.

We got 67 extra in rural Ireland.

It was only your own you were getting back.


We took one off you in Donegal, too.

Go back to Donegal and find out. You will see next Wednesday who took it.

We are not going to provide the Minister with money to enable him to deprive the co-operative societies of the right to carry on the business of co-operative marts in the best interests of their own members. That is something which the law of the country entitles them to do. That is something of which the Minister is setting out to deprive them. Under this Bill, for which he is looking for money this evening, he wants to say to the co-operative societies: "You cannot run your business according to the existing law. You must accept the cattle belonging to the puffers and the racketeers. Nobody must be refused. You must give the same benefits to those who are not members as to those who are." There is no point in the Minister and other Ministers and the Taoiseach going around the country blowing about their support for private enterprise and for co-operation if they are going to set out in this piece of legislation to kill co-operation and if they are going to come to us in this House to enable them to kill co-operation. If this House decides that this should be done, we have much less sense than I ever thought we would have.

If the co-operative marts have not the right to make their own decisions about entries, if private enterprise marts are not free to make these decisions, then it is the end of these marts. When these farmers were investing their money, they were not warned by the Minister: "When you invest your money, we will move in to control your business and, in order that we will not be prevented from doing that, we will seek and get the protection of the Garda Síochána." That was the time to warn the people but, instead of doing that, the Minister comes along now and tells them that now that they have successfully established their business he is going to take it over and is going to look to the Dáil for money to take it over.

This is something that we in this House should never agree to. This Bill is purely destructive and is of no benefit to any section of the community. It is brought in at the end of the session and is being bulldozed through the House. If the Minister thinks he is going to bulldoze such legislation through this House, he has another think coming to him. If he wants opposition he will get it and we tell him that he will not get legislation like this through the House without opposition from this Party.

This Money Resolution is a public scandal and Dáil Éireann is a much poorer place than I thought it to be if it does not refuse to furnish money to the Minister for Agriculture to publicise before the world that our farmers are not fit to be spoken to unless they are approached under police protection. I ran the Department of Agriculture for six years, for more than six years, and I introduced more schemes in that time to bring our farmers into closer contact with the Department than all the Governments who went before me. But if any inspector of my Department had come to me and asked me for authority to bring with him an inspector of the Garda to interview a farmer, I would have told him to go and seek a job in Grangegorman, because that is all he would be fit for.

Can we imagine the picture of this country being given to the world when it is said that an officer of the Department of Agriculture should not be asked to take the risk of interviewing farmers except under police protection? We hear of farmers in other countries demonstrating every day of the week, French farmers, German farmers, Dutch farmers, but where have we heard of the representatives of the Department of Agriculture in any of these countries seeking power in a Bill to approach individual farmers under police protection? How low can we sink? How low can the Department of Agriculture sink?

Can anyone imagine the officers of the Department of Health, the officers of the Department of Social Welfare, the officers of the Department of Labour coming into this House and asking for approval of a Bill so that they should have our authority and our permission to seek the company of members of the Garda Síochána when going about their business? Can you imagine what the Labour Party would say if the Minister for Labour should come in here and ask that, any time a representative of his Department was transacting business with any trade union, he should bring with him a Garda? Can you imagine the spectacle of an officer of the Department of Labour marching into Liberty Hall escorted by a posse of Civic Guards and warning all and sundry to get out of his path and that if not, he would force his path and that, if not, he would force assistance whatever number of Gardaí he would consider appropriate?

God knows, it is a bad day for this country when the Minister for Agriculture has to go about his duties under police protection. I hope we can say that we in this House will not vote this man any money for such a purpose. I wish I could believe that the members of the Fianna Fáil Party would say to themselves that they have chosen as Minister for Agriculture a man who cannot approach the farmers except under police protection and that it is time that such a man was elsewhere. We have seen members of this Government marching through pickets; we have seen them using the expedient of going in the back door to avoid the embarrassment of facing the picket; we have seen the Minister's predecessor mobilising the Black Marias, collecting the farmers from before this House and bringing them to prison, but this Minister is the first Minister of this State who has brought a proposition before Dáil Éireann asking Dáil Éireann to provide him with the money to provide police protection for himself and his inspectors in their contacts with the farmers. I dare you to vote money for such a purpose; I dare you to get up and apologise at every street corner of this country for ever bringing in such a proposal.

That is not the proposal.

Their memories are as short as their consciences. I will read for Deputy Booth the proposal to which I take objection.

Take it easy.

The more of you that come at me the better I like it.

Take it easy.

You revolt me. That is why I cannot take it easy. I want to make it clear that this House repudiates with contempt and loathing and shame the proposal put before it by the Fianna Fáil Minister for Agriculture. Deputy Booth does not know what the proposal was.

It was because Deputy Dillon flogged the Minister all around the floor that the Minister has brought in an amendment to blot out what he wanted to do.

Go away, you windbag.

The people of this country have the right to refuse to vote this money to the Minister. Deputy Booth is a most useful person to us. Slow and dull in his approach to these matters, he provides us with the opportunity of finding the lowest common denominator because we have to speak to him in words the poorest intelligence can understand.

Where is this proposal in the Bill?

The Deputy asked where is this in the Bill. I want to tell him.

I said it was not in the Bill.

Listen carefully, for several of the words in this section are polysyllabic, but, if the Deputy does not understand them. I pray him to interrupt me and I will try to convert them into monosyllabic words the better to penetrate his intelligence. Section 7 of the Bill to which I am now referring reads:

An officer of the Minister—

I would refer Deputy Booth to an old practice here. We define "Minister" in section 1: "the Minister" means the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries. Section 7 days:

An officer of the Minister shall, for the purposes of the execution of this Act, have power to do all or any of the following things,

That means, for the Deputy's information, the things that I am going to read out. It does not mean that the Minister is following people around the room. It means the things I am going to mention and the things referred to:

that is to say—

(a) to enter, inspect and examine—"inspect" means to look around; "examine" means to look closely —at all reasonable times

God only knows what that means, Sir, because "reasonable" in Fianna Fáil language may mean anything on God's earth. It was interpreted today as meaning that, if amendments were circulated to Deputies at 3.24 o'clock, they had been circulated in due time for mature consideration at 7 o'clock the same evening. So, "reasonable" I must leave to Deputy Booth's personal interpretation.

That was the Ceann Comhairle's decision this evening.

Oh, indeed. I am much obliged to the Deputy for refreshing my recollection. I continue to quote the section:

—at all reasonable times by day a place where the business of a livestock mart is carried on;

Now, I must ask Deputy Booth to concentrate his attention because he has apparently failed to understand this paragraph:

(b) to take with him a member of the Garda Síochána if he has reasonable cause to apprehend any serious obstruction in the execution of his duty;

That is not what the Deputy said the first time.

What does the Deputy think I said?

What Deputy Dillon said was that the Minister would only talk to the farmers under police protection, which, of course, is the Deputy's imagination, as usual.

The distinction is a fine one. When this Bill was under discussion, the Minister was engaged in public business in the Seanad and he sent the Parliamentary Secretary to us—I have forgotten what Department —Deputy Gibbons. He would not trust the Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy Davern, to speak. So, the Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy Gibbons, was sent in and told us that the reason this Bill was being brought in at the present time was the dangerous atmosphere that was abroad. Now, either Deputy Gibbons was speaking the truth on behalf of the Minister for Agriculture or he was not. If he was, I do not think I am going beyond the limits of legitimate interpretation if I say that this subsection, paragraph (b), represents a claim by this Minister to ask money from the Dáil to provide him with police protection, or the officers of his Department, when they go to transact their business with the farmers of this country.

If he apprehends any serious obstruction in the execution of his duty.

I was Minister for Agriculture for seven years. Senator Ryan was Minister for Agriculture for 15 years. The formidable Deputy Paddy Smith threatened to bring in ten fields of inspectors and to line the ditches of the famers with Civic Guards. None of them ever did it. In all my experience I never remember even an inkling of a suggestion being made that the officers of the Department of Agriculture require police protection going about their duty. I am not painting a picture of the farmers of this country as being all haloed angels. Some of them are cranky, like the rest of us; some of them are difficult, like the rest of us; some of them are suspicious, like the rest of us; but the character and hallmark of an officer of the Department of Agriculture always was that he did not try to force his way in; he did not try to coerce a farmer. He went to his gate and, if he was not bidden welcome, he went to a neighbour and tried to get the neighbour to explain the mission on which he was and, if the farmer said: "No; I do not want you", he went away.

I remember very well one time that I was charged by the then Taoiseach, Deputy Costello, to eliminate a certain cattle disease in the Loop Head Peninsula and I remember sending a staff of veterinary surgeons, officers of the Department, to the Loop Head Peninsula. Every farmer, with the exception of about six, received them warmly and gladly and had them treat their cattle. When that was done, these same officers went back and, by persuasion and by reassurance, they got five of the recalcitrant six to welcome them in. One fellow stood out. It never dawned on them even to ask me: "Are we to break our way in? Are we to get Civic Guards?" They simply said: "Very well; we have done all in our power to explain but he has exercised his perfectly undoubted right to say: `That is my gate. Do not open it.' "

That story had a sequel because in the following year we went back. The cattle of all the other farmers in Loop Head were cured of the infestation. Six of this man's cattle were dying and he came to us then and asked us to come to his aid and we did not say: "Because you threw us out last year, your bleeding cattle can die now. We do not care." We told the officers of the Department to jump at the chance, that the man had learned by experience what he would not learn by advice, by all means to go in and help him all they could. He lost a couple of cattle but we saved the rest and we were proud.

Is there not an extraordinary metamorphosis in the relations between the Department of Agriculture of that day and the Department of Agriculture today who have asked this House for police protection?

I want to make this perfectly clear. When I speak of the Department of Agriculture, I ask the House to think of me as speaking of the Minister for Agriculture. That is what I am asking of you. The Minister, oddly enough, has suddenly grown sensitive. He has the kind of feeling that I am pursuing a dark vendetta against his person. That is not true. It is too late in my life to be pursuing vendettas against anybody. I am pursuing vendettas against the policies for which he stands but I do ask the House to bear this in mind that 90 per cent of the personnel of the Department of Agriculture today is the same personnel as served me when I was Minister for Agriculture. The change is not in the Department, in the building, in its personnel or its establishment. They will serve whatever Minister it is their duty to serve. The change is in the Minister and the policies for which he stands. I give him this credit, at least, that I think he will be glad if I make that distinction and whatever strictures I have to pass on the request presented by him to this House. I pass them on him and not upon the establishment over which he presides.

There is no money going to be voted from this side of the House to send police into the farmers of this country. There is no money going to be voted from this side of the House to proclaim to the world that the Irish Department of Agriculture is no longer able to function amongst our own people unless under police protection. I say deliberately that we shall resort to every legitimate parliamentary device to make manifest our detestation and repudiation of this slander not only on the farmers but on the public servants who serve them. The Deputy from Carna who, for his local associations, if not for his own distinguished person, has been high in my esteem, urged me not to be so warm in my protestation. I think if he had ever been Minister for Agriculture he would share my sentiments of revulsion at this provision. When the Minister discussed this proposal with the members of his Party, I think the vast majority of them said: "We will vote with our Party in any Division but we are damned if we will vote for that." I like to think that is true and I like to think his Parliamentary Secretary was one of the first who made it clear he thought this clause unnecessary.

That is not the only reason I urge the House to reject this Money Resolution. I will be no party to voting money to enable this Minister for Agriculture or any Minister for Agriculture, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael or Labour, to implement section 3 of this Bill in its present form. Section 3 (2) sets out:

The Minister may, at the time of the granting of a licence, attach to the licence such conditions as he shall think proper and shall specify in the licence.

Subsection (3) says:

The Minister may, if he so thinks fit, amend or revoke a condition attached to a licence.

Do Deputies understand what that means? Look down at subsection (6) which says:

Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, a person who carries on the business of a livestock mart at any place and who, immediately before the passing of this Act, carried on that business at that place, shall, if, in relation to the place, the regulations under this Act are complied with, be entitled to be granted a licence in respect of the place.

Judge now what the true meaning of that is. When I first read it I said this removes a formidable objection that first presented itself to me when this Bill I first considered, but consider subsection (6) in the light of subsection (2), if subsection (2) is to stand and if we are to give the Minister money to implement it. Under subsection (6) every existing mart can claim and get a licence to trade. However, on the following morning, the Minister may, under subsection (2), attach to the licence such conditions as he thinks proper and shall specify in the licence. Here the Minister will be filled with righteous indignation that I misrepresent him. He will say that what the subsection says is that the Minister may at the time of granting the licence attach to the licence such conditions as he shall think proper and shall specify in the licence. Remember that under subsection (6) a mart in being has a right to a licence. This seems watertight but you have to reckon with the Minister for Agriculture. Having granted the licence under subsection (6)—he places a statutory duty upon himself to do that—and having prescribed the conditions of the licence at the time of granting it, he provides under subsection (3):

The Minister may, if he so thinks fit, amend or revoke a condition attached to a licence.

So that immediately the entire guarantee of the right to a licence by way of succession evaporates in the light of the Minister's power to amend or revoke any condition attaching to it. Suppose the condition of the licence is that it shall trade between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. Suppose the Minister wants to close it down and amend that to: "Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.", that is good-bye to the mart.

There are Deputies, probably Deputies on this side of the House, who will say: "Ah, that is fantastic. That could not be done." There are very few Deputies on any side of this House who have ever seen Fianna Fáil with an absolute majority in Dáil Éireann. I do not need to warn you, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, because we have watched it together, but I warn Deputies the moment Fianna Fáil get a clear majority in this House, they go berserk. Deputies can see themselves that, amonst the whole crowd of them, the Minister for Agriculture is the most berserk.

The Deputy is thinking of the last Coalition Government.

No; I am thinking quite deliberately of the Minister for Agriculture. Has he any further interjection to make? If he has, I shall be glad to hear it. We in this House are entitled to show our profound reluctance to grant the Minister any unusual power or the means to finance it. The House should know—I am sorry the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach is not here, for what I have to say affects him—that at one stage yesterday we had reached the position in regard to the Business of the House that neither the Parliamentary Secretary nor the Taoiseach was prepared to approach the Minister for Agriculture, or so we were informed.

By whom, and what is the Deputy talking about?

We were informed the Minister was on the rampage and that he was determined to get the Bill. It had become a matter of prestige. Now he is a temperamental man and he is a man who goes berserk.

The Deputy must be looking in the mirror.

I do not wish to make offensive observations but, if at this moment I thought I would be looking in a mirror, I think I would seriously consider suicide.

I think he is.

I do not doubt that.

Let us get back to the Money Resolution.

I am sure, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, you will allow me to answer the Minister's disorderly interruptions. If indulgence is to be extended on the left, I trust it will be extended on the right; otherwise, we shall have those who are willing to wound but afraid to strike. I am willing to strike wherever necessary but never, I hope, to wound.

Here is only the very opening of this story. I want to direct the attention of Deputies to section 6 of the Bill. Here also is a section for the financing of which this Party will not vote. Section 6 says:

The Minister may, for the purpose of ensuring the proper conduct of places where the business of a livestock mart is carried on and the proper conduct of such business, adequate and suitable hygienic and veterinary standards in relation to such places and auctions of livestock at such places and the provision of adequate and suitable accommodation and facilities for such auctions and for persons and livestock at such auctions, make such regulations as he thinks appropriate in relation to such places and such businesses.

Where is there written into that subsection a guarantee that there will be uniform regulations for all places at which such auctions are held?

May I point out again to the Deputy that the general merits of provisions of the Bill will arise on Committee Stage and that at the moment the Deputy should confine himself to the Money Resolution?

I shall deal with the Resolution and tell the House the purposes for which I will not vote money, and the day I cannot do that, shut this shop up. The day I cannot look to the Ceann Comhairle or his deputy for the protection of my sacrosanct right to state the reasons for my vote, we can cease to call this a free Parliament.

I am pointing out to the Deputy that these are the regulations that govern debates on Money Resolutions.

The only regulations governing debate are in the Standing Orders and Standing Orders provide that, if I intend to vote against a Money Resolution, I am entitled to state my reasons.

The Deputy may not discuss the Bill.

I am not entitled to discuss the principle of the Bill but I am entitled to give my reasons why I will not vote money. I am not discussing the principle of the Bill. I am discussing segregated, clearly-indicated vindictive provisions in the Bill which no self-respecting Deputy should vote money for.

I direct the attention of the House to section 6 (2). The Minister wants money under this Money Resolution to prescribe the manner in which entries for auctions of livestock at such places shall be received. Is there any other business in the country for which the Minister claims the right to prescribe the manner in which the business is carried on? A very large number of these auction marts are operated by farmers' co-operatives, controlled, it is to be presumed, by a committee of farmers representative of the farmers of the area. In the situation as it at present obtains, if the local, individually-owned mart treats its customers with disrespect or injustice, every customer has a remedy available to him to take his cattle to another mart and he is quite entitled to go to his neighbour and say to him: "I brought my cattle there and asked that they be included in the catalogue and I was told that they would be put in the catalogue at 9 o'clock at night. I was entitled to be treated fairly." Anybody attempting to operate such a system in rural Ireland would very quickly find that the majority of the farmers would take their cattle to another mart.

While it is true that a mart cannot last if it has not buyers who come there, the buyers will not come to a mart where there are likely to be no cattle. There is a sanction operated every day, operated by those who deal with marts, to see that those who deal with marts get fair treatment. There is sufficient proliferation of marts in most parts of the country and east of the Shannon to make sure that competition operates effectively. The Minister has said that one of the reasons he has brought in this Bill is to prevent undue proliferation of marts but now we are to provide and pay for an inspectorate and we are asked to vote money for them to go in and examine every entry of cattle in an auction mart and weigh up whether every entrant has been equitably treated by the owner of the mart.

This is regulation gone mad. Can you picture any dispensary with an inspector from the Department of Health going in there and asking: "What time did you come in this morning? Did he see you yet? Did he give you pills or a bottle?" Can you picture a Department of Health official going to a dentist's waiting-room and asking: "Did he pull your tooth yet or did he only fill it?" Can you picture an inspector of the Department of Labour going into Liberty Hall, or wherever the headquarters of the Irish Workers Union now are, and querying them as to the order in which their membership is enrolled? Or is it that the farmers of this country are an inferior race? Are we to proceed on the assumption that the marts run by farmers' co-operatives are corruptly run or on the assumption that we are back in the old days of the gombeen man when the people were illiterate and helpless in the hands of the landlords and had to go hat in hand to get a little credit from the gombeen man?

I know the farmers of this country. I have lived and had a shop in a poor part of Ireland, in County Monaghan, but I know no man today who is a potential victim of the gombeen man. The merchants must go out and seek trade and custom. Are the patrons of these marts so poor and craven that they need the Minister for Agriculture to see that they are not robbed and plundered by the marts operated by their own neighbours or else by the marts operated in their immediate vicinity and in competition with so many other marts adjoining that the Minister for Agriculture says he needs power to prevent further proliferation of marts?

Are you surprised, Leas-Cheann Comhairle, that I will not vote money for these purposes? But that is not all the Minister wants money for. He wants money to hire inspectors and, having satisfied themselves that the cattle tendered for sale are properly entered on the auctioneer's list and that the entries for such auctions shall not be refused except in circumstances prescribed by the Minister's regulations, he now wants further finance under paragraph (c) to prescribe the manner in which such auctions shall be conducted.

I ask rational Deputies to visualise the situation. A man who has been selling cattle all his life sees four bullocks walk into the ring and proceeds to sell them in accordance with the ordinary custom of the trade. The owner of the cattle is there beside him. If the owner feels the auctioneer is not giving him a fair run and not giving the bidders a fair opportunity, all he has to do is raise his hand and say: "Withdraw the cattle". He can stop the auction and say: "I am not satisfied. You are not giving the bidders a fair do", and he can add, in the presence of the assembled company: "And it will be a long bitter day before I ever trouble you with my cattle again". But that is not what will happen here. What will happen here is that there will be a gentleman in a white coat, with documents of identity. The auctioneer will get up and offer the cattle for sale, offer everybody an opportunity to bid—four bids, five bids, six bids—and he will then say: "I am going to sell the cattle. I am asking you the first time. I am asking you the second time....""Whoa", says the fellow in the white coat. "Start all over again.""Very well, Sir. Six nice bullocks here. We will put them up again. First time, anyone care to to bid? Second time, anyone care to bid?""Whoa", says the fellow in the white coat, "You are not complying with the Minister's regulation. The Minister says you must wait three minutes."


Is Deputy Allen seeking to assist me?

I am. The Deputy needs assistance at the moment.

Any assistance he cares to tender will be most gratefully accepted.

A white coat the Deputy would need himself.

The Deputy is not au fait. He should have made a better interjection than that. “The Minister has made a regulation”, says the man in the white coat, “that, after the last bid received, there must be a lapse of three minutes before the final hammer falls.” I can imagine such a regulation being drafted in the Department of Agriculture by very well-intentioned men who never stood in a mart in their lives and who think everything proceeds at the dignified pace of the diligent Department of Agriculture.

These are matters for the Committee Stage. They are not relevant on the Money Resolution.

Do you mean to tell me I cannot discuss the provision of money for inspectors for the purpose I have stated?

The Deputy is making a Committee Stage speech.

I am not. I am dealing with detailed provisions for which I will not vote money.

Matters of detail cannot be discussed relevantly on this stage.

Do you mean to tell me you will not allow me to discuss the principle and you will not allow me to discuss the detail? In the name of Providence, what reasons can I assign for voting against this Resolution?


I am going to assert my right here to defend my vote in the Division Lobby. I do not blame the Minister for rooting for his own side. He is not going to win. We have the troops here and we will demonstrate effectively that the Minister and his Government will not trample this Dáil underfoot.


The Minister can shout, or scream, or howl, or wriggle, but he will not trample the Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann underfoot so long as I am here and so long as my colleagues are here and, by God, you will have to get rid of all of us——

Standing Orders do not permit the Deputy to proceed on the lines on which he is travelling.

I am going to set out the reasons in detail to show why I refuse supply.

The Deputy's reasons would be relevant on the next Stage but not on the Money Resolution.

They are not?

Deputy Dillon does not need a Chairman.

I do, but I need a fair one who will protect my rights against a Government with an extremely arrogant Minister for Agriculture, who has gone berserk. I know that some members of the Government are afraid of him but I pray to God the day will never come when the Ceann Comhairle or the Leas-Cheann Comhairle will tremble at his frown.

The Chair is not trembling but the Deputy is completely out of order and he refuses to obey the Chair.

In what respect?

I have already pointed out to the Deputy that the House is discussing a Money Resolution, the voting of money for a certain purpose.

And the Deputy is not entitled to go into details which will relevantly arise on another Stage. The Deputy is anticipating.

They might not arise.

I am not anticipating. I am stating the grounds on which I refuse to vote money for a particular purpose. I am not invoking the principles of the Bill or its detailed provisions, which are, as I have said, so manifestly unjust in their character that no sane Deputy could provide supply for them and I have done that to such good effect, I think, that the Chair feels it is almost impossible to believe that supply is asked for such a purpose.

I want to point out why I refuse supply. I refuse to vote money for this provision. Deputy Clinton has already referred to this matter. Section 7, subsection (2), provides—I ask you to listen very closely to the words— that:

If any person wilfully delays an officer of the Minister in the exercise of any power under this section, or fails to comply with the requisition of such an officer in pursuance of this section...

he will be deemed to have committed an offence. Look now at subsection (4) of the same section:

An officer of the Minister performing functions under this Act shall be furnished with a certificate of his authorisation to perform these functions and when visiting a place where the business of a livestock mart is carried on shall, if so required, produce the said certificate——

Mark these words:

——to the person who carries on such business or any other person holding a responsible position of management at the place.

Observe the situation that arises. We are asked to vote money to provide inspectors who shall have the right to go in and ask Deputy Allen for information and Deputy Allen commits an offence if he refuses to furnish that information. But if Deputy Allen is not a person holding a responsible position of management at the place he has no right to say to the officer of the Department: "Produce your authorisation". Deputy Allen, in the context I have just read out, is only a person who, the inspector has reasonable cause to believe, is employed in the place. Has anybody ever heard before of this House being asked to supply money to provide an officer who shall have the right, without showing any warrant of authority, to go in and address a question to anybody on a premises and thereby create an offence punishable by six months in jail if that person refuses the information, without any obligation on the Minister or his servant to produce authority and say: "I represent the Minister for Agriculture and I am acting under the Livestock Marts Act"?

How many members of Fianna Fáil understand that is what they are being asked to vote money for—to pay officers to exercise a right of that kind? The thing is as daft as a six-penny watch, which is bad enough, but it is also unjust. I know why these absurdities and monstrosities have crept into this Bill. This Bill was drafted in a temper, at short notice, by a neurasthenic Minister who wanted to ram it through. If the draftsman and those responsible for this type of work had been given time to sit down and read the Bill, then these idiotic anachronisms would not exist in it. While they are there, I shall not vote money to provide the personnel because to do so would be an outrage on the due processes of law in this country.

I want to come now to a paragraph which I do not believe Deputies fully appreciate. Deputy Clinton has spoken of a Bill to jail farmers. I want to warn the House that we are now being asked for money to jail a member of any committee of any agricultural society that operates a cattle mart. I say that, according to the terms of this Bill, when enacted, if Deputy Allen or the Deputy sitting beside him were members of a co-operative society in their relevant constituencies and an offence were committed down in Wexford or down in Cork by the mart officials operating under the committee of management to which they belong, then, on their emergence from Dáil Éireann into Kildare Street or Merrion Street, they could be arrested, brought before the courts and fined or imprisoned. Does anybody in this House want to vote money for that purpose? But that is in the Bill and that is what it is proposed to do.

Now, as I say, I believe the requisitions upon us to provide money for these crazy purposes are due as much to the temperament of the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries as to his real intention. I believe that, if this whole question of cattle marts, their administration, and so on, had been discussed quietly with the IAOS and with the proprietors of marts and with the representative bodies of farmers, such discussion would have produced two results. The Minister would have had a balanced view put before him for and against the control by the Department of Agriculture of the whole business of marts. I admit that there is a case to be made for as well as against that matter, in principle. I believe that ultimately, having heard all reasonable views—and when better than during the Recess—he could have come to a decision. He could then have issued a White Paper and circulated it to the co-operative societies, to the proprietors of marts and to farming organisations saying, in effect: "Having listened to you all on this matter, these are the lines on which I propose to proceed and I should be glad of your comments". All that could be done before next October. On the other hand, the Minister might say, in effect: "The game is not worth the candle. There is so much to be said for the proposal and there is so much to be said against it. I shall not ask Dáil Éireann for money for it".

Again, the Minister could come in and say, in effect: "I am satisfied that legislation is necessary and here is the story. I saw the NFA, the ICMSA, Macra na Feirme, Macra na Tuaithe, the body over which I myself preside. I discussed the matter with the representatives of the marts co-operatives and marts proprietors and here is the story they told me. Now, this is the fairest thing I can do in all the circumstances and I have no hesitation in asking for the money to do it". I can fully understand the Minister coming back to the Dáil and saying, in effect: "There is a great deal to be said for marts but there is so much to be said against the proposal that I have decided to drop it". I remember myself doing just that on the issue of the County Committee of Agriculture Bill in which Deputy Patrick Smith imposed the requisition of 50 per cent of outside members. It was argued for and against. I remember saying, when I was Minister for Agriculture, in effect: "To hell with it. Who the hell cares? Let us get on with the mountain of urgent and important business which we have to do. Let them go on chewing the rag and making up their minds. I do not give a damn." I dropped it because I thought there was an awful lot to be said for and against it and I had much too much to do to agonise whether I should or should not introduce legislation to that effect.

The last thing I should do would be to rush into the House in the month of July and to say: "You must make up your minds about this before the House adjourns." Why? The whole cattle population of this country will not emigrate. I wish to God some of them could emigrate at the present time because we cannot sell them. It would not go in the next six months. Why could that attitude not be taken and the whole matter excogitated and come back here with a substantially agreed decision? The matter is not necessarily acrimonious. How can the matter have become one which can give rise to such furious acrimony as this Bill has done? It may be that this was worth while in order to teach the Minister his job. This is not the way to go about getting agriculture to function in this country. I believe this House would react sympathetically and with understanding to any proposals the Minister might bring before it after mature reflection and consultation with all those concerned. He might come here and say, in effect: "I do not intend to do anything because I do not think a conclusive case can be made one way or the other". I would say: "I do not think the Minister ought to do anything until he is convinced that a certain course is necessary in the public interest". If he had come back and said, in effect: "Farmers of one organisation after another came in and said they wanted this general supervision by the Department of Agriculture of this whole business" and if he had gone on to say that the proprietary marts were against it but that the co-operative marts said they did not care, that they were quite indifferent, that they were just as glad to have the Minister's representative there as any other, I do not rule out the possibility that I should have said: "There is good ground for bringing in proposals."

Let us not have a Bill that we have to shove down anybody's throat with a ramrod. Above all, let us have a Bill which, by the care in its preparation and the forbearance shown by those producing it, has procured a substantial consensus of all parts of the House that, with the information the Minister has accumulated, he has no alternative but to introduce the measure. I am as certain as I am standing here that, if the Minister had pursued that course on this Money Resolution, not a word would have been spoken and we should have given it to him. We might have brought in a list of amendments but we should have argued them quite peaceably. No matter what Minister brings in a Bill, if it is brought in and discussed in the right spirit, two heads are nearly always better than one. However, this Bill starts off loathed before it reaches its adolescence and I hope rotten and dead before it attains its maturity.

We have had instances again and again of different Departments being unable to meet their commitments in regard to the provision of public funds for services which would be of marked advantage to the economy and to individuals in different spheres of activity. We have had a reduction in regard to local government funds for road improvements and reduced amounts for housebuilding, water, sewerage and other essential schemes. The Minister for Lands told us that he must reduce by 20 per cent the amount for afforestation. This brought about a great deal of redundancy so far as forestry workers are concerned.

The Deputy may not travel all over——

I am entitled to make a case——

Would the Deputy please listen? He is not entitled to travel all over the economy of the country on this Resolution.

We are asked to provide public funds to implement a certain Bill——

——and, having regard to the fact that we are in short supply of funds to provide money for a Bill of this nature, I am entitled to make a short preamble to my——

The Deputy is only entitled to discuss the Money Resolution.

We are asked to authorise payments for the implementation of this Bill from public funds and I want to bring it home that public funds are in short supply, indeed never more so——

The Deputy is travelling very wide of the Money Resolution.

It is incumbent on us to watch carefully the provision of money for the implementation of any Bills——

They may not all be discussed on the Money Resolution.

In view of the short supply of money, I claim that there is no justification for providing money for this Bill. Is that not justifiable? This Bill is a vindictive one. It was brought in in a hasty, ill-considered fashion and there was no justification for it. I am speaking on behalf of the Labour Party. Surely we are not going to vote for the provision of public money for the implementation of a measure which is vindictive and was brought in in a hasty, ill-considered fashion? If regulations were required, one would expect an intelligent Minister, a Minister who had the interests of the marts at heart, a Minister anxious to secure the development of the marts and to provide better services, would first have consulted the various marts committees and have found out, if such a Bill were necessary, how can we improve the system.

Is it necessary to have State interference? I dislike State interference where it is unnecessary and unjustifiable. Already we have too much State interference, and, as Deputy Dillon showed in the past hour, we can see in the various sections the amount of State interference this Bill contains. As I was saying, if we were to provide regulations for the development of the marts, if it were thought necessary that a licensing system should be implemented, the Minister should, first and foremost, have had consultations with the interests concerned and particularly with the different marts committees. No such discussions were held.

They have been held.

Do not interrupt me. The Deputy will have plenty of time to make his speech. However, I do not mind if he interrupts me for half an hour because I will take him on. We have the Minister's statement of 21st June in which he was making a case for this Bill and, to my mind, it was a very weak case. Why is there urgency about this Bill? This is, if you like, adjournment week and this is not a matter of urgency. We felt it would be advisable to postpone the Committee Stage until next October and possibly, in the intervening period, we might be able to get some new ideas about what a measure of this nature should be like, if we think such a measure is necessary at all, of which I am very doubtful. I am doubtful of the necessity for such a measure because the marts were established without any State aid. They were established by farmers coming together in different centres and most, if not all, of them are working smoothly and successfully.

I am conversant with the Cork Co-operative Marts which operate in Cork county. They are managed by a most capable committee of farmers, men of the highest integrity. I mention men of the highest integrity because it is implied in the Bill that people in control of the marts at present are people of doubtful character. That is the implication to be drawn from the various provisions whereby the police can walk in and inspect books, records and documents. That is the implication but it is not the case and I am sure the position in Cork is no different from that in other counties and that the marts committees elsewhere, as in Cork, are composed of men of the highest integrity. I know that the members of the Cork Co-operative Marts are people of the highest integrity. They did not ask the State or the Minister to implement this Bill. Neither did they ask for the provision of public funds to carry it on——

All this would relevantly arise on the Committee Stage but not on the Money Resolution.

When I rose to speak, I did not intend to speak for five minutes. Had you not interrupted me, Sir, possibly I would have had my say——

When a Deputy is out of order, the Chair must interrupt him.

I was not out of order. What is the necessity for this Bill? The Minister has the controlling power if anything goes wrong. If any mart should get into difficulties so far as its application for a licence is concerned, or if an application for a licence is refused, the Minister is the sole authority. We have enough political jobbery at present without giving a Minister more authority in these matters. Everybody knows the present system, which I am hopeful of dealing with in the not too distant future, in regard to the granting of approval under the Planning Act and that appeals to the Department of Local Government——

That has nothing to do with the Money Resolution. The Deputy should come to order. If he does not, I must ask him to resume his seat. We are not discussing Planning Acts.

If a person feels aggrieved, he must, under this Bill, appeal to the Minister and the Minister's judgement is final. I am making the case that under this Government a Minister's judgement is not impartial.

On a point of order, I understand that this Bill has passed its Second Reading in this House. The principle of the Bill has been accepted by the House and the necessity for it has been accepted but the Deputy is making a Second Reading speech on the Resolution and I suggest he should not be allowed to continue.

I have repeatedly asked the Deputy to come to the Money Resolution.

Is it not the position that Deputies are perfectly entitled to give their reasons for refusing to vote money for this Bill? The principle of the Bill having been accepted on Second Reading, they are not entitled to discuss the principle of the Bill; but surely the purpose of this Money Resolution is to provide moneys for the Minister in connection with the Bill and Deputies are entitled to give their reasons for voting against that Money Resolution?

Not in the detail into which they are going. A Money Resolution debate——

On a point of order.

I am replying to the point of order raised by the Deputy. A Money Resolution debate ought to devote itself more to the technical aspects of the spending rather than roaming over every section and subsection, many of which will relevantly arise on Committee Stage.

I want to have this quite clear. Deputies, according to the Chair, are entitled to give their reasons with regard to the spending of the money. If Deputies are against the spending of the money for particular reasons, surely they are entitled to state those reasons? It may be upsetting to the Minister or anyone else if they state their reasons at length but I submit that, under the Standing Orders of this House, they are entitled to do it and are entitled to speak more than once, if they wish, on this Money Resolution.

I would put it to the Deputy that there is no Standing Order relating to Money Resolutions.

There are Standing Orders relating to the House in dealing with finance?

There is no Standing Order on debate on Money Resolutions. There have been various decisions during the past 30 or 40 years by the Chair on the debate on a Money Resolution.

Are we in Committee on Finance, Sir?

Then that settles the point.

Is the Leas-Cheann Comhairle telling the House there is no Standing Order on debate on Money Resolutions?

What, then, is Standing Order No. 119?

I would say SO 119 (1) deals with Money Bills.

It deals with Money Bills. That is what this is.

It is not the same thing at all.

We can speak as often as we like in Committee on Finance.

As often as the Chair permits.

If the Chair has disposed of the points of order, I shall proceed. I want to tell the Chair I do not intend to transgress any Rules of the House in speaking on this Resolution. As I said, I had intended speaking for only a few minutes on it, but, seeing that it has developed a little, I am giving my views as to why we should oppose the provision of public funds for the implementation of the Bill. I am rather doubtful and I would be doubtful no matter what Government are in power—and I am not reflecting on the members of the present Government—of giving a Minister authority to decide an appeal. We know that, when a Minister has that authority, those trying to get approval from the Minister will travel around trying to get someone supposed to know the Minister, trying to get some of the Minister's Party to whisper into the Minister's ear that this fellow is a great Party supporter and helped in the provision of funds at election time. That is a bad trend.

And it is not relevant. It would arise on section 3 on the next Stage, but not now.

Surely the Deputy is entitled to state his objections to the Money Resolution because of section 3?

Then what is he free to do?

I am afraid the Chair must be hard of hearing.

The Chair is carrying out the rulings of this House during the past 30 years. The Chair is not making the rulings.

If there is no Standing Order, how are Deputies to learn what has happened in the past?

What is the Deputy getting up on?

On a point of order. If there is no Standing Order in relation to this matter before the House, how are Deputies to know what took place during the past 30 years?

That is a matter for the Deputies to know.

If there is no Standing Order, the Chair has discretion.

The senile delinquent should go home.

(Cavan): It is past his bedtime.

I shall be brief. I do not want to hold up the House, nor do I want to hold up the Minister other than to express some relevant views on the Bill. I oppose this Money Resolution because there is a very strong feeling against this Bill among the mart committees generally. They feel that the introduction of a measure such as this, without any prior consultation, is a reflection on them. We know that the mart committees came together in co-operative societies. Most of the marts are on a co-operative basis.

The majority are privately owned.

They formed co-operative societies and provided a new system for the sale of cattle, sheep and pigs, a system which we now know the people are satisfied with. They did that without any State interference.

And did a very good job of it.

They did it efficiently. Why interfere with them now? If there is justification in going along to the premises of a co-operative mart owner, inspecting it at any time and tearing the place asunder, if the officer of the Department so wishes, because he believes there may be some breach of the law within the premises then the same justification could be made for going into any big store in Dublin, privately or co-operatively owned, and examining the books on the suspicion that something shady is going on within the premises.

It does not arise on the Money Resolution. The Deputy may raise it on the Committee Stage.

This is how I see the implications of this Bill. I am stating that I oppose the Money Resolution and I shall close in a few more sentences. I do not like arguing with the Leas-Cheann Comhairle as I have great respect for the Chair. You are quite reasonable most of the time except when you are under any pressure. I am sure you are not. To give you a little ease, I shall close by repeating the statement I made at the outset. It is the firm conviction of the Labour Party, having discussed the pros and cons of this Bill, that we should oppose it in its entirely and that we should oppose the provision of the moneys being asked for in the Resolution before us. But if the Minister is agreeable to postpone the measure and have the consultations we think are necessary with the different mart committees and tries to devise some measures, if they are required, which he thinks would be helpful towards developing the marts, perhaps we could treat it differently. But from the case made for this Bill—I do not want to repeat the arguments made by previous speakers—we have no hesitation and no alternative but to oppose the Bill. If the Leas-Cheann Comhairle had been more lenient with me, I would have given some more reasons but I think it better to leave them over until the Committee Stage.

The House finds itself in the rather unusual position that a Money Resolution is being opposed; but, when the House feel so strongly about a matter that they must oppose it at every step and give reasons for such opposition, then one knows that this unusual aspect is just a facet of the unusual situation in which a Bill is being pushed through here in the most blatant manner by somebody who has indicated during the passage of the Bill his disrespect for this House and those prepared to sit in it. When one finds a Minister say to an august member on this side of the House who has said that he would not stand for this Bill "Then you can sit for it" one realises that such is the reply of a man who either has a lack of knowledge of proper behaviour or else of a man who has gone around the bend. That sort of thing is neither dignified nor proper.

You are the man to lecture on dignity.

You can look at my record for dignity in this House and then look at your own and judge for yourself. I am prepared to accept the opinion of the House.

It is the electorate I depend on.

I have not been unkindly dealt with by the electorate either. I must make sure that I remain within the conventions of order in this House but the Leas-Cheann Comhairle has advised us that we are entitled to discuss under this Money Resolution the normal aspects of the spending of money. A point was made here that the Garda would not be brought in to control the operations of marts unless there was some suspected breach of the law but I would draw the attention of the House to paragraph (b) of section 7 of the Bill which says that an officer of the Minister shall, for the purposes of the execution of this Act, have power to do all or any of the following things, that is to say, to take with him a member of the Garda Síochána if he has reasonable cause to apprehend any serious obstruction in the execution of his duty. I would draw your attention to the fact that, in the normal aspect of the spending of money, there is provision for the bringing in of Gardaí on to the floor of the mart.

Paragraph (f) of section 7 is a much more powerful and strong provision. This paragraph says that an officer of the Minister may:

exercise such other powers as may be necessary for carrying this Act into effect.

I submit that this suggests, even though the Minister has now withdrawn the subsection, that there is power given to the inspector to call in Gardaí if he thinks this is necessary and that I regard as a valid and proper reason why we should speak and vote against this Money Resolution. I refer also to a matter of broad principle contained in the Bill which will result in the spending of money by officers of the Department in advising the Minister to exempt from the provisions of the Bill certain marts, to grant licences to certain people and to refuse licences to others.

This means that, if the Minister so desires, having received all this advice from the officers of the Department who are paid to provide such advice, he may decide, if he or his successor should be a culpable political Minister, to provide a mart in a particular area which would give a colossal income every year and that he could give this facility to a supporter of his own political Party while refusing it to the supporter of another. That decision would be made on a point of political expediency rather than on whether a mart was proper at that particular place and the Minister will spend money for the purpose of obtaining the advice of his officers to such effect.

In his Second Reading speech, the Minister mentioned six different instances where there was control of agricultural produce by the Department of Agriculture. I refer now to the fact that in each such case each item was something processed or manufactured from agricultural raw material. The difference in this case is that a bullock walks out of a ring sold to the buyer in exactly the same condition as he walked into it. There is no change in that bullock and no processing has been done on it. This is a service that is being provided rather than a case of manufacture or processing and the Minister is now asking money for the purpose of controlling for the first time something that is not a matter of production, something that is not a matter of processing or manufacture, but something that is merely a service provided. We might as well legislate to provide cover for somebody selling a farmer's diary between 25th December and 1st January.

The provisions of section 3 are repugnant to this side of the House because they give the Minister power to give to anyone he likes and to refuse to others the sole right of selling cattle in any part of this country. It is repugnant to the Constitution that the Minister should have the right to grant a licence to one person and refuse one to another. Competition between marts is something that will look after itself because, if one mart goes down, it is because another has come up.

Under the Money Resolution, money is being provided for the purposes of the Bill. The money must be provided directly for the purposes of the Bill.

I am suggesting that the money will be used for the provision of inspectors to carry out the provisions contained in the Bill. I do not wish to widen the debate but under the Bill power is being taken by the Minister to decide who shall sell cattle and who shall not and the voting of money for the provision of inspectors to advise him on this matter is improper and we desire to vote against the provision of that money in the Resolution. If there are to be offences, somebody must decide and somebody must prosecute. This will require very considerable staff, certainty at least one senior inspector per county over perhaps 20 counties at the moment and probably over the whole 26 counties very soon when certain areas in the west of Ireland have got their marts. These people will go there to look for alleged offences and, having discovered these offences, will take the necessary steps to prosecute persons who they feel have transgressed the law under this Bill. This will involve us in very considerable legal expenses which are being provided for under this Bill.

It is very repugnant to us and to the Constitution because the punishments for these offences are so disproportionate as only to be described as penal. The provision of punishment so disproportionate to the normal punishments prescribed in law for other offences against our law and against our people indicates that this Bill is something that goes far beyond the normal administration of justice and is, in fact, as it has been described, a vicious piece of legislation being bludgeoned and bulldozed through here by a man who believes that it is in the best interests of his political Party to break the farmers rather than to assist them, the horrible part of it being that in the process of finding out whether or not he is right—and I really believe he is not—with such a determined man in the position which he holds, very many innocent and decent people are going to be hurt.

I would refer also to something that was referred to before, that is, the fact that while the holder of a livestock mart may be entitled to a licence under this Bill because he is operating at the moment immediately he applies the inspectors we are going to pay with the money we are now voting will fasten on him and will decide on the various sets of regulations which they will impose and demand from him capital expenditure of an order which may set his work in this regard, be it co-operative society or individual person, at nought because the first requirement of a mart is that it shall be solvent and in a position to pay up to the seller of the cattle. I have referred to the exemption and I would also refer to the question of regulations.

We are voting money here so that the inspectors whom we shall pay shall attend livestock marts and decide how an auction shall be carried on. Deputy Dillon was most explicit and most colourful on this. The inspector shall stand beside the auctioneer and instruct him how to do the work. I made the point on Second Reading, and I make the point now, in relation to the provision of the inspector and the moneys which we shall pay him by way of salary and travelling expenses, that he is not a person to have there because the position is that every auctioneer must beware of puffers, must beware of people who bid when they have not got money, must accept a bid only when he is prepared to guarantee to the seller of the cattle the money related to the bid which he accepts. We are now going to have an inspector who shall say: "This five cattle made £55. There is a bid of £55 10s. Why are you not taking it?" That auctioneer may know that the bid of £55 10s. came from a person not in a position to pay the £55 10s. Yet, if the inspector insists that he accept the £55 10s., we may very quickly find that the mart may become insolvent because it has to pay up for mistakes made not through the incompetence of the operator or the negligence of the auctioneers and the principals but as a result of the regulations laid down by the Minister and for which inspectors are being provided to see that they are obeyed.

I want to refer also to the question of offences. We are sending these inspectors along and we are now going to send people who transgress to jail for six months. It is very easy to see why we on this side of the House oppose this Bill step by step at every Stage, including the Money Resolution to provide machinery by which the provisions of the Bill can be carried out, when it is realised that very many offences of far greater gravity do not carry these penalities. Everything dealt with in a District Court is related to a possible sentence of imprisonment of six months and £50 fine. Yet we are here talking about a contravention of a mart regulation. A fellow who gets a few drinks and whacks his cattle in before somebody else or an auctioneer who is guilty of a technical offence is subject to a colossal fine or six months imprisonment. The whole point is that the Bill is disproportionate in its approach, that it is absolutely penal. Even in regard to the penalties proposed, the Bill is so disproportionate as to be clearly something brought in by somebody who wanted to do a hatchet job. That is a good reason why we do not want to provide the inspectors, the staff of the Department of Agriculture and the other people who will operate this Bill when it becomes an Act. We are entitled—and I am glad that you, Sir, have allowed me to make this point within the Rules of Order—to protest here in every way we can and I feel that I have done so and remained within the Rules of Order.

(South Tipperary): This is a Money Resolution and, as I understand it, on Second Reading, the principle of the Bill has been accepted by a vote of the House—not accepted by this side of the House but by a majority vote. I rise to register my objection to providing this money not on the basis of the Bill as a broad issue but on certain itemised points which I will deal with, some of which have been dealt with already.

The first one that I should like to mention is in connection with section 7, sub-paragraphs (a) and (b). The Minister is asking us to provide money by which he will pay an inspectorate to enter, inspect and examine at all reasonable time by day a place where the business of a livestock mart is carried on and then, under paragraph (b), that his inspector may take with him a member of the Garda Síochána if he has reasonable cause to apprehend any serious obstruction in the execution of his duty.

I object to providing money for that because I think, on general principles, it is an expenditure that is not necessary. I am not aware of any Minister who has occasion to send inspectors into various forms of activity in our society taking unto himself powers that his inspector may call upon a Garda, and provide the Garda with the necessary travelling expenses, to carry out an inspection. That is a type of expenditure which I am not aware we have ever put upon ourselves before and I object to it on that ground and I object to voting money for something that as far as I know is unprecedented.

If the Minister can tell me that there are some other Departments where money is provided and where it has been decided to give an inspector of a Department the right to call in a Garda whenever he wants and whenever he thinks he might be obstructed and where the travelling expenses of this Garda are provided, he is entitled to tell me when he is replying but it seems to me objectionable to allow any inspector the right to put upon the State extra expenses of that nature merely because he apprehends he is going to be obstructed, and to ask the people to pay his travelling expenses to a mart ten or 15 miles out.

Apart from the objectionable aspects of it, we are being asked to provide money for a totally unnecessary function, for something I am not aware was ever sought before. I do not know of any corresponding office where analogous powers have been claimed and given. There is already plenty of machinery available to the Minister to rectify a situation like that, if it did arise. Here, expenditure is to be incurred because an official of the Department will anticipate an obstruction that may never take place. In any other Department of State, if an inspector goes in, he has to be obstructed and he has to prove that he was obstructed before the machinery is availed of to correct it. However large or small the expenditure may be, it is unnecessary and we are entitled in this House to object to it.

Under paragraph (d) of the same section we are asked to provide money for an inspectorate:

to make such examination and inquiry as may be necessary to ascertain whether the provisions of this Act and the regulations thereunder and the enactments for the time being in force relating to public health are complied with, so far as respects the place;

Here we are asked to provide money for the Minister to duplicate the fairly elaborate services in the matter of hygiene and public health which we already enjoy. Goodness knows, we have enough legislation in regard to public health and in regard to the control of factories, abattoirs and places like that, which would adequately cover our marts. We already have medical officers of health; we already have veterinary inspectors looking after our slaughterhouses; and every county council has a health authority which has the responsibility of seeing that the hygiene regulations are carried out. Every dispensary doctor is an MOH in his own right. He is paid an extra amount in his salary for it and he has dispensary nurses at his disposal. Now we are being asked to vote money so that an inspector may have power to do something that is already being adequately done.

I know of no case where there has been a gross breach of the public health or hygiene regulations in the marts in this country. I do not feel disposed to vote money to provide an extra inspectorate so that the Minister can satisfy his own grandiose notions and build himself up to the position virtually of a dictator over every mart in the country.

Again I do not feel we should vote money under paragraph (e) which empowers an officer of the Minister's Department:

to require any person whom he finds in the place and whom he has reasonable cause to believe to be employed in the place to give such information as it is in his power to give as to who is carrying on the business of a livestock mart in the place;

If we are to vote money to provide an inspector to the Minister to go into every mart and start nosing around and asking anyone he sees: "Who is the boss here?", we have come to a very low stage in regard to legislation. Surely there are other means open to the Minister of establishing the ownership of a mart without sending an inspector in and having him ask the doorman or the fellow who sweeps the yard who owns the place? All he has to do is to ring up the Revenue authorities who will soon tell him who is the owner of a mart in any part of the country. I do not feel that we as a Party should vote money for that purpose. It is giving the Minister unnecessary dictatorial powers over a private enterprise. Whether it is a co-operative mart or a private mart does not matter. They were established by private enterprise and we certainly do not feel we should vote money to provide the Minister with inspectors to go in and act, as they must act on occasions if this legislation is passed, in a highly provocative manner.

The members of the Minister's Party, although they are brought in here under command, must, in the stillness of the night, wonder in their own minds whether they are doing the right thing or not. Although they will vote otherwise, many members of the Fianna Fáil Party must be perturbed at the implications of these sections in this wretched Bill.

I think also we should not vote money for a Bill which provides, under section 3 (1) here, again a duplication:

On the application of or on behalf of a person who proposes to carry on the business of a livestock mart at a specified place in such form and containing such particulars as the Minister may direct, the Minister may, at his discretion, grant or refuse to grant a licence authorising the carrying on of the business of a livestock mart at that place.

The operative phrase there is "at that place". You can imagine the amount of expense that such an investigation might involve where the location of a mart is in question. When the Minister was Minister for Local Government, he spent nearly a year and a half piloting a most elaborate Town Planning Bill through this Dáil. We have already gone to pretty considerable expense in drawing up preliminary plans for towns and cities. We have established planning offices and we have sent people to be trained. Now we are being asked to set up a somewhat analogous system, provide a new inspectorate to decide whether a mart should go here or there. We already have all the machinery available to us to do that and now we are being asked to do the same thing in another way the second time. We should not do it. It is an abuse of the public purse. It is even an abuse of the Minister for Finance if he has to come in and listen to the debate hour after hour.

Under subsection (2) of section 3, the Minister may at the time of the granting of a licence attach to the licence such conditions as he shall think proper and shall specify in the licence. Again, we are voting money to provide the Minister with an inspectorate which will provide him with information. I believe this is totally unjustified expenditure of money.

In section 6 (2), we find that the Minister takes extraordinary and unprecedented powers for which we are asked to provide the money because this cannot be done on a shoestring. It will mean that the Minister is entitled to send his inspectors to any mart to see how it is being conducted. Whether these individuals would be specially trained inspectors——

Surely all these points can be made on the Committee Stage of the Bill? It is unnecessary to draw them into this debate. The House is asked to provide money to do certain things.

We could not make these points on the Committee Stage if we never reach it.

That does not arise. The point is that the Deputy is making a Committee Stage speech.

(South Tipperary): I have dealt entirely with the provision of money.

Simply repeating "money" does not necessarily make it a Money Resolution speech.

It is a very good speech.

(South Tipperary): All I have said is relevant to the expenditure of money.

I shall not make any reference to that but I suggest that the Deputy may make himself more relevant to the Money Resolution. He is relevant to a Committee Stage debate in what he has been saying. The Minister is asking for money for the purposes of the Bill.

For all sorts of vague purposes which are unexplained.

The Deputy does not expect me to say that. Whether the Deputy believes it or not, I do not know. Deputy Hogan is not making a Money Resolution speech.

Surely expenditure is related to a Money Resolution?


I am surprised at the Minister for Finance advocating this Bill. I am sure that at heart he does not believe in it.


Deputies might argue that the printing of the Bill is expenditure.

(South Tipperary): To come to another aspect of the Bill——

The relevant part.

(South Tipperary): ——in section 6 the Minister takes power to prescribe the manner in which entries for auctions of livestock shall be received and provides that entries for such auctions shall not be refused except in circumstances described in the regulations. He can prescribe the manner in which such auctions shall be conducted and he provides in his amendment that the conditions of sale shall be exhibited. He can prescribe requirements as to the size, design, maintenance, repair, cleansing, cleanliness, ventilation, heating and lighting of any buildings in which auctions are held. He can prescribe requirements as to the accommodation including washing facilities and sanitary conveniences at such places. There is hardly a single matter here which is not already covered in existing legislation. Yet we are now asked to vote money to provide these services to be administered entirely by the Minister's Department. Again, this is surely duplication and repetition of what is being done already and done reasonably well. There is no guarantee that the Minister's Department will do it as well but there is the assurance that it will cost money and it is on that assurance that I am speaking and fighting in opposition. I am sure that is relevant to a Money Resolution.

Everybody knows that the hygiene regulations cover cleanliness, ventilation and lighting. All these things are already covered by our hygiene regulations appertaining to every hotel, every butcher's shop, every place of public meeting, schools and churches, everywhere. They may not always be applied with due rigidity. There are some shortcomings but the mere passing of legislation will not make a dirty house clean and the mere expenditure of public money to provide the inspectorate which the Minister proposes to foist on us will not of necessity make these places any better. If the existing legislation is adequate——

What about the money this filibuster is costing the ratepayers?


We are entitled to debate the reasons for the expenditure, and we will.

This is all cod.

(South Tipperary): This is establishing the rights of democracy and free debate in public assembly and in that respect it is fully justified.

The Opposition are twisting the Rules of Order.

(South Tipperary): This debate is exposing the insidious features of this Bill and if it does that, and that alone, no money could be better spent.

The Opposition are wasting public money on a silly filibuster.

The Government wasted more money. They broke the country in the last few years.

The Minister hates Parliament but he will have to endure it.

I hate an abusive Parliament.

(South Tipperary): We have every form of auctioneering system in this country from the simple shop to the auctioning of farms. We have auctioneers standing on stools in our fairs. We have them standing at present in our shops. Are there regulations by which some Minister's representative may go in and stand beside those auctioneers to see how they are conducting their business? Has the Minister for Industry and Commerce taken powers in the case of commercial auctioneers in this city to appoint inspectors to go in and see that certain regulations made by him are adhered to? I submit that here we have a special body of men picked out for a special form of inspection, which is, in its essence, both vindictive and provocative. We are asked to provide money for them. In my opinion, this is quite unnecessary. In my opinion, it is wrong. It would be departing from the fundamental principles of democracy if we failed to register our objection to this provision. Certain facets of this Bill are more appropriate for discussion on the Committee Stage rather than on this Money Resolution. I have endeavoured, within the limits of my ingenuity, to keep within the range of the Ceann Comhairle's wishes and I hope I have succeeded.

It is a pity we do not have more Money Resolution discussions. We might all be a little bit clearer as to what is and what is not appropriate. This particular Money Resolution reads:

That it is expedient to authorise such payments out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas as are necessary to give effect to any Act of the present session to provide for the control and regulation by the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries of livestock marts and the sale of livestock at such marts and to provide for other matters connected with the matters aforesaid.

Would the Deputy read that again, please?

If the former Minister for Agriculture is not familiar with it, I shall certainly oblige.

I am just trying to help.

The proposal of his successor is in the following terms:

That it is expedient to authorise such payments out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas as are necessary to give effect to any Act of the present session to provide for the control and regulation by the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries of livestock marts and the sale of livestock at such marts and to provide for other matters connected with the matters aforesaid.

The Minister does not want me to read it a third time?

Fire away.

He is supposed to have approved it. He ought to know its contents.

The position as I see it is that, under this Money Resolution, we are asked to decide two or three important matters. We are asked to decide that money should be provided by the Oireachtas for the particular purpose of any Bill which might be introduced during this session dealing with the control by the Minister of livestock marts. I do not know whether this is the normal wording of a Money Resolution: I assume it is. Why the wording should be such as to cover not only this Bill but any other Bill in this connection introduced during the present session I do not know, but, in any event, that is the wording of the Resolution before us. We are asked to decide on the provision of money by the Oireachtas for this purpose without any indication having been given to the House by the Minister, when introducing the Resolution, as to what the bill will be in terms of money. We have not been told what the cost to the taxpayer will be. The Minister simply moved the Resolution.

I do not fault him so far as procedure is concerned, because that seems to be the standard practice, but, in this particular case, it was surely known to the Minister and to the Government as a whole that there were strong views in relation to this measure, as to whether or not it was appropriate, as to whether or not the Dáil and the Seanad should vote moneys in connection with it. It seems to me that in those circumstances it would not have been out of place for the Minister in moving the Resolution to give the House some idea of the amount of money involved. If he did not do it in moving the Resolution, it would have been quite within the Rules of Order and procedure for the Minister to intervene at any point in the discussion and make his point of view known and thereby make the kind of information we want available to the House. Certainly it is open to the Parliamentary Secretary to intervene. I can understand, of course, that the Minister and his Parliamentary Secretary might have found considerable difficulty in informing the House as to what the cost of this measure will be.

Other Deputies have referred to various aspects of this measure: I want to refer to section 7. It has been made quite clear that we are not prepared to agree to the provision of money by the Oireachtas for the purpose set out in paragraph (f) of subsection (1) of section 7, that is, the provision of a Garda escort for an officer of the Minister. Deputy Dillon and others have dealt with that particular point. I want to refer in particular to paragraph (f). Section 7 provides:

(1) An officer of the Minister shall, for the purposes of the execution of this Act, have power to do all or any of the following things, that is to say—

... to exercise such other powers as may be necessary for carrying this Act into effect.

So long as that provision remains, would it be possible for any Deputy, would it be possible for the Minister or for the Government, to hazard even a wild guess as to what the cost of implementing this Bill is likely to be? We are here invited by the Government in paragraph (f) to give the widest possible powers to an officer of the Minister to exercise any powers under the sun which may be regarded as necessary in order to carry this Act into effect. There is no restriction, no limitation whatsoever, as to the powers which may be exercised by an officer of the Minister under that particular paragraph. There is no limitation as to the amount in quantity, in quality or in financial terms of the assistance he may call to his aid for the purpose of implementing this Bill, if it becomes an Act, under that particular paragraph. There is no boundary whatsoever set on the financial provisions which may be entailed so long as that particular paragraph remains a part of this Bill.

I should like to challenge the Minister and his Parliamentary Secretary and any Deputy on the opposite benches as to whether or not they can give any reasonably accurate estimate, an estimate within a half a million or a million pounds, of what the cost of this Bill, if it becomes an Act, may mean so long as we are invited to pass that praticular provision in paragraph (f) which, as I say, is completely unlimited, completely unrestricted, as regards the cost of this Bill and as regards the powers which it will vest in an officer of the Minister if this House decides to pass the Money Resolution and this Bill. That is one reason why I feel that the House should, in no circumstances, allow this Money Resolution to pass as long as this Bill in its present form is the only Bill dealing with livestock marts. As I pointed out, the terms of the Resolution are wide enough to cover another Bill if the Minister chooses to bring it in.

When Deputy Clinton was speaking here earlier this evening in opposition to this Money Resolution, he referred to the power of an officer of the Minister to summon the Garda to his assistance which is contained in section 7 of the Bill. The Minister drew Deputy Clinton's attention at that time to the fact that it was proposed in the list of amendments which had been circulated to delete that particular provision.

I want to say this, and I want to say it quite seriously, and I am not suggesting that there was any effort on anybody's part—I was about to say "to deceive" or "to double-cross" the House: I am not suggesting that for a moment. However, so long as paragraph (f) remains, it does not matter a hoot, to my mind, whether or not you take out paragraph (b) of section 7 (1). Paragraph (b) is the provision which authorises an officer of the Minister to summon a Garda to his assistance and to take with him a member of the Garda Síochána if he has reasonable cause to apprehend any serious obstruction in the execution of his duty. Apparently, that particular provision alarmed a number of people, including the National Agricultural Council, and the Minister was advised to delete it and has agreed to delete it, as he himself has pointed out, in the amendment which has been circulated. It does not matter a hoot whether or not he deletes it unless he also deletes paragraph (f).

So long as paragraph (f) remains, that is wide enough to bring back into operation in the implementation of this Bill everything that is in paragraph (b) of that section. So long as paragraph (f) remains, I do not see how anyone in this House can hazard a guess as to what we are involving ourselves in in pounds, shillings and pence if we allow this Money Resolution to pass and subsequently allow this Bill to become an Act.

In this Money Resolution, the Dáil is asked to acquiesce that it is expedient to authorise such payments out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas as may be necessary in connection with this or any other Livestock Marts Bill. I want to make this point, and to put it as clearly as I can without endeavouring to debate the principle or the principles, because I think there are possibly more than one, involved in this Bill. I accept the position that, once this Bill has passed its Second Reading in this House, the House is taken as having approved the principle involved in the Bill. That is so, even though the Bill is passed only as a result of a majority division here in the House.

And a pretty small one, too.

As Deputy Esmonde points out, it was a particularly small majority, but, big or small, having passed its Second Reading, this House is taken as having approved the principle of the Bill. I do not want, now, to endeavour to discuss the principle of the Bill but I want to suggest that we are not committed, by reason of having given this Bill a Second Reading, to having agreed that the timing of the Bill is right or that it is appropriate that this Bill should proceed to any further Stages at this time. So far as I am concerned, I am prepared to state and to assert and to argue to the best of my ability that it is not expedient at this time that we should provide moneys from the Oireachtas to implement the provisions of this Bill. I do not think it expedient to do that at this time because of the various provisions contained in the Bill, but, before I come to the provisions in the Bill, I want to state that I do not regard it in any way as expedient that this House should authorise the provision of moneys for this or indeed for any other Livestock Marts Bill at the present time, in the present situation, in the present circumstances which exist as between a major section of the agricultural community, on the one hand, and the Government, on the other.

I do not want to say anything in relation to this Resolution which will in any way exacerbate the situation which exists or continue the cleavage and the division that is there at the moment or in any way accentuate the feelings that have been aroused as between the NFA and the Government. Surely, however, I am entitled to say that, at a time when, to the knowledge of Deputies and the public at large, strong feelings have been aroused and strong views are being expressed and a strong stand has been taken, whether right or wrong, by the Government, this is not the time to ask this House to pay out money to implement a Bill of this sort? Surely it is not expedient in point of time to ask the House to provide moneys to implement a Bill of this sort at this time? Before I am convinced by the Minister or anyone else that it would be expedient to authorise moneys for the purposes of this Bill at this time, I should certainly want a great deal more information than we have so far been given.

I object to this Money Resolution on the ground that we do not know what it will cost the taxpayers; that, because of the provisions of the Bill as they stand, it is not open even to the Minister or the Government to hazard a guess as to the cost of its provisions. I object to the Money Resolution because I do not think it is expedient at this time to provide these moneys; I object to this Money Resolution because I do not think this House has enough information as to how this Bill is likely to operate if it is passed in its present form. I do not think we have enough information because the Minister is not yet in a position to give the House any adequate information with regard to the precise regulations he proposes to make under the Bill, if it becomes an Act.

When we are asked to vote moneys to implement a Bill which depends as much on Ministerial regulations as this Bill does, it is absolutely necessary that the House should be given the fullest information it can be given with regard to the number and type of the regulations. I am not faulting the Minister for not being in a position to give that information now, except to this extent, that, if he did not endeavour to rush the Bill and get it through the House before the recess, he would be in a position, when we come back after the summer recess, with a few months of quiet in which to clarify his mind, to tell the House the particular types of regulations he proposes to make. He is not in a position to do that, now, and, as the Bill depends so very much on Ministerial regulations, until such time as he is in a position to give that information, it is not expedient that this House should authorise the moneys.

I have spoken of the fact that the Bill depends very largely on Ministerial regulations. It is a Bill which also depends for its implementation on Ministerial discretion. The Minister may be in a position—presumably he will be—to give the House an indication as to how his discretion will be used. Objection was taken, and I do not want even accidentally to allow myself to become involved in a discussion of the principles contained in the Bill, but there was considerable discussion and objection with regard to section 3 and to the fact that under section 3 the Minister is to have, if the Bill becomes an Act, practically unrestricted discretion as far as new marts are concerned as to whether or not he will grant a licence.

The particular section goes on to give the Minister power to attach conditions to licences which he may issue and, both in relation to new marts and the licences for existing marts, it also contains power in the Minister to amend or revoke conditions attaching to any licences he may issue. Until the Minister is in a position to give the House precise and detailed information of the type or types of conditions that might be attached to licences, or the circumstances in which he would feel it proper to amend or revoke conditions attached to licences, I would not regard it as expedient that we should authorise money for the implementation of the Bill.

Reference has been made to section 6 of the Bill which is the section dealing with regulations in relation to the marts. This is the section of the Bill which sets out that the Minister may:

For the purpose of ensuring the proper conduct of places where the business of a livestock mart is carried on and the proper conduct of such businesses, adequate and suitable hygienic and veterinary standards in relation to such places and auctions of livestock at such places and the provision of adequate and suitable accommodation and facilities for such auctions and for persons and livestock at such auctions, make such regulations as he thinks appropriate in relation to such places and such businesses.

It goes on to specify without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) of section 6 particular matters on which the Minister may make regulations. I do not intend to deal with these in detail. In relation to the kernel of the livestock mart, the nerve-centre of the business, the conduct of the mart itself, we are asked, in the situation which I have described, in the midst of the difficulties which have existed in the agricultural community, to deem it expedient to provide moneys to enable the Minister to operate the Act and make the regulations.

I do not regard it as expedient that this House should do so until the Minister can spell out to the House the type of regulation he proposes to make under section 6. When I hear the type of regulation spelled out and when I can give a judgment on it, I am doubtful if, even then, I will regard it as expedient to authorise these money but, without that knowledge it is not, in my judgment, expedient that we should do so.

One of the matters dealt with in the Bill is the right of an officer of the Minister to seek the assistance of the Garda Síochána and a parallel but more far-reaching and widespread power contained in paragraph (f) of sub-section (1) of section 7:

to exercise such other powers as may be necessary for carrying this Act into effect.

In relation to those powers, am I right in thinking—would the Minister give this information to the House? —that if this House agrees to this Money Resolution we are automatically endorsing the provisions of section 7 and giving our approval to the expenditure of moneys provided by this House in connection with the expenses to be incurred under section 7 as drafted?

I know the Minister has made a case that certain amendments are in the pipeline and that we should look at this Money Resolution in the knowledge that these amendments are there for our consideration. That is a point of view, but, as I have already made clear, under the terms of this Resolution as it stands we are asked to provide money for any Bill the Minister may introduce in relation to this topic. I am not satisfied that the House should do that. I am not satisfied to vote any moneys at all. I feel particularly strongly that at the present time, in present circumstances, in the situation now existing, it is not expedient to vote these moneys and that the right thing for the Minister to do, if he wants to amend this Bill, would be to withdraw it entirely and come back with fresh proposals in the autumn.

In any event, surely it would be reasonable for the Minister, even if he is determined to pursue this Bill as it stands in the House, to let us have a breathing-space to consider these amendments properly and to consider in what other ways the Bill needs to be amended? The Minister would be doing well by this House and by the agricultural community if he agreed to withdraw this Money Resolution and defer further consideration of it and of this Bill for some months.

(Cavan): The Resolution we are discussing at present asks the House to authorise the expenditure of an unnamed sum of money to implement the Livestock Marts Bill, 1967, or any other Bill that may be introduced in this session under the same title. When an individual is faced with a demand to spend money, the first questions he asks himself is: “Can I afford to make this payment?” and secondly: “Is the expenditure necessary?” I venture to suggest that that is a reasonable test for us, as custodians of the public purse, to apply to any request for the expenditure of money which comes before us.

In the first place, I ask myself: can the Exchequer at the present time bear the expenditure which this Resolution seeks to impose on it? I can only try to estimate the financial condition of the country and of the Exchequer at the present time by the various yardsticks available to me. According to the measurements which I make with those yardsticks, the country is not in an affluent financial condition at present. I think I am correct in saying that no provision was made in the Budget for the expenditure we are now asked to authorise. In fact, I would say the Bill was not thought of at that time.

But, without going into any of these things in detail, one knows how difficult it is to get a housing grant paid at present. One knows the long delays of several months that applicants for housing grants have to experience. One also knows that only within the past few weeks it was announced that road grants were cut by 26 per cent, or something in the neighbourhood of £1 million. That suggests to me that we are not well off. It suggests to me that we should not spend any money or commit ourselves to any expenditure which we can avoid. If the Minister could tell us how much money is involved in this Resolution, we might be in a better position to give a considered opinion on it.

I would ask the Minister to tell the House where the money he is asking us to vote is to come from. It has not been provided in the Budget. Will it mean there will be longer delays in payment of housing grants and Land Project grants? Will it mean it will take longer for farmers to get compensation for reactor cows under the Bovine TB Eradication Scheme? Will it mean we will have a further reduction or revision of the amount of the road grant for each county? Thoses are pertinent questions, questions which any set of legislators faced with a demand of this sort should ask themselves.

I do not think the Minister for Finance or any member of the Government seriously thinks, or has made the case recently, that we have money to waste or that we have more money in the Exchequer than we need to meet normal commitments. Unless we have, we should not be spending money or authorising the expenditure of money on the Bill we are now discussing. So much for the state of the Exchequer and state of the national purse, as far as we can judge it. As I said before the Dáil went into recess for a short time, if a reduction of the Road Fund grants by 25 per cent this year as compared with last year is an indication of the financial position of the Government and of the Exchequer then I venture to suggest we are in a bad state and that every penny that can be saved should be saved and that there should be no waste and no extravagance.

Is this expenditure necessary? That is the next thing any prudent legislator should ask himself. I am forced to say it is not necessary. Livestock marts are a comparative innovation in this country. For years and years, longer than anybody in this House can remember, we have had the traditional type of fair, the traditional buying and selling in public places, and the Government did nothing about it. The Government did not regard the holding of fairs on the streets as injurious to public health or as unhygienic. There was, indeed, a certain school of thought which complained bitterly about the marketing system which was available to the agricultural community but there was one person who did nothing to improve the marketing system either inside or outside the country, the Minister for Agriculture. He and his predecessors were prepared to let things jog along as they had jogged along for centuries, to let the system of buying and selling that had been in operation over the years continue. The farmers decided to establish the marts system and immediately the Government, through its Minister for Agriculture, rush in at the first opportunity, without waiting to see how these marts operated, with this Bill, to impose the most stringent and, in some cases, the most objectionable conditions and regulations regarding these livestock marts.

Deputy O'Higgins stressed the fact that it is most inexpedient at present that this money should be voted or that this measure should be passed. I could not agree more and the vast majority of the people are of the same opinion. The Minister conceived this measure in a fit of bad temper. He conceived it when he and operators of these marts, or some of them, were on very bad terms, and that is putting it at its mildest. Now the Minister seeks to steamroll this Bill through the House in the shortest possible time so that he may be provided with the machinery to chastise certain people with whom he recently fell out. It is as simple as that. There should be a cooling-off period. The Minister should be allowed to take a holiday. He should be allowed to relax and to forget about the unfortunate incidents that have taken place over the past six to 12 months before he arms himself with a dangerous weapon such as this to wreak vengeance on the people with whom he is as yet on extremely bad terms.

That is a reasonable proposition. If this House does nothing more than ensure that the Minister has two or three months to think the matter over, to reconsider the position, before it gives him the big stick which he is now seeking, it will have done a good job. This measure is totally unnecessary at present. Even on the Minister's case it is unnecessary. It is an intrusion on the rights of private operators and cannot be justified. Even on the Minister's case when he saw fit to quote an occasional isolated abuse, as he described it, the measures contained in this Bill cannot be justified.

I have no intention of dealing with the Bill item by item, or of making more than a passing reference to any section. Section 2 prohibits the operation of a livestock mart for the sale of cattle, sheep and pigs without a licence. I have already stated that this system of selling in public was operating long before any of us were born. I do not think there were any abuses; if there were abuses they righted themselves. Section 3, which has been dealt with at length by Deputy Dillon and other speakers, gives the Minister a completely blank cheque and authorises him to impose conditions or to revoke or amend conditions. In other words, it empowers him to do exactly as he likes with these people who are engaged in a legitimate business.

I ask the Minister: why does he pick out the people who are operating livestock marts, apart from all the other people who are engaged in buying and selling? A lot of them, some of whom I know myself, have gone into this on a non-profit-making basis in order to provide a service for the locality in which they reside. Why, I ask, does the Minister want to get a grip on the throats of these people, as distinct from so many others who are engaged in trade and commerce? Section 4 gives the Minister power to exempt particular marts from all the conditions of the Bill, to exempt particular individuals from any or all sections of the Bill. How can that be justified? What has the Minister in mind? We are rapidly approaching a state of affairs when a Minister will come into this House with a Bill which is so vague that it will give him a blank cheque to do what he wants without giving real information to the House.

We will reach a stage, if this goes on, when the Minister for Agriculture will come in here with a Bill authorising him to take such steps and do such things as he thinks expedient for the improvement of agriculture in the country. That is the stage we are coming to. That is the sort of Bill we are having introduced into this House, not alone from the Minister's Department but from every Department. That is the trend. I feel, and have felt for some considerable time, that it is a dangerous trend. It takes, perhaps, a good many years for a trend like that to become really harmful but, while 20 years is a long time in the life of an individual, it is a very short time in the life of a nation or the life of a country. If that trend continues, I venture to suggest that the people will lose control of the Departments of State which they have through their elected representatives.

I said that the Minister introduced this measure, or announced his intention of introducing it, committed himself to introducing it, in a fit of bad temper and he wrote section 7 into it in that frame of mind, the section which authorises the introduction of the Garda, if necessary. Who is to decide whether that is necessary or not? We know that we had extreme cases in the not too distant past when the Minister or one of his colleagues used a sledgehammer to kill a fly, when they called out the Army under the pretence that it was necessary and when everybody knew that it was unnecessary and that it should not have been done. That is what section 7 has written into it. It may be that there are amendments before this House, if we had time to consider them, which water down section 7. The very introduction of those amendments by the Minister is the best possible evidence to me that now is not the time to entrust this measure to the Minister because already he has been convinced, apparently from outside this House, that he went a bit too far, that his proposals were too drastic, that the sections in the Bill are not necessary and, if he gets another few months to cool off and think over the matter, I believe that he will be convinced that there are a lot of other sections in this Bill that are too big and too strong and too heavy and quite unnecessary.

It is only a very short time since the Bill was circulated. Permission to print it was given on 31st May. I do not know when it was printed and I cannot be accurate as to the day on which we received it but I venture to suggest that it is a short time ago. Already, as I say, the Minister comes in with several amendments watering it down somewhat. Is that not evidence that he went too far? Is it not evidence that he conceived the Bill in haste? Is it not evidence that he framed it and introduced it in bad temper? I understand that the concessions made do not go very far but is the more important aspect of it not that the Minister is grasping out for the remainder of the Bill: for section 2 which will enable him to grant licences; for section 3, which will enable him to attach conditions to those licences and amend or revoke them; for section 4 which will empower him to exempt marts from licences and for the gloriously vague but very dangerous section 6 under which he can make regulations to his heart's content; for section 7 which will enable him to go back to the days of the Department of Supplies during the war and require the keeping of records, authorising his inspectors to inspect those records, and all the rest of it? He is grasping out now for those sections and, if he gets them in his present frame of mind, he will use them against the people he thinks it was necessary to introduce this Bill to deal with.

The Minister's judgment on the whole sorry episode between the Department and organised farmers in this country has not been sound and I think that is a reason, and an excellent reason, why we in this House should refuse to give it to him, even at the end of a session when we would prefer, I suppose, to get home. That is an excellent reason why we should not allow this Bill to be steamrolled through this House without full consideration and without the certain knowledge that it will have been properly considered, that its provisions will have been properly ventilated and that public opinion will have had an opportunity of making itself felt on it before we pass it.

I strongly recommend to this House that it refuse to authorise this expenditure because the amount of the expenditure is unknowable—it has not been provided for in this year's Budget and the Exchequer, as far as we can see, is in a very poor financial position and cannot afford this—and also on the ground that the purpose for which the money is being spent is not a necessary purpose, that it is a waste of money, an extravagance in which we are being asked to indulge in order to allow the Minister to vindicate himself and to get his own back on the people with whom he has fallen out. I do not think the House should lend itself to this sort of measure at this particular time.

I am in full agreement with my colleagues who have spoken this evening that we should not vote the financial provision for this Bill. I consider that this is the most hasty and ill-conceived piece of legislation that has been introduced in the 16 years I have been in the House. It is a Bill that nobody wants, brought in by the Minister for reasons best known to himself.

I, personally, am opposed to giving the money on three grounds. First of all, I conceive that this Bill is taking more control from the public representatives and giving it to bureaucrats. In effect, what we are asked to do here is to vote money so that an unknown civil servant can go into a farmers' co-operative and dictate terms to them. Right through this Bill, there are dangerous provisions and every one of them will cost money, not a small amount of money but a considerable amount of money. Deputies on the other side of the House, who have been extremely silent during this financial debate this evening, should stop to consider, when they go into the Lobby, as assuredly they will go into the Lobby, because, make no mistake, we intend to bring them there and we intend to fight this piece of financial legislation to the last ditch.

Careful now; you will frighten yourselves.

I am frightening the Minister. When they go in to vote, they can be conscious of the fact that they are voting money for a useless price of legislation and, not only that, an interfering piece of legislation, interfering with the rights of the farmers to whom perhaps this country owes more than to any other section of the community. The farmers were the people who established the right to a free Parliament here. The co-operative effort was brought about entirely by them and it takes a Fianna Fáil Government to come to this House to ask us to vote money to impose restrictions on the farmers.

With your permission, Sir, I should like to read one short subsection in this Bill and it is only one which proves the restrictions that are being placed on a free community. Section 6 (2) says the regulations may:

(a) prescribe the manner in which entries for auctions of livestock at such places shall be received,

What does that mean? We are being asked to vote money to the Minister— and if the Minister himself were deciding this, although I do not agree with a lot of what he does, I would not object so much—so that a civil servant employed behind closed doors in the Department of Agriculture may go into a mart and say to a small farmer who has brought his cattle maybe 20 miles to a mart: "You may not sell them here today." I defy the Minister when he answers us here to say that is wrong.

I am saying it now, never mind waiting until I am replying. I am saying it is wrong.

I shall be prepared to give way to the Minister if he will tell me——

You are having your filibuster. I would not dream of interrupting because it is costing more for this than for what is complained of in the Bill.

I shall give way to the Minister if he feels he can explain away what he is saying while it is fresh in his mind.

I shall explain the lot. The Deputy will be satisfied, but his colleagues, who cannot see things so clearly, will not be satisfied.

I am glad the Minister is going to explain because he has a lot of explaining to do.

Indeed I have.

The Minister, perhaps, is not alone in what he is doing, bringing in legislation here which is taking rights away from the public and handing over control to bureaucracy. I ask the Minister to deny that when he is replying. What else does this Bill mean? Does it not mean—and perhaps I take a kindlier view than some of the other people who have spoken before me—that he is being walked into this Bill by officials who say: "It is necessary, Minister. We must have control over the marts."? A sum of £80 million a year is the turnover in these marts operated by private enterprise which is following the traditions of the great co-operative movement founded by Sir Horace Plunkett, the founder of the very Department whose officials will go in and control the efforts of this private enterprise. This in itself is sufficient reason to vote against the money Resolution for this Bill.

It is a very significant fact that since this Bill came in there has been more opposition to it. I am glad to see the Parliamentary Secretary has arrived because I was going to congratulate him on being the one man who made a speech here when we were discussing this Bill previously. He gave his reasons for the introduction of the Bill. Apparently somebody lost a job in Waterford and the Parliamentary Secretary came in and joined the death or glory struggle along with the Minister for Agriculture to impose this Bill on the Irish people. As I say, I congratulate him and I hope that when I sit down he will give his reasons why we should spend the money and tell us where we are going to get the money. Deputies on this side of the House are accused of trying to delay the Business of the House. It is our democratic right and our function to see that money is properly spent. There is nothing in the Book of Estimates, nothing in the Estimate for Agriculture or in the Estimate for Finance, which covers this Marts Bill. This is some late notion on somebody's part. Perhaps, as I say in the kindness of my heart—Fianna Fáil Deputies know I am a kindly fellow—it is not the Minister for Agriculture who is really at the back of it but that he may have been walked into it by his officials, but it is another nail in the coffin of democracy in this country.

There are other reasons why we should vote against this Money Resolution. There is no earthly reason for this Bill. The State is already contributing the necessary finance for health purposes and for veterinary purposes. The Department of Justice pays a sum annually for the Garda who maintain law. We are told, by way of innuendo from Deputies over there, not only in speeches in this House but in other places, that the farmers are obstructing the free will of the Irish people, obstructing the sale of cattle, and that is the reason we are asked to vote money tonight.

The next thing we shall be asked to do is to vote money to protect small farmers against big farmers. Fianna Fáil have a story for everything. Everything they do is supposed to be for the small man. As I say, I am a very nice man and I do not like to express what is uppermost in my mind, and what other Deputies have been saying, that probably there is a little bit of spleen involved in this; when they do not succeed one way there is always the feeling that they should use the full force of the State to secure what they want. The Minister for Agriculture is here tonight looking for finances so as to put into effect the policy he wishes to impose on the farmers. I wonder what Sir Horace Plunkett, a man who did so much for the co-operative movement and for the small farmers, would think of this if he were here tonight.

He must be turning in his grave.

There was a man who actually founded the Department of Agriculture and felt so strongly about the co-operative movement that he resigned the control he had held for seven years in the Department rather than see the co-operative movement he had founded suffer. The co-operative movement survived but in 1967 a Fianna Fáil Government comes here with a direct attempt to take control of a great private enterprise with a turnover of over £80 million a year. There is heavy investment in it; probably Fianna Fáil Deputies have money invested in it. I hope they do not lose it. I do not wish them any harm. There are bank funds invested in it. Anybody who has money invested in a co-operative society has his security for the future upset when he finds that it is being put under the control of somebody unknown and unnamed in the Department of Agriculture. That is what we are asked to vote money for tonight.

I was surprised when the Minister for Finance came in to occupy the seat of the Minister for Agriculture. I was surprised that he should be opposed to our efforts to try to prevent money being spent foolishly. Surely all the signs and portents indicate that this country has no money to spare and that we should be trying to save money? I can see no good purpose whatever in this, nor can I see where the money will come from. That is the key to the situation. It is not in the Book of Estimates, not in the Estimate for Agriculture or the Estimate for Finance. This Bill will cost money. Perhaps it will cost very little but we have not been told. That is the difficulty with Fianna Fáil. They are not really democratic. They do not open their mind and heart to the Irish people. If they did, we should not be sitting here for so long but would probably be at home now looking after our constituents and perhaps thanking people for having given us such a good vote in the local elections. Instead, we must be here asserting our rights in a democratic Parliament just because Fianna Fáil will not take the nation into their confidence.

I am sure the Leas-Cheann Comhairle will bear with me if I ask the Minister one or two simple questions concerning where he is to get the money. They are very simple, only two-markers, and I am sure the Minister, with his usual courtesy, will answer them.

That question does not arise on the Money Resolution.

But it is finance.

But it is not relevant.

You have not heard the questions yet.

I think the Deputy has already asked the question.

These might be questions concerning finance.

They are financial questions. The question I am going to ask him is whether he is going to do certain things to get money for this Bill. I am going to pose two simple financial questions.

The first question is not in order. It does not arise on the Money Resolution: how the Government gets money for certain purposes.

Yes, but we are entitled to find out how they are going to get it. If it were in the Book of Estimates, I should know and my colleagues would know.

Would you?

I think we would manage to find out. Perhaps, Sir, you would allow me to pose the question?

I am sorry, but this is not in order and the Chair cannot allow it.

You do not know what the question is.

The Deputy has already put the question: where will the Minister get the money to implement the Resolution?

No; I was about to put the question and you would not allow me.

The Deputy had already put the question. He asked where the Minister was going to get the money.

The Deputy has already asked the question and I have answered it, and it is not in order.

I have not asked two questions I have written down. These are the only notes I have written. Please allow me to ask them. The questions are: if the Minister is going to get money in this way, I hope that it will not be——

Before the Deputy asks it, I will answer, and the answer to both questions is that it will not be.

In deference to the Chair, I shall not ask the question this time but I shall go on to other matters. I had hoped that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister would tell us. He is my only hope in the Fianna Fáil Party. In the previous debate on this matter, everybody in Fianna Fáil was silent, apart from him. If I thought he wished to speak, I would give him five minutes before I sit down.

Another thing in this Bill for which I could never consent to vote money is contained in section 6 (2) (b) which provides that entries for auctions of livestock shall not be refused except in circumstances prescribed by the regulations. I do not know what that means and I do not think the Minister or anybody else knows. This is the most contradictory Bill I have ever read. We are asked to vote money for it. If you are asked to vote money for a contradictory measure, even the simplest Deputy will see that it is a waste of money. For that reason I feel that to ask the House to vote this money is an insult to our intelligence.

When replying to this very interesting debate, could the Minister give us any real reason why this Bill has become a death or glory struggle? Why must we pass this Bill almost overnight? Is it because the Department is going on holidays or is it because the Minister feels that his amour propre would be destroyed in some way if he did not get the Bill overnight? We have been presented with amendments which I am told are an improvement on the general situation. I have not had time to study them yet, nor has anybody else.

What a shame.

But we hope to study them at our leisure and I can assure the Minister that for anything that is good in them we shall give them due credit.

I know that.

This is a very generous-hearted Party. I cannot say that we shall be able to give the Minister any credit because so far we have not had time to read the amendment due to the extraordinary way in which this Bill has been presented from the beginning.

Had the Deputy time to read his own amendment since they only appeared on Monday evening after all the furore we had a fortnight ago on that side of the House?

I am not aware that I had an amendment down. ment down.


We had elections in the meantime which the Minister twice postponed.

But if the Deputies opposite were so sore about the Bill, it is surprising that they could not put a bit more effort into it.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.