When one of my colleagues was speaking last night, the Minister for Agriculture intervened and pointed out the cost to the nation of this debate. That was, I think, the most effective argument that could be adduced in favour of the attitude we on these benches are adopting towards this Money Resolution in connection with the Livestock Marts Bill because we consider—probably with a good deal of behind the door sympathy, shall we say, from our colleagues across the way—that this is a piece of useless, futile legislation which will cost money, money which the nation is not in a position to provide at this time for this particular purpose. This has become now, like so much legislation these days, a sort of death or glory struggle on the part of Fianna Fáil in an effort to get this legislation through before the recess. I do not know what the views of the Government are in relation to this legislation; it is difficult for us to know because of the notable fact that no Fianna Fáil Minister or Deputy has leaped to arms to defend his Minister. Usually, when a Money Resolution is opposed, the knights in shining armour come to the rescue of their Minister in support of what he conceives to be, apparently, a necessary piece of legislation. If we do not give this Money to the Minister, I wonder is there anybody on the Government benches who feels that cattle markets would be improved in any way if we gave civil servants the right to interfere with the freeborn rights of Irish farmers?
Committee on Finance. - Livestock Marts Bill, 1967: Money Resolution (Resumed).
Is it not about time——
This is a Second Reading speech.
Apart from that, I was going to suggest that this idea of slamming civil servants is entirely wrong. It is the Minister who is concerned and not the civil servants.
The Deputy is really making a Second Reading speech.
No, Sir. I am trying to indicate why we should not give this money. That is simply and solely my purpose.
It must be related to the Resolution before the House. It does not seem to the Chair that it is related specifically to the matter before the House; it is a Second Reading speech.
Surely what I am putting before the House is the reason why we are opposing the voting of this money?
The Deputy is not saying that.
He has repeated himself three or four times.
The Minister has accused me of attacking civil servants. I have done nothing of the sort. I am talking of the policy of the Minister in putting civil servants in the position in which they have to interfere with the freeborn rights of Irish farmers.
That is what I am doing, and nothing else. If I might go further, I am sure a great many civil servants do not want to interfere with the freeborn rights of Irish farmers.
But, as loyal and devoted servants of the State, they have to carry out the policy of the Minister. He is responsible for this measure and it is no use his trying to defend himself behind the civil servants.
They do what he tells them to do. As a Deputy representing a rural constituency, it is my duty to fight against what I believe to be inimical to the interest of those I represent in what is, thank God, still a free Irish Parliament. I intend to do so. If I digress slightly from the Money Resolution, it is only because I am answering a charge made against me by the Minister. Now, Sir, in giving my reasons for voting against this money, I would, with your permission, propose to give a short history of the co-operative movement.
I do not see how this is relevant to the Money Resolution which relates to voting money for the operation of the Marts Bill.
This Bill is designed to kill the co-operative movement and to prevent its functioning in a proper way.
Such a comment may be proper to a Second Reading speech but it is certainly not proper to a debate on a Money Resolution asking for money to operate the provisions of the Bill before the House.
Am I not entitled to give my reasons for objecting to the voting of this money?
That is what the Deputy should do, and in my estimation, he is not doing it.
That is what I am endeavouring to do.
Not with great success.
I am trying to put to the House my views as to why we should not grant this money and everybody seems to be attacking me.
The Money Resolution is before the House and the Deputy should address himself to that and not make a Second Reading speech on the Bill.
I did not make any Second Reading speech on the Bill. This is my first speech on the Bill and I am trying to give my paramount reasons as to why we should not vote this money for the Bill. My paramount reason is that I consider it to be a direct restriction on the co-operative movement.
The Money Resolution deals with the actual expenditure for carrying out the terms of the Bill.
The Money Resolution has to do with the actual spending of money, and if I want to express an opinion on this, I must give my reasons to the House for not wanting to spend it. I consider that we are voting money, which is an absolute waste of public money, in an effort to destroy a very fine co-operative movement. I would like to point out to the House, if the Chair will hear me, that this movement was started very many years ago by Sir Horace Plunkett and this movement which we are now discussing is a continuation of the movement started by him 60 or 70 years ago. He founded the Department of Agriculture and was its vice-president and acting head, and he resigned from the Department for the very reason that they were then trying to destroy the co-operative movement.
History is repeating itself today and for that reason I have opposed this Bill and this Money Resolution, and will continue to oppose them with all the force I can command. If I have annoyed anybody by doing so, I say in all humility that I consider I am only doing my duty as an elected representative of the people in putting these views before the House. I am fighting for the right of free private enterprise and now I am being asked here to vote money to restrict private enterprise. Now, having made my point, and lest I should be a little out of order, I give way to other speakers, and sit down.
May I say here and now quite bluntly that our main objection to this Bill is directly opposite to that of Deputy Esmonde? We are not standing up for the marts as they are at present but we are standing up for them because, in our opinion, they are the start of a co-operative effort among the farmers to do something for themselves.
This has nothing to do with the Money Resolution.
If you will give me a few minutes, I propose to explain my position.
The Chair does not want the debate to wander into the realm of Second Reading speeches. The Chair wants the Deputy to confine himself to what is before the House, the Money Resolution.
The reason we are opposing the proposal to provide this money is that we believe an effort among the farming community to co-operate will be stymied if this Resolution is allowed to pass and find fault with that if you can.
The logic is beyond me.
I am not surprised. If we started counting the heads of schoolchildren, you would know a little about it.
Deputy Tully is making a liar of his own colleague, Deputy Murphy, who spoke here last night.
I want to make it very clear that the reason we are opposing the Money Resolution is that we are opposing the provision of money to introduce a scheme which will completely break up the present system in the marts, which is in very many cases either officially co-operation between groups of farmers or, alternatively, unofficial co-operation between a small number of farmers who are trying hard to do something for the farming community by getting the best price they can for their cattle. The Government could find a great variety of ways other than this to provide money to help the farmers. We are told that money cannot be found for this, that or the other and yet the Minister comes in here and asks that money should be provided for the operation of a Bill which provides that the existing marts are not to be allowed to continue as they are at present, a Bill that provides that the scheme under which farmers can sell their cattle for the best value they can get is to be changed because the Minister does not like it. I say the Minister does not like it.
That is only dragging your coat and I am not going to fall for it. If you will give me a chance, I will tell you why the money is being provided. I have already done so.
That is discussing the merits and demerits of the Bill, not the distribution of the money.
The Minister has said it is necessary to find this money because it is wanted to do certain things. One of the things which it is said the Bill will do is to protect the interests of farmers from marts which may go broke. There is not a word about that in the Bill. There is no safeguard in it. There is no provision for any type of insurance. There is no reference in it to any way in which the interests of the farmers will be protected. We have heard from time to time that there are marts which have got into trouble. If the Minister could simply say: "Here is the way we are going to prevent this happening in future", we would have something to go on.
I have been trying to do this but I have not been given an opportunity.
The Minister did not say a word about it. I read the Minister's Second Reading speech. He used one sentence.
What is wrong with it? I am not as longwinded as the rest of you.
The Minister put nothing in the Bill to back it up.
The Minister has the record, I am sure?
I got it out of my system.
If a new record is made, the Minister would go after that one?
Like the fellow who wants to be buried.
We should like the Minister to join that fellow.
There is nothing in the Bill which will do what the Minister says. For that reason——
I shall be telling you all about it.
Why did the Minister not do so when the Bill was being drafted? He has had second thoughts. It is now being put up to him and he has no way of getting out of it.
There was obstruction.
The Minister is now trying to write something into the Bill which he had not thought of. When his speech was being written, this line was put in quite accidentally. Then, when the Minister found that a main objection to the Bill was that nothing was included in it, he decided he would put in something about it.
A mean objection.
My pronunciation of the word "main" must be different from the way the word is pronounced in County Donegal. It was a main objection to the Bill. I simply want to make it quite clear that we in the Labour Party are opposing the Money Resolution on the ground that, from start to finish, the Bill is unnecessary. It is simply a vindictive effort by a vindictive person to "have a go" at a section of the community. We are not standing for it and we shall oppose it tooth and nail.
The purpose of this Money Resolution is to give the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries money for a vindictive feud and to enable him to carry on his private vendetta against the NFA and any farmers who might support them. In those circumstances, the House will appreciate without any difficulty that we object to money being provided for that purpose out of the pockets of the taxpayers. It is perfectly obvious from any examination of the Bill that there cannot be any reason except this vendetta for the Minister's insistence on pushing through the measure at the present time.
Deputy Tully referred to the question of marts being under private enterprise. The difficulty in relation to this Bill is that it is not even a question of private enterpriseversus State control but of private enterprise versus political control. Everybody knows that that is infinitely worse than either system that can possibly exist in the country.
The Minister has been singularly reticent today and last night. The Money Resolution is in Committee. When he speaks, he has not to conclude. He is allowed to speak as often as he likes. Yet, he complained to Deputy Tully that he has not been given a chance to speak. If he chooses to speak, we shall sit down and listen to him make his case and deal with it fairly and justly on the Money Resolution, the consideration of this problem being in Committee. However, it is like what happened in relation to the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture. The Minister does not want to do it for the convenience of the Dáil, but only for his convenience. It is symtomatic of the attempted bullying tactics which the Fianna Fáil Party have been trying in recent months, bullying tactics which were responsible virtually entirely for the manner in which the local electorate reacted against them so seriously throughout the country.
Not against us: we won five seats.
If Fianna Fáil like to lose seats, that is all right. When they see the number of Chairs they will lose next Wednesday, they will know then what has hit them. If they have not already realised it, it will be pretty obvious then.
This Money Resolution is asking money for a Bill that has been described by one responsible editorial as unconstitutional. Not merely is the Bill considered unconstitutional but the view is held that a growing weight of opinion is categorically against it. Money is being sought for a Bill which will mean that not Oireachtas Éireann, not the Dáil— as is the case in Money Resolutions— but the Minister for Agriculture alone will lay down the laws of the land in relation to what is to be done for the disposal of our greatest agricultural production.
This Bill is designed deliberately to ensure that the disposal of cattle will be under the political control of the Minister for Agriculture. I am not prepared, in any circumstances, to accept that this House should vote public money for a private feud, a political vendetta, which the Minister for Agriculture wants to carry on. The more one looks at the Bill—and one has had an opportunity of looking at it since the debate on the Second Reading and has had an opportunity of having some discussions about it with people throughout the country who will be affected by it—the more one realises that it is not a Bill that is necessary and that it is not a Bill for which public funds should be provided.
In so far as any control would be necessary to safeguard human life, adequate power is already available in the Sanitary Services Act. It is totally unnecessary to provide a duplication of these services and to waste public money on that aspect, as is done by this Bill.
In so far as animal health is concerned, the Diseases of Animals Act went through this Parliament not so many years ago. The then Minister for Agriculture advocated it as being the last word necessary to ensure that everything required in relation to animal health and animal hygiene would be provided under it. In so far as the suggestion can be made, therefore, that this measure is needed for the prevention of any animal disease, that has already been contradicted by a Fianna Fáil Minister. The present Minister cannot say, therefore, that objection on that account is merely objection from this side of the House.
There is nothing in the Bill in any shape or form to suggest or to provide that there can be any safeguard for vendors to sell through marts. I know the Minister has suggested—he suggested it even a few minutes ago in a chat across the House with Deputy Tully—that there is but, of course, that is only an afterthought on his part to try to cover up the fact that there is nothing whatever in the Bill to provide security in any way for those who would entrust their stock for sale through marts. The reason for this Bill is purely and simply that the Minister for Agriculture wants to stick his finger in a pie to exercise his own political control. He wants to control something which up to this has been run most successfully and which has shown that modernisation and improvements in relation to the disposal of agricultural produce are matters which the farmers are best able to do themselves.
Deputy Esmonde was perfectly right when he said that this Bill was a blow against the co-operative movement. It was suggested by the Minister in his reply on Second Reading, and it was virtually entirely relied on by him, that the reason for this Bill was an application made in 1957 by the National Farmers Association for a form of control. Of course, that case has since been blown sky high. At any rate, it seems to me to be quite ridiculous to suggest we require money to do something ten years after the case on which the Minister relied when he was speaking here. The purpose of this Bill is simply to ensure that the Minister will be able to control the system of disposal.
There is in my constituency in Kilcullen a glaring example of how this Bill is going to affect extremely adversely a mart which had been carried on by private enterprise up to some four months ago. Now it is to be taken over by a co-operative system of farmers in the area. It has been closed for the past three or four months and it will not be re-opened for the next couple of months because of the natural difficulties in getting something like that restarted. The effect of giving money for this Bill will be that that mart cannot carry on its business under the section that provides that marts must already have been carrying on business, and the co-operative movement will have to go, cap in hand, to the Minister for Agriculture. There is no safeguard even suggested by the Minister in his amendments. It is particularly noticeable that the amendments tabled by the Minister make no provision for a case such as that and make a provision in a way that specifically excludes the type of case we have in Kildare.
I do not see why I should be asked to give public money, which the farmers in the area are themselves subscribing through taxes, for the purpose of preventing them from getting their new co-operative movement off the ground. It is a venture which every right-minded person is hoping will be successful. Incidentally, we are being asked to give money to operate a Bill which apparently, if we are to believe the Minister, he is going to amend by amendment No. 10 in which he refers to certain matters in paragraphs (e) to (i) in subsection (2) of section 6. There is no paragraph (i) in section 6 (2) of the Bill—more evidence of the manner in which the Bill was thrown together and thrown in here for the purpose of ensuring that the vendetta and feud of the Minister would be continued. It may be, of course, that I got a different copy of the Bill from that which the Minister received. That could be so, but I have two copies, and in neither copy is there a paragraph (i) in section 6 (2). Yet, the Minister suggested across the House that he was introducing an amendment that was going to deal with a certain matter and that the amendment covered the point.
I presume I would be out of order in dealing in detail with any amendments at this stage, as this is the stage which deals solely with the financial provisions. I would object, for example, in any circumstances, to the provision of public funds for the purpose of operating a Bill of this sort which would allow a member of the Garda Síochána to be sent into a mart. We have had a great deal of propaganda produced in relation to intimidation, even by the Taoiseach. I invite him to have a word with some of his Deputies from Laois-Offaly and to read the strictures in relation to the charge of intimidation which was dismissed by the district justice in relation to the Edenderry mart and where unfortunately—the exact opposite of the general rule, I agree—the sergeant of the Garda Síochána showed a singular lack of discretion, to put it no stronger, in relation to his behaviour in the mart. Certainly after that I would never willingly give public money for the purpose of permitting a member of the Garda Síochána to go inside a mart, unless those in control of the premises deemed it necessary to call in the guards for the preservation of public order within the mart. In that case there was no such request—indeed quite the reverse.
I would also object to giving public money for the purpose of the enforcement which is contained in section 7, and which can be enforced by prosecution under section 8, because of the political control that is vested here. It must not be forgotten that the Minister by his amendments is not divesting himself of political control in all the cases involved here. If he does move the amendment at a later stage, and of that we have no guarantee whatever, he is only attempting to divest himself in one small sector of the powers contained in the Bill. The more one listens, —if I may use that phrase—to the silence of Fianna Fáil in regard to this Bill, the more one realises that they are just as unhappy about it as the country as a whole is. There are reasonable Deputies on the Fianna Fáil benches—admittedly, of course, they are in a minority—and I cannot understand why some of those Deputies are not able, if they dare not speak their minds in the House, in the privacy of a Fianna Fáil meeting, to stand up and prevent the Minister coming into this House to waste public money on this Bill.
There might be a case for suggesting that money should be provided for the operation of this Bill if there was something in it to provide funds for the improvement of facilities or if it could be shown clearly that the facilities needed improvement. On the contrary, it is universally accepted that marts, being a comparatively modern aspect of our life, have been built to modern standards and that the average standard operative in the marts as a whole is something of which we can very well be proud. If this Bill was to provide funds for the improvement of the facilities for farmers to sell their produce, I could understand the Minister coming in here and asking, on a Money Resolution, for funds for this purpose. But there is not one line, not one word, in this Bill that would suggest that any of the funds to be provided under this Money Resolution are to be used for any such purpose. The funds under this Money Resolution would be used for the purpose solely of enabling the Minister by political control to get on the back of the neck of the farmers.
It has not been suggested either that the Bill is necessary or that the moneys to be provided under the Bill are necessary for ensuring that marts adequately participate in animal disease eradication schemes. It has been universally accepted by each succeeding Minister for Agriculture that the degree of success achieved under the various eradication schemes is due in no small measure to the co-operation of those concerned in the running of the marts in existence. And, obviously, future marts will come into existence virtually entirely through co-operation, such as that in the present Kilcullen scheme which is, fortunately, now going ahead. The Warble Fly Eradication Scheme, to mention one, was a scheme which got wholesale and whole-hearted co-operation from those running the various marts. I do not think any Minister for Agriculture can deny that. If it were necessary for this Bill to provide funds for the purpose of ensuring greater co-operation and of ensuring greater success for such schemes, then I could understand this Money Resolution. But it is accepted universally that is not so and it is not necessary.
The purpose of this Bill has been stated clearly again and again. It has never been denied, never contradicted in any realistic manner, in any way in which anyone could accept any serious approach by the Minister or by anyone who has spoken on his behalf. The purpose of the Bill is to get control. The purpose of that control must be obvious to all of us. It is a type of control which is bad from every point of view. It is a type of control that is going to put greater power in the hands of an unscrupulous executive. It is a type of control that is going to prevent the farmers evolving and developing their own production and the distribution of that production. I think it is admitted by the Minister that he is anxious to prevent the farmers on their own making those developments and extending their hold on the distribution of their production. He has made it fairly clear here in recent weeks that that is part of his policy. It is certainly not a policy for which this House should provide any funds.
There has been in the past ten years a reasonable pattern of marts operating in most parts of the country. The way in which that has changed the pattern for the farmers from fairs as a means of disposal of their produce has taken the farmers out of the hands of the tanglers and the dealers, and that applies particularly to the small farmers. There is, perhaps, only one body of people who regret the passing of the fairs, if they do, and that is the politicians, who are no longer able to have fair day meetings.
And you have to get official permission to give an address inside a mart.
And you know how easily we would get permission from the Minister, or how easily Deputy Corish would get it either. With the exception of the passing of the fair day public meetings, there is very little regret in rural Ireland for the passing of the fairs, especially when they have been substituted by something which is undoubtedly undertaking the distribution of the main products of the farmers in a way in which they are able to get a very much fairer chance of selling their wares.
I do not know, and I still wait to hear from Fianna Fáil, from anybody on that side of the House, any reason why this money should be provided. Certainly, there were no adequate reasons given by the Minister on Second Reading for the Bill in his introductory speech or his closing speech. The suggestion that there is in this anything to provide for the financial safeguarding of vendors is, of course, untrue. If this Bill provided some form of financial subvention, by way of insurance or otherwise, for safeguarding vendors of cattle, then there might be a case for giving the Minister the money he asks for in this Resolution. But the Minister is asking the House for it for the purpose of spending money to gain political control, for the purpose of spending money to send in officers of the Department of Agriculture to interfere in businesses that are being carried on perfectly well at the moment and will be carried on perfectly well in the future, in spite of the Minister.
The Minister is asking us to give him money to ensure that those officers of the Department of Agriculture will be accompanied by members of the Garda Síochána. I am certain that the officers of the Department of Agriculture, going about their lawful business of ensuring that they assist the promotion of agricultural production, are welcome and will be welcome everywhere. If they are unfortunately forced by a political Minister for Agriculture with political control to enter into something that is not the job, and should not be the job, of a civil servant, then, of course, one can understand why the provisions of this Bill are required. The provisions in that respect are entirely repugnant to anyone who has any belief in rural Ireland and they will have a disastrous effect, not merely in relation to this measure, on the whole relationship between the Department of Agriculture, on the one hand, and the farmers, on the other.
There is certainly no reason in the operation of the marts at present why the present good feeling and co-operation between the officials and the Department that has been responsible for the success of the bovine tuberculosis eradication scheme and the warble fly eradication scheme should not continue. All that will be jeopardised and thrown into the melting pot simply because the present Minister for Agriculture wants to get political control to carry out through this Bill his own private vindictive feud and his political vendetta against the National Farmers Association. I am not prepared to help him to get money for that purpose.
Like my colleagues who have already spoken on this Money Resolution, I want to state my reasons as to why I as a public representative cannot vote for the provision of money for the implementation of a Bill which is unnecessary and which does not contain a single provision which would be of any benefit to the farmers, to the livestock marts or to the cattle trade in general.
As one who has helped in the foundation and establishment of one of the largest co-operative cattle marts in the south of Ireland, at Kilmallock, I object to the provision of public funds for the creation of an absolute dictatorship in the Department of Agriculture. In being asked to vote for the provision of public money to implement this Bill we are being asked to subsidise the creation of a dictatorship, to approve the extension of State control of one of the most important private enterprise sectors in the agricultural industry.
It is a scandalous state of affairs that at a time when there are many serious economic and social problems confronting the agricultural industry and many matters of extreme urgency, the Minister for Agriculture in pursuance of, as Deputy Sweetman called it, a private vendetta against the organised farmers, particularly the National Farmers Association, should seek in this House approval of a Bill which gives him absolute control over the livestock marts.
As I said, there is nothing in the Bill that would be of any immediate benefit to the farmers or to the livestock marts, nor has the Minister in his introductory speech made any sound case or produced any convincing argument in support of the Bill. There are a number of provisions in this Bill for the implementation of which no Member of this House in his sound senses could possibly vote money, for the simple reason that in most cases the provisions are unnecessary. I refer in particular to section 6 where the Minister proposes to make regulations to ensure the proper conduct of livestock mart businesses and in particular to ensure 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. I submit that this provision is unnecessary. It is a reflection on the people who have organised the cattle marts, who have control of the marts and who manage the marts. Anybody who is familiar with the livestock marts must be aware that in matters of hygiene, design and construction these marts compare favourably with any good marts in any part of Europe. By section 6, the Minister has cast a reflection on the management of the livestock marts of this country.
It is regrettable that the Minister failed to recognise the important role which the livestock marts have played in the programme for the eradication of certain major diseases. He did not recognise or make any acknowledgment of the fact that the livestock marts have played a very important part in the campaign for the eradication of bovine tuberculosis. Now he comes along and asks us as Members of Dáil Éireann to vote public funds for section 6 of this Bill, for the implementation of regulations which are already in operation and which have been provided through the management of these marts without any assistance from the State, regulations which are alreadyde facto in force in these marts. I believe that section 6 is purely a smokescreen to cover the Minister's real intention in introducing the Bill.
Section 7 of the Bill is a section which is similar in many ways to section 6 except that it represents an unwarranted interference with the rights of the farmers to organise and to control their own businesses in their own way. As one who is a keen believer in the co-operative movement and the principles of co-operation and self-reliance, I take the strongest possible exception to sub-paragraph (b) of section 7 where the Minister seeks power to send in an official of his Department to a livestock mart.
The Deputy is making a Second Reading speech. That is obvious.
With due respect I do not want to contravene any of the rules of procedure but I am trying to state my case as to why I cannot agree to the provision of public funds for the implementation of this Bill. In support of my argument, I am pointing out certain sections which are unnecessary and which nobody could possibly justify.
The Deputy will understand, therefore, that we would revert to a Second Reading debate?
Yes. As I have said, like the other members of this Party who have spoken on this Bill, I cannot possibly agree to vote for the provision of public funds for the implementation of a Bill which is unnecessary, which nobody looked for, which does not contain a single provision of any practical or immediate use to the co-operative marts, to the farmers or to the cattle trade in general. It is a terrible state of affairs that this House should be asked to provide public funds to enable a vindictive Minister for Agriculture to pursue his own personal vendetta against organised farmers. Nor can I agree to support the provision of public funds for the implementation of a Bill which strikes a death blow at the co-operative movement, and a Bill which contravenes all the internationally accepted principles which govern State intervention in co-operative enterprise and in private enterprise.
There is no precedent for this Bill in any country in the world where a co-operative movement has been organised in the agricultural sector. I have taken the trouble to check the organisation and administration of co-operative agricultural movements and I cannot find any precedent for this Bill or any similar case where such a Bill was made necessary. It is recognised that intervention by a State in co-operative effort should come only at the invitation of the people who pioneered the co-operative projects. In this case the Minister has bulldozed his way in. He has made no attempt to help the co-operative movement. In this Bill he is striking a blow at the co-operative movement which has done so much for Irish agriculture and which has still so much potential for development.
I have not a great deal to say, but I am availing of the opportunity to put on record my objection to providing money to implement this Bill. As a farmer and one closely associated with the introduction of the marts system in County Cork, I cannot see why money should be provided to give the Minister power to close or open marts. It is an unwarranted piece of legislation, and the money which I object to providing could be very well used in other more urgent fields. In section 2 it is stated:
(1) A person shall not carry on the business of a livestock mart at any place unless there is for the time being a licence in force in respect of that place.
In other words the Minister will vet all applications and, if he so desires, he will grant a licence, and he can refuse on the same grounds. The regulations and conditions attached to a licence will undoubtedly make it more difficult for the farmers to carry out their own business. It is extraordinary that a Minister for Agriculture, holding one of the most important posts in the Government, should, with very indecent haste, try to implement this Bill in order to harass farmers and make their unfortunate position more difficult, and that is what it will do.
It will be a nice state of affairs that under section 7 the Minister's officer can enter premises and take with him a member of the Garda Síochána in order to enforce his demands. After over 40 years of Irish government, it is hard to reconcile the Minister's intentions with the improvement of the lot of the farming community. Instead of conferring benefits on them, he is racing as fast as he can to bring in new legislation, in order to satisfy his own vanity, to coerce them.
We know very well from experience that the conditions which will be attached or which can be specified by the Minister and his Department will undoubtedly make it more difficult for people who are interested in improving their own position to provide marts within an area, if they so desire. Under section 7, in the bustle and activity of a morning mart, the Minister's officer can go in accompanied by a member of the Garda Síochána to look for certain information. It is rather hard to find those in charge on such a day as that, and naturally they will look for information from somebody. It may be only the caretaker or a drover and if they are not in a position to give the required information, or if it is thought they are not giving it, they are subject to a fine. That is a terrible state of affairs in 1967 when we should be hoping for a big advancement in agriculture.
There were several Government speakers in the back benches, rural Deputies, who recommended this Bill in a big way to the House, but it is rather strange that on the Money Resolution not one of those has spoken. I was taken to task by the Minister in his reply on that occasion for saying farmers were entitled to their rights—I repeat and emphasise that—and that the Minister wants to filch those rights from the farmers by the implementation of this Bill.
We did not hear how much this will cost but we know it will not be a small amount. It is hard to reconcile the introduction of unnecessary legislation costing a great deal of money with our present financial position. We are not so purse-proud that we can waste— and I emphasise that word—money in implementing legislation like this. There is nothing in the Bill, nor has the Minister suggested anything, that will confer any benefits on the Livestock Marts Association or on individual marts. There is no improvement in the position and no safeguards in regard to the allegations of some Deputies who wanted to justify the introduction of the Bill by suggesting that farmers were so dishonest that they tried to "do" one another. That, of course, is all poppycock.
It is quite obvious that the Minister wants to steamroll this legislation through the House to satisfy his own vanity and to be in a position to coerce farmers at any time. He would be well advised, even at this late stage, to reconsider the whole matter and have the Bill withdrawn until the end of the year because this Bill is resented by the farmers, the cattle trade and everybody concerned with our major industry. I said previously that in the south, or at least in county Cork, this legislation finds no favour. That has been borne out by recent events and I suggest that is also why some of my rural colleagues on the other side of the House are not present to support this Money Resolution. The Minister should withdraw this Bill.
When I spoke on the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture some two weeks ago, it happened to be the day on which the Marts Bill was circulated. I then appealed to the Minister for Agriculture and to the Parliamentary Secretary now sitting opposite, Deputy Davern, to have the Bill withdrawn. Unfortunately, the appeal fell on deaf ears.
Like my colleague, Deputy Burton, before making the few remarks I wish to address to the House, I appeal again to the Minister even at this late hour to withdraw the Bill. He must know, and I am quite sure many Fianna Fáil Deputies who are not present agree, that this legislation serves no useful purpose. In many ways farmer-Government relations were never so bad and this legislation will not improve the position. I do not want to repeat what was said between 7 p.m. and 10.30 p.m. last night and again this morning but I wonder what is in the Minister's mind that he wants to steamroll this legislation through the House. One would not be human if one did not believe that it was the personal vendetta to which I previously referred between the Minister and the farmers' organisations that is responsible. I do not want to vote money at a time when money is very scarce for a Bill that will certainly do not good and which, in my honest simple view, will do any amount of harm.
The more one examines the Bill the more one finds it is totally unnecessary. Fianna Fáil Deputies might yet ask the Minister for Agriculture to let commonsense prevail, especially as we are now coming to the end of this session and as the local elections are now over, and it might well be that a little harmony could prevail and a little commonsense. This would be good for the House and great for the country. For that reason, I protest most emphatically against the introduction of this type of legislation. I also rise in the hope that my Cork accent, even in the case of a Donegal man, might penetrate the Minister's mind and that he would yet see sense. It is not yet 12 noon; it is only ten minutes to 12. The Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy Carty, who is here is a most goodhumoured individual. Perhaps he would have a chat with his colleague, the Minister for Agriculture, and ask him to drop this legislation. If he did so, his name would go on the records as being the man who did so much for Irish farmers.
As Deputy Burton says, all farmers' organisations and all representatives of the cattle trade object strenuously to the provisions of this Bill. Could the Minister say, when replying, what organisation or organised body of opinion, if any, asked him for this legislation? It is a pity especially in 1967, in this ecumenical age, that we should be dividing and driving the wedge still deeper between the farmers and the Government. I do not wish to delay the House except to go on record as being one of those who oppose the Bill most strenuously. I again appeal to the Minister to use commonsense, to do the big thing, and withdraw the Bill.
As the Parliamentary Secretary may know, I am not at all the white-haired boy with the NFA and I do not presume to speak on their behalf in opposing this Money Resolution. I do so mainly because I have been asked to oppose the Marts Bill by an organisation in my own constituency which, in my opinion, is an intelligent, non-political body interested in seeing that Waterford city and county and the country as a whole will prosper. They have expressed a view in a resolution which they passed and which they have asked me to put before the Minister for Agriculture. They appealed to the Minister to take another look at this Bill before plunging the whole country into turmoil as a result of what they described as radical and sweeping proposals. I have no particular knowledge of agriculture over and above that which I read in the papers or in the course of conversation with farming people and those interested in farming whom I meet in everyday life in a rural community, but they claim—I repeat the claim now not as one of my own knowledge but as one which I believe—that the cattle marts have been run on practical and sound lines in the past without any interference and they suggest that the changes the Minister proposes in this Bill will cause an upset.
They do not claim—I think very wisely—that the Minister is doing this from any unworthy motive. Neither do I attribute any such motive to him, but it could, on the face of it, look as if this is a reprisal for certain things which happened in the past. As far as I am concerned, things happened in the past on both sides of which neither side can be very proud and anything which would cause further upset or widen the gap between the farming community and the Minister is to be deplored. I do not intend to add any fuel to fire or to cause any trouble. Waterford Junior Chamber of Commerce—a reputable body—appealed to the Minister to delay the passing of this Bill and these radical and sweeping, as they say, proposals. They believe these will not be in the interests of either the farming community or the country as a whole. I intervene in the debate to add my voice—a detached voice, completely clear of political prejudice—simply to point out to the Minister that a reputable group in Waterford, non-political so far as I know, interested only in the wellbeing of agriculture as a whole, appeal to the Minister to have another look at this measure and to delay its implementation.
One could understand the introduction of this measure had the Government in the past given any financial assistance of any kind to the establishment of cattle marts. These marts were established by farming groups, members of various agricultural organisations and members of co-operative societies in order to secure better marketing for livestock. The Government gave no financial help in the way of grants or loans. Now, when the Government see that the marts are operating in the interests of the farmers —they are operating quite successfully —they move in and decide that the marts can no longer operate without the permission of the Minister for Agriculture. One can only conclude that there is some ulterior motive behind the issuing of these proposed licences to marts.
The only motive I can think of at the moment is that born out of the row between the farmers' organisations and the Minister for Agriculture. God knows, that row will not be solved by the introduction of this measure. It is odd that money can be found for this when only a few weeks ago road grants were reduced by 25 per cent all over the country. There was no provision in the Budget for this Bill. The money it is proposed to spend now on this measure could be spent to greater advantage and more wisely in other directions. My main objection is to the idea of gardaí going to help inspectors. The policy of the Government so far with regard to the Garda has not been very successful. We can all recall, too, a Minister for Agriculture telling the farmers he would fill ten fields full of inspectors to make the lazy thugs till the land. That same attitude seems to be operating again now with another Minister for Agriculture and I think he would do well to examine his conscience about it.
When this Bill was introduced, the local elections had not taken place and the loss of support for the Government can be attributed to the introduction of this measure. The Minister said yesterday that his only interest was the electorate. If that is so, then he should look at the results in the county I represent and he will find that he is not catering for the electorate. Everybody is quite satisfied that this is the Minister's own idea. Not one member of his own Party has spoken in support of this measure. It would be in his own interests and in the interests of the country generally either to withdraw the Bill or to postpone it to some later date.
We are discussing a Money Resolution necessarily associated with a Bill of this kind. The 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.
Three words in that Money Resolution impinge immediately, even on reading it for the first time. The words are "expedient", "control" and "regulations". Were one to come in here fresh yesterday afternoon and sit here all day listening to the appeals being made by farming Deputies, and Deputies representing areas where there are marts and where the co-operative movement has gained considerable force in recent times, one could not help being impressed by the necessity for re-appraisal. Deputies such as Deputy Barry, Deputy Burton and other Deputies from areas where marts are thriving and have become a feature of our agricultural life, are men to whom the Minister should listen. Even the last speech by Deputy Kyne in which he said he is not by any means a white-haired boy of the National Farmers Association but is making an appeal at the behest of the Waterford Junior Chamber of Commerce, a non-political organisation, against what they call radical and severe provisions, should be listened to.
In the natural course of events, in the case of a Bill such as this requiring a Money Resolution, such a Resolution rarely gives trouble. Deputies realise the necessity for the expenditure of money in accordance with the provisions of the Bill for which the money is required and almost automatically grant the Resolution. This is not so in this case and the fact that it is not so aroused in my mind a suspicion in the beginning and, as I listened, led to a well-founded conviction that there must be, all over the country, and particularly in the marts areas, a rising feeling of agitation and irritation in this regard.
Where a Money Resolution is required for promoting social legislation or legislation of a commercial kind to promote industrial and commercial interests, then I can see the reason for it, but here we have a Bill of 12 sections, one of which is definitive, nine punitive, and the remaining two simply explanatory. For this Parliament to vote money for punitive legislation is not a desirable thing. If the punitive character of this legislation were necessary and if a case were made for it, then, in consistence with our usual interest in the maintenance of good order, we would naturally support it. But no case is being made for this. Particular instances of disorder have been cited, not authoritatively. We do not legislate for particular instances; we legislate in a general way for the common good. That is another reason why I think the arguments put forward in support of this Bill are not sound.
One could go through the whole of the Bill, look at every section and subsection and subparagraph of it, and one would find examples that clearly call for expenditure and clearly call for a Money Resolution, but before granting the Money Resolution, inquiry must be made into the reasons for such expenditure. That should be made at Government level, in every Department; it is so in every commercial concern. That is what determines the economy of every family: what must we expend necessarily now or at any given time? That should be the governing factor in this case as well. In my view, not alone technically, but commercially and agriculturally, having listened to the many Deputies who spoke, there is no reason why at this time or up to this time this Bill should be introduced.
From the point of view of marketing, we have ample marketing machinery, ill-provided with money. If this were a Bill to give extra money for further marketing research, I would be all for it. If it were a Bill to help the Pigs and Bacon Commission to solve their difficulties, I would support it. If it were a Bill to make sheep farming more prosperous and to provide more markets and to help sheep farmers' breeding schemes, I would support it. But this is something appertaining to control and regulation. Are these marts, from the hygienic point of view, being run in a manner conflicting with the hygiene regulations already in force under the various laws and regulations governing the production of food or made under the Diseases of Animals Act? All these aspects, socially and commercially, are already covered by existing legislation and the regulations made thereunder.
For that reason one has to inquire why these new regulations are now being sought and why it is necessary to have control. It is true that the Minister at one stage said something about farmers having to be safeguarded, that farmer vendors would have to be safeguarded in their dealing with marts. If there was any provision in this Bill setting out clearly that such a safeguard was in the mind of the Minister and contemplated by the Government prior to the introduction of this Bill, it would be a different story but I cannot find it: I do not see it anywhere. We have nothing, even in the amendments that are to come, that would give us any encouragement to regard this Bill as something that is designed to safeguard the farmers, and particularly the farmers who use the marts.
Surely there are enough people in the Department of Agriculture, in the inspectorial class, who could, under existing regulations, visit the marts, if such were necessary? Are we to have a new Department, a new section or subsection in the Department of Agriculture dealing with licences for marts involving the appointment certainly of an inspector to cover the areas of the marts—and that will not be done by one or two or three or more? You will have to have a clerical staff either down the country or here in the new section of the Department, or in both places indeed, with little notices flying hither and thither. Clerk-typists will be necessary and all that kind of thing associated with a new departure.
What is wrong with the marts from a building point of view that they require inspection? Somebody has already said that these are a new venture, a new feature in our co-operation in agriculture. They have been built in very recent times. A lot of money must have been employed in producing such fine structures as I have seen. What is wrong with these structurally? Surely it is possible that we would be told, in relation to any one of them, that it is not suitable at the moment? What is wrong hygienically? That information should easily be obtainable from health inspectors or officials charged with the responsibility of seeing about these things.
A release from the Department of Agriculture, after a meeting of the National Agricultural Council, sets out that the principal amendments will relate to certain things like the removal of the necessity for bringing in the Garda, reducing fines and an amendment of the provision relating to the obtaining of information from employees of marts. This is all very interesting reading and very interesting to people interested in the technicalities of legislative amendments. However, I should be more impressed if the Minister had, say, spoken in the course of this debate on the Money Resolution and told us clearly what these will be and what the future situation is likely to be.
I do not see that there is any necessity for this Bill. First of all, I would say it is badly times and is not likely to bring about any amelioration in the situation existing as between the Minister for Agriculture and certain sections of the farmers. It could well be that this Bill has been introduced in an atmosphere free from any consideration of that kind but the coincidence of disturbance and the introduction of this Bill makes it very difficult to rid ourselves of that suspicion. If that be so, we must look at it in this way.
Legislation in any country is I think always at its worst when it is conceived quickly and conceived in the haste associated with irritation or pique or anythings in the nature of a vendetta. To confuse the metaphor, the best way to conceive is to conceive in love, thereby engaging in the process in the proper manner. But, in this case, I think that this legislation has not been conceived in certainly any kind of love relationship between the owners of the marts and the Minister for Agriculture. Then, having conceived it, there is a mighty rush to abridge what I might call the gestation period and the process well known in gynaecological circles of induction is now being employed. We are now expected in this Parliament to give birth to legislation that has undergone every unnatural process that could happen to it. Now, the something that is born as a result of all that cannot help carrying with it all of the disabilities of infirmities and deformities of all kinds. I strongly urge the Minister to reconsider this matter, to let it settle down over the holiday period and then let us come back to it afresh or bring in some fresh legislation if that is necessary.
This is only the thin end of the wedge. If we are to have legislation of this kind for marts and the co-operative movement, why not have it for supermarkets and places that fail financially just the same as one or two of the marts have failed? Why can shareholders not be protected as well as vendors? It is for these reasons that I oppose the Money Resolution. The Minister would do well to listen to us. Our approach to this matter may well be called filibustering. That may be the technical term for what is happening but it cannot be denied that the efforts made here are genuine and sincere efforts, if not to postpone this legislation for ever, then certainly to postpone it to a calmer period when reason is more likely to prevail.
I speak on behalf of that section of the country which conducts the largest sales of cattle in the whole country, the Dublin area. The Dublin cattle people are extremely concerned about this Bill which, like every other measure which would allow Parkinson to walk again, will increase the costings of the livestock industry. There are many people in this House who forget about Parkinson's Law, that law which says that the creation of any new bureaucratic establishment will lead inevitably to the creation of work to fill the institution created; that the giving of power to make regulations will lead inevitably to regulations being made; that the giving of authority for inspectors to inspect will inevitably cause inspectors to inspect, to make reports, to makeaides memoire, to make minutes, to make recommendations and to make amendments to their original recommendations; to revoke the original advice and so on, and in that way lead to waste of human effort, of public money, of intelligence and energy which could be used for productive purposes. There is nothing in this measure which is going to increase productivity. That is one of the many reasons why we in Fine Gael are unable at this time to give our support to a Resolution which asks for public money to be spent. It is to be spent in a useless bureaucratic exercise which will achieve nothing but frustration, stagnation and irritation in an area of our national life which ought to be concerned with improving the efficiency, rapidity and productivity of livestock sales.
The spending of public money for a non-productive purpose at this stage cannot be justified. We are surprised that a Government who for so long have been preaching against expenditure which was not directly productive should be asking us at this time to pass a Money Resolution which would not create one additional penny of wealth but rather would impose an unnecessary burden upon the productive sector; it would achieve nothing except the satisfaction of the Minister in controlling what free enterprise has very efficiently been able to carry out. If we look after the halfpennies and the pence, the pounds will look after themselves. We make no apology for insisting that we should stop this wastage of the halfpennies and the pence because by so insisting, we feel there is a reasonable possibility that in the long run we will save many pounds. We have no doubt that if this money is not provided, we will see an end to this unnecessary folly.
That is why we are so vehement in our opposition to this Money Resolution. If, on the other hand, we were satisfied the expenditure could increase productivity, or efficiency, or would provide a better standard of sales facilities for livestock, we would gladly give the money, but nothing the Minister said on the Second Stage gives us any reason to believe that that is his intention. His presumed silence in the face of his accusers in the course of this debate would apparently strengthen the view that the misgivings we have about the Bill are entirely justified. Several of my Fine Gael colleagues have underlined the fact that the Minister purports to seek power to do things the law already permits him to do and we are asked to provide money to have a duplicated bureaucracy to do that which can already be done. In other words, not only are we to have another Parkinsonian institution operated but we are to have it duplicated with another. It is common knowledge that already there are adequate powers available to the Minister and to other Ministers to ensure proper hygienic and veterinary standards in livestock marts. The standards have already been enforced and if they have not already been enforced, it is not due to any inadequacy in the law. If I may draw an example, I draw the example of the dangerous buildings situation in Dublin. For many years powers were available to Dublin Corporation to deal with dangerous buildings and they did not deal with them.
That would be going outside the scope of the debate.
I just want to draw a parallel to reinforce my argument. Those powers were not used, although they were there, and in order to put a facade on the inactivity of the Minister for Local Government and Dublin Corporation, a new Bill was brought in which suggested that the powers were not adequate. We have a similar situation here. There are ample powers available to ensure proper veterinary and hygienic standards in any part of the country, be it in a private dwelling, a farm, a factory, a shop or any place of public resort. There is no restriction whatever in the existing hygienic and veterinary code which prevents the Minister sending his agents into livestock marts to ensure that these standards are maintained.
Therefore, it is grossly wrong to come before Dáil Éireann at present to seek money for the purpose of creating a new unit to do that which already can be done. If the Minister says it is not being done at present, then he condemns himself because he declares he is not using the power already available to him. We have learned in recent times that the Department of Agriculture has inspectors to inspect no eggs, eggs which do not exist. These gentlemen are still there, the inspectors of no eggs who were employed at the cost of some thousands of pounds inspecting non-existing eggs. It would seem that if the Department are not properly ensuring standards of hygiene and veterinary principles in livestock marts, the inspectors of no eggs could be given some training in hygiene and veterinary standards and could be sent in to inspect the livestock marts as things are.
It is unnecessary to be providing money so that the inspectors who the Minister envisages will be appointed under this Bill can beckon to a member of the Garda Síochána to accompany them on their rounds. This is provocation in statute. This is intimidation in legislation. It is extremely difficult, if not well nigh impossible, to find any example in our legislation where inspectors of the State are empowered to demand that members of the Garda Síochána accompany them on their rounds of inspection. We are opposed to the provision of money for the introduction of this unsavoury activity into the code of bureaucratic behaviour in this country. If a member of any Department, or any private citizen, has reasonable cause to apprehend that he is going to be assaulted, he can seek the protection of the Garda Síochána and that will be gladly given. But here we are to confer on inspectors at great public expense a right to call on members of the Garda Síochána to assist them in the execution of what the Minister considers should be their duties under this Bill.
We regard the expenditure of public moneys in this way as wrong. We see in this a highly undesirable development. As things are, members of the Garda Síochána are frequently called on to perform duties which are far outside what might reasonably be considered to be police duties. But they can be justified certainly in rural Ireland by the fact that police duties, fortunately, in this peaceful land of ours, do not monopolise all their energies at all times. It is probably as good a way as any to get to know the community by collecting statistics about crops and cattle. Those duties which may be performed at the moment can be done in the time of the gardaí themselves which they have to spare. They can discharge their proper police duties as a first priority and the other matters can be put in abeyance until time is available for them. Under the proposal now before us it would appear that members of the Garda Síochána could not disregard the whim of any inspector at any time who wanted to be accompanied by a member of the Garda when going into a cattle mart. That is going to lead to the obstruction of the gardaí in the discharge of their proper duties in the protection of citizens and the treatment of all citizens as equals. No more can they be equal under the law. Priority has to be given to the inspectors to whom we are expected to vote money in this Money Resolution in order to cause obstruction, difficulty, worry and intimidation for anybody engaged in livestock marts.
We consider that to be wrong. We consider it wrong that we should vote money to entitle the Minister to make regulations to call on men who are efficient in the discharge of their business of selling cattle to keep the books and records required by the Department. There is no Deputy who is not aware of how complicated a Minister can make a simple question and how it becomes extremely difficult to answer a simple question when it is put in a difficult form by a Department of State. That is the likely development here. If a Department of State wanted to ask you the day of the week, they would ask you to state it in relation to some other day, to put it before or after some other day, and not only the day of the week but also the amount of daylight hours and the hours of darkness. We now feel that in the regulations to be made here it is not an unreasonable assumption that they will impose such additional work on the livestock marts that these will have to employ additional people for no other purpose than to keep records devised by the bureaucratic mind in order to keep them working on processing and analysing and readjusting the figures they receive as a result of their own inquiries.
This is sheer lunacy. If it were going to achieve any worthy object, one perhaps might complain about it and say that this process was being engaged in; but one might justify it because a worthy object would be achieved. But as no worthy object is to be achieved as a result of this exercise, we are opposing the expenditure of this money in this regard. I can think of parallels. Employers are made to keep figures of their employees, what they pay them, how long they are with them, what social welfare payments are made for and on their behalf. They are also required to keep PAYE records and make the necessary deductions. These have all imposed considerable overheads on employers and, in doing so, on our economy. But we consider such expenditure is justifiable, that it is proper such records should be kept, because by keeping them, one can ensure the law is complied with. We consider it reasonable and proper that various benefits and schemes of insurance premiums should be executed. That is why we would not oppose a Money Resolution which related to that kind of expenditure. But when a Money Resolution seeks money for the creation of rules and regulations intended to frustrate and make difficult the work of the livestock marts, we considered that is money which should not be spent and we refuse to give money for this utterly futile purpose.
We consider that the Money Resolution, which asks us to declare it is expedient at this time to spend money for this purpose, is not worthy of support. The Minister has not on the Second Stage, and certainly not on the Money Resolution, justified to us or the nation the expediency of providing money at this time for this futile purpose. In the light of the fact that we have to relate the Money Resolution to what is expedient now, we find we cannot give that support to the Money Resolution which the Minister is seeking.
The Dublin cattle sales as far as Dublin Corporation are concerned are not conducted through livestock marts; but there has been considerable agitation, of which the Minister is aware in his previous capacity as Minister for Local Government, to have marts introduced into the area of Dublin Corporation. There has been quite proper resistance to this idea, because livestock marts are being most efficiently conducted in Dublin by private interests. They have given excellent service. Indeed, it is worthy of comment that the public service in this city has been unable to provide for the livestock trade the marts which the livestock trade want. It is because of the default of the public sector— and when I say "public sector", I mean the Government and the local authorities—that the private interests provided the livestock marts. They provided first-class marts which are second to none in the world.
Now we have a situation in which those who have operated cattle sales with the Department and who have failed to move with the times, who have failed to provide for their own cattlemen and for those who come from abroad wanting to buy Irish cattle a proper system of sales, dare to come along and say: "Because we have failed, those who have succeeded should be struck out and we are going to tell you how to run your business". It is outrageous that we should be asked to vote money under this Money Resolution for the purpose of allowing this Department, with their failure in the public sector, to put their hands into the pockets and on the books and records of the people who have efficiently conducted the sales through their own private livestock marts.
The Minister has been unable to indicate any shortcomings in the Dublin livestock marts. He has been unable to justify why he should interfere. He may say that there is power in the Bill to grant exemption in respect of the carrying on of the business of a livestock mart at any place but in fact this just shows how contrary this Bill is. We apparently are to give power to the Minister to control the livestock industry and at the same time, we are to say: "But you are to grant exemptions to whomsoever you wish".
One of the assumptions which our courts will make when they approach this or any other measure is that the Minister will act reasonably but nothing the present Minister or the present Government has done in relation to the cattle industry in recent years can give any justification in fact to the assumption that the Minister will act reasonably. He has acted unreasonably at all times and this Bill is thepiece de resistance of unreasonableness. Yet if our courts are asked to consider the constitutionality of this Bill, they will assume that the Minister is acting reasonably and they will assume also, if the Bill is passed, that the Dáil and Seanad considered that the public interest required the passing of the Bill. The strange thing is that our courts will not look at the Dáil debates to ascertain whether or not there was a strong view in the House that the Minister was reasonable or that the Bill was required because the practice here, which is now becoming almost unique in the modern world, is not to consider what has been said in Parliament.
We consider in the light of that that it is wrong that we should provide money so that there can go on the Statute Book of this country something which we know the vast majority of Members of this House, including those behind the Government, consider to be unnecessary, unreasonable and vexatious. On that account, we in Fine Gael reject this whole notion of interfering in the livestock marts.
May I say that there is another thing that strikes me as strange? I think it was the Dublin Corporation Act of 1890, or it may indeed have been an earlier one of 1872, which set up the Dublin Cattle Market which is the Corporation Market, that gave permission to a number of private interests which had been operating sales of livestock by marts to continue to do so for ten years after the Dublin Corporation market was set up, or until such time as the corporation might set up its own marts. That was 77 years ago. Three or four generations have passed by in the meanwhile and public authority through the Government and the local authority failed to move with the times, failed to provide the service which our cattlemen wanted. Fortunately for this country, the private interests did not fail the demand of the times——
The relevancy of that is not clear.
I know, Sir. It is not clear why the Government sector did not discharge its duty.
It does not seem to be clear at all on the Money Resolution.
We say that the fact that the public sector have failed for four generations in relation to the operation of livestock marts does not give us any reason to have confidence in a Bill which proposes to allow those who have failed to interfere with those who have succeeded.
The Deputy would not accept that relevancy. It is irrelevant and the Deputy knows it.
The relevancy of the argument will be known in the cattle trade and they would regard it as outrageous that Dáil Éireann should at the present time or, indeed, at any time, vote money to enable those who have failed to interfere with those who have succeeded.
Before any legislation is introduced in this House and before any money is asked for the implementation of any legislation, there is usually an atmosphere created for that legislation; there is usually a demand over a number of years before the legislation is introduced. Very seldom do we have legislation brought in without a definite demand, in some cases from the general public and in other cases from sectional interests that want the legislation brought in to protect a particular profession or otherwise. Apparently, in present circumstances, the Minister is looking for money to implement legislation for which no atmosphere has been built up and for which no real demand has been made by members of the cattle trade, by owners of marts or by exporters. The cattle exporters had a meeting only the other day and I saw a report to the effect that they were not in favour of this legislation, that the Bill would not do any good whatever.
The Minister has rushed this Bill in in a vindictive manner and he should have second thoughts about it. The Minister for Agriculture, when he was Minister for Local Government, introduced a Housing Bill and it was spoken of in this House and outside this House at local authority meetings for two years before being passed through the House. In all fairness, the Minister, if he introduced this Bill, should have left it on the stocks for six or 12 months and let the various interests concerned have some notification that it was coming.
Take the General Council of the County Committees of Agriculture. If the Bill had been on their agenda, they could have given their ideas about it. The recently formed National Agricultural Council were not consulted before this Bill was brought in. Apparently, the Minister found that he was a bit stuck about the Bill, in a stew about it, and he then went to the National Agricultural Council, and as one exporter said, they took him off the hook by suggesting certain amendments, one of them being in relation to the garda accompanying the inspector or the inspector being entitled to call on a garda to accompany him.
I have an industry. Any industrialist or any man in a factory is always embarrassed when an inspector comes in, no matter how well run his place may be. How much greater is the embarrassment if the inspector is accompanied by a member of the Garda? People would shy off starting an industry if they believed that an inspector could come into their place of business accompanied by a garda. No matter how well run the place may be, there is always a certain amount of embarrassment at the visit of an inspector, a feeling that something is not quite right today that was right yesterday. The embarrassment would be all the greater if the inspector were accompanied by a member or members of the Garda.
The Minister would do very well if he would tell us the estimated cost. Deputy Allen, when he was on Telefís Éireann one night, mentioned that there were 52 farmers in the Fianna Fáil Party in the House. Not one of these 52 has come in to support the Minister on this Money Resolution. Is that not surprising? Deputy Allen says there are 52 farmers in the Fianna Fáil Party in the House, that Fianna Fáil have more farmers in the Party than any other Party in the House——
I do not like interrupting the Deputy but he is not on the Money Resolution.
I am on the Money Resolution. I am talking about having gardaí going in, and providing money for gardaí to go into a mart.
That is not the gravamen.
That is the technical use of money for it.
I am not going to be cross-examined by Deputy Dillon.
On a point of order, are we not entitled to raise on the Money Resolution the appropriation of public money for the purpose of sending gardaí into cattle marts? I submit, respectfully, that we are.
I shall deal with a question like that if it arises.
In Kilkenny we had a demand for a veterinary laboratory from the organised sections of the farming community. Being industrious, enthusiastic and energetic, they felt that one was required in Kilkenny. In order for the service to be satisfactory, the carcase must be brought in hot and examined straightaway. If the carcases have to be sent to Abbotstown or to some other laboratory, it is no use to them. They sent a deputation to the Minister, who said the money was not there at the time. I have no doubt it was not there. In fact, the Minister went so far as to reserve a portion of ground for Kilkenny County Council for a veterinary laboratory there when the money would become available. If there is money available to put an inspectorate over the marts of the country without any real demand, the money could be much better used by devoting it to establishing a laboratory. It was pointed out at the time that it would cost about £25,000. What is £25,000? Small as it was, the Government could not see their way to provide a service which the farmers badly needed. I have no doubt that the cost involved in this Bill will be added to the aids to agriculture. Next year to the £40 million which our farmers are supposed to be getting there will be another £1 million added for the Livestock Marts Bill.
I would appeal to the Minister to go slow in regard to this measure. I notice when I go to the marts the Gardaí are already there on duty, examining vehicles bringing in cattle, seeing that the farmers have properly licensed vehicles and so on. They do this work outside in the yards; now they are to be brought into the cattle marts.
If there were a real demand for this legislation, it would have been mentioned in the Budget Statement of the Minister for Finance. It was not mentioned on that occasion. Does it mean we are to have another mini-Budget to cover the cost of this Bill?
The Minister is trying to bulldoze this measure through the House. I have great sympathy with the Taoiseach in the position in which he finds himself. I am sure he is a reasonable man and that he would consider it only right that this Bill should be postponed until the autumn so that those who had an interest in it would have more time to consider its merits. Possibly it would be considered desirable to ask the Minister to add a section to it to advance loans for marts in order to enable them to provide covered accommodation such as we have in Kilkenny. This is a great necessity, and other marts might not be in the same financial position as Kilkenny. I would appeal to the Minister to listen to the Taoiseach and agree with him that this Bill should be left over. It would then be possible for Members of the House to consider whether there was a real necessity for it. It could be gone through section by section and if the House was satisfied there was a necessity for it, Deputies would do their best to help the Minister and to improve it.
I want, with my colleagues, to express my dissatisfaction at the manner in which this Bill has been brought before the House. We are asked to vote moneys but we are not told what the amount is in respect of this Bill, for which, I thoroughly agree with my colleague, Deputy Crotty, there is no demand. For some reason best known to himself, the Minister is trying to rush this Bill through the House without giving the various interests time to consider it. I believe that contained in this Bill are dictatorial provisions. I cannot understand why the Minister will not leave it over until the autumn. As far as I can see, every provision in it must cost money, and there was absolutely no provision for it in the Estimates.
These cattle marts which are run by private enterprise throughout the country are responsible for an enormous annual turnover, something in the region of £80 million. Now the Minister thinks it fit to control this type of private enterprise. This is something that could not be recommended. It is wrong that the Minister should at this stage introduce a Bill to dictate as to how these marts should be run. I notice that in section 7 an officer of the Minister has power "to do all or any of the following things", and I should like to quote paragraph (e):
(e) 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;
From the wording of the section, I take it that an inspector can walk into any mart, go to any person employed there, even the lowest worker, and question him. Even without that section, it is bad enough that a person or people trying to run a business will be put in the position under this Bill—and I do not think I am unfair in saying it—of finding inspectors breathing down the backs of their necks every time they move in a cattle mart. This is unnecessary legislation. The Minister has rushed into the House with the Bill and is trying to bulldoze it through. It would be very wrong for anybody to support this Money Resolution, especially when we are given no estimate as to the cost. Even if we were, it is unnecessary legislation for which there has been no demand. I appeal to the Minister to go very warily and change his tactics and not try to rush this Bill through the House.
It would be wrong for the House to provide money for this Bill, especially when no provision was made for it in the Budget and when local authorities and other services will be very short of money for their normal activities in the coming year. I agree entirely with those who have spoken already on this side when they say there is absolutely no necessity to rush this Bill through at this time when the Dáil would normally be going into recess and when far more important business might require to be discussed and legislation passed to implement it. The Minister will be sorry in the long run that he adopted this attitude of bulldozing the Bill through the House and seeking money from the Dáil to implement it because it will appear to the people that he did it through pique rather than through any desire to improve cattle marts or to ensure that they are properly conducted.
Under our planning and health legislation and under legislation passed to implement the Bovine TB Eradication Scheme, the Minister already has sufficient powers to deal with anything that might occur in a cattle mart or outside it without attempting to push through something that seems to me more dictatorial than democratic. For instance, why should the Minister have a section which empowers him to bring gardaí into a mart? Why go back to the days of the Coercion Acts, the days when the landlords' toadies had to have the RIC beside them when they went to investigate a farm problem or evict a farmer from his holding? Should the police of the State now be used in the same way, as a sledgehammer, to implement something the Minister introduces in his pique with the farmers and his dissatisfaction with the manner in which he was overridden by a strong-minded and well organised farming body? Would he not, even now, decide that to use the State's police in that manner would be wrong and unfair to the Garda and definitely unfair to a democratic community?
Therefore, I say the Minister should, even now withdraw the Bill until the autumn and have discussions with all the farming organisations, with those who have established marts by their own enterprise, and with the co-operative marts to ensure that if some regulation is necessary, it can be achieved by discussion and agreement rather than by attempting to push this measure down the throats of those involved. The Minister knows well that the less restriction there is on farmers and farm enterprise the better. He cannot make a case for the manner in which he seeks to investigate the affairs of the livestock marts. The section that gives him power to question anybody connected with the marts about the affairs of the mart reeks of the informer, and informers were never popular in this country and never will be. The Minister should realise that an employee of a mart, approached in that way, would not be very likely to tell the truth.
The Bill is ill-conceived, conceived in haste and probably delivered in turmoil. I think the Minister himself did not realise how far-reaching were the implications of sections of the Bill. He gives himself power to exempt anybody or anything from the terms of his own Bill and conceivably he could hold a mart anywhere at any time or allow somebody to hold it in any kind of unhygienic conditions if he thought fit. That is a shocking thing. It is horrible to think that the Minister should have power to exempt anybody from the terms of his own Bill. It makes him an absolute dictator. It gives the Minister power that the Dáil should not give to any Minister.
The Deputy is making a Second Reading speech. He should confine himself to the Money Resolution.
I have great respect for the rules of order and I do not think I am going any further outside them than any other speaker went before me.
That may be.
I realise that without the rules of order, the business of the House could not be properly conducted. I also think that rules of order might have two functions, one, to keep order in the House and the other to give everybody who wishes to put forward a point of view, a fair deal. I shall soon conclude my remarks and I hope the Chair will bear with me if I am contravening any of the rules. The Dáil should be slow to give any Minister powers such as those sought in this Bill. It could only do harm and very little good. I appeal to the Minister to withdraw this measure until the autumn.
I want to add my voice to the voices of my colleagues who vigorously oppose this Bill. The Bill is untimely and it is wrong of the Minister to try to rush it through the House without giving people with a fundamental interest in livestock marts an opportunity of examining and discussing it in order to discover its full implications. The Minister should have a concensus of opinion and he should, therefore, adjourn the measure until after the recess. The county committees of agriculture, the members of which represent grass roots farming, would be very interested in discussing the Bill and pointing out to the Minister its disadvantages and the seriousness of its implications. I come from the south of Ireland, an area in which livestock marts have made tremendous progress under the Cork Co-operative Marts Society. Indeed this progress shows a magnificent example of co-operation between townspeople and country people. Funds were raised to get the marts going; it was of course to the mutual advantage of both the townspeople and the country people. There was a doubt at the time as to whether or not the marts would be successful. They have now proved themselves and they are going from strength to strength. It is a shocking thing that the Minister should now attempt, with his iron hand, to intervene and dictate as to how these marts should be run. That is most unfair and I appeal to the Minister to adjourn this at least until after the recess.
I could not in conscience vote money here until I was assured there was a public demand for what the Minister proposes and that his proposals would benefit the community. This is an interference with the fundamental rights of the people. Indeed, if this measure is enacted, it will create hardship for the managers and staffs of marts because records will have to be kept and the managers and officials will always feel that an inspector from the Department may pounce on them at any moment. It is wrong that the farming community should be subjected to this type of dictatorship.
The measure is really ill-conceived. I appeal to the Minister to have another look at it. I had associations with the Cork co-operative marts for a number of years and the way in which those marts have thrived is a matter for pride. The marts ensured that the farmer would get the highest price. He was safeguarded from the tangler and the jobber. It is incumbent on me, as it is incumbent on every Deputy representing a rural constituency, to voice his or her protest here. I hope the Minister will have another look at this Bill.
Sir, there are certain features in this Money Resolution to which I wish to make further reference.
The Deputy has already spoken.
Yes, but under Standing Order No. 64, you will, I think, agree that it is there set out specifically that a Deputy may speak more than once on the same matter while the House is in Committee on Finance.
The Deputy knows the practice of the House. That Standing Order seems to have fallen into desuetude.
I shall rehabilitate it now, Sir. It is a Standing Order and I look to you to sustain my right under Standing Orders.
I should like to say, before the Deputy commences his argument, that the practice in operation in respect of Money Resolutions has been for a very long time that Deputies include all their arguments in the one statement. There has not been any complaint that this practice has caused any disadvantage to Deputies or injury to discussions and it seems to me the continuance of that practice in respect of this Money Resolution has afforded a suitable opportunity to Deputies to express fully their arguments.
On a point of order, I submit to you the terms of Standing Order No. 64:
The rules as to procedure in the Dáil shall apply to procedure in Committee of the whole Dáil, and in Select or Special Committees, except that—
(i) a motion or amendment need not be seconded;
(ii) a motion to proceed to the next business cannot be moved;
(iii) a member may speak more than once on the same question.
I now propose to speak more than once on the same question under Standing Order No. 64 and surely I can look to the Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann to sustain the Standing Orders of our own House?
That rule has fallen into desuetude.
No, Sir, it has not; and I am here as long as you have been.
What about the length of time the Deputy is here?
I am here a great deal longer than you are in that Chair.
I shall not enter into that discussion.
Is the Standing Order not there?
You do not deny me the protection of it, do you?
It has not been in operation.
I deny that, and my experience is quite as long as yours. I stand on the Standing Order and I claim my right.
The Minister is entitled to intervene——
At any time I will give way to the Minister, but I exercise my right under Standing Order No. 64 and that right I categorically assert either after or before the Minister speaks. I will always give way to the Minister if he wishes to intervene further to inform the House, and then I shall resume the discussion. Under Standing Order No. 64, I look with confidence to the Chair to vindicate my right to speak more than once on the subject under discussion. That I am prepared to do now, but, if the Minister indicates that he wishes to intervene, I will very happily give way.
May I make this observation? While I have not got the length of service of either the Ceann Comhairle or Deputy Dillon——
Is the Minister raising a point of order?
He is going to make an observation in regard to a point of order already raised.
I will not give way. I am claiming my right to speak.
So am I.
Does the Minister want me to give way so that he can intervene? If not, I am going to speak.
The Minister is entitled to make an observation on a point of order.
I never heard of any such right.
He can make an observation.
This is a new one on me.
With regard to the point of order raised by Deputy Dillon——
I am raising no point of order. I am claiming my rights under Standing Orders.
Will you shut up and allow somebody else to speak?
I will not give way to the Minister unless he is making a point of order.
I am making an observation and the Chair has ruled accordingly.
I offered to speak, and I claim the right to speak.
The Minister is entitled to make an observation on a point of order.
I am not making a point of order. I want to speak on the Money Resolution at present under discussion in Committee and I claim my right to speak under Standing Order No. 64, paragraph (iii). I will, out of courtesy, give way if the Minister wishes to intervene.
I have asked the permission of the Chair to make an observation and I understand the Chair has said that I may do so.
You may make a point of order; I will not give way unless you make a point of order.
The Minister is making an observation on a point of order raised by Deputy Dillon.
I am not making a point of order; I am offering to speak.
The Deputy mentioned points of order when he offered to speak. There is a point of order under discussion.
You cannot discuss a point of order. I will give way to a point of order, or if the Minister wishes to intervene in the debate, but otherwise I will not.
I wish to make an observation on a point of order raised by the Deputy and so quoted by the Deputy, and I understand the Chair has given me permission to do so. In all my years here, I never remember, and it is a matter of memory with me, where in a discussion or debate of this nature, Deputies have offered to speak the second time. This is merely a matter of recollection on my part and I assumed that none of us was allowed to speak as many times as we wished on these matters.
As the Minister has been allowed to make an observation on this matter, may I also make one? I have frequently spoken twice on Money Resolution because the House was in Committee. If you look back through the records, Sir, you will find that many speakers have spoken twice on Money Resolutions. There is one reservation, and one only, that is, where the Chair has called on the Minister to conclude. It is then accepted that that is the conclusion of the Committee Stage.
I am standing on the Standing Order which I have quoted and I propose to speak. I have had very long experience in this House of listening to Money Resolution in connection with a Bill. Sometimes the Money Resolutions were subjected to relatively little debate but time and again I have heard Deputies ask the Minister for Finance for the time being if the sum involved was substantial or not. Invariably the Minister has taken it on himself to say whether the sum is substantial or minimal. We are now faced with the astonishing situation that at no stage of our proceedings have we had the slightest indication from the Minister as to what amount of public money he contemplates spending.
On a point of order on this matter, has it been determined whether there is to be a multiplicity of speakers?
We are in Committee: that has been determined.
I am not asking this question frivolously. Has it now been determined that a Deputy is entitled to talk as many times as he wishes on this particular Stage of the Bill?
There is a Standing Order and that Standing Order gives Deputies certain rights. These rights, in respect of which Deputy Dillon has claimed the right to speak more than once, have fallen into disuse in respect of Estimates, Budget Resolutions and various other Financial Resolutions. These rights have not been insisted on by any Members of the House and they seem to the Chair to have fallen into desuetude. The rights of Deputies do not seem to have been interfered with in any way because of that. They have found it possible to put their arguments clearly into the one speech.
You appear to be talking about Budgets, Estimates and such things. They are Financial Resolutions and not Money Resolutions. May I suggest that you refurbish your memory, Sir, before you make a ruling of that sort? If necessary, I will refurbish it for you and show you that over the years Money Resolutions on Bills have frequently had more than one speech from the same Deputy. It is on Money Resolutions on Bills that I have spoken more than once.
I stand on my rights under the Standing Order, and I know of no practice in this House to allow Standing Orders to be altered by desuetude or by anything other than the sovereign power of this House to change its own Standing Orders. The Minister has not given us the slightest indication of the amount of money needed for the implementation of this Bill.
Does the Deputy want to know now?
I will give way to the Minister if he wishes to intervene in the Debate.
The Deputy is now attempting to get through with another filibuster because he has not enough Deputies in the House to keep the debate going.
That is not so.
Because he is a Minister, if he asks me to give way in order to enable him to intervene in the debate, I will do so. It has always been the courtesy of this House for a Deputy to give way to a Minister who wishes to intervene.
The courtesy at present being extended to the Deputy is straining the courtesy of the House.
A Minister under pressure frequently finds himself discourteous.
The Minister is not under pressure and never will be—not from Dillon anyway.
But even pressure should not cause the Minister to be rude.
I did not give the information because I followed the ordinary practice in regard to Money Resolutions whereby no speeches are made on them and if questions are to be asked, they are asked and answered forthwith.
(Cavan): That question has been asked 20 times since the debate started.
And the Deputy knows well that it was asked with no wish to get an answer.
The usual method of debate is that Deputies raise specific questions and I agree that there is a long established tradition of our House, founded in courtesy, that if a Minister rises to speak, even though he is out of the ordinary rota of speakers, any ordinary Deputy will give way so that the Minister may place at the disposal of the House information which he thinks the House wants or so that he may anticipate the wishes of the House and so abbreviate the business of the House.
On a point of order, I should like to say this——
Is this a point of order?
I hope so.
Then raise it. Say that you want to raise a point of order and I shall give way.
That is what I have said, unless the Deputy is deaf.
I did not hear the Minister, but he meant it.
I again ask the question as to whether or not procedure and practice as established here is to be thrown overboard. There are other rights of this House which will be obliged to be asserted if the Fine Gael Opposition want to run the business of this House merely for their own filibustering tactics on this particular Bill.
May I proceed? I wish the Minister would get it out of his head——
I have indicated the position.
If the Minister is trying to blackmail, terrorise or bulldoze us, because he cannot——
Will the Deputy allow me?
If you rise, I shall sit down.
I do not know exactly what has been ruled here in regard to this matter. I can see Deputy Dillon talking but my thoughts were otherwise when the ruling was made.
I have indicated the position. I have said that the practice has fallen into desuetude and on important financial matters, there has been only one speech on Money Resolutions. I have said that that has been the practice and that now the Deputy seems to be determined to enforce the re-introduction of the practice. I cannot prevent him from doing that.
That is the important thing.
Now, that is settled, and let us get on and not lose our tempers.
It is not "on" to get elsewhere.
I can sympathise with the Minister for getting a little impatient but I would remind him that all the impatience has been brought upon him due to his attempt to blackmail, bully and trample people in this House.
What is the Deputy trying to do now? Is he not trying to intimidate the Minister to withdraw the Bill? Is that not the idea? It will not work.
I do not believe in intimidation or blackmail. I believe in using the powers conferred upon this House because all of us here are elected——
And so do I.
——by the same sort of people to defend the public purse from expenditure on specific purposes which seem to me to be entirely inappropriate.
I now turn to the first matter I just mentioned, that is, the strange fact that although we had a protracted debate upon this Money Resolution, although the Minister says he has the information which he knows the House wants, although he is supported by a Parliamentary Secretary whom he is quite entitled to instruct to intervene in the debate to provide this information if he does not wish to do so himself, the House is still without information as to what amount of money the Minister believes is likely to be covered by the Money Resolution we are at present considering.
I listened to this debate and heard a great many Deputies contribute to it. They have all borne in mind that we are dealing here now with a Money Resolution and that we must deal, therefore, with the technical purposes for which it is proposed to spend money under the general authority of the Bill, the principle of which has been accepted on Second Reading. Do Deputies seriously intend, by resolution of this House, to furnish the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries with money to prosecute, if he pleases, individually every member of the committee of a co-operative society which operates a cattle mart if any person in the employment of that mart, whether in a responsible position or otherwise, has refused to furnish information requisitioned from him by an officer of the Department who refused to produce his documentation of identity on request? Under section 8(2), if that should transpire, every single member of the committee can be prosecuted, involving a fine not exceeding £1,000 and imprisonment of six months.
I do not believe that any Deputy on this side or on the far side of the House intends that the Minister should have the means at his disposal to undertake so fantastic a prostitution of the judicial process but it is important that we should ask ourselves how it can be that an Irish Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries has come before Dáil Éireann and in public sought the means to do what I have described. I think I know the reason. It is that this Bill was only half drafted and the reason it was only half drafted is that it was drafted with undue haste.
We have every reason to complain that we should find ourselves in the position of having given approval on Second Reading of this Bill to so monstrous a proposal as the Minister now seeks money to finance. I imagine that this very proviso is the proviso which certain people had in mind when they said that if the Bill passes in the form submitted by the Minister, the Supreme Court will certainly declare it to be unconstitutional.
It is foolish for people to impugn every piece of legislation they do not like or with which they disagree as being in conflict with the Constitution —and I could see nothing in conflict with the Constitution in the general principle of the Minister supervising the administration of cattle marts or any other branch of the agricultural industry in its processing, selling or buying activity. It is foolish for people to declare that they have dependable opinion that such procedures conflict with the Constitution. However, I do say that I revolt from the request to vote money to finance an activity which I believe is in conflict with the Constitution.
That does not arise on the Money Resolution—errors in drafting, Constitution or otherwise.
I do not think it is an error of drafting but an error of judgment. I thought the Bill contained this monstrous proposal because it was too carelessly considered and drafted. I am not saying there is any misprint, or any error of that kind, but I do not believe that any Deputy wants to jail the entire committee of a co-operative society because a man sweeping the floor in a cattle mart operated by them refuses to give information to an anonymous person who will not produce any document of authorisation from the Department of Agriculture. As the Bill stands, that is what is proposed in it.
Mark you, in a further section it is provided that if an officer of the Department approaches a person who holds a responsible position, to him he must produce a document of authorisation before that person could be held guilty of any offence under this statute by refusing information or co-operation. If the person is not a responsible party and has not a responsible post, he must give the information although no document is produced. I think that is an oversight but it is an oversight begotten of undue haste.
I want to draw the attention of the House to another fantastic proposal in the Bill. It is common knowledge to layman and lawyer alike that felony or a breach of statute law makes a man subject to the appropriate penalties. They are set out in the statute which describes the felony or the statutory offence, and it ought be common knowledge to the legal section of the Department of Agriculture that conspiracy to commit a statutory offence is itself an offence punishable as felony and requires no statutory definition to make it so. To conspire with others to break the statute law is in itself a felony; yet we are asked to vote money to the Minister for Agriculture under section 8(1)(a) to prosecute people who attempt or aid, who abet or assist, who counsel or procure another person—but that is not all—or conspire with another person to commit an offence under this Act.
I want to suggest that if the Minister had taken adequate advice, he would have been told that the insertion in that subsection of the words "or conspires with another person" is not only tautological in law but manifestly inappropriate because conspiracy in itself is a felony. I think even Deputy de Valera will agree with me on that. We do not have to define it. It is not the Minister for Agriculture who should prosecute for a conspiracy; a conspiracy is a matter which should be prosecuted at the suit of the Attorney General. Those words should never have appeared in the Bill and we should not vote money to the Minister to conduct prosecutions of that character because manifestly they are inappropriate.
Doubtless when the Minister comes to reply, he will ask: "Why is there no amendment on the Order Paper to delete these words?" Because we had not time. I received the ministerial amendments to this Bill at 3.24 p.m. yesterday. I spent the greater part of the time thereafter, between 4 o'clock and 7 o'clock, attending in this House for the Estimate for the Minister for Justice and I had no time to determine whether the ministerial amendment to the amendment put down by Deputy Clinton covered this particular point. I do think, however, that it is appropriate on the Money Resolution to say that we should not vote money to the Minister for Agriculture to do the Attorney General's job. The Attorney General can do his own job and if the Minister attends to agriculture rather than to conspiracy, the law of the land would be very much better administered.
Now, Sir, doubtless this Committee on Finance will make its report, which report will be considered on a future day as provided in the Standing Orders, and it seems a pity to me that it has been necessary to pursue the matters in such detail, with such care and attention as has been requisite on this Money Resolution, but from a lesson we must learn that Governments in this House derive their authority from the majority—that is as it should be—but democracy in this House works, not by the use of the Government's majority but by the respect shown by the Government to the rights of the minority. Mercifully, when the foundations of the State were laid, we provided in Standing Orders that the majority, however absolute in this House, however berserk it might become, would find itself manacled by our Standing Orders if at any time it tried to go mad. If the Minister for Agriculture feels that it is a personal vendetta against himself that these Standing Orders should be invoked——
On a point of order, I hate to interrupt Deputy Dillon's flow of language, even though it is a repeat of what he said last night, which I believe is out of order, but are these matters relevant to the Money Resolution in any way, no matter how far-fetched?
They would be more appropriate on the Committee Stage and, as has been pointed out to Deputy Dillon on more than one occasion——
Does the Leas-Cheann Comhairle really suggest that the berserk attitude of the Minister for Agriculture in connection with this Money Resolution is more appropriate to discuss on the Committee Stage of the Livestock Marts Bill? I am talking about——
I did not say that.
I was talking about——
What I do say is that Deputy Dillon has made this speech already.
Oh, no, Sir; not at all. This interesting point was raised only a quarter of an hour ago, before you took the Chair. The Minister made a valiant effort to prevent me from speaking a second time but fortunately I had Standing Orders with me, and after a good deal of vacillation and lectures on propriety and custom and all that, it was established eventually that Standing Order 64 entitled me to speak. Then the Minister for Agriculture "blew his top" and made several disorderly interjections. I am only telling——
I know how you can tell, but please do not repeat yourself. We were bored enough last night without having the same today. It is disorderly, according to your own rules. Repetition on the same Stage is out of order.
I do not blame the Minister for being irked by the blessed fact that our Standing Orders stand firm even against his most aggressive assault, but interrupting me will not stop me. I will say what I want to say because I have the right.
Regardless of your rights, you just drive your way through the rules of this House when it suits you and then you preach to others about it when it suits you.
Let us be patient with the Minister. He is a little berserk——
Suspicion haunts the guilty mind on that subject.
I am judiciously quoting from this green book, the substance of which was established before the Deputy's Party was ever in this House. I am glad it is there. I am glad I have succeeded in establishing that it is a sovereign citadel of the rights of every Deputy. Let it be noted that, when the circumstances require it, we will debate a Money Resolution in this House so long as we think it necessary to do so—today, tomorrow and so long as Dáil Éireann constitutes a part of Oireachtas Éireann.
We are in no hurry.
Deputy M.J. O'Higgins.
The Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries rose.
If the Minister is only intervening, I will give way.
Perhaps the Deputy was not aware of the change of attitude which took place, that one may speak as many times as one likes?
Yes, and I have been called.
At this stage, now that I know for certain that this procedure which had been established over the years has been broken and we are reverting to the rule book, since you have already had 25 speakers on your side of the House, this side is entitled to be called.
I have been called, but if the Minister is only intervening, I shall give way.
The Deputy was called because the Chair understood the Minister rose to conclude.
That is the point I wanted to make. If the Minister is not concluding, I will give way to him.
For that reason, I am calling on the Minister.
On a point of order, the Minister is not concluding?
I will not. I have as much right to stand on a point of order as you have. I will stand on a point of order any time I like.
There are other Orders in this book which I intend to stand on this afternoon as well. I hope Deputy Dillon will be as forthcoming on those as he was on this one.
You may depend on that.
I will be amazed. May I at this point say again that I regret most sincerely that the procedure in this House has been upset by Deputy Dillon? That procedure was well established and has not been broken in the manner in which it was today since I came into this House. The reason for the lapse of this Standing Order is, I presume, that during the lifetime of a number of Governments, this method of dealing with Money Resolutions had been worked out as the most satisfactory way of conducting the business of the House. If I did not make a speech on the moving of this Money Resolution, it was not because it was my intention to keep from the House something they might be desirous of knowing, but rather was it following the practice and procedure of this House as I have known it since I came in here.
That is accepted: I said that yesterday.
The fact you said it yesterday does not mean anything to me.
I exculpated you yesterday.
That was really generous of you. I should thank you for that.
I would be prepared to do it again as soon as you sit down.
I do not think you will.
I do not think any of you will. We have the filibustering going on.
He is a little berserk.
Deputy Dillon has been in that condition on many occasions since I came into this House. The fact that he so describes others is an indication that he really is.
We will hold the Donegal fair.
The extra seat gained in the Donegal area should answer Deputy L'Estrange and others. We won a seat from your supporters in the Donegal area, and we won two others.
We won 75 seats all told.
We were only taking your friends' seats.
Your friends in the past.
Look at Leitrim and see whose seats were taken.
Do not be blowing your trumpet about Leitrim, Deputy.
You blew yours about Kerry.
Tell me about Leitrim. I would be interested in it.
You should be. You have been doing well enough out of it for long enough, but they are not doing so well out of you.
The Minister should be allowed make his speech.
Let the Minister stand up to his responsibilities.
I applaud you for your propaganda.
Could the Minister tell the truth?
Now we are going to have another display of the orderliness of the Fine Gael Party in this House. They make a virtue of upholding the rights of Deputies but never the right of a Minister to defend himself, explain himself or even to educate an ignorant Opposition who cannot or will not read what is before them.
You are so ignorant you could not educate anybody.
There is nothing there to read.
You are like the bandylegged boy trying to call somebody else bandylegged before they call it to him.
If Deputy L'Estrange wishes to remain in the House, will he please cease interrupting?
In my time in this House, I have never heard such a lot of talk with no great sense or meaning, such lack of order and such hypocrisy in regard to the meaning of this Bill. This debate has been steered through the rules of this House as a Second Reading debate on a Money Resolution. This debate should have taken place on the Second Reading, but apparently the Fine Gael Deputies had not time to know what was on in the House and therefore did not make their full contributions at the time.
The first charge made here, the persistent one, is that this Bill is being bludgeoned through the House. Let us look at this small Bill. Although it contains 12 sections, only two are effective out of the 12. They are in fairly simple language. The Bill was introduced on 31st May. It was ordered to be printed on that same date. The text of the Bill in its printed form was circulated to Deputies on 14th June. It was such a large measure and so difficult to understand that Fine Gael again saw to it that it could not be taken in that week and they had to get a week to read it. They got the week and we had the Second Reading discussion which concluded on 21st June. All sorts of objections were taken, all sorts of assertions and false interpretations were made. Propaganda in line with these accusations and allegations was readily disseminated throughout the country for the purpose of the local elections. The amazing thing is that not until the afternoon of Monday of this week, the 3rd of this month, although the Second Stage had concluded on 21st June, did an amendment emerge from anybody on that side of the House who had taken such objections to the Bill.
When did the Minister's amendments come?
Deputy Clinton was busy taking five seats from your Party in Dublin.
You have had your say, a dozen or more of you, and now you want to say it again.
And we will.
The whole emphasis was on the short notice you got from me but I am trying to point out the short notice that I got from you.
We are agreeable to postpone it for as long as you like.
It is not going to be postponed.
We do not want to take the Minister short.
Settle yourselves here for the summer because it is not going to be postponed.
We do not want to take the Minister short.
This blackmail is not going to work. Your bluff is called and you have got to sit here, and that is all that there is about it. It is no harm whatever that you should.
He bulldozed the Taoiseach and he had to go back on his word.
To give the clear line on this: 31st May in the first instance; circulated 14th June; discussed in this House 21st June and no amendment from these people who were so horrified by the Bill in its original form emerged until 3rd July, Monday of this week. Do not try to get away from that.
You must have been sleeping on it.
Just let us show the public how difficult the Opposition are trying to be in this matter for their own petty little reasons. That was not sufficient but when it was announced —remember and mark these meetings well—subsequent to my meeting the IAOS and the Cork Marts in a joint deputation and subsequent to that the meeting by me of the Associated Marts Association and subsequent to the NAC considering what we had considered at these meetings already, we had general agreement by the two associations, whose rights you people are now allegedly defending, that the Bill in this form with the amendments now produced is generally acceptable to them.
That is not true, and I know it is not true.
That is not true.
It is true. There is here in this House a circular from one of the groups I have mentioned. One of the groups have circulated their own members with a minute of the meeting held with the Minister to discuss this Bill and this minute will clearly indicate the position to any person who has any doubts whatever. Fine Gael, obviously, have a lot of doubts. They must have been in cuckooland in the last week when they did not know that the people whose rights they are allegedly defending had been with me and discussed the matter with me, that the two associations, including the Cork Marts with the IAOS, have had very cordial discussions with me and we have reached agreement, by and large, and the amendments circulated in the white print on Tuesday and the green print on Wednesday are amendments that now make that Bill by and large acceptable to these two groups.
"By and large" is a great expression.
There is no point in Fine Gael making out that they are the defenders of the co-operative movement in this country. Surely, they do not want to tell the House that they usurp the rights of the IAOS, the rights of the Cork Marts, which Deputy Creed was talking about here today? Surely he should know, if he is so closely associated with the Cork Marts, that they were represented on this deputation received by me last Friday and arising from which there was general agreement on the Bill, subject to a few small amendments that have been circulated and which apparently Fine Gael have not read or, having read, do not understand or, having understood, do not want.
Were Deputy Clinton's amendments put before these groups for discussion?
Deputy Clinton's amendments arrived after I had met the three groups.
Will you meet them again?
If the Deputy thinks that I have the time or that these busy people in these three organisations have the time to be meeting to consider the sort of amendments produced by Deputy Clinton, the Deputy has another think coming because we have far too much to do.
The Minister would be surprised at the people who have time to meet me.
I know, too.
They will meet me just as readily as they will meet the Minister.
They will learn that the greatest waste ever in so far as agricultural interests are concerned is——
Having you as Minister.
——time spent with Deputy Clinton. No fault to the Deputy for that. They will find out. I know it at the moment but how could they until they find the Deputy out?
The fact is, as I say, that the amendments were envisaged and foreshadowed in a press release issued after the meeting with the NAC. On the previous evening, I met the Associated Marts and at the same time, I met the IAOS, including the Cork Marts people. Arising from discussions with all these bodies, these proposed amendments have now taken the form drafted by the draftsmen to meet the general points of view agreed upon, arising from our consideration of the Bill. No. 1 is that the Fine Gael people should realise that I have met the IAOS, the Cork Marts, the Associated Marts, which is the private element of the marts, and that their protestations on behalf of the interests of these people are completely hollow, empty, false and unnecessary.
The second thing we have to consider is the great help that Fine Gael are in this House. As I say, we got their amendments in Deputy Clinton's name in white print on Monday afternoon. On the same afternoon or evening, there was a press release indicating the changes that, by agreement, and subsequent to discussions with these three bodies I have mentioned, I was prepared to bring in. Fine Gael were not prepared to read those things that were published as a press release or having read them, were not prepared to accept them, unless and until they saw them in official form. On Tuesday they got the white print of these amendments, but again Fine Gael, being so very particular about how things should be done and being sticklers for the letter of the law on procedure, as we have seen from Deputy Dillon and the filibuster since last night, insisted that they could not take the amendments, whether the Minister's or Deputy Clinton's, in white print; they had to have the green print. That they should be looking for anything green considering how blue they have been for so long seems strange to me.
The fact is they had to have the green print before they would facilitate the discussion of business in this House put forward by the Government who certainly also have rights in this House, who are entitled to bring forward legislation when they think it is proper that they should do so. The Fine Gael Party, in upholding their rights in this House, have been most helpful in this matter. Having been so helpful up to that point, they have finally had it borne in on them that when we said we wanted this Bill this term Fine Gael were not going to bludgeon, blackmail or obstruct the Government by any means at their disposal, that they would not be allowed to get away with it and to frustrate the Government going through with the Bill in the House in the normal way. This is the history up to last night.
Last night we saw the sorry picture of a Party who, despite the fact that they were given the poorest excuse, apparently see the small degree of success that has come to them in some miraculous way in the local elections as justification to come in and to make sure that the order of this House is upset, that their obstruction will be carried to the limit and to try to prevent the legitimate Government carrying on the business of the country and of this House——
The less you say about that the better.
——as they are entitled to do and as every Government have been facilitated in doing and as we intend to continue to do, regardless of Fine Gael. Fine Gael have been clapping themselves on the back, because there is nobody else to clap their backs for them, and bragging about what they did in the local elections. Having annihilated whatever so-called Independent friends they had in the local authorities who had been long under the guise of non-Party members and whom they hoped could filch Fianna Fáil votes, now that these Independents have been got out into the open, Fine Gael claim credit——
We beat you in first preferences in ten counties alone.
Add them up and see who beat whom. Do not let it go to your heads. The peculiar thing is that with this enthusiasm and back-slapping, they come into this House and very clearly indicate that they never hope to be on this side of the House, because they have driven a coach and four through the established procedure built up over the years for the conduct of business in this House to facilitate the passage of legislation in the interest of the community. They did that last night and continued it here today.
We are entitled to do anything that is within the rules of order.
It is a clear indication that they have really thrown in the sponge and are whistling going past the graveyard. There is no point in trying to get their back benchers any further. The front benchers know their fate. They are going to be there dwindling in the future. We shall miss some of the characters that are there, but we shall not miss them from the point of view of a Party or an effective Opposition. Obstruction is never any use. Obstruction for obstruction's sake in this House is not helping the House, the Government, the country or the Fine Gael Party who are participating in it.
Having given the history of getting this Bill to the House, I should like to tell the House that there is nothing unduly hasty about the procedure in this regard. There are about 12 sections in the Bill and of that number, there are about two really effective, important sections; the others are mainly consequential upon those two. For Fine Gael to say that, because this Bill was sent to print on 31st May and is being taken on Committee Stage in the early weeks of July, this is undue haste, is entirely without foundation. They can go back easily and quickly, if they so wish, to find many measures that have come to this House at shorter notice and been cleared through the House within a much shorter time.
Having hitched their wagon to propaganda against the Marts Bill without having read the Bill or knowing what it was about, and having tried to woo the elements of the NFA favourably disposed to them over the past nine or ten months, and indeed for years before that, in order to use those elements as a tool of the Party, having done those two things, the Fine Gael Party feel they must go through with their opposition to this Bill even though their opposition is based on misconception, misapprehension, and false propaganda put out by themselves and repeated so often by themselves and others that they now believe it. I would still say to the Members of the Opposition: Would you read the Bill? Read your own amendments and the amendments I am proposing. Consider well that I have met the IAOS and the Cork Co-operative Marts, representative of the entire co-operative marts of this country. I have also met the Associated Livestock Marts Association. I have discussed these matters with all those representatives. We had most cordial meetings, I know the Opposition will be very sorry to note, but nevertheless it may help them to come to a conclusion about this Bill. The draft regulations which will form a major part of the operations of the Bill will be discussed by me with each of the two associations in advance of their coming to this House for laying before the House, as is proposed in the Bill. I am glad to have the co-operation of these two associations who helped me to draft these regulations in a manner that will facilitate mart operations in the interests of the farmers.
This will shock Fine Gael, who apparently are up in the clouds. They have not come down for a long time. They will get a hell of a bump when they arrive and find out what is going on. This Bill is being introduced in the interest of the farmers who buy and sell livestock. That is its primary purpose. If anybody along the way feels any part of it impinges on his interests, I shall try to avoid it if it is possible, but if we have got to tread on somebody's toes in the interest of the farmers whose business these marts are, then tread on those toes we shall. It is my job as Minister for Agriculture to spearhead that and to ensure that the farmers have their rights and that those rights are maintained.
Fairs, as we know them, have been going on since goodness knows when. I assert that every farmer, new or old, beginning or long established, has had traditionally down the generations the right to participate freely in every fair in any part of the country, to offer his stock, to withdraw his stock, to buy stock, to sell stock. Marts have been established which by their success in many instances are usurping the position of the old fairs, and many people say "Good riddance". The marts are not only providing a service, as has been mentioned here time and again by Deputies, but they are also undertaking a responsibility. That responsibility is that where they displace a fair, the traditional method of buying and selling by our farming community, the marts are obliged to give the same treatment to those farmers as they would have enjoyed in the fairs before they became defunct through the operation of the marts established by the Government in the interest of the farming community. That the farmers have this right is accepted by every fairminded person. As far as that is concerned, both the Marts Associations have accepted clearly and without question that this is so. I do not think the Fine Gael Party recognise that the farmers have rights in this matter. To get around to the features of this Bill objected to in screaming terms by Deputy Dillon, who does go off, as we know, occasionally.
Do not be too hard on him.
I am merely referring to his performance here last night and again today. Anybody who did not witness it would find it hard to believe——
When is the Minister coming back? He is off since last September.
——that a man in his position would behave in the manner in which he did.
Power went to his head.
It certainly did, and you blew him out for it.
Power went to the Minister's head.
We told you to do it in the weeks before the election; you would not listen to us, and then you did it when you came back.
The Minister tried to be Taoiseach and did not succeed.
What really bothers me is not only the inconsistency of Deputy Dillon but the obvious falsity of the arguments he is making and the innuendoes and insinuations he makes against me in regard to bringing in this Bill and also his objections to it on a financial basis which, of course, were followed by all the "yes-men" over there. All of them spoke of the subsection providing that the Garda might be brought in by the inspector in the execution of his duties under this Bill. All of them made a tremendous case about this, despite the fact that I had interjected to say that an amendment had already been circulated in my name, which if accepted by the Opposition, would delete that subsection entirely, and there is no doubt that it would be accepted.
I had an amendment in before the Minister to that effect.
They were waiting for the results of the elections.
Will the Deputy cease interrupting?
I take it from what Deputy Clinton says that he agrees it would be a good thing to delete this subsection?
It should never have been there.
From the fact that the Deputy says he had an amendment to this effect tabled before me, I take it he considers it is a good thing to take it out.
That goes without saying.
Then I want to tell the Deputy that on the evening when the Second Reading debate was proceeding, on 21st of June, it was mentioned here by some speakers—I do not know on which benches—that objection was being taken to this provision. I turned to my officials on my right and asked: "Is there any reason for that? Is it not a fact that under this Bill, even without that section if a garda is required, my inspector or any other citizen has the right to call him?" I was told that was right and I said then: "That can be taken out."
The Minister did not say it aloud.
I do not want to give presents to the Deputy. I thought I would let him exercise his own mind working out an amendment. The fact is that the amendment from Fine Gael did not come in until Monday afternoon. Forgetting about my asides to my officials which are not on the records—it is a good job sometimes— the fact is that this amendment was received by me on Monday afternoon seeking to wipe out this subsection. Would the Deputy take time off and find out from the IAOS, the Cork Marts or the Associated Marts people who met me on the previous Friday whether I did not indicate to them almost before starting the discussions that this section was going out?
The Minister agreed to take it out in the course of the discussions.
Why did he want to bring it in?
Because the Deputy did.
That is wrong.
Deputy Dillon put this through the House before, and so did his Party. Over the years draftsmen are prone to see precedents and I can go back to 1955 for the precedent, the year in which the Fertilisers, Feeding Stuffs and Mineral Mixtures Act was brought in.
I introduced that and would do so again tomorrow.
The Deputy was a member of that Government and a very influential one. As I recall it, he was possibly the most influential. He used do things first and the Government would discuss them afterwards.
That is what the Minister thinks.
He was a member of the Government in 1955 which brought in the Factories Act.
I do not know about the Factories Act but I took mighty good care to catch the millers by the Foods and Fertilisers Act, something that you people were never able to do.
Deputy Dillon may not continue to speak all the time. The Minister is entitled to be heard.
He wants a yo-yo.
Deputy Allen should also cease interrupting.
It is all right for Deputy Dillon to charge the Minister for Agriculture now with doing things that should not be done and make all sorts of screaming assertions about the wrongs we are attempting to perpetrate first by introducing a section giving the right to an inspector to take a Garda officer or member of the Garda with him on his inspection, if he apprehends that he will meet with any obstruction. It is terribly wrong for Fianna Fáil to have even had this in the Bill, although it has been clearly published in the meantime that we are taking it out. It is all right for Fine Gael and Deputy Dillon, for reasons such as this, to condemn a Fianna Fáil Minister for having a section in the Bill that will make exemptions from his own measure and regulations. That is great stuff on which to condemn the Minister and, of course, an opportunity to attribute to him, as some Members opposite did, the motive that this exemption is put in so that he can facilitate any friends of his who want to run cattle marts that would not comply with the standards laid down. That is fair play, provided it is Fine Gael talking to a Fianna Fáil Minister. It is all very well to say these things and they would get away with it, were it not for the fact that Fine Gael themselves did the same thing and got away with it——
Do not be codding yourselves. That is a draft assertion. I know the Deputy has had a vendetta against the millers for years but he should not try to get away from his own Act of 1955.
I am proud of every line of it.
Let us see where the millers are mentioned in this Act.
The Fertilisers and Feeding Stuffs Act?
Surely it was not for blacksmiths?
No, but such things as co-operatives existed even under the Deputy's regime.
There were damn few co-operative mills in this country.
This is the law passed then for future generations, and it did include and brought within its jurisdiction the co-operatives of this country.
It brought within its jurisdiction the millers of this country.
It brought within its jurisdiction those who might sell or manufacture or participate in the sale or manufacture of fertilisers, feeding stuffs or mineral mixtures, then or at any time in the future. What did Deputy Dillon, who is so jealous of the rights of co-operatives and individuals, so condemnatory of the Minister for Agriculture today who brings in any regulation or law that might be similar to his own in its effect—what did he then do in regard to condemning the Minister for this particular measure in regard to exemptions, in regard to having a garda given rights in the matter, in regard to making regulations? In section 4 of that Bill it is stated:
The Minister may by regulations prohibit the sale or manufacture for sale of any specified fertiliser, feeding stuff, compound feeding stuff or mineral mixture or of any specified class of fertilisers, feeding stuffs, compound feeding stuffs or mineral mixtures.
He was right.
Deputy Dillon provided that the Minister might by regulations prohibit the sale. He did not say they would let the co-operatives do what they like. He did not say they would let Deputy L'Estrange or anybody else do what he liked. He took power by regulation to prohibit the sale of all these things and at the same time, he has the gall to stand up and condemn the Minister for Agriculture today for taking power under regulations to control the marts in the interests of the farmers.
One is for the farmers and the other is against the farmers.
That shows the blatant hypocrisy of the Fine Gael Party, led, on this occasion, from the rear by Deputy Dillon. That really put my blood up, especially when he was frothing at the mouth about how long and how hard he had worked and what he had done for this country and the co-operatives and for the upholding of them. In that Act of 1955, he could see himself as having this right to prohibit not only the manufacture but the sale by any and all people of any or all of these things and then has the audacity to tell the House that I, as a Fianna Fáil Minister today, am committing some heinous crime by suggesting that I should have power to make regulations in regard to matters of vital interest to individual farmers. This is what he tried to get away with.
Surely he cannot have it both ways. He has tried to do that for years but it will not wash on this occasion. I shall have more to say about that later. This is only the first section of a case that will nail the Deputy back in his seat and nail the propaganda and lies that have been spread about this Bill. They will all be nailed before we are finished with this little booklet of the 1955 Fertilisers, Feeding Stuffs and Mineral Mixtures Act and the further one of the Factories Act passed at an earlier stage by the same Government who were then in office.