Livestock Marts Bill, 1967: Committee Stage (Resumed).

Debate resumed on the following amendment:
In line 15 to delete "or otherwise."
—(Deputy Clinton).

Does Deputy O'Higgins agree that amendment No. 3a might relevantly be discussed with amendment No. 1?

We are discussing the question of the deletion of the words "or otherwise." Is amendment No. 3a No. 3 on the white list?

No, on the Order Paper.

Amendment No. 3a might not be necessary if the Minister accepted amendment No. 1.

They are related in some way.

Only in a very general way.

I am asking has the Deputy considered that we might discuss them together.

I consider that we should not.

The list of amendments I have is headed: "This sheet of amendments is in substitution for the sheet of amendments circulated on 5th July, 1967." There is no mention of amendment No. 3a.

It is on today's Order Paper.

Was it circulated this morning?

Yesterday afternoon. The Minister made two points which I think broke new ground in the discussion on this amendment, and which I think should be considered by the House. In the course of his interventions, he suggested that there was going to be some kind of procedure for people who wished to get a licence under this Act, sounding out the ground, and in rebutting the case made by Deputy Dillon that a situation might arise where there was an actual physical cattle mart or livestock mart, constructed and established as such, and that particular place had not secured a licence. The Minister seemed to feel it would be rash for anyone to undertake the expense and go to the trouble of constructing or adapting that place without making inquiries to find out whether a licence would be granted. That is an important point because it does not seem to me to be covered later in the amendments proposed by the Minister.

The other important point which broke new ground was the Minister's statement, which seemed to me to be quite unambiguous and categorical, that existing marts would get a licence. I do not want to stray into later sections or later amendments but this arises on these words "or otherwise". It seems to me that the Minister is correct so far as matters stand at the moment, provided only that the existing marts comply with the regulations which the Minister is going to make under this Bill when it becomes an Act.

The reason I think these two matters mentioned by the Minister are important is that if this definition section can be regarded as having no application whatever to existing livestock marts, then the Minister should have no hesitation whatever in accepting Deputy Clinton's amendment. Secondly, the Minister should himself, or if he does not, some other Deputy should, put down a further amendment to the section making it clear that the intention is that this Bill in this section will not apply at all to existing marts.

That of course could be done by tying it up with the definition here that it should apply only to premises so adapted after the passing of this Act. What is suggested in the amendment is that the words "or otherwise" which the Minister uses in the definition section are too wide, that they will capture transactions which it is not the intention of the Minister or the Legislature to capture. I have tried to make this argument to the Minister. I do not think I have yet succeeded in convincing him so I shall put it to him like this: If I say to the Minister: "I hope you are well," nobody will be in any doubt what I mean—that I am wishing him well, good health, prosperity and so on. If I say to him: "I hope you are otherwise than well," then again there will be no great doubt as to what I mean—that I am not wishing the Minister well, indeed that I might be wishing him the kind of luck that I would not wish on myself——

What would the Deputy mean if he said: "You are not well?"

Supposing I say: "I hope you are well or otherwise", would the Minister or anybody else then be able to know what I was wishing him—that I hoped he was well or otherwise? That is what the Minister is asking us to do in this definition section. He is bringing in a Bill the first section of which is intended to define what the business of a livestock mart is and he starts off with a double-barrelled definition by saying that the business of a livestock mart means the business of selling livestock by auction. That is quite straightforward, very easy to understand—that the business of a livestock mart means the business of selling livestock by auction. Nobody has complained about that portion of the definition. But the Minister continues as a further definition, so to speak, as an alternative:

or providing, for the holding of sales of livestock by auction...

The first portion was the business of selling livestock by auction. The next part states:

or providing, for the holding of sales of livestock by auction or otherwise, a place adapted for the sale of livestock by auction;

That means otherwise than by auction —any method, private sale or anything else. As I understood his contribution here, the Minister attached very great importance to the fact that the word "business" is the first word used in that definition. I do not think I am misquoting or misinterpreting him in any way when I say he invited the House to draw from the fact that the word "business" is the first word here the inference that once the word "business" was used, something more than one isolated transaction would have to be involved—that it would have to be a course of conduct which amounted in all to a business being carried on.

It is vitally important the Minister should realise that here we are not dealing with the word "business" in the ordinary sense at all, that the phrase "business of a livestock mart" is creating an artificial definition of a livestock mart and indeed that the entire phrase "business of a livestock mart" is in inverted commas in the definition section. The Minister may possibly have overlooked that fact but it is a fact of central importance in discussing this section and more especially the amendment before the House.

I could agree with the Minister's argument if we were using the word "business" in the ordinary sense in which we use it, for example, in the phrase "business, trade or profession". If we were using the word in that sense, I think I would agree with the Minister that the danger of isolated transactions being captured when in fact there was no genuine livestock mart being run or operated—the danger suggested by Deputy Clinton and others—would be possibly so small as to be ruled out of consideration for practical purposes.

However, that is not so when we are creating in this section an artificial definition. If the Minister follows me in this argument—I am sure he is very alert despite his appearance: when I refer to his appearance, I am not referring to his physical appearance but his present relaxed position—I think he will agree that at least there is danger that a place can accidentally come within this definition, that a place can be adapted for temporary purposes for use for one business and we find it has become accidentally adapted for the sale of livestock by auction.

I am particularly concerned about a case where you might have a man dealing with his own livestock, where he wants to sell the livestock privately to a customer who is his neighbour. It seems to me that if the place wherein that sale takes place is a place which by this definition has become a place adapted for the sale of livestock, regardless of the fact that the sale has not been conducted by auction, that man is captured.

Which man is captured?

And unless he has obtained a licence under this Act he will be captured in more than one way.

Which man?

Let us suppose Deputy Booth has premises on the outskirts of Dublin that may be suitably divided, possibly for the purpose of parking cars. I wish to explain this to Deputy Booth because it is of importance he should understand it because he is a man of great independence of mind and spirit, and I am hopeful that before we finish the Bill he will be able to exercise his sturdy independence on the Minister so that we may be able to reach a measure of agreement with regard to this section——

Could we get back to the amendment after the bouquet?

Let us assume that Deputy Booth has premises on the outskirts of Dublin which have been divided. It so happens that the particular divisions that are created, although they have been created for the purpose of parking cars or servicing cars, are suitable for penning sheep, pigs or cattle.

Have they been adapted for the sale of livestock?

That is precisely the point.

If they have not, they are outside the section.

We do not know anything that is in this Bill.

All we know is that they have been adapted.

They have been adapted for selling.

Very well; they have been adapted for the sale of livestock by auction. At present all we know is that the premises have been adapted.

They have been adapted for what I altered them for.

To put them in the position where they are suitable for the sale of livestock.

Not at all.

They have been adapted so as to put them in the position where they are suitable for that purpose. Deputy Booth with his sturdy independence will say: "I did not adapt them for the sale of livestock; I adapted them in order to service cars, in order to store cars and not stores of another sort, and I adapted them in order to park cars".

I am not caught by the Bill.

If an officer of the Minister comes along and inspects those premises, how is Deputy Booth going to show that his premises, having been suitably adapted for one purpose, are not captured by this definition so as to require him to be licensed. Suppose Deputy Booth clears his premises of whatever equipment is there and buys a herd of cattle and decides to dispose of them. He wants to dispose of them to Deputy Cunningham or Deputy Clinton and he invites them along to his premises and says: "Here, I have a herd of cattle." Mind you, there will be some doubt as to whether this section would apply to an individual cow because the expression used is "the business of selling livestock by auction or the holding of sales of livestock by auction or otherwise." It is not very clear whether Deputy Booth could sell a single cow or a single pig at a time or whether they would be captured by this section. Let us get back to where he invites Deputy Cunningham and Deputy Clinton to come along and look at the herd in the premises, which as I say, finds itself accidentally suitable.

Would I be engaged in the business of providing premises adapted for sale by auction? I would not and the Deputy knows that perfectly well. It is a dead duck before you start.

We are not talking about ducks.

Your so-called argument is a dead duck.

We come to the position where the Deputy finds himself with cattle on the premises.

But it is "engaged in the business of providing premises" and I am not.

I have taken some few minutes to try to explain that the word "business" is used here in a completely different sense from the sense which Deputy Booth is now using.

No, it is not.

I will not prolong this but what I am afraid of is that Deputy Booth now finds himself in the position where his premises could accidentally be used for the selling of livestock because they have already been adapted for this purpose. We will leave that aside because it is becoming a little bit complicated.

It certainly is.

Let us take the position of the existing livestock marts which Deputy Booth, Deputy Cunningham or anyone else of us may know. I refer to the existing livestock marts which are operating now as livestock marts. No one is in any doubt as to what one of those livestock marts is. Let us suppose that livestock mart either does not get a licence under this Bill, because it does not comply with regulations that are made, or, having got a licence, the Minister chooses to revoke the licence so that it is in the position where it is an unlicensed mart. The proprietor of that mart may own his own livestock. He may not have any premises or any other place in which to keep his livestock conveniently. Am I not correct in saying that so long as we leave this definition unaltered, so long as we leave in this definition the two words "or otherwise", that man is not going to be free to sell his own livestock privately in his own premises?

I do not see why not.

It is an unlicensed livestock mart.

He is not in the business of providing premises; he is not providing premises for somebody else.

This is providing a place adapted for the sale of livestock by auction.

The business of providing, not the business of selling.

This is where the Deputy is, I think, misleading himself. If the Deputy looks at section 1, he will see that the word "business", in addition to the words "of a livestock mart" are all in inverted commas. We are defining that business.

The words in inverted commas mean the business of selling livestock by auction and the business of providing premises.

Yes, but we are defining the business of a livestock mart as being the business of selling livestock by auction.

There is no difficulty about that.

It also says "or the business of providing".

If you like. It is not in here. You can say "or business providing for the holding of a sale of livestock by auction". Again, there will be no difficulty about that. We are prepared to accept that, although we do not want this Bill at all, but it at least would have a certain amount of clarity for the person reading it subsequently if it were left at that and it said "providing for the holding of sales of livestock by auction".

Deputy Booth will probably appreciate this. The whole difficulty here is the vast extension of that so as to mean not merely the selling of livestock by auction or the providing of a place for the holding of sales of livestock by auction but providing places for the holding of sales of livestock by auction, or otherwise than by auction. It seems to me that as long as those words are left in, this difficulty is there and there will be the danger of capturing other interests that are not intended to be captured. Examples were given of a man selling his own livestock in his own field, paddock or backyard. Examples were given by Deputy Clinton of a man who had thrown some bales of straw down to provide seating accommodation. Deputy Cunningham ventured to express the view on that occasion that such a person would require a licence under this Bill. Am I correct in that?

I am quite serious about this. Am I misinterpreting Deputy Cunningham's remarks?

I did not say that.

I understood the Deputy to voice that view and to emphasise it subsequently by saying that it would have either to be licensed or he would have to be exempted from holding a licence. Perhaps the Deputy recalls that?

Is the Deputy referring to an auction now?

No. I am referring to a place which accidentally has become adapted for the sale of livestock by auction, although in fact no auction is held. Remember, it is not the holding of the auction that is in question; it is the adaptation of the place for the selling of livestock by auction. It is not necessary that an auction should be held, once the place is adapted. That is the whole difficulty here. If it is made quite clear that the Minister intends to apply this only to particular transactions—(1) the auctioning of livestock or (2) any other named transaction that can be spelled out and put into this section—then the same objection will not lie. But, when the phrase used by the Minister is by auction, then "or otherwise" means any type of sale at any time, and it may mean at any place. That is the crux of the matter.

That is stretching it: "any place provided", for heaven's sake.

But the place provided may be any place that is adapted. That is the whole point. If Deputy Booth were in a position to assure us there was a clear definition of the word "adapted"——

There is.

If I may interrupt the Deputy: the definition of the word "adapt" according to theOxford English Dictionary——

I am talking about the Bill.

——used as a verb is to fit a person or thing to or for another purpose, to suit or to make suitable. There is the definition. One does not have to define every word of the English language used in a Bill.

Let me try to bring Deputy Booth's sturdy independence to bear on this. This is the definition section of a particular Bill. The short title is the Livestock Marts Bill, 1967, and the words in the Bill have only the meanings assigned to them by the definition section. I know there was another occasion on which someone in this House brought in theOxford English Dictionary for the purpose of giving a definition of the word “republic”. That is now being emulated by Deputy Booth, who brings in the dictionary to give a definition of the word “adapted”. In this case, however, we are dealing at the moment with the definition section of the Bill and it is only the meanings assigned in this definition section which are of importance. I do not think the definition is tight enough and I would urge the Minister again, even at this late stage, to agree to this amendment. If he does that he will shorten the proceedings here.

I am not surprised Deputy Booth is confused by this definition.

I was not aware I was confused.

(South Tipperary): We are.

His confusion is no reflection on his intelligence because he is not alone in his confusion; people much more familiar with what takes place in marts throughout the country are very confused. Deputy Cunningham is also confused and both he and Deputy Booth have tried their hand at redrafting this definition section and have failed in their endeavour. In his effort to redraft it, Deputy Booth, peculiarly enough, arrived at the same position as the Minister did on his first attempt when he put "or otherwise" at the end of the paragraph. Over the past few days, I hope the Minister has had an opportunity of reconsidering his attitude to this amendment and I hope he is prepared today to come in with a proposal to redraft this definition section and remove from it its present vagueness and uncertainty, a vagueness and uncertainty which are recognised by everyone, and place beyond doubt all types of sales which may take place and which are not caught in this definition, because that is the fear we have and that is the reason why we are sticking by this amendment; we feel the ordinary sale which a person should be entitled to transact without control, without leave, licence or anything else from the Minister or anybody else, will in fact be caught by this vague "or otherwise". "Or otherwise", in my view, covers every type of sale other than an auction sale.

No sale will be caught at all under the second part of this definition.

The Minister himself has said that it is dependent on the word "adapted" and we have yet to get the Minister's version of what that means. Like everything else in the Bill, it is entirely dependent on what meaning the Minister ascribes to the word at any particular time, on his attitude or temper on a particular occasion, because this whole Bill is based on political control. Indeed, I find it very difficult to discuss amendments to the Bill because I personally believe it is an abominable piece of legislation. It should never have been introduced. If the Minister insists on bringing in this unwarranted and objectionable piece of legislation, then we have the right to insist that in every line the provision be spelled out clearly so that people will know when they are acting within the law and when they are acting outside the law. That is certainly not clear in this. I hope we will get a redraft of this paragraph which will indicate what is permissible and what is not. So long as the words "or otherwise" remain in this subsection nobody can possibly understand what the section means.

At least half a dozen people have tried to redraft this in order to make it comprehensive. Not only do I not know what it means but the IAOS and the Cork Marts people do not know what it means. I know these people have asked the Minister what he means by "or otherwise". They are confused and disturbed and quite uncertain and it is only reasonable for us to come in here with an amendment asking for the removal of the words "or otherwise" or for a redraft of the subsection in order to enable people to know quite clearly what is in the Minister's mind. The Minister tells us what he has in mind. He tells us what his intentions are but he refuses to reconstruct this in such manner as to make it clearly understood by everybody.

What the Minister has in mind in regard to a livestock mart, which we all know is an established mart or will become an established mart—that is, an enclosed compound with the accommodation necessary to carry on the business of a livestock mart—in relation to which a co-operative association or private enterprise come along to establish such a business, he will not allow anyone to sell either by auction or by any other means—as he said himself, by hand or by foot— a single beast unless they have a licence. I believe that is what is in his mind. But that is not what is stated here and I could not care less what is in the Minister's mind because I have had experience before of what was in the Minister's mind and subsequently, when the matter came to be tested, no regard whatever was had to the Minister's intentions.

This is a very important amendment, much more important than some people seem to think. I would ask the Minister to give very serious consideration to this before he insists on putting it to a vote and pushes through this vague, uncertain and most peculiar piece of drafting.

Does the Minister appreciate the importance of what Deputy Clinton has said with regard to the Minister's mind on this? I accept fully from the Minister that when he says: "I intend this to mean such and such" and "I do not intend such and such to be covered" that is his intention. Our difficulty is that it does not rest with the Minister or with Deputy Clinton or with the House to interpret afterwards the actual meaning of the words used. All that matters, so far as the court is concerned, is the words used in the section. I do not think the courts could even have regard to the strongest possible declaration of intent the Minister might make. If the Minister appreciates that point which was made by Deputy Clinton, would he not come with us this far, in any event, that he would agree that, instead of using a general phrase such as "or otherwise", he would at least try to set out in black and white in this definition what he intends should be covered by the phrase "or otherwise"?

I think that what the Deputies have been saying is very true, if it were not for the fact that it is not relevant to this case. From the Fine Gael point of view, the objection to the Bill is, generally speaking, that this power is being given to the Minister: everything else, in my estimation, is therefore conditioned by this. Therefore, what is in the Bill and how it is in it is not terribly relevant in so far as the argument about what the courts or anybody else think about it is concerned when it is the Minister who would be administering it, and what he intends to do with it is surely the important thing.

That is so long as you have the same Minister.

If you had another one, he would be better.

He would throw it out.

I have already said that the draftsman has drafted what I wish to have in this matter. Without any help of interpretation by any legal people whatsoever, I read back from his drafting what he was first commissioned to do. This fiddling around with where "otherwise" should be does not in any way impress me, nor does it impress anybody who may be listening to this debate because we have not been contributing to it in a way which was intended. Not a point has been made here that has not been made ten times over. To go back on it today does not clarify it in the slightest, nor is the discussion intended to clarify this matter for anybody. I do not think there is any point in repeating what I have said. Repetition is not allowed, so far as I know, in this discussion. I have said everything I intend to say about this definition section and there is no point in going back on it.

I see the Minister's point of view. I accept that he sees in this definition what he wants. He himself knows, so long as he is Minister, how he intends to interpret and to operate it. But, no matter how optimistic he may be, I take it the Minister will, from time to time, concede the possibility that, at some time, there will be some other Minister and, if the Minister is depending on his own intentions, his intentions will not bind other Ministers. What will bind Ministers in the future is the wording of this definition section as interpreted by the courts. In that situation, surely the Minister agrees that it is not enough to ask the House: "Pass this legislation because I am Minister and I shall operate this Bill when enacted, and I know what I want and what I intend to do." That might be all right for the Fianna Fáil Party but surely the Minister cannot expect that other Deputies will have the same attitude to it?

There is a point which I think the Minister does not appreciate. It simply is not true to say that the whole process of this Bill is based on the fact that, for the time being, he happens to be Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries. In the definition section, it does not matter a fiddle-de-dee who is Minister. The definition section is the section to which the judge trying a case looks to determine whether or not an offence has been constituted. If a man is charged that he has allowed a third party to sell a beast by hand in his yard which had been adapted for sale of livestock by auction, then the judge administering this Bill, when enacted, must say: "The sale of that beast is covered by the words `or otherwise'." If the defence is introduced "But the place never was licensed; it never became a livestock mart; how can you call that selling of a cow in my yard, that never got a licence, the business of a livestock mart?" The judge would say: "All I can tell you is that that is what the Act says." It says: "If a beast is sold by auction or otherwise on a premises which has been adapted for the sale of livestock by auction"—licensed or unlicensed, that is the business of a livestock mart.

Now, the Minister says he believes, on looking at this draftsman's draft, that that gives effect to what he really wishes to achieve. I do not believe it does. The interesting thing is that Deputy Cunningham, who is trying to lend a hand to the Minister, in the course of an earlier stage of this debate, while Deputy Clinton was speaking, interjected—as he thought, helpfully—in relation to the kind of transaction which I have just described: "That is covered". The Minister squirmed in his seat and tried to shush Deputy Cunningham. The truth is that Deputy Cunningham was right, but I do not believe that the Minister means to do that.

What the Minister means is that if a premises is adapted for the sale of livestock by auction and, as a result of having got a licence from him, is habitually used for the sale of livestock by auction, then the fact that you allege that a beast sold there is sold by hand and not by auction will not inhibit the description of the activity as the business of a livestock mart. In respect of almost every other section, the interpretation and the operation of the Bill, if it ever becomes an Act, is a matter largely for the Minister for Agriculture for the time being but the one thing over which he exercises no control, after this Bill leaves the Oireachtas, is the definition section. It is the only section he cannot change by regulation, because if he tries to change the definition section by regulation, he could change the whole substance of the Bill. If he did that, then I believe the courts would intervene to say: "That regulation which you have sought to make isultra vires because it would effectively and radically alter the whole nature of the statute under which you purport to make the regulation.”

I recognise perfectly well, as any one of us who has had ministerial responsibility recognises, the problems of drafting. I have argued time and again with the draftsmen why it was necessary to put 15 lines in a Bill to say something which it appeared to me could be said in one sentence. He could bring me in a file a foot thick to show me precedents in interpretations by the courts which made it necessary to provide 15 lines of print, in order to say in the language which the established precedents would permit, a simple proposition that I wanted to lay down.

Deputies may ask why is the Minister so stubborn about it, why is he so married to this interpretation. The simple reason is that this error has crept into the interpretation clause because the Bill was drafted precipitately, and instead of saying to the persons responsible for getting this Bill drafted: "Here is what I want done in the ordinary language of an ordinary man and it is for you to sit down with the draftsman and see that the appropriate drafting language is employed to get what I want done", he simply said: "Here are the things we want done and I want the Bill within a certain fixed limit of time." I have not the slightest doubt that the draftsman and everybody else did their level best to give effect to what the Minister had in mind but it does not matter who the Minister is, that is often an extremely difficult thing to do.

I want to re-affirm again most emphatically that I have no interest in improving the Bill, because it is a rotten Bill, but the rotten thing about the argument now proceeding is that I believe there is a way of saying effectively what the Minister wants to say but he has just got into a state of mind in discussing this Bill, and in his preparation of it, that he cannot entertain the acceptance of any amendment. He believes that any amendment is a personal attack upon himself. I agree that in those circumstances debate may appear to many to be largely a waste of time but I am getting £1,500 a year to represent my constituents in this House, and it may well be a waste of my valuable time to be pressing their essential interests on the House where there is a clear majority of the Fianna Fáil Party, who, with the exception of Deputy Andrews, are absent and who will walk into whatever lobby they are told to walk into when the division bells ring, as they will ring. However, that is what the House is for, for the purpose of argument and discussion.

Hundreds of times in matters of drafting of this kind, I have heard a Minister say that he was inclined to agree with the Opposition, and to leave the matter over to the Report Stage and to put down their amendment again, and that he would bring in his amendment and we would see if we could find common ground to give effect to the matter. To tell the truth, I see that Deputy M.J. O'Higgins has an amendment later on which I am almost afraid will be accepted because if it is, it will improve the definition clause and I do not want to improve it, but because of my association with the Department, I cannot resist throwing out the suggestion in regard to how it might be improved. That is the weakness of sentimentality, and I suppose it is not a serious flaw in my character, but in truth, Deputy O'Higgins's later amendment would give effect to the matter, provided these words "or otherwise" are taken out.

Indeed, why the Minister does not do it is a mystery to me, except perhaps for the simple reason that the Minister has gone berserk. He has said that he is not going to argue any more and how any Minister can come in and say: "I am not going to discuss it any more because I do not believe it serves any useful function to discuss it in Dáil Éireann" is a complete mystery to me. The only interpretation I can put on it is that the man has gone berserk. It is going to be a long, hot summer and I suppose we will have to live through it and get the work done by definition——

The work will be done if we sit here until Christmas and the fact that the Minister goes berserk will not prevent that, but it would be easier for everyone if the work were to be done rationally by a deliberative assembly which so far as I know this Dáil prides itself on being. I want to underline heavily the Minister's statement that he is not going to argue any more on the amendments submitted to this Bill because he believes they are personally directed against himself. Any responsible Minister of State who can say that in this House has gone berserk and it is a matter greatly to be deplored that a Minister should allow sentiment so to dominate his intellect. The Minister is not a fool. He is, at the moment, allowing his misguided heart to control what I am afraid is now an unstable head.

Until the Minister made his last short contribution, I genuinely believed that he intended this definition section to mean something that I have already stated it should mean but did not clearly state, that is, that a livestock mart was a place that was actively carrying on the business of buying and selling livestock and was constructed or reconstructed in such a way that it was suitable for that purpose, that it had all the necessary accommodation and all the requirements that any Minister would normally look for if such place was to be licensed.

The Deputy will appreciate that this has been said time and again.

I am leading up to something.

The Deputy is repeating himself.

I am not repeating myself. The Minister said he told the draftsmen what he wanted. He has said, not once but twice or three times, that he himself told the draftsmen what he wanted and that, without any legal assistance, he was able to be satisfied that this whole thing was clear, that this was, in fact, what he wanted. But he did not tell the House what he wanted. That is the great deficiency here. He has not told anybody what he wanted, but it is quite clear to all of us what he wants.

The Minister wants limitless power in this whole Bill and he knows that if he does not get in the definition section a limitless definition he cannot carry this through the entire Bill. That is one thing that has become clear and obvious from the Minister's last statement. Perhaps it should have been clear earlier on when he stated, more than once, that he got what he wanted. But he has still to tell the House what he wants. I am satisfied now that what he wants is limitless and uncontrollable control of this whole business of buying and selling livestock by whatever means that may occur in the country and wherever it may occur.

While I sympathise with Deputy Dillon's point of view that this Bill is so abhorrent to him that he would feel it would be a mistake even to try to improve it, the position is that, once this House by a majority vote has accepted the principle of the Bill on Second Reading, whatever we can do to improve it and to make it into an instrument which will be more acceptable to, even if not fully acceptable to, the interests concerned, the more of that we can do the better.

I should like to explain this. When I mention I accept it from the Minister that he felt in this definition he had got what he wanted, that he knew how he intended operating the Bill, I did not mean to imply by that that the Minister could put his own interpretation on the words used in the definition section. Clearly, if this thing is to be interpreted, that is a matter for the court, if anyone brings it to the court. But if we assume the situation that it is not brought to the court and this definition as it stands is passed by the House, then I accept that as far as the present Minister is concerned he knows what he means by the particular words used.

But suppose there is a change of Minister in the morning? Suppose there is a change of Government in the morning? Can the Minister give this House any assurance, looking at the matter from the point of view not of a change in the wording of the Bill but of a change of personnel, of a change of the occupant of the position now occupied by the Minister, that this Bill could not be operated in a completely different way from what the Minister has in mind and from what the Minister intends? Surely the Minister sees that that, even from his own point of view, is the danger of allowing this kind of all-embracing, comprehensive phrase, such as the words "or otherwise" used here, to be left in the definition section.

I should like the Minister to apply his mind to a concrete example—to the case where you have what is physically constructed and adapted as a livestock mart and where no licence is granted in respect of those premises. Under the definition section as it stands will the Minister say if the proprietor of that place would be precluded from selling his own cattle otherwise than by auction in that place? That, as I see it, is the crux of the matter here. If the Minister can give a categorical assurance that that cannot happen under the definition section, then it should be a simple step from that for the Minister to give us his reasons for coming to that conclusion. I put that concrete case to him and I would ask him to say, firstly, whether I am right in saying in those circumstances an offence would be committed under this Bill if a person sold his own beasts there without licence. If the Minister says I am not right in that, surely he should tell the House, in order to try to convince the House, the reason why I am not right?

First, I want to correct Deputy Dillon. I did not say I would not talk on any other amendments, Deputy, as you will probably find out. What I have been trying to indicate is that, since the outlook of Fine Gael is that they do not want the Bill in any form and since they are making the greatest possible efforts to misunderstand in every way any features so far discussed, and they are not many, having said what I wanted to say in the matter there is not much point in repeating it. In deference to Deputy O'Higgins's request to say what I would do under this particular section, let me approach it another way. Perhaps it might clarify it, even for Fine Gael. If the amendment as proposed were accepted, then it would without doubt aid and assist those who wish to evade the licensing provisions of the Bill. I know those people over there know this and understand it fully and that the arguments being made to have it taken out are not entirely genuine. The words "or otherwise" are necessary to prevent evasion of the licensing provisions, which is what this Bill is all about. Taking out these words will leave it open to drive a coach and four through the entire measure, even if and when the necessary regulations can be made.

Could the Minister deal with the concrete example I gave?

The concrete example is not a concrete example. It is a very hypothetical situation which may never arise. Only if and when it does is one brought to the point of determining whether, in fact, this could be done. If we were to go only on certainties, we would not be around at all. There are no certainties here, any more than anywhere else.

At least it is something to have that admission from the Minister.

That it my outlook. I am very flexible in every way.

(South Tipperary): The Minister seems to think we are making an unnecessary song and dance about this question of definition.

You are making a hare out of it.

(South Tipperary): To me it is imperative that we clearly define what we mean by livestock marts and that we limit the application as much as possible. In so far as we believe there are so many abominable sections to this Bill later on, it is imperative that we should limit the application of these sections to a clearly defined entity. We all know what a mart is. Even Deputy Booth, sequestrated as he is in Dublin, has occasionally gone outside——

We have a number of marts in our constituency.

(South Tipperary):——and probably realises the implications of a mart. We all know why they were established. They were established to get rid of the undesirable aspects of fairs. They were established by the people themselves. One of the fundamental practices in the marts was selling by auction and by weight, which was a departure from the previous form of selling obtaining in the country fairs all over the country. But, the Minister does not stick to that concept. We all regard a mart as a building and enclosure in which cattle are auctioned by weight. That is the generally accepted practice of the marts as we know them now. The Minister has endeavoured to widen that concept and he has asked his draftsmen, apparently, specifically to do that. He does not want a tidy definition. He wants it very untidy and he wants it specifically. The obvious reason why he has to make it untidy, broad and all-embracing is to provide for evasion. By making it all-embracing he will extend the scope of this definition to cover forms of activity which could not properly be described as in any way an activity that ordinarily obtains at livestock marts—the selling of cattle by auction and by weight.

This part of the definition does not do any such thing, of course.

(South Tipperary): He uses the words “auction or otherwise”. In other words, he wants to cover all other forms of activity, in case of evasion as he says, that might replace the activities that take place in a mart at the moment.

No, he does not. The Deputy should read the section and the amendment.

(South Tipperary): I have read the section.

The only point we are discussing is the provision of premises, not the question of selling of cattle at all.

(South Tipperary):“A place adapted”. “A place adapted” need not be a premises at all.

The provision of a place—providing a place—the business of providing a place for selling livestock by auction.

"Or otherwise".

"Or otherwise".

(South Tipperary):“By auction or otherwise”.

Selling livestock "by auction or otherwise".

Yes, but the selling transaction does not come into this part of it, and Deputies know that very well. It is the business of providing a premises adapted for a certain purpose.

For what purpose?

The sale of livestock by auction or otherwise.

"Or otherwise"—exactly.

If you do not put it in as the Minister says, you will leave it wide open.

(South Tipperary): The fundamental concept of a mart is based upon two points: the method of sale and the place of sale. The method of sale has ordinarily been by auction and that is being added on to here. The place of sale is ordinarily a building, an enclosure, and that is being added on to here by saying “any place so adapted”. Clearly, on both issues, the Minister has broadened the concept to which this Livestock Marts Bill will apply and he is doing it purposely.

(South Tipperary): It is quite too broad. Under the definition here and utilising the two words that are in dispute, the words “otherwise” and “adapted”, would it not follow that when the Bill becomes an Act it would be applicable to a clearance sale? Could it not be applied to the widow's field which Deputy Dillon described here on the last day? Could it not be applied, for example, to a sheep sale? If, for example, as is customary in some towns, there is an annual sheep sale and the auctioneer puts up palings or some form of enclosure for the sheep and has an auction, is that a mart and is it covered?

Under the Bill, it quite clearly is. It provides a place adapted for the sale of livestock by auction or otherwise. Then it is under the Bill.

(South Tipperary): The practice sometimes obtains where you have annual in-calf heifers sales. The auctioneer has a stand in which he may have a stool, at the end of, perhaps, a local town hall, and auctions three or four in-calf heifers at an annual sale. Is that a mart?

No. Even the Deputy knows perfectly well that it is not. He has not provided a place nor has he adapted anything.

(South Tipperary): If, for example, existing marts are used as an enclosure and the cattle are weighed there and brought out on the streets afterwards with the weight stamped on them and the auctioneer of the mart says, “I will auction them now”, is that a mart? Is it covered by this Bill?

No, because it is not taking place in a place adapted for the sale of livestock.

(South Tipperary): It is, apparently, to catch all evaders that the Minister has made this definition so broad. It is to catch evaders that he has altered the simple tidy concept of the sale by auction and has used the words “auction or otherwise”. Apparently, he has introduced this phrase “a place adapted”, which may mean anything—a field that has a notice on the gate is “a place adapted”—to catch evaders. This definition clearly could be extended to cover any and every form of transaction.

But does not.

(South Tipperary): While one might go a certain distance with the Minister and while one is agreeing with the notion of introducing this Livestock Marts Bill, if he says that this is being extended merely to catch evaders, fair enough, you are all right, so far; you are only trying to catch those who are trying to dodge your Bill—but, in fact, it goes further than evasion or even anybody who may attempt to evade. It covers all sorts of innocent transactions——

(South Tipperary):——that would not in any sense be regarded as in the same category——

It does not, except in the Deputy's imagination.

(South Tipperary):——which ordinarily occur now and would have been ordinarily occurring in livestock marts. This is a broadening of the definition. It is completely unnecessary and is obviously an attempt to give the Minister objectionable powers. Indeed, the powers he is taking over the livestock marts, as we all understand them, as I understand them and as Deputy Booth, I hope, understands them, are obnoxious enough, but under this definition the Bill is going to cover and can be extended to cover almost any form of transaction.

No. It cannot be extended at all.

Deputy Booth might explain that to us.

I am just reminding the Deputy of something which he and Deputy Hogan know perfectly well.

I do not know it. Explain it to me.

I would not expect Deputy Sir Anthony Esmonde to know it.

I should like to have it explained.

(South Tipperary): If an auctioneer goes to a local weighing scales in a town and by-passes the local mart and gets cattle weighed and takes them down into the open street where the fair is being held, is he conducting a livestock mart?

(South Tipperary): He has not complied with the hygiene regulations.

Deputy Booth is thinking now only in terms of the second half of the definition. If Deputy Booth looks at the first half, the auctioneer might come in under that.

I would be interested if we could confine ourselves to the amendment which refers to the second half but, of course, the Deputy would prefer to go on to a Second Reading speech on the whole Bill again.

(South Tipperary): Deputy Booth has all the answers. I do not know whether the Minister has told the Deputy what he, the Minister, told the draftsman.

The Deputy knows it.

(South Tipperary): Deputy Booth, apparently, has all the answers, and he is coming up hey presto on every point.

Deputy Booth is deliberately obstructing the passage of this Bill.

(South Tipperary): He is trying to delay it.

He is not the only Fianna Fáil Deputy who does not want it.

(South Tipperary): Although he cannot say it here, probably Deputy Booth detests the thing as much as or perhaps more than we do. I could nearly see him opposed to this measure, and perhaps he is doing his best, in a devious fashion, to convey to the Minister some of his objections. I have not succeeded. The Minister has taken no notice of my comments.

It occupies time. That is the main thing.

Could the Minister say what type of evasions he has in mind?

All sorts of evasions. Might I ask the Deputy a question for a change? Assuming this Bill becomes law, whether Opposition Deputies wish it or not, and there are licensing provisions, do they want the people who carry on the normal, recognised type of mart business to be put in the position that they will have in opposition to them people and places that do not conform, because that would occur if we amend this definition section as requested by Fine Gael. These people would be able to operate to the detriment of the normal operators who are already in the business.

Does this mean that these people are going to be charged for a licence?

It is not a question, in the event of the Bill going through and certain marts having to be licensed, of creating a situation where some unauthorised people——

This is what will happen if the amendment is accepted.

No. Our concern is for the person who wants to conduct a perfectly legitimate business but who finds that he is innocently being put in the position of committing an offence under this Bill. That is the whole crux of this definition. The Minister did indicate some time ago that he had specific types of evasions in mind, and if the Minister unburdens himself in the House as to the types of evasions he has in mind, it should be possible to hammer out some kind of phrases in connection with the definition section which will cover those and which will obviate the danger the Minister sees. It is much better that, if necessary, the Minister should accept the advice he is getting in this House and not seek this all-embracing phraseology used in the definition section, and later, if he finds a particular practice growing up which is evading the principle established by the Bill, there is nothing to prevent him coming back again with a short amending Bill in order to include it. As matters stand, it is going much too far to give such a comprehensive sweep in the definition section to the Minister that accidentally can catch somebody who should not be caught.

Surely the Deputy is reading this in isolation, which is probably not an accident? A later section of the Bill must give the Deputy some insight into what is intended and how it is expected to operate this Bill. An exemption section specifically placed there is obviously in the Bill for some purpose. When we have a proper definition section as has been circulated in this Bill, the accidental happenings mentioned will be taken care of in the exempted section. There is an exemption section whereby, by regulation or order, the Minister may leave this, that or the other out, if the sweep is too wide. Indeed in many Bills the definition sweep is too wide but is necessarily so in order to make sure that what is intended to be brought in is, in fact, brought in.

Now Deputy Booth has had his eyes opened.

They are open all the time.

The Minister has introduced two new elements into this discussion.

I have introduced nothing new into this discussion, and the Deputies opposite have not introduced anything new since last week.

I know the Minister is upset now but he introduced——

Deputy Booth's presence introduces a new dimension into the discussion.

The Minister introduced one thing that had not been introduced before, that is, that his intention is that a certain limited number of people he will select to give a licence to must have the monopoly of the livestock sales and must have no opposition.

That is not what the Minister said.

It is what the Minister said. He objects to any opposition whatsoever.

These are Fine Gael tactics now.

He does not want any opposition to the people to whom he intends to give licences.

That is not true.

If the Minister keeps interrupting me, I cannot make the point I wish to make. The Minister says the definition section of this Bill must be read in conjunction with the exemption section.

Of course it must.

Which says precisely nothing. The exemption section of this Bill says nothing except that the Minister will have power in circumstances that he has in mind, but are not stated in this Bill, to grant an exemption or to withhold an exemption. He does not indicate in any one line of the exemption section the circumstances in which he will grant exemptions. I think it is mentioned somewhere that places like the RDS are likely ones to qualify for exemption but those are all that are mentioned. The types of sales to which we have alluded here, which normally take place and which should be included in that exemption section, are excluded. As long as they are not written into this legislation, they are liable at some time or other to be told they are breaking the law. On that account alone, this section should be clarified. I personally do not want to see a monopoly of the livestock trade in the hands of any group or section. I want the people who produce livestock to be free to sell them in the way they have always sold them.

Hear, hear.

The Minister says "hear, hear" but he stated a few minutes ago that he does not want a situation wherein people to whom he has decided to give a licence would have opposition from an outsider.

That is not true.

It will be on the record.

The Deputy knows perfectly well that that is not so.

Every time Deputy Booth comes in here he makes a fresh bloomer because he knows nothing about what happens in a livestock mart, even though a colleague of his says there are a number of livestock marts in that constituency. Of course, we all know there are no livestock marts, as we know them, in that constituency. The only place where livestock is sold in that constituency is in the RDS, and that is one of the places we are told——

What constituency?

Deputy Booth's and Deputy Andrews's constituency.

When did they come into the RDS? The Deputy does not even know his constituencies. What constituency is the RDS in?

I am trying to think what livestock marts they have in mind.

Even that would be displaying knowledge we know the Deputy has not got.

I concede to the Minister that perhaps he knows more about these boundaries than I do.

I certainly do.

I think it is Deputy MacEntee we should have here for this constituency.

That is quite right.

The only one adjacent to the constituency is the one I mentioned. Therefore, there is no livestock mart in the area.

That is, of course, relevant to the amendment?

They could not possibly know anything about livestock marts and possibly they know even less still when there are no livestock marts in their constituency.

And the Deputy does not know which constituency they are in.

I may not know precisely but I know their general location.

Deputy Clinton looks at the Fine Gael vote and he knows in that way.

Could the Minister apply his mind to what we set out to do here today, to amend and clarify this section? Every time the Minister gets to his feet, he begins to ramble and go forward and backward, and he says that if Deputies look at another part of the Bill, they will see it will make sense. How can one go from the beginning to the end of the Bill in that way? We would not be allowed to do it. The Minister has certain privilege and he is allowed to do that. I am not objecting; he should have some scope and he should be able to explain why this definition is not clear to us——

That is beyond any Minister.

——or clear to people outside the House—or is not clear until you go to the back of the Bill and dig up some other section that may enable you to understand the Bill. The whole limitless scope of this Bill is dependent on the Minister getting limitless scope in the definition section. He has told us that is what he wants and that is what he asked the draftsman to give and that is what he insists on getting.

I could not listen to Deputy Booth without recalling "Animal Farm".

Is this relevant?

It is, and I will tell you why. They were originally instructed to say: "Four feet good; two feet bad". Then they went under a process of indoctrination and they returned bleating: "Four feet good; two feet better". Deputy Booth impressed on us very strongly that it was contrary to commonsense to say that the definition section, as originally drafted, covered anything but what the Minister meant to cover.

No, I never said any such thing.

I understood Deputy Booth to say that the whole Fine Gael case was fictitious——

——that the words contained in the definition section covered nothing that is not necessary for the Minister to include in this measure.

No, I did not say any of these things, but let the Deputy make his own speech.

That is what fascinates me. When the sheep came back from this indoctrination, they did not think they had said: "Four feet good, two feet bad". What they thought they had been saying was: "Four feet good, two feet better". The fascinating thing is that I think Fianna Fáil Deputies have that strange capacity. Deputy Cunningham put in his oar to help his Minister and the Minister bit him. The Deputy then said: "I never said any such thing; I swear I never said it". Then he floated away and I have great sympathy with him because he has to live with the Minister in East Donegal.

I think Deputy Booth was swayed by the Minister's protestation that the definition which we seek to amend by deleting the words "or otherwise" did not go beyond what was essential for the Minister if he were effectively to enforce the Bill, but they have that extraordinary capacity that they will cheerfully say: "That is my view" and then they will listen and they will find that is not the line. Then they do not have the slightest difficulty in saying: "I never said it." I have not come to the Official Report yet, but this is Tuesday and on Thursday—I trust Deputy Booth's honour that he will not go down and change it—I shall get the Official Report when it is circulated and I shall bring it in here on Thursday morning and read it out and I think he will find that he took the view that these words were essential.

This is the fascinating section that the Minister solemnly swore he would not discuss any further, but eventually he intervenes and says: "Look here." He says this to us, whom he denounced for vicious and destructive obstruction. I ask Deputies to listen and say if this is a fair summary of what the Minister said. Has he not said in the last five minutes: "Of course, you are right. The words `or otherwise' make the scope of the definition section much too wide, but I have provided the exemption section"? Is that a fair summary of what the Minister said?

Slightly exaggerated.

(Interruptions.)

Would it not be fair to say: "Of course, I know that cases are likely to be caught under this section which would create hardship which none of us meant and I have provided the exemption section to enable me to deal with such cases".

These are the accidental cases mentioned by Fine Gael.

The Minister admits such cases exist.

No, he said "If they exist..."

I am most interested in Deputy Booth's interventions. Deputy Booth tells us that the Minister in his definition clause has not gone one inch beyond where he needed to go.

That is correct.

The Minister says: "Of course, I have gone——"

Wait a minute. "——of course, I have gone and I had to go beyond what I desire to catch and it is because I have to do that that I have introduced the exemption section". The maddening thing is that when these sheep come back saying: "Four legs good, two legs better" and you say to them: "This is not consistent. It is not what you said before", they get up and tramp up the stairs and you see no more of them. You cannot debate with a man who says: "Four legs good, two legs bad" and then changes to "Four legs good, two legs better" and when you say that that is not consistent he tramps up the stairs and disappears. There will be two more of them here in a minute saying: "Four legs good, two legs better". I had much rather, although God knows the Minister is hard enough to look at, have an old crumpawn like him stuck here like an old root sticking out of a bog, refusing to move right or move left and growling at the sheep who bleat "Four legs good, two legs better" than one who tramps out and will not be seen for another while. Deputy Cunningham has gone home to Donegal. Deputy Booth has gone out to Dún Laoghaire.

To look for auction marts.

Perhaps. He has gone, at any rate. There is no use in trying to conduct an argument with him since he is no longer here to argue. In Great Britain Mr. Wilson said to his deputies that if they were ever to lose their dog licences they would lose their seats, and they accepted that their existence depended on such licences from their leader and who would blame them?

Deputies in Dáil Éireann ought to wake up. They are grown men but even the most junior of them now have reached the age of maturity in this House and they should realise that in order to maintain their human dignity they must not sink to the level of shorn sheep. If that is demanded of them, let them sit outside and correspond with their constituents in the Library. If they come in they ought to be able to stand over what they say. This House has a great deal more respect for a Deputy when he makes a mistake and gets up and says: "I made a mistake." The Deputy who rises to maintain gross, foolish inconsistency is wrong. The oldest, most experienced legislator in this House is liable to make a mistake, but only a fool who makes a mistake has the folly to hang on to it and assert that he did not make it.

The last intervention by the Minister has been a very helpful one. The Minister has made the point to the House that this amendment must be considered in conjunction with the later sections of the Bill, and, in particular, with the exemption provisions contained in section 4. One of the difficulties in dealing with this amendment was that some of us felt that it might not be entirely in order to consider section 4 in conjunction with some later sections of the Bill. I think the Minister is right. His invitation is extremely helpful. It helps us to place the definition section, the particular amendment under discussion, and the broader powers contained in section 4 in their proper perspective.

There is nothing before the House except Deputy Clinton's amendment. We cannot roam all over the Bill at this stage.

That is the amendment we have to decide on. As the Minister has pointed out, in order to come to a decision in relation to that we must have regard to the provisions of section 4.

The Minister did not say that.

The Minister's actual words were: "Of course it must be read with the exemption section."

Provided—there is a provision——

It must be read with it. I know Deputy Booth acts as chairman at times, but when he talks from the corner of the bench, we must regard him as a Deputy from Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown and not as one of the interpreters of order in the House.

I do not want to delay the Minister unnecessarily but I see the point he has been at pains to make to the House. The Minister now concedes that if we retain the two words "or otherwise" which Deputy Clinton wants to take out of the definition section of the Bill some places, and the providers of some places, may be caught by that definition accidentally without that being the intention of the Minister or the Legislature.

The Minister points to the fact that that situation can be remedied by the application of the powers which he later on, perhaps much later on, proposes to ask the House to give him under section 4 of the Bill. I would like, if it were possible under the rules of order and procedure of the House, to weigh up and balance the pros and cons as between the accidental inclusion of premises and persons under the definition and the Minister's power to operate an exemption section later.

The Minister will find that when we come to discuss the exemption section, section 4 of this Bill, there will be a great deal of objection towards allowing that section to remain unaltered, towards allowing only the Minister to decide to what extent this Bill will operate in respect of particular places. Consequently, when you come to consider a matter, you have to decide, if you like, on the balance of hardship as between a person who is accidentally caught under the definition section on the one hand and allowing section 4 with its very wide and sweeping powers to remain unaltered in the Bill on the other. It seems to me that while the Minister's intervention was helpful in directing the attention of Deputies to the necessity of reading the exemption section with the matter under discussion, nevertheless he would be much more helpful to Deputies wer he to try to list for us the particular evasions which he thinks can occur if he is not given the all-embracing definition that he now seeks.

I do not believe that it would be beyond the ingenuity either of the draftsmen or of Deputies to work out a definition which would exclude those not intended to be included in it and which would embrace the types of evasions or abuses the Minister obviously thinks could exist if he does not get the all-embracing definition he is asking for.

The Minister is not looking at this with his eyes closed. He has informed us already that be told the draftsmen what he wanted and he got back from them a definition which gave him what he wanted. Indeed, he mentioned some time ago that he had a particular form of transaction in mind, "sales by hand". If there are any others, and the Minister will tell us about them, we can see whether we can find words to cover them. We can suggest amendments to the Minister which he might consider. I am not entirely sure that I understand piecisely what the Minister means when he refers to "sales by hand".

It would be helpful if the Mmister would give us a description of that operation and if be would tell us that that operation is the only one which he feels it is necessary to cover. Then, having got the description from the Mmister, we could sit down and see if we could work out a definition in as tidy and neat a manner as possible and insert that into the Bill instead of the phrase "or otherwise".

Now that we are all agreed that the amendment is unnecesary, I wish to move that the question be now put,

An Ceann Comhairle took the Chair.

I move that the question be now put.

On a point of order, the Minister has moved that the question be now put. I submit to you, Sir, that the acceptance or rejection of that motion is a matter for the discretion of the Chair. The motion was put by the Minister when a Deputy, who had not heretofore contributed to the debate, rose from the Front Bench of the Opposition to contribute. I suggest to you that it would be gravely inappropriate to accept such a motion in such circumstances.

On the matter of moving this motion—Deputy T. F. O'Higgins sat there, did not offer or contribute on the last day. I said I wished to move that the question be now put and the Leas-Cheann Comhairle sent for you. Sir, as is the proper procedure in the matter. I merely formally mention this again on the motion that the question be now put.

I want to point out that some five minutes have elapsed since the Minister moved this motion during, which time I was prevented, by a ruling of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, from addressing the House, although I wished to do so.

There are precedents in this matter and the precedents are that the motion "that the question be now put" supersedes any rights a Deputy may have to speak. The Ceann Comhairle has the authority to accept or reject the motion that the question be now put and, in consideration of the long discussion which has taken place on this amendment, I am accepting the motion that the question be now put.

I want to point out on a point or order——

No point of order can be raised on the motion that the question be now put, once the motion has been accepted.

Although Standing Order No. 53 says:

... unless it shall appear to the Ceann Comhairle that such a motion is an infringement of the rights of a minority, or that the question has not been adequately discussed, or that the motion is otherwise an abuse of these Standing Orders, the question, "That the question be now put", shall be put forthwith, and decided without amendment or debate.

There can be no question of the ruling of the Ceann Comhairle on the matter of the question be now put. I am ruling that the acceptance of the motion by the Ceann Comhairle is justified by the lengthy discussion which has taken place on the amendment before the House.

Question put: "That the question be now put."
The Committee divided: Tá, 62; Níl, 43.

  • Allen, Lorcan.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Boland, Kevin.
  • Booth, Lionel.
  • Boylan, Terence.
  • Brady, Philip.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Burke, Patrick J.
  • Calleary, Phelim A.
  • Carter, Frank.
  • Carty, Michael.
  • Childers, Erskine.
  • Clohessy, Patrick.
  • Colley, George.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Crinion, Brendan.
  • Cronin, Jerry.
  • Cunningham, Liam.
  • Davern, Don.
  • de Valera, Vivion.
  • McEltistrim, Thomas.
  • Meaney, Tom.
  • Millar, Anthony G.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Mooney, Patrick.
  • Moore, Seán.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Dowling, Joe.
  • Egan, Nicholas.
  • Fahey, John.
  • Fanning, John.
  • Faulkner, Padraig.
  • Fitzpatrick, Thomas J. (Dublin Souih-Central).
  • Flanagan. Seán.
  • Foley, Desmond.
  • Gallagher, James.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • Haughey, Charles.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Kenneally, William.
  • Kennedy, James J.
  • Kitt, Michael F.
  • Lalor, Patrick J.
  • Lemass, Noel T.
  • Lemass, Seán.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lenihan, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • Lynch, John.
  • Nolan, Thomas.
  • Ó Ceallaigh, Seán.
  • O'Connor, Timothy.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Malley, Donogh.
  • Smith, Patrick.

Níl

  • Barry, Richard.
  • Belton, Luke.
  • Belton, Paddy.
  • Burke, Joan T.
  • Burton, Philip.
  • Clinton, Mark A.
  • Connor, Patrick.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, Declan.
  • Creed, Donal,
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry P.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Donegaa, Patrick S.
  • Donnellan, John.
  • Dunne, Thomas.
  • Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
  • Farrelly, Denis.
  • Fitzpatrick, Thomas. J.
  • FIanagan, Oliver J.
  • Gilhawley, Eugene.
  • Governey, Desmond.
  • Harte, Patrick D.
  • Hogan, Patrick. (South Tipperary),
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • Kyne, Thomas A.
  • Larkin, Denis.
  • L'Estrange, Gerald.
  • Lindsay, Patrick J.
  • Lyons, Michael D.
  • O'Donnell, Tom.
  • O'Hara, Thomas.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F. K.
  • Reynolds Patrick J.
  • Ryan, Richie.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
  • Treacy, Seán.
  • Tully, James.
Tellers: Tá: Deputies Carty and Geoghegan; Níl: Deputies L'Estrange and James Tully.
Question declared carried.
Question put: "That the words proposed to be deleted stand".
The Committee divided: Tá. 62; Níl, 43.

  • Allen, Lorcan.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Boland, Kevin.
  • Booth, Lionel.
  • Boylan, Terence.
  • Brady, Philip.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Burke, Patrick J.
  • Calleary, Phelim A.
  • Carter, Frank.
  • Carty, Michael.
  • Childers, Erskine.
  • Clohessy, Patrick.
  • Colley, George.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Crinion, Brendan.
  • Cronin. Jerry.
  • Cunningham, Liam.
  • Davern, Don.
  • de Valera, Vivion.
  • Dowling, Joe.
  • Egan, Nicholas.
  • Mooney, Patrick.
  • Moore, Seán.
  • Moran, Michael,
  • Nolan, Thomas.
  • Ó Ceallaigh, Seán.
  • Fahey, John.
  • Fanning, John.
  • Faulkner, Pádraig.
  • Fttzpatrick, Thomas J. (Dublin South-Central).
  • Flanagan, Seán.
  • Foley, Desmond.
  • Gallagher, James.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • Haughey, Charles.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Kenneally, William.
  • Kennedy, James J.
  • Kitt, Michael F.
  • Lalor, Patrick J.
  • Lemass, Noel T.
  • Lemass, Seán.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lenihan, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • Lynch, John.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • Meaney, Tom.
  • Millar, Anthony G.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • O'Connor, Timothy.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Malley, Donogh.
  • Smith, Patrick.

Níl

  • Barry, Richard.
  • Belton, Luke.
  • Belton, Paddy.
  • Burke, Joan T.
  • Burton, Philip.
  • Clinton, Mark A.
  • Connor, Patrick.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, Declan.
  • Creed, Donal.
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry P.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Donegan, Patrick S.
  • Donnellan, John.
  • Dunne, Thomas.
  • Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
  • Farrelly, Denis.
  • Fitzpatrick, Thomas J.
  • FIanagan, Oliver J.
  • Gilhawley, Eugene.
  • Governey, Desmond.
  • Harte, Patrick D.
  • Hogan, Patrick (South Tipperary).
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • Kyne, Thomas A.
  • Larkin, Denis.
  • L'Estrange, Gerald.
  • Lindsay, Patrick J.
  • Lyons, Michael D.
  • O'Donnell, Tom.
  • O'Hara, Thomas.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F. K.
  • Reynolds, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, Richie.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
  • Treacy, Seán.
  • Tully, James.
Tellers: Tá: Deputies Cany and Geoghegan; Níl: Deputies L'Estrange and James Tully.
Question declared carried.

Amendment No. 2 in the name of Deputy M. J. O'Higgins.

What about amendment No. la?

Amendment I No. 2?

No; I think that would follow in a different order.

Then amendment la would come after amendment No. 4? I think amendment No. 2 should come now.

No, I think No, la is the proper order.

I do not mind, but it seems to me that we should first take a decision on whether the word "adapted" is to remain in the section. For that reason it would seem to me more logical to discuss amendment No. 2. If the House said that "adapted" should stay in, then the question of modifying or qualifying it could be discussed.

The better thing perhaps would be to take amendment la and amendment No. 2 together and have separate decisions on them.

No. I want to argue on this that the word "adapted" should go out and that it is preferable that we should put in the words "constructed or reconstructed". If the House decides against me on that, then I would propose to argue that "adapted" be bracketed with the word "exclusively".

I am reminded thay in mathematical sequence la would come before 2 and that, therefore, we cannot decide on No. 2 and then go back to decide on an earlier one.

I have nothing at all on amendment 1a. That is simply a term the Chair used——

It is on the Order Paper.

In point of time, amendment No. 2 came before amendment 1a.

In order of number, 1a comes before 2.

That assumes that the order is correct.

Who decided to call it amendment 1a? Amendment 1a deals with something earlier in the Bill.

No; it does not.

I think it does.

No. It is "after ‘place' to insert ‘permanently'".

I am sorry; I was under a misapprehension.

Could amendments Nos. 1a and 2 be discussed together?

I think we might become confused. Let us stick to amendment 1a. I should say that I was misled as to the order as between the white sheet and the Order Paper. On the white sheet, the first amendment is the one dealing with "adapted".

Is the

Deputy agreeing to discuss amendment No. 1a and amendment No. 2 together, decisions to be taken separately?

I think amendment No, 2 might possibly not arise if the Minister accepts amendment No. 1a. I think we should have separate discussions on them.

May I submit that we should take amendments Nos. 1a, 2, 2 (a) and 2 (b) together because it is quite obvious that we cannot discuss one without discussing the others. We can have separate votes. They are all interlocked.

Let me make the best fist I can of discussing them separately and we shall see if the Minister is correct. I should explain to the Minister that in this case I am exercising a type of proportional representation. I have my own particular order of preference in regard to these amendments. If the Minister does not accept the first, then I shall be forced on to other ground.

Has the Deputy got them in order of his preference?

I am voting down the panel. I move amendment No. 1a:

In page 2, line 15, after "place" to insert "permanently".

Amendment No. 1a appears on the Order Paper for today. To put it into context and to make it easier for everyone to understand, I think I should read out the definition as it would be if this amendment were made and I shall then explain why I suggest the amendment should be made.

The definition as it would be if the amendment is accepted by the Minister would read as follows :

"business of a livestock mart" means the business of selling livestock by auction or providing, for the holding of sales of livestock by auction or otherwise, a place permanently adapted for the sale of livestock by auction;

The Minister and Deputy Booth and others who took part in the discussion on the first amendment will recall that many Deputies referred to the fact that there was not in the definition section any clear-cut definition of what we meant by "a place adapted for the sale of livestock by auction". I shall not make the claim that the amendment I now propose fully meets the demand that appears to be there for an adequate definition in this section of the meaning of "a place adapted for the sale of livestock by auction" but I do urge on the Minister and on the House that at least if the amendment which I now propose is accepted, if we qualify the word "adapted" by the word "permanently" by making it clear we are referring to a place which has been permanently adapted for a particular use, at least we will be going some distance towards cutting out the type of accidental capture of people and places by this definition section which we referred to earlier.

The whole danger of this section, as I see it—my view is emphasised by the decision the House has just taken to retain the words "or otherwise" in the definition section—is that we may accidentally capture and bring into the net just cast by this definition section places that the Legislature does not intend should be affected in any way by the operation of this Bill,

The Minister was good enough to suggest during the discussion on amendment No. 1 that we should look on this definition section, or we should treat this definition section together with the exemption section contained in the Bill, that is, section 4. I do not know how a discussion on those lines would appeal to the Ceann Comhairle. As matters stand, in any event, we have taken a decision that the words "or otherwise" should remain as part of this definition. The case has been made—I think, correctly—that you can have a situation developing where a livestock mart, as we all know it, a place which is physically a livestock mart is m being and possibly has been used already for the auctioning of livestock, possibly has been in full operation as a livestock mart, as we know it, but for some reason that premises either fails to obtain a licence under the licensing provision of this Bill or, having obtained a licence, the licence is subsequently revoked by the Minister.

That kind of place is one of the types of places which can be accidentally captured by the definition section, as it stands at the moment. The other type is a type which this particular amendment I have moved is designed to meet and to ensure that it will be excluded from this definition. Deputy Clinton in some earlier observation on the last amendment quoted a particular case where the owner of a farmyard put out some bales of straw to provide seating accommodation for persons interested in purchasing cattle. I am not quite sure whether cattle were being sold privately or whether they were being auctioned but there seemed to be some measure of agreement in this House that the action of the owner m providing seating accommodation for purchasers by means of putting out bales of straw was doing something which was adapting his yard for the sale of livestock by auction. I do not know whether I am putting it too far by saying that there was a measure of agreement m that but at least it is clear that even the simple action of a farmer putting out bales of straw in his own yard is doing something which could be called adapting the yard for a use other than the use to which it had heretofore been put.

So long as we leave this definition unaltered and simply use the word "adapted", then clearly that adaptation can be either permanent or temporary, and a place that is adapted even temporarily for the sale of livestock by auction, to my mind in any event, would come in under this definition section. It would come in under this definition section regardless of whether or not auctions were actually held there. Once whatever is done to the place, be it yard, field, paddock or anywhere else, which could be regarded as changing the use of the place, once anything is done which. could be regarded as an adaptation which, when finished, when the adaptation has been made, would make the place suitable for the sale of livestock by auction, then even though that is done purely for a limited period of time, purely on a temporary basis, it seems to me that that place then becomes a place which has been adapted within the meaning of this Bill, adapted for the sale of livestock by auction,

I feel quite certain that neither the Minister nor any of his advisers ever intended that that situation should come about. I feel reasonably sure in my mind that the Minister's intention in bringing in this Bill was to deal with livestock marts, which are permanently established as such, and I think everything the Minister has said in the various discussions which have arisen that as being his intention. I spoke of the desirability of preventing the unnecessary proliferation of livestock marts. I referred to the suggestions made a decade ago to introduce some type of limiting legislation and I think it is quite clear what the Minister has in mind, and what he intends to achieve, whether we agree with his objective or not, is to deal with permanent, properly established livestock marts and that it is not his intention to deal with places which become either accidentally, or purely for temporary purposes, adapted for the sale of livestock by auction. If I am right—the Minister presumably will correct me if I am not—in thinking that that is the intention of the Minister, I do not think he should resist this amendment.

The only thing this amendment seeks to do is to ensure that this Bill, when it becomes an Act, will not be applicable unless a place has been permanently adapted for the sale of livestock by auction. The Minister may possibly seek some. definition then of what is intended by the word "permanently". I think possibly the best way to make it clear is to contrast it with the purely temporary adaptation of which I have been speaking or with the adaptation which may take place accidentally. There are other amendments which I do not wish to discuss with this one because they deal with other facets of this particular problem. For the moment I am seeking agreement from the Minister and the House to the proposition that this Bill should deal only with places which have definitely and permanently been adapted for the sale of livestock by auction; that can be achieved by acceptance of this amendment.

My suggestion that we should take the four amendments together was made because I felt it was impossible to stick closely to one without impinging on the others. The insertion of the word "permanently", let me say straight away, is restricting? the definition section and, because of that, is not acceptable in the context of the section as a whole.

Would the Minister say why? The Minister is quite right in saying it is restrictive of the definition section. It is. The complaint is that the word "adapted" as it stands is too loose and too vague and can cover practically everything——

We will be coming to that on the next amendment. There is another amendment on that.

We will deal with that in the context of the next amendment, but the word "adapted" left unqualified——

Surely we will be discussing that later on.

We will discuss it now. The word "adapted" if unqualified, as it is at the moment, can deal with purely temporary or accidental adaptation. I do not think there is any doubt about that.

There is not, no.

The Minister agrees there is not. Therefore, on the basis of the definition section as it stands, if a person accidentally adapts his premises, he can be captured, as the Minister has admitted, by this definition section. All I am seeking to ensure is that the Minister will have regard in his licensing provisions only to premises that are permanently adapted for this particular purpose. After all, the licence is intended to apply only to premises that are livestock marts and for so long as they remain livestock marts. Consequently. I do not see that, although it is restricting, this is any weakening of the definition section if the Minister accepts that it should apply only to places which are permanently adapted.

Surely the Minister must concede that the point made by the proposer of the amendment has validity? As the word stands, unqualified, it is wide enough to cover any kind of alteration which accidentally suits the purpose of a cattle mart. The example quoted by Deputy Clinton and others—providing some bales of straw upon which those interested in the purchase or sale of cattle can sit— could well be an adaptation of a place for the auction of stock. Clearly that should not be covered.

The Minister says the amendment is unduly restrictive. He does not explain why. In every indication he has so far given in this debate as to what his intention is—it has not been easy—he has allowed it to emerege that he has in mind a permanent cattle mart where, for some reason in the Minister's mind, the owner of the martmala fide proceeds to transact the sales of stock otherwise than by auction. If that is, in fact, the Minister's object he is intending to deal with a place which has been permanently adapted for use as a mart in which auctions can be conducted. He does not intend to deal with the fortuitous, accidental or temporary adaptation of a particular place for the sale of cattle.

This amendment is intended to confine the operation of the Bill to what we gather is the Minister's true intention. I cannot understand why the Minister should blandly say this is unduly restrictive and give no more information. We are concerned here on these benches to endeavour to confine the operation of a Bill, to which we expressed opposition on the Second Reading, along the necessary channels only and to prevent words used in our legislation here being so unnecessarily wide as to go beyond what, on the evidence before us as contained in the Minister's statement, is absolutely necessary. In this Bill there is an outrageous interference sought to be made by the Government and the Legislature in what has been the accepted rights of ordinary people. If we, therefore, insist on examining very carefully each word used, we are merely doing our duty. It is clear the word "adapted" in the section as it stands goes far beyond what the Minister says he wants. It is sufficiently wide to cover any form of alteration anywhere, be it in a field or a building, which may be purely fortuitous, merelyad hoc and which may last for a very short time. The Minister does not need the section in the form in which it is, now to achieve what he has in mind and this amendment is designed to restrict the section along the channels he himself indicated it should, in fact, operate. The House deserves more from the Minister than a bland statement that the amendment would unduly restrict the section without indicating why.

I go further than Deputy O'Higgins. Our object here is to make law under which our citizens can operate in the precise knowledge of what the law is and can go about their lawful avocations without finding themselves inadvertently in conflict with the law. As I read this definition section, if a man brings out into his yard what are called in the country "furrums" and a chair, for the purposes of this section, that would be an adaptation for the sale of livestock by auction. If a neighbour drives four bullocks into the yard and, another neighbour walks in and buys the bullocks by hand. then that man has sold the bullocks not by auction; he has sold othewise. Whereupon, to his astonishment, he is deemed to be conducting the business of a livestock mart unless exempted specifically under section 4, which he probably has never heard of, and, having been deemed to be conducting in his yard the business of a livestock mart, he is subject to all the provisions of section 6.

He is subject to all the powers set out in section 7. He is subject, if he should infringe the provisions either of section 6 or section 7, to a fine, as the Bill at present reads, of not more than£1,000 and six months in jail. Really, for carrying six "furrums" and a kitchen chair out of your yard, to find oneself subject to all these sanctions seems to be carrying legislation to an extravagant extreme which, of course, no rational Deputy would for a moment defend. It is sought, therefore, to ensure that "adaptation" shall be qualified. We suggest "permanently adapted". That makes it quite clear that the moving of some furniture out of the yard does not permanently adapt the premises for the purpose of selling livestock by auction.

I know there are certain Deputies on the Fianna Fáil benches who, because they have not studied the Bill, do not realise the effect of some of its provisions. Some of them are perhaps a little impatient at the idea that we should be so concerned to restrict the application of the Bill to the printed word of what may ultimately be the Act if the majority succeed in steamrolling it through this House against the rights of a minority who are so happily protected by Standing Order No. 53.

When we were discussing an earlier amendment. Deputy Booth—with the best intention in the world of being helpful—intervened to point out that the definition as set out in the original Bill, did not catch certain categories of people. Immediately afterwards, the Minister rose to say that of course it caught certain classes of people and why on earth did we imagine he had put in section 4 of the Bill except to provide for these very categories of persons who would inadvertently be caught and that the whole purpose of having section 4 at his disposal was to enable him, ad hoc, to exempt categories of persons who were caught by the definition section.

I suppose the difference in the points of view that obtain between the Government side and the Opposition side is that, very naturally, the Government are inclined to say: "Leave it to us and we shall see that no injustice is done", while the Opposition side naturally see it from the point of view of the individual citizen and they say: "We want to know what the law is, not to be told what the law is likely to be from day to day." If you want to pass a Bill of this kind, let it apply to people who are in the business of conducting cattle marts as that is ordinarily known to rational men and that business involves the permanent adaptation of premises to the purpose of selling cattle by auction.

Suppose the Minister says: "I strongly obiect to the inclusion of the word ` permanent': this too far restricts my definition", is it not reasonable for rational Deputies to say: "This, in itself, is evidence of a desire on the part of the Minister to get powers far in excess of what any reasonable person would be inclined to have"? I think it is evidence of that. Strangely enough, though one might reasonably assume that I would argue strongly that presumption on account of Deputy Blaney being Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, I do not so argue: I think the faults in this definition clause are the consequences of his petulance in getting the Bill drafted.

This Bill is badly drafted because it was drafted at the instance of a Minister in a bad temper who wanted a Bill before the House adjourned for the summer recess, who wanted to get it through the Government and through the House before the House adjourned, and announced: "I intend to get this Bill through before the House adjourns whatever it costs". A Bill so born is usually badly drafted and that is what is wrong with this definition section.

All of us who have any experience of executive responsibility know that it is only human nature for a member of the Executive to get too much power rather than too little and that his general instruction will be: "Collar them all and put in an exemption clause. We can always exempt the ones we do not intend to come within the ambit of this particular piece of legislation". That is bad legislation. Ordinary people, going about their lawful occasions in this country, are entitled to know their legal obligations. There will be Deputies here who will say: "Oh, that is all nonsense. Who knows the whole Statute book?" The answer is that nobody knows the whole Statute Book. I was careful to say "ordinary people going about their lawful occasions want to know the law". Cattle dealers want to know the law in relation to cattle dealing, not in relation to dispensing by pharmaceutical chemists, which they leave to the pharmaceutical chemists. The problem here is that not only cattle dealers but cattle vendors—and that represents practically the whole agricultural community—can study this Billad nauseam and get competent people to study it, to advise them on it and may find themselves in the dilemma that nobody really knows what is included and what is not included. The Minister will answer: “Oh. well, if that is your problem, you can always apply to me, under section 4, to grant an exemption and that will cover the whole problem. If you get a certificate of exemption from me, you can do what you like in your own backyard”.

We have talked about "Animal Farm" but have we forgotten "1984"? That is another volume which forecast the day when Governments will claim they should have the power to say to everybody: "You must not get up or you roust not lie down: you must not come in or you must not go out, without permission from me". Is that what the Minister is claiming in the agricultural community? Is there to be a Big Brother hanging on every kitchen wall watching every citizen and waiting to say: Whoa. do not take the "furrums" out of the kitchen to the yard, and if you take a chair as well, apply to me for an exemption or you are in trouble? That is where we are slowly slithering and we are so slithering because we regard as an irrational waste of time precisely to define the categories of persons over whom the Executive is to exercise control.

It is the duty of the Legislature to say to Ministers who aspire to general powers of that kind: "Nothing doing, we are not content to leave it in your hands to grant exemptions or withhold them at your own sweet will. We want to know with precision what the law is and to whom it is supposed to apply. Unless and until that prerequisite is fulfilled we will not provide the money and we will not enact the law." Something that a lot of people outside of this House do not understand is that 80 per cent of the legislation passing through this House passes with little or no debate. Why ? Because 80 per cent of the legislation is a result of careful, protracted consideration and prudent and circumspect drafting and it is dealing with things in which most rational Deputies would arrive at a general consensus. That is what makes people outside the House sometimes say: "Ah, you are all the same."

Is it not astonishing that we should be here confronted with a Bill which so departs from all our normal practice that at last the public are beginning to wake up to the fact that this is a deliberative assembly? Mark you, that fact does not gratify me in the least; I would be much prouder and happier if we were dealing with a Bill which enjoyed a general consensus, and in which we were all agreed to do the best we could to make it better, more efficient, than it would have been in its original draft.

I do not accept the view of the Minister that under this Bill we should collect everybody and then by a process of elimination, exempt those who can make the case that they should not bo subjected to the restrictions which this Bill is designed to apply. The very fact that the Minister challenges Deputy O'Higgins's amendment is a clue to the fact that he wants to include them all. I want to emphasise that I do not think he wants to do that from malice: I think he wants to do it because he had not the time to draft the Bill properly and presented it to the House as an act of defiance and vengeance on the NFA before the summer adjournment. He is purchasing such petty triumph as he may ultimately achieve over the NFA at a great price. We have had two motions for the closure——

The Deputy is travelling a bit from amendment la.

Perhaps you could tell me. Sir, why does the Minister object to a proposal that the premises to be covered by this Bill should be premises adapted permanently——

The only thing the Ceann Comhairle can tell the Deputy is that he feels he is travelling beyond the amendment.

I just want to know why does the Minister refuse to make it "adapted permanently". I do not know and all I can do is speculate. The Minister will not tell us. The natural conclusion is that he is actuated by malice. I acquit him, and I think he is simply stumbling into it by the folly of rushing into a Bill without due preparation. He should realise that the further we go in consideration of this Bill the more circumstances will Involve protracted and tedious debate designed to limit the application of this Bill to the very restricted category of persons the majority of the Minister's supporters in this House believe this Bill is designed to control. The Minister is now having his evening meal and I do not suppose we are going to witness the miracle of the Parliamentary Secretary saying: "Let reason prevail; the berserk boy is out." and accepting the amendment. Still, doubtless he will faithfully report what Deputy O'Higgins and I have said and we must never cease to hope for a miracle, however unlikely.

This Bill is an insult to the intelligence of Deputies for two reasons. One is that nearly two years ago the previous Taoiseach met senior members of the two Opposition Parties with his then Minister for Finance and agreed on a programme which would ensure that the summer recess would take place not later than 30th June in any year. This was confirmedby the present Taoiseach during his short term of office.

Surely this is ranging outside the terms of the amendment?

There is one Ceann Comhairle and it is sufficient. If the Parliamentary Secretary will allow me, I will relate my remarks to the Bill.

To the amendment.

To the amendment, Sir. Until the last week in June, there was no indication from anybody that this Bill was to be forced through the House before the summer recess. Now we have the Minister insisting on having the Bill right through and. in addition, refusing to accept even one amendment, despite the fact that the word of the former Taoiseach and the present Taoiseach had been given that certain business would be concluded and that there would be no "fast ones" attempted to be pulled towards the end of the business.

That is my first reason for saying that this Bill is an insult to the intelligenceof Deputies. Apparently, the Minister and those supporting him in this, believe that Deputies do not know enough to understand that this is a complete breach of faith. Secondly, the fact that this Bill has been introduced at all, with the wording of the section standing as it does at present, is absolute proof to me and my Party that the Minister does not believe that Opposition Deputies can understand plain English. In plain English, this says one thing and the Minister blandly stands up and says: "That is not what it means at all. That is not what I mean. I mean to do this. If there is any little bit of confusion, it is all right. We will have an exemption clause later on and we will be able to opt out the people we want opted out."

As this section reads, it simply means that anybody who attempts to sell cattle anywhere that can be prepared by them as a place where an auction or mart can take place, or even an ordinary fair, is opted in.

Is it suggested by the Minister that the only way of dealing with this is for every farmer in the country who has been in the habit of selling cattle in his own yard, who for his own convenience has arranged his farmyard in a certain way for the purpose of selling cattle, will have to apply to the Minister for an exemption so that he could individually opt out?

We have the most unreasonable approach I ever heard of by the Minister right through this Bill. He may say, as he has been saying, that Deputies have been holding up this Bill. I say that, first of all, according to the regulations made in this House, according to the agreements made not alone by the Whips but by the Leaders of the Parties and the former Taoiseach and the present Taoiseach, the Bill should never have been brought in even for a Second Reading before the recess,

We cannot discuss that on amendment 1a.

I am relating it to this amendment, Sir. That having been brought in, we now find that the Minister is intractable. He says he will not accept this amendment. He said this afternoon he would not waste his time answering anything further, but changed his mind afterwards. I would suggest there is absolutely no reason at all why the Minister would not accept Deputy O'Higgins's amendment. If, as he says, he has been all sweet reasonableness, if he is going to put the exemption section in such a way that this can be dealt with, why not make it easier for everybody and exempt now those who should be exempted by simply adding to the amendment the words suggested?

I want to support this very reasonable amendment. I consider it a most necessary safeguard for the protection of those farmers dealing with livestock. The longer this discussion goes on, the more I appreciate and agree with my other colleagues who have spoken that this is an appallingly drafted Bill. As Deputy Dillon said, it is a Bill that has been drafted in haste. I do not blame the draftsmen for the condition of the Bill. I blame the Minister for the undue haste with which this has been presented to the country. We are trying to avoid the disastrous results which will accrue by our amendments.

When I was speaking on the earlier Stages of the Bill, I questioned the Parliamentary Secretary as to whether he was a farmer and he said he was not. I want to put this case to the House. I think it is a very fair proposition. For anybody who has cattle to sell, very often the procedure is that, quite unexpectedly, somebody may turn up at a farm and indicate he wishes to buy some cattle. The usual procedure—for the information of the Minister, the Parliamentary Secretary and their advisers—is that these cattle are inevitably driven into a yard. The very wording of this section, unless it is amended, brings that sale in the yard under the control of this Bill. The Parliamentary Secretary shakes his head. If such is not the case, if the Parliamentary Secretary docs not agree—although he is not a farmer, I take it he has been fully briefed by those advising him and probably fully briefed by the Minister—would he tell me why I am wrong and what there is in the unamended form of this Bill that precludes that from being caught as a sale without the words asked for in the amendment of Deputy O'Higgins?

I shall continue. The cattle are driven into the yard. I am sure the Parliamentary Secretary will go all the way with me—even my colleague opposite will agree with me—that for the purpose of a sale, even to ascertain the very condition of the cattle, they have to be driven into a yard? As the section stands unamended, unless the words "adapted permanently" are permitted, it is liable to come in as a sale.

In the only contribution the Minister made, when he contributed earlier to justify the existing section, he referred to a later section which he said would safeguard the fanner in this particular matter. We bring the cattle into the yard. Whoever is going to buy them is there. It could very well be that there could be more than one person there. Perhaps some of our colleagues here have not had the same experience as we who are fanners have had in the dealing and sale of cattle. As these deals go on, it can contribute very much to the process of a mart— the fact that the prices are pushed up gradually under the same conditions in which, cattle themselves are sold in marts.

The Minister says that the fanner is safeguarded in a later section. I want to put this to the Government side of the House. Whoever may be concerned or interested in it I do not know. If we accept the fact of what the Minister says—the operative section referred to by the Minister was section 4—unless we can amend the section to legalise the position, we have to get a clause to exempt this particular type of sale, not necessarily from the Minister for Agriculture but from his agent. Take a farmer who brings in his cattle on a nice summer's evening, when he has an opportunity of selling them—and it is not so easy to sell stock nowadays and we do not want any further restrictive practices imposed on us— and an inspector arrives on the scene to do the job that he is ordered to do under the Bill and he says to the farmer that he is operating illegally, then the farmer must seek, under section 4, exemption from the restriction imposed on him in section 1, which we are trying to amend. That means that the sale Is very probably off.

I make this point because this is a restrictive practice and nothing else. I want to put it very urgently before the House that the agricultural community, of which I am a member, are already in sufficient difficulties without having imposed upon them idiotic legislation such as this. There are practical difficulties that are not considered. As Deputy Dillon very truly said, if you produce a Bill m haste, without sufficient thought, it leads to all sorts of snags and difficulties, such as these. A am making this appeal in all sincerity. Some people on the other side of the House may think I am only filibustering: I am not. I am trying to show a definite difficulty that will face fanners if this section is not amended.

It would have been easier for me to speak on this section if the Minister had given some heed to what has been said so far by some of the very able Deputies from these benches. We in these benches study Bills. We also take heed of public opinion. We are not here to obstruct legislation. We are here to defend those who send us to Dáil Éireann. There is considerable apprehension not only amongst farmers but among dealers also.

The Deputy will appreciate that we are not discussing the section; we are discussing amendment No. 1a in the name of Deputy M.J. O'Higgins.

Yes. I think I am making a reasonably good case, although I am not possibly as intelligent as some of my colleagues here. I am trying to make a reasonably good case to show that every fanner will be in difficulties as to whether he can sell or cannot sell. The Minister should approach this in a reasonable manner. We do not Tike this Bill; we do not want this Bill. Neither does anybody else want the Bill. We do want to do our duty and to improve the Bill. If the Bill is to go through, and it looks to me as it will go through only as a result of the use of the guillotine, we want to make it a bit better and to see that it will impose less hardship on the agricultural community. I am happy to see that the Parliamentary Secretary is amused. He must be bored having to sit here and listen to this lengthy discussion, which, I might add, would not be necessary if the sweet light of reason would descend on our colleagues across the way.

May I conclude by saying that we face a definite confrontation on a piece of legislation? We want to amend that legislation. It is our right to do so and our duty to do so and we intend to do so. I hope that when the Minister comes back to the House refreshed after his tea, be will be in better form generally and will take a less biased view of the situation and that the Parliamentary Secretary will place before him the arguments that have been made from these benches and that the Minister will then tell us what he has at the back of his mind. Having sat here for the past three or four hours, I am as wise now, having listened to the Minister, as I was before.

This second amendment to An Bille Um Margalanna Beostoic—is a crucial one, as the Minister admitted in his few brief remarks. We are very glad that we have got it through to the Minister and that he sees the point of this amendment which is to make the Bill a reasonable one and to make it relevant to what the Bill is purported by the Minister to be about. It is supposed to be a Livestock Marts Bill—An Bille Um Margalanna Beostoic. No other language would be permitted in this House to describe what it is supposed to be about. That is what we are told it is about. It is not about the transient and makeshift arrangements made very properly by people selling cattle from time to time, trying to get the best price they can for them but not making a practice of it,

The word "adapted" is a word which indicates something which is transient and makeshift, something which is not lasting. We do not like the word "adapted.""It is clear from other amendments in the names of Deputy Clinton and Deputy O'Higgins that we think better words could be used. The rules of order, to which we remain loyal, prevent us from discussing these other amendments now and we must, therefore, take it word by word and we are confined, therefore, to "a place which is adapted" and we seek to qualify the word "adapted" by putting in the best word available to qualify it and that is to talk about something being permanently adapted. It may be said, quite properly, that when you permanently adapt a place you reconstruct it but the rules of order do not allow us to talk about reconstruction; we can only talk about adaptation and, therefore, we must stick to "that which is temporarily or permanently adapted."

From what the Minister has said, a place which is only temporarily adapted is not the kind of place he has in mind. Therefore, in the regulations which be promised us he will make— that he promised to make here, which is not quotable elsewhere—he will provide exemption for a place which is only temporarily adapted on the occasion of a carnival, a local festival or fete or arrangement between neighbours or whenever some buyer is known to be in the district. If a casual arrangement is made, the Minister will make a regulation, which will be drafted at great public expense and of which only a few copies will be published, and we will have this exemption provided. Instead of trying to catch all the fish in the net and then throwing them out one by one if they do not suit the particular purpose of the Minister from time to time, we suggest that we qualify this here and now by providing that it will apply only to such places as are permanently adapted for the sale of livestock by auction.

The Minister has expressed anxiety on behalf of the Government to get this measure, through the House speedily. He has expressed strange reasons for wishing to do this. If the Minister is sincere in wishing to get this legislation quickly and if he asks us to accept him as reasonable in so exhorting us to pass this legislation quickly, we suggest that the best earnest of his reasonableness would be to accept a reasonable amendment. I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary to bring this to the Minister's attention: if this amendment is accepted, that is the end of the amendment and we proceed to the next amendment, but if the Government refuse to accept the amendment then we will have it debated at considerable length, because we are not without hope that sooner or later the constant drop of the waters of wisdom on the stone of Fianna Fáil will wear it away.

The proposal which we seek to make here, to provide for the insertion of the word "permanently", will do all the Minister says he wishes to do. He says he wishes to provide for the control and regulation by himself of livestock marts. Now we may be told, as we have already been told, that the place which is casually, accidentally and temporarily re-arranged for the purpose of holding anad hoc auction is not a livestock mart. Again, as I have said, what the Minister says here will not be quotable elsewhere. That is not law. What will be law, some day in the distant future, is whatever gets through this House and the Seanad in this Bill. If this Bill is brought before another tribunal to assess its constitutionality, the question which the court will ask is not: “Is this good law?” The court may not consider that. They will not ask: “Is this bad law?” The court may not consider that. Rather will they ask: “Is this the law?” and if they find it is in the Bill and if they find there is not some expressed, detailed prohibition in the Constitution against this provision in the Bill, they must take it to be constitutional, even though it is unreasonable, even though it is unnecessary, even though it is more extensive than it ought to be, even though there is no evidence that the Minister has used it in the way we have suggested in the House. The court may only consider what is the law, what is in the Bill, and in the Constitution.

This is just one of the many reasons why we on this side of the House ask for some earnest of reasonableness on the part of the Government, and nothing can be more reasonable than the request which we make, which is not, unfortunately, going to change fundamentally this Bill—the fundamental change we would make would be repel it, to have it rejected or to see it withdrawn; that is the only change we would consider worth while. However, if evil must be done, we want to limit the evil and we can think it by providing that this stipulation will apply only to abona fide mart, a place which is constructed solely, exclusively and permanently for the purpose of conducting livestock marts, for the sale of livestock by auction.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted, and 20 Members being present.

I am glad to see so many Deputies from Dublin city in here to consider, at long last, the Livestock Marts Bill, because I was getting worried that they were not concerning themselves sufficiently with the Bill. As they will appreciate, in Dublin we have the largest livestock sales in the whole country, and it is high time that Deputies from Dublin city, apart from myself, took some interest in the sale of livestock in this great city of ours.

It is nice to see the Deputy.

The particular section to which we are now drawing attention is the one which would make it an influence for any farmer to endeavour to sell his neighbour's beast to more than this person because if he endeavouren to create competition between people in a ring or in a square or in any place which is only temporarily adapted for the sale of such livestock, that person would be committing an offence. The Minister earlier, when the Deputies from Dublin were not

Deputy Ryan was not here either.

When the Minister was were not here——

Including Deputy Ryan.

They have a new stamp to commemorate the Minister, 1/2d, a dog eating its own tail.

Would Deputy L'Estrange allow his colleague to proceed on the amendment? speaking earlier, when the Deputies from Dublin, other than Deputy Ryan.

If the Ministor will allow me to proceed.

Inter ruptions are coming from both sides.

I gladly accept the en couragement from Deputy L'Estrange, whose interruption was very timely. We are dealing with things going around in circles, the livestock marts. The Minister wants to capture every circle, every ring, every makeshift arrangement for the sale of cattle even though——

On a point of order, is it in order to discuss all matters on this single amendment?

No.

The amendment is very specific, and Deputies should relate their remarks to the amendment set down by Deputy Michael J. O'Higgins.

I am glad. Sir, you have pointed this out to the Minister. What the Minister said earlier—and perhaps he forgets what he said——

The Deputy was not here.

The Minister said earlier that the effect of the amendment was to restrict the defination. We readily admit that this is so. Deputy O'Higgins claimed this when he was introducing the amendment. He was supported later by Deputy Dillon, by Deputy T.F. O'Higgins and by Deputy Esmonds, and if there is any doubt about it——

The Deputy was not here. It is no use trying to cod the people outside.

I wonder would the Chair keep the Minister in order.

I want to keep the Deputy truthful.

——let me 6ay we want to restrict it so that it will not apply to all the many places to which the Minister would have it apply. The Minister thought we were going outside the amendment but the amendment seeks to qualify the word "adapted", which I pointed out when the Minister was not here means by its nature something transient, something temporary, which can be as easily re-arranged as it can be adapted in the first instance.

There are other amendments which we are coming to and which the Minister would not wish me to discuss now. We will remain permanently on this word "permanent" until such time as the Minister is reasonable on it. The Minister conceded that he did not wish to capture the accidental arrangements, the bales of straw or the "furrums" to which Deputy Dillon referred. We know he is considering granting exemptions but we say it is through the law which we are considering that this should be done. We want to see that those who wish to keep within that law will know exactly what the legislators had in mind. It is not what the Minister has in mind to do in the future; it is what the law will say, what is in An Bille Um Margalanna Beostoic, 1967 or 1968, as the case may be.

That is what will matter and that is why we are endeavouring to persuade the Minister to accept this most reasonable amendment to this most unreasonable legislation. It is to deal with livestock marts which are permanently constructed for that purpose, not like somebody's yard which is occasionally altered for some other purpose—the casual accidental auction will not be possible under the Bill as it is drawn and it is not any answer to our amendment to say that the matter can be dealt with by regulation. We are here to make laws and now is the time to insert the simple word "permanent".

The Minister has expressed anxiety to get the Bill through quickly. He has admitted that this amendment does not attempt to do more than what be has in mind to do and if he wants to get on to another stage of the Bill, the time to accept this most reasonable amendment, which comes from the most reasonable Party in the country——

How many amendments would you settle for ?

We would settle for the Redundancy Bill now.

(South Tipperary): The Preamble to the Bill describes it as an Act 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. It seems to me that if this definition of a livestock mart is carried here as adumbrated in the Bill, it will be very difficult to reconcile it with the Preamble to the Bill which specifies livestock marts and the sale of livestock at such marts.

The definition proceeds to enlarge that, and if our amendments are not accepted that definition will be so large as practically to cover all forms of cattle transactions in marts and otherwise, as we understand them. I submit therefore that it is clearly impossible to reconcile the definition which the Minister is putting to the House with the Preamble to the Bill.

What about the amendment ?

Would the Deputy please come to the amendment ?

(South Tipperary): The amendment is an attempt to reconcile the definition with the Preamble to the Bill. This purports to be a Livestock Marts Bill but I submit that unamended and unabridged, it is clearly referable to all forms of sales of cattle anywhere. The fact that the Minister has refused to accept the amendment on the question of “auction or otherwise” and the amendment in regard to “place adapted” makes it clear that the Minister wants to have the definition framed in the broadest possible manner for purposes which he stated were to avoid certain processes. The other reason, I submit, is that the Minister wants wider powers. The Minister's answer to that is that we have an exemption clause.

That is no answer. A Bill should be drafted in such a way as to avoid any ambiguity. People should not be obliged to come along hat in hand to any Deputy or any Minister and say: "Please, sir, may we now be exempted?"

This does not arise on the amendment.

(South Tipperary): The amendment proposes to define more concisely what constitutes a livestock mart. The Minister refuses the amendment because he wants to broaden the definition.

I do not want to change it.

(South Tipperary): He wants to broaden it outside the ordinary person's concept.

Who is the ordinary person and what is his concept?

(South Tipperary): If the Minister goes into a half dozen marts, he will see clearly what they are. He will see that a mart consists of a building——

(South Tipperary): There is an enclosure; there is an auctioneer's building and cattle are auctioned.

The Deputy should write that down and take it to the courts.

They are afraid of it.

Deputy Foley had to be brought in by the bell. He could not listen to it up to now.

(South Tipperary): If this Bill were limited to controlling all transactions in marts, as we know them, everybody would know where he stood, but it is clearly extended to include all forms of purchase and sale of cattle almost anywhere. Therefore, I ask the Minister now to tell us what forms of cattle-trading activities are outside the scope of this Bill as framed.

All unlicensed operations.

(South Tipperary): I listed earlier a series of transactions through which cattle might be bought or sold and I submit that unless this definition is clearly curtailed by our amendments and by subsequent ones, it will be so broad that the Minister's office will be inundated with applications for exemptions. Because we have objections to the Bill and its various sections, it is only right and proper at this stage that we should clearly define the number of people to whom this objectionable Bill will be applied. If we are to victimise people, we should restrict their number.

That is what you call discrimination.

(South Tipperary): This is discrimination with a good purpose. It has a perfect purpose. It is trying to limit the application of an obnoxious measure to the smallest number of people possible.

What about the amendment?

(South Tipperary): This amendment and subsequent amendments are laid down purely to limit in some measure the powers which the Minister is seeking and to make the thing administratively convenient for the Minister. Possibly if I were in the Minister's place I might look for a broader measure.

That would never happen.

(South Tipperary): We must endeavour to control the Minister's activities as much as possible and that is the purpose of introducing the word “place”. It is clearly to give some sense to the definition. You will not find the definition put in this document by the Minister in any dictionary, not even the Oxford dictionary. This broad definition which the Minister has, clearly, asked his draftsman to prepare in that broad fashion gives him unlimited and unnecessary powers, powers which are quite beyond what is necessarily required to control marts.

Tell us about the amendment.

(South Tipperary): The definition is clearly designed to extend to other forms of sale of cattle and livestock activity.

The Deputy should relate his remarks to the amendment which is very specific.

(South Tipperary): It is specific and is specifically introduced to make the definition specific and for that purpose we are pressing it through.

Before anybody else rises, might I ask the Minister a question? Could he say what period will elapse after the passing of this Bill before the Act is brought into operation?

It should not be long, judging by the way we are going here.

Supposing the Bill was finally passed by the Seanad and signed by the President today, how long would it be before the Act would come into operation?

That would depend on which Parts the Deputy is referring to. We have to make regulations for two Parts and we have already agreed to discussion with the two marts groups in regard to these regulations. The intention would be to draw up the regulations, of which we have a fair idea at the moment.

It might be brought into operation at the beginning of next year?

That is not quite it. What I am saying is that it would not all come into operation together. There would be the matter of the regulations, the procedure of going through them, having them drafted and having consultation with those two groups before finalising them and putting them before the House. Outside that, there is the actual business of naming the licensing date which is quite a different matter, and could be done more quickly.

It might be the beginning of the year before it is put into operation?

I know what the Deputy is getting round to at this stage: if it would take that long, why the rush now?

No, I have something else in mind.

No matter when we may conclude the Bill, we would still have this time-lag and it would depend, before the regulations are got through, on the consultations we have and the agreement we get. It would be difficult to say how long the final regulations would take.

Could the Minister say whether any of the regulations he speaks about which would be the subject of discussion with the bodies referred to would meet any of the amendments put down?

This is totally irrelevant. We are discussing amendment No. 1a.

We do not want to take up the time of the House and we are asking concrete questions.

If we got in for five minutes, we could solve that part of it.

The Minister's opposition to this amendment is, of course, very similar to his opposition to the previous amendment. He fears that in some way it might limit the limitless powers which he seeks under this Bill and which he insists must be included in the definition section in case he might in some way be frustrated later on in the use of his personal discretion. The Minister has said in relation to this amendment, and I understand he has said it in relation to the previous amendment, that, of course, it all depends on the exemptions. I can see that it depends on exemptions but we do not know what the Minister has in mind.

Earlier on in this discussion the Minister sought to give the impression that he was being absolutely reasonable in this and that he had his own meaning which he attached to this business of a livestock mart and that that could not be, and should not be, interpreted in any other way than what we all know it to be—a livestock mart that is used for that purpose and for that purpose only and constructed for that purpose and for that purpose only. Now, when we want to provide him with an opportunity of showing his sincerity in this regard and to give some meaning to this definition section and when we want to say that it is not a circle made with bales of straw but is something that is permanently constructed, or reconstructed, to be used for the business of a livestock mart where cattle can be brought, impounded and put in pens and driven around and eventually put into these permanently constructed compounds, the Minister does not want any such limitations.

I can appreciate why it is so difficult to get members of the Fianna Fáil Party even to listen to the discussion on this Bill. By doing so, they might give the impression to people outside that they support the Bill and many of them cannot stand on that.

That does not arise on the amendment.

They did not contribute to the discussion on the Bill except to interrupt and we had several interruptions during the course of the Money Resolution.

And they got their noses snapped off.

They got tired and so frustrated that they went off and they are not in the House now. I hope they will come back and try to explain to us what the Minister really means and why he refuses to have this section clearly explained, and why he refuses to have this one explanatory adverb added to these ambiguous words he has provided in this first section.

I think it is obvious to everyone that if this Bill means anything, and if the Minister has any sincerity about it, he must mean a permanent livestock mart. Otherwise, he is trying to bring within the scope of this Bill every sale that occurs in a man's backyard, in a haggard, in a small paddock or anywhere else. In fact, if there were a few poles put across the road and a few cattle put there for sale and people bid for them, they are caught because they are not excluded. The Minister said a few moments ago, in an interjection that all unlicensed marts are outside the scope of this definition.

That was in reply to a question; it was not an interjection by me.

I am sorry if I misunderstood the nature of the Minister's intervention but he has interrupted so much in the course of this debate I thought it was an interruption. It was, apparently, in reply to a question. Now I recall that Deputy Hogan did ask a question as to what type of sale, or where a sale could take place, which would be outside the definition in this section, and the Minister replied: "All unlicensed marts operations are outside the scope of this definition". Does that mean that unlicensed marts can carry on business? I think that was an extraordinary thing, because there was a new ray of hope here— that auctions could be carried on outside, that sales could be carried on outside; if a man had a couple of good cattle dogs, if the cattle were coming up the road in some sort of order, and if he had a few men with these dogs, he could transact the business outside the gates of the mart if he found himself in difficulty inside. That gives me reason for a certain amount of hope that if and when the Minister gets this piece of abominable legislation through the House, there will be ways by which it can be sidestepped and people will be free to dispose of their stock, as they should be, free, unfettered and without control, licence or anything else. One of the few reasons why most of the farmers of this country have remained farmers is this sort of freedom, the freedom to make their own decisions, go their own way and nobody could tell them: "You must do this or that". Many farmers have lived in poverty, or in conditions approaching poverty, because of their desire for this sort of freedom and liberty to deal with their own business.

This Bill will ensure that freedom will continue.

That is what the Minister keeps on assuring people in this House—that he intends that a limited amount of freedom will be allowed still to the farmers of this country. But the more and more of this type of legislation brought into the House, the more of this lack of decision, this wide open sort of legislation, the less and less freedom will the farmers have. When that freedom is taken from them, by the Minister bringing in legislation of this kind and refusing to accept amendments of this kind—to let the farmers of this country know what they can and cannot do,—the fewer people we will have farming and the more people we will have fleeing from the land of Ireland.

The Deputy is getting away from the amendment, which seeks to insert the word "permanently".

A disgraceful performance but, however, that is the way you like it.

We are getting no performance from the other side of the House and we are doing our best here——

I know you are.

——to frustrate——

To frustrate this measure: that is the whole purpose.

We intend, by every means at our disposal, to ensure that if this measure must go through, it cannot be said afterwards we did not do everything possible to ensure it was so amended that the people could live with it until they were able to liberate themselves and get out of the farming business. I believe that more and more people, under the type of Government we have today——

The Deputy may not discuss that on the amendment. The Deputy is getting far away from the amendment.

I hate to see this thing left wide open.

Perhaps the Deputy would relate his remarks to the amendment?

I am trying to do that when I say I do not want this left wide open, but rather so that people will know what this means and all of them who wish to sell their cattle are free to do it. But the Minister says: "All unlicensed marts are outside the scope of this definition". Now what will he require to be licensed? If you get a dog and a couple of people to round up cattle in a ring, will he insist that that must have a licence?

Only the dog will need a licence.

This whole thing could not be discussed long enough in this House in order to ensure that somebody will know at the end of our efforts that he understands what is happening, will know when he is within the law and when he is outside it, when he is within the scope of this measure and when he is outside it.

The Minister made a most interesting observation in reply to an inquiry put to him by the Leader of the Labour Party, Deputy Corish. He says that by the time he has concluded his agreements—which he hopes to get—with the cattle marts and the farmers' associations, he will then be in a position to make regulations which are the necessary prerequisite to this Bill coming into law.

Who said that?

I understood the Minister to say it.

No, you have got the general context; there are little nuances in it which are not just what I said, which make a woeful difference to what I said.

Woeful difference? However, let us define——

This matter does not arise on the amendment; we are discussing the amendment in the name of Deputy M. J. O'Higgins.

On a point of order, I was going to ask was Deputy Dillon in order?

The Deputy was a little bit late.

That is a fair good maiden speech, mind you.

The matter does not arise on the amendment; Deputies will have to relate their remarks to the amendment.

Deputy Foley rose.

For the love of God, stop interrupting me because the Deputy makes me say things I regret afterwards. Some of these young fellows come at me; I then hit them a haymaker and then I do not sleep all night thinking of what I said to them.

(Interruptions).

All I am saying is this: we are seeking, by the insertion of the word proposed by Deputy M. J. O'Higgins —"permanently"— to define, with reasonable precision, the scope of the application of this Bill. The Minister says to the Leader of the Labour Party: "This Bill could not come into operation until I have completed the regulations, which I hope to do with the agreement of everyone interested in its operation, and that, of course, will involve discussion." I understood the Minister to say that when he got agreement, he would bring in the regulations—in so far as the regulations operate, it might be the end of the year; there might be other parts of the Bill that might operate at an earlier date.

There was a Bill—the Auctioneers and House Agents Bill—which was brought in here by the Minister for Justice, but before he brought it in, he was in a position to come into the House and say: "I have discussed all the regulations; I have discussed all the definitions; I have discussed all the scope of the Bill's application with everybody who is concerned with it and this Bill is the fruit of that discussion." What happened? That Bill passed through this House in two days. I do not think I exaggerate. It is a Bill that runs to 14 sections and covers, so far as I know, the whole gamut of the auctioneering business in this country, and I heard Deputy O.J. Flanagan say to the Minister that he complimented him on the Bill as did another Deputy, because he had consulted everybody on it, and while he stood out against certain things that were urged upon him, he came as far as he felt he could reasonably come, and the Bill went through without any discussion at all except of the most cursory kind, because the rights of the auctioneers and the customers had been protected. He was able to say: "I have discussed all the aspects of the situation and this is the fruit of the discussion." In the name of Providence, why does the Minister, who tells us he is now about to embark on discussions of regulations, without which he says this Marts Bill——

I did not say anything of the sort. Would you stop misquoting me? I did not say anything of the sort.

What did Deputy Corish understand the Minister to say?

It is not relevant to this, so there is no point in going through it.

I think the Minister said that when this Bill would pass, he would have consultations and regulations would then be drafted, but that it might be possible to provide for some regulations without consultation.

The Bill will come into operation when it is passed and the details we are talking about will come after the consultation and after the Bill becomes an Act, only and not until then.

After consultation in which you hope to get agreement.

After it becomes an Act, there will be consultation; after that, there will be regulations.

About which you hope to get agreement?

Who knows.

That was not my impression. I understood the Minister to say that after the Bill becomes law, there will be discussions. Parts of the Bill will operate forthwith, but there will be discussions necessary for the full implementation of the Bill about which he proposes to have discussion and agreement.

I do not think that was it.

If he said: "I have had all the discussions I can have——

I hate to be piping in on Deputy Dillon, who, I know, does not like being interrupted——

I do not mind being interrupted by an old root like you. It is the young lads I object to.

I appreciate that, but we have had three Second Reading debates in full and surely to God, we should not have one on every single item?

That is typical of the Minister's misinterpretation.

I have already pointed out that the amendment is very specific. It is by Deputy Michael J. O'Higgins and it is "In page 2, line 15, after "place" to insert "permanently"."

Suppose the Minister came to us and said: "That definition section has been debated by me with the co-operative marts, with the proprietary marts, with the farmers' organisations. It is agreed between them." Mind you, that is substantially what he did say on the Financial Resolution and then it turned out that he was suffering under a very serious misapprehension.

Not so serious, and I would appeal again to the Chair that we should discuss the amendment.

I am asking Deputy Dillon to come to the amendment. I can do no more.

Suppose he were in a position to say: "I have discussed this with these interested parties and we are agreed".

I ask that the question be now put.

I cannot grant a closure. The Ceann Comhairle must be in the Chair.

An Ceann Comhairle took the Chair.

A Cheann Comhairle, I move that the question be now put.

On a point of order. I did not speak.

There is no point of order. A point of order cannot be allowed on a motion that the question be now put.

I did not speak on this amendment.

Before you rule, I think you should receive a report from the Leas-Cheann Comhairle as to whether the matter has been sufficiently discussed and as to whether Deputies who had not partaken in the debate and were offering to speak——

Surely this is purely a matter for the Ceann Comhairle and the Leas-Cheann Comhairle?

I have considered all the matters concerning the definition amendments. These definition amendments are all amendments to the definition section and they have been very widely and extensively discussed. I do not think I am doing any injury to any minority in the House or injuring the discussion in any way by accepting at this stage the Minister's motion that the question be now put.

I have not offered to speak but if I wish to address the Chair on this amendment, am I entitled to do so?

There are no points of order at this stage.

I offered and I was not called. I want to know am I entitled to speak?

There is no question of entitlement. This is a provision in Standing Orders. I have accepted the motion that the question be now put.

I do not want to discuss this. I want to ask the Chair to give a ruling on this situation which has arisen twice.

If this is a point of order, I cannot allow it.

It is not a point of order. I want a ruling.

It must be a point of order or else it is nothing.

I could make it a point of order.

The Deputy may not make a point of order.

I will ask the question after the division.

Question put: "That the question be now put".
The Committee divided: Tá, 61; Níl, 40.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Lorcan.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Boland, Kevin.
  • Booth, Lionel.
  • Boylan, Terence.
  • Brady, Philip.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Burke, Patrick J.
  • Calleary, Phelim A.
  • Carter, Frank.
  • Carty, Michael.
  • Childers, Erskine.
  • Clohessy, Patrick.
  • Colley, George.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Crinion, Brendan.
  • Cronin, Jerry.
  • Cunningham, Liam.
  • Davern, Don.
  • de Valera, Vivion.
  • Dowling, Joe.
  • Egan, Nicholas.
  • Fahey, John.
  • Fanning, John.
  • Fitzpatrick, Thomas J. (Dublin South-Central).
  • Flanagan, Seán.
  • Foley, Desmond.
  • Gallagher, James.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • Haughey, Charles.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Kenneally, William.
  • Kennedy, James J.
  • Kitt, Michael F.
  • Lalor, Patrick J.
  • Lemass, Noel T.
  • Lemass, Seán.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lenihan, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • Lynch, John.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • Meaney, Tom.
  • Millar, Anthony G.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Mooney, Patrick.
  • Moore, Seán.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Nolan, Thomas.
  • Ó Ceallaigh, Seán.
  • O'Connor, Timothy.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Malley, Donogh.
  • Smith, Patrick.

Níl

  • Barry, Richard.
  • Belton, Luke.
  • Belton, Paddy.
  • Connor, Patrick.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, Declan.
  • Creed, Donal.
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry P.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Donegan, Patrick S.
  • Donnellan, John.
  • Dunne, Thomas.
  • Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
  • Farrelly, Denis.
  • Fitzpatrick, Thomas J. (Cavan).
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Gilhawley, Eugene.
  • Burke, Joan T.
  • Burton, Philip.
  • Clinton, Mark A.
  • Governey, Desmond.
  • Harte, Patrick D.
  • Hogan, Patrick (South Tipperary).
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • L'Estrange, Gerald.
  • Lindsay, Patrick J.
  • Lyons, Michael D.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'Donnell, Tom.
  • O'Hara, Thomas.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F. K.
  • Reynolds, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, Richie.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
  • Treacy, Seán.
Tellers:— Tá: Deputies Carty and Geoghegan; Níl: Deputies L'Estrange and T. Dunne.
Question declared carried.
Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 40; Níl, 63.

  • Barry, Richard.
  • Belton, Luke.
  • Belton, Paddy.
  • Burke, Joan T.
  • Burton, Philip.
  • Clinton, Mark A.
  • Connor, Patrick.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, Declan.
  • Creed, Donal.
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry P.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Donegan, Patrick S.
  • Donnellan, John.
  • Dunne, Thomas.
  • Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
  • Farrelly, Denis.
  • Fitzpatrick, Thomas J. (Cavan).
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Gilhawley, Eugene.
  • Governey, Desmond.
  • Harte, Patrick D.
  • Hogan, Patrick (South Tipperary).
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • L'Estrange, Gerald.
  • Lindsay, Patrick J.
  • Lyons, Michael D.
  • Murphy, Michael P.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'Donnell, Tom.
  • O'Hara, Thomas.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F. K.
  • Reynolds, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, Richie.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.

Níl

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Lorcan.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Boland, Kevin.
  • Booth, Lionel.
  • Boylan, Terence.
  • Brady, Philip.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Burke, Patrick J.
  • Calleary, Phelim A.
  • Carter, Frank.
  • Carty, Michael.
  • Childers, Erskine.
  • Clohessy, Patrick.
  • Colley, George.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Kennedy, James J.
  • Kitt, Michael F.
  • Lalor, Patrick J.
  • Lemass, Noel T.
  • Lemass, Seán.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lenihan, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • Lynch, John.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • Meaney, Tom.
  • Crinion, Brendan.
  • Cronin, Jerry.
  • Cunningham, Liam.
  • Davern, Don.
  • de Valera, Vivion.
  • Dowling, Joe.
  • Egan, Nicholas.
  • Fahey, John.
  • Fanning, John.
  • Faulkner, Pádraig.
  • Fitzpatrick, Thomas J. (Dublin South-Central).
  • Flanagan, Seán.
  • Foley, Desmond.
  • Gallagher, James.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • Haughey, Charles.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Kenneally, William.
  • Millar, Anthony G.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Mooney, Patrick.
  • Moore, Seán.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Nolan, Thomas.
  • Ó Ceallaigh, Seán.
  • O'Connor, Timothy.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Malley, Donogh.
  • Smith, Patrick.
Tellers:— Tá: Deputies L'Estrange and T. Dunne; Níl: Deputies Carty and Geoghegan.
Amendment declared lost.

Before we go on to the next amendment, might I ask for a direction from the Chair with regard to the situation which has now arisen twice? On two occasions the Minister has moved the closure motion when the Leas-Cheann Comhairle was in the Chair. It is clear under Standing Orders that that particular Standing Order can be put into operation only when you are in the Chair. The Leas-Cheann Comhairle I think quite properly, decided all he could do was to send for you. Now, during the period while the House was waiting for you to come here, the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, as I understand it, has decided the House is not in session, notwithstanding the fact that the adjournment of the House has not been moved. There seems to be confusion amongst Deputies and indeed amongst your staff, the Official Reporter, as to whether or not discussion can take place or debate continue, pending your arrival to consider the motion put by the Minister. It seems to me that the Minister might feel inclined to make other such proposals before this debate concludes and we should all be clear as to how we stand in that event.

What a thought.

The matter the Deputy has referred to is simple. Once the Minister has moved the motion, asked for a closure and the Ceann Comhairle sent for, business is interrupted until the Chair is taken by the Ceann Comhairle.

I do not want to be argumentative, but I want to be clear in my mind about this. Surely the position is that the motion cannot be accepted until the Ceann Comhairle is in the Chair? That being so, is it not the position that the business before the House is still the amendment that was being discussed prior to the arrival of the Ceann Comhairle? The last point I want to make is, if the position is simply that no discussion can take place, is it correct then to describe the House as not being in session? If the House is not in session, surely a motion to that effect should come from someone?

The situation envisaged by Standing Orders is clearly that the motion "That the question be now put" would not be moved until the Ceann Comhairle was in the Chair.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

Exactly, and that is the kernel of my argument.

What in fact happened was that the motion was twice moved before the arrival of the Chair.

That is purely a matter surely of arrangement.

And it was moved twice when Deputies from these benches were offering to speak.

The amount of time taken by the Ceann Comhairle to——

We are not criticising that.

We are making no criticism of that.

I had offered previous to the closure motion. I had not spoken before——

——and I did not get the opportunity.

The situation envisaged was that the motion would be moved when the Ceann Comhairle was in the Chair.

Might I say that, if the speakers who had been talking were talking to the amendment, I would not be moving a closure motion?

Deputies

Chair, Chair.

That is a reflection on the Chair.

It is a matter for the Chair to decide.

On a point of order, may we take it now that, under Standing Order 53, the motion "That the question be now put" shall not be received by the Chair unless the Ceann Comhairle is in occupation thereof?

Is that in the Standing Orders? If it is in the Standing Orders——

The Standing Order says:

After a question (except a question already barred from debate under the Standing Orders) has been proposed from the Chair either in the Dáil, or in a Committee of the whole Dáil, a member may claim to move, "That the question be now put", and unless it shall appear to the Ceann Comhairle that such a motion is an infringement of the rights of a minority, or that the question has not been adequately discussed, or that the motion is otherwise an abuse of these Standing Orders, the question, "That the question be now put", shall be put forthwith, and decided without amendment or debate.

Standing Orders are the rules governing procedure.

It goes on to say:

Provided always that this Standing Order may be put in force only when the Ceann Comhairle is in the Chair.

This is the point of order I want to submit: if this Standing Order does not mean that the Minister, or a Deputy, is restricted in making this motion to the time when you are in the Chair, then every time you leave the Chair, every Deputy can move, "That the question be now put", whereupon the proceedings of Dáil Éireann are in suspense until you have been sent for to resume the Chair, and there is nothing to prevent another Deputy moving the same motion the moment you leave the Chair again.

I cannot give directions or rulings on matters of that kind since they have never arisen.

The position is clear: unless you are in the Chair, this motion is not to be received.

That is the Standing Order.

Very well.

I would wish that that Standing Order was read again clearly. What Deputy Dillon has read out does not seem to me to be capable of the interpretation he has given it.

The Minister accepts the ruling of the Chair?

I always do.

Then there is no difficulty.

The Chair is the sole authority on order.

Does this mean, as Deputy Dillon has said that only when the Ceann Comhairle is in the Chair may this motion be made? If I might go a little further, this would imply, to my mind, that, if the Ceann Comhairle is not in the Chair, it obviously cannot be made. With all due respect, I submit that it may be made, as it has been made by me on these two or three occasions, and the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, or the Acting Chairman for the time being, is then entitled to send for the Ceann Comhairle to hear the relevance of such a motion and make his decision on it and, in the meantime, that there be no decision on the matter in question up to that time.

The claim to move "That the question be now put" can only be made to the Ceann Comhairle.

The notice to make it, Sir?

Let us be clear: the Ceann Comhairle is the only person competent to accept and operate "That the question be now put".

Hear, hear.

I quite accept that.

The claim to make the motion can be made at any time.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

But if the claim to make it is made, surely it seems to follow it does not operate to prevent debate?

I do not know what was in the minds of the people who framed the Standing Order and I am not going to assume anything. Amendment No. 2 now, in the name of Deputy M.J. O'Higgins.

I move:

In page 2, line 15, to delete "adapted" and substitute "constructed" or "reconstructed".

You may have gathered, Sir, that this word "adapted" which appears in the definition section of this Bill has been causing Deputies some worry and some concern. The case I want to make in connection with this amendment is that it would be an ease to the Dáil, as a whole, and even to the Minister, if we got rid of this word "adapted" in the definition section. From the discussions which have taken place, I think the Minister, and Deputies generally, will agree that the word "adapted" used in the context in which it is used in this section is both loose and vague. Examples have been given of the type of case which can arise in which it could be truly said that a place has been "adapted", and I think it is clear that neither the Minister nor the Government, and certainly not the Deputies, have any intention that a particular place so "adapted" should be covered by the definition of a business for the sale of livestock by auction, as proposed in this Bill.

If, as I believe to be the case, the Minister intends that this Bill should operate and that the provisions of the definition section should apply only to livestock marts that are properly and genuinely built and erected as such, then I think his purpose, so far as this section is concerned, would be better served by making the position clear. I am suggesting, in moving this amendment, that the position would be clearer if, instead of using the word "adapted" in relation to a place for the sale of livestock by auction, the Minister would agree to defining such a place as being a place constructed or reconstructed for the sale of livestock by auction.

In choosing the words "constructed or re-constructed", I have in mind that they would import into this section and would imply that something positive and active requires to be done to the place in question before it can fall within the definition of the business of a livestock mart. I think it has adequately been demonstrated that so long as we adhere to the definition proposed by the Minister, so long as we allow this definition section to remain with the word "adapted" in it, then it is quite possible that accidental adaptations may take place and that premises not intended by the Legislature to be captured by this definition may in fact be captured.

In discussing a previous amendment, the Minister gave as his reason for resisting it the fact that it was restrictive of the definition section of the Bill and, as such, not acceptable. I do not think the same objection can be made against this amendment. I do not think the amendment I now propose—the deletion of the word "adapted' and the substitution of the words "constructed or reconstructed"—can in the same sense be regarded as restrictive. I think the amendment would indicate what I believe would be the true intention of the Legislature in relation to this measure, namely, that if it is passed by the Oireachtas, it should apply only to livestock marts which are genuinely constructed or reconstructed as such.

Other Deputies who are more familiar with the common lay-out of livestock marts as they are known today in different constituencies will, I believe, describe adequately to the Minister the type of erection commonly known and described as a livestock mart. As Deputy Hogan mentioned earlier in relation to another amendment, namely, that when we speak of a livestock mart, we think in terms of a building and a compound, generally speaking, and in order to have such a building and such a compound and in order to have the accommodation for livestock and for prospective purchasers attending when the business of the livestock mart is in operation and accommodation also, if necessary, for the owner of the livestock that is to be auctioned, a certain amount of solid erection work is necessary.

It may be in a number of cases that other types of arenas of one sort or another could be adapted—to take the phrase which appears in the section at the moment—for use as a livestock mart I would say, and I hope the Minister will agree with me that, generally speaking, the adaptation required would probably involve reconstruction of one sort or another. Therefore if the two words I suggest, "constructed or reconstructed", are imported into the definition section, it would, by and large, cover the ordinary type of permanent livestock mart which I assume the Minister wishes to have captured under this definition section.

This is an important amendment. It seeks to give some kind of concrete form to the notion of the places wherein the auction of livestock is to take place. The difficulty Deputies have had, in dealing with this section, has been—at least, this is my suggestion in connection with it—that there is not any adequate definition of a place adapted for the sale of livestock by auction in the definition section and that the use of the word "adapted" can more or less accidentally be brought in for many matters, many places, many premises to which it is not intended the Bill should apply.

This amendment would be of less importance if the Minister had accepted amendment No. 1, but he did not do so and the House has now taken a decision on it. The House has also taken a decision that it does not want to see the word "adapted", which is used in the section, qualified by the word "permanently". I think a solution for the difficulty, which I hope will recommend itself to the Minister, would be to get away completely from this vague notion imported into the section by the use of the word "adapted" and to replace it by words with well-known, positive meanings which will easily be understood by everybody and which will give rise to no great difficulty for the courts if they are required to interpret the section. For that reason I urge the House to accept this amendment and delete the word "adapted" and substitute instead the words "constructed and reconstructed".

I do not agree with Deputy O'Higgins. What he proposes would make it more onerous for applicants to comply with the terms of the Bill for the reason that in many cases marts have been established to replace fairs and, indeed, on the exact location of where fairs were held. In many cases no construction at all was necessary, and no reconstruction, so that if this is written into the Bill it will mean that in future where there is a fair in operation, as is the case in many places, where it is an enclosed fair having pens and other facilities, then the applicant instead of availing of the facilities already there will have to go to some expense to construct the things mentioned.

The Deputy is misleading himself. It is only that they would not require a licence.

This would be a retrograde step. By leaving in the word "adapted" we enable co-operative groups who may apply for a replacement of a fair on the location of where the fair is held at the moment to avoid having to go to any trouble. All they will have to do is adapt instead of constructing or reconstructing. This is the case in many places up and down the country where fairs have been replaced not alone in the town but in the exact location——

——by marts in the past and I should not like to see it being made more difficult for future applicants and future co-operatives who will follow the same pattern by the substitution for "adapted" by "construct or reconstruct".

The Deputy is wrong but I am sure Deputy Clinton will explain it to him.

Quite frankly, I am more confused after the Deputy's contribution than before it. This amendment is a further effort on our part to make this definition section mean something which can be understood by all those concerned in the business——

Something concrete.

——something that all those concerned in the business of selling livestock by auction or otherwise and all those who have anything to do with livestock sales will understand. I know that the Minister loves a word like "adapt" because it is vague and uncertain. He does not want it to mean anything that he does not want it to mean at a particular time.

Why is it more vague than "construct"?

To construct is to build something.

You do not say so.

Why build when you do not have to?

It could not be clearer. You can adapt in so many ways that have been described here already. The Minister wants to make it clear that what he has in mind is something really constructed for the job, that it is a livestock mart and could not be misunderstood for anything else, an enclosed compound with all the ancillary structures that go with it, seating accommodation, offices and everything else.

Who said that?

The Minister.

The Minister is forgetting and I do not wonder that he is confused. He comes in and out and says something and then he is sorry that he said it.

Not a bit.

He feels he has put his foot in it, or if he has not, Deputy Cunningham or Deputy Booth has. Deputy Booth came in and did a very useful job. He gave the Oxford dictionary meaning of the word "adapted" and, of course, we all know that the Minister made it quite clear that that is not the meaning he attributes to the word.

That is not a fact.

We have a Fianna Fáil Deputy telling us one thing and then the Minister telling us that that is not what he had in mind.

(Interruptions.)

In this amendment we are trying to ensure that there can be no——

He is adapting himself.

——confusion. The thing is designed for confusion and nobody knows it better than the Minister. He got what he wanted. He told the draftsmen what he wanted and they chose the most ambiguous words.

What did the draftsman say to the Minister?

I suspect what they said was: "You have given us one of the most troublesome jobs we ever had but we will say this in the most roundabout way and in a way it will be most difficult to understand what the Minister wants".

Was the Deputy present all the time?

We are guessing.

Telepathy.

We do not know where we are because the Minister has told us so little. He got what he wanted, that is what he told us. He did not say what he asked for.

I must have got what I asked for if I got what I wanted.

The whole thing becomes more difficult any time the Minister or a Fianna Fáil Deputy intervenes. It becomes as clear as mud to follow what they mean. We on this side are endeavouring in every way possible, line by line, to try to spell this out. When the Minister gets up he refers us back to a later section and says: "If you read it in conjunction with something else you will understand. It is clear enough. If it is not clear I will make it clear by regulations which I intend to make later and when I have had discussions that I should have had before I introduced the Bill". I hope he will have these discussions long before we reach the end of the Bill. That is why we are endeavouring——

To hold up the Bill.

It is a measure that should never have been brought in and at least if it is brought in it cannot be said that it was the fault of the Opposition that this abominable measure got through. I have to compliment Deputy M.J. O'Higgins on his efforts to clarify this meaningless definition and if the deletion which he looks for is accepted, nobody can misunderstand what that means.

Tell us about it, tell us what the amendment is instead of the whole Bill.

If the Leas-Cheann Comhairle will permit me to go into details about the construction of livestock marts, I will tell the Minister.

And reconstruction.

For the construction of a livestock mart, first of all, you must have a site of at least two or three acres, if it is going to cover any catchment area. It is the intention of the Minister that it should cover a fairly large catchment area. It was also clearly stated by the Minister earlier that he wants no opposition to the marts he is going to give licences to, that he wants them to have a monopoly, that he wants to have a worthwhile exercise. You have to start off by clearing the top soil off at least an acre down to a depth of about one foot. Having done that with a bulldozer, or even with a spade and shovel, you have to come along and get the necessary dry filling. You may have to go 50 miles for it, but the Minister insists you have to get it. You have to put in five or six inches of dry filling. Having got that, you have to get a heavy roller and consolidate the dry filling.

How heavy is the rolle?

Having done that, you must leave at least six inches for concrete. You either start off to mix the concrete on the spot——

What strength of mixture?

——when you have the aggregate, or you go to a firm engaged in the business of providing readymixed concrete. You bring it on to the spot.

Do not forget the water.

The Minister has asked for information and he is entitled to get it. If Deputies will cease interrupting me, I will try to give him in detail the information he is looking for. He asks what strength should the mixture be. It can be put in at various strengths. With the Donegal material you have up there, with a lot of mud in it, you would really need two to one. In other parts of the country, it would be wise to put it in at six to one. When that is done, you must not forget to leave space for the uprights for the gun barrel that is necessary to make this compound to put the cattle in.

Do not forget to make provisions for the Civic Guard.

And for the inspectors.

You have to make all these people comfortable. Of course, the ancillary buildings to the mart must be very much more extensive than the actual mart itself. The Minister has indicated clearly that he wants this to be a permanent mart, something that can be recognised as a mart and nothing else. That involves covering the inner section and making the people comfortable. The Minister has even made provision for heating and for all the facilities one would expect to find in an up-to-date mart. At present, we have some of the most up-to-date and best equipped livestock marts in Europe, but the Minister is obviously making provision to have them even better. We want to help him in this definition to ensure that these places are constructed, taking all the difficult steps I have outlined, in such a way that they will not be knocked down by the first bullock that goes into them. They must not be just snow walls or bales of straw, but must be solid gun barrels put down in concrete. The Minister wants to ensure all this. But I am afraid he has left this definition section so open and ambiguous that it could be sidestepped by people who have other ways. It could be built with sods in Donegal or with furze bushes, or anything which a couple of good dogs might be able to manage. The Minister wants a permanent construction and we want to ensure that he gets it, that the people will undertake this difficult task and do all the things necessary to construct the building.

Of course, it is possible, as Deputy Cunningham said, that that might not be necessary. It is possible that there would be some sort of sales yard, or a yard used for any other purpose, in existence already and that that place might not have to be constructed from the bottom up. It might be possible to reconstruct such a place in such a manner as would satisfy the Minister's ambitions in regard to the permanent and obvious indications of a livestock mart, as he sees it and as he wishes it to be in the future. I can assure the Minister that this amendment put down by Deputy O'Higgins has only one purpose in mind, that is, to meet with his wishes. We want to do everything possible, now that we see the Minister wants something good, to assist him. We do not want anybody to be in a position to sidestep his intentions in relation to this. He probably does not realise that this section is too loose and that he will not get what he wants.

We have just begun discussing this. It may take hours, or days, to discuss it. In fact, this might not be all that is needed. At the moment, it is all we are looking for. We think it is fairly secure if the Minister deletes this word so many meanings have been attached to by various people—this loose, open, ambiguous word "adapted"—and substitutes "constructed or reconstructed." I hope the Minister will see the good sense of this amendment and that, when he has time to give it mature consideration, he will stand up and make his contribution to this discussion and say: "I see the wisdom of this, after all. That is the only type of mart I will have in the future—one properly constructed or reconstructed to give me what I have in mind and not every sort of huckster set-up that could possibly be put up if I left the definition as it is at present."

Listening to the Fine Gael speakers tends to confuse one. The section, as it stands, reads:

"business of a livestock mart" means the business of selling livestock by auction or providing, for the holding of sales of livestock by auction or otherwise, a place adapted for the sale of livestock by auction;

That is as it is and as I hope, it will remain. But here is how it would read with the four Fine Gael proposals added on to it:

"Business of a livestock mart" means the business of selling livestock by auction or providing, for the holding of sales by auction or otherwise, a place permanently adapted, exclusively and habitually used for the sale of livestock by auction but does not include the sale otherwise than by auction of livestock the property of the proprietor of such a place.

You are leaving out a bit.

It was possibly to avoid overburdening your mental capacity that I left it out.

Amendment No. 3.

We will add that one later on. Read that with those four amendments and read what is there and then begin to ask yourself which of the two is the more clear, or if you want to take the Fine Gael outlook, which of the two is the least obscure. You will have no doubt in coming back to the original wording. Incidentally, that was not just thought up on the spur of the moment, nor was there undue haste on the part of the draftsmen. But, as some of the Fine Gael speakers inadvertently said here, it was done deliberately at the request of the Minister by the draftsmen going to great pains. That is the way in which this section was drafted, rather than the allegations of haste and that it was badly done as a result.

To get back to this business of construction and reconstruction and to the undoubted wish of Deputy Clinton to help the Minister to attain that which he had set out to do in regard to this Bill, I would thank him for his concern in this regard, but would say that I much prefer what is already there. The reason I say this is not that it is Deputy Clinton's amendment but rather that the word "adapted" is, to my mind, a far more suitable word——

A more adaptable one.

——for the purpose of this particular definition. That, to me and, I am sure, to any of the Members across the floor, does not require the long peroration we got from Deputy Clinton about what "construction" means. We do not have to get the mixer and the boys.

I was merely answering the question the Minister asked me.

It does not require all that at all. "To adapt" means to make fit or suitable.

Something that is existing.

Obviously, there must be something in existence—whether it be just an open space or not, I do not know.

That is not what Deputy Cunningham said.

Do not worry. I am sorry we did not hear from Deputy Esmonde earlier tonight. He was good sport the last night and we might as well be listening to a bit of fun as to a lot of the bunkum we had to listen to. It should not be confused with what Deputy Cunningham said. As I said, "to adapt" is to make fit or suitable. What is wrong with that, even for Fine Gael? Is there anything wrong? How can that be improved upon in helping "the Minister to do what he wishes to do in ths definition section? I know that Deputy Clinton's heart bleeds for the Minister in his dilemma in trying to deal with unreasonable opposition —apart from himself—and that he is doing his utmost to make it possible for the Minister to get through a section that will really do a useful job in regard to the marts. All I am saying is: "Thank you very much, Deputy, for your offer." I appreciate the spirit in which it is made, but, at the same time, the word "adapted" is, to me, a far better and far more suitable word in this context than the amendment. For that reason, I am sorry I cannot see my way to accept the amendment. We could add Chambers' Dictionary to the Oxford Dictionary already quoted. Perhaps a perusal of the two dictionaries might not be much harm. I suggest the Opposition might peruse them rather than refer me back to the meaning of "construction" and "reconstruction" which they feel I should study some time in the not too distant future.

The part of this Bill which uses the word "adapted" is quite as I want it, quite as I asked for it. Deputies have made a point of this. They keep saying that the Minister has said that he got what he asked the draftsman for but they do not know what he was asked for. I am saying straight back that it is as simple as this: I have got what I asked for. Therefore, what is in the Bill is what I asked for and therefore there should be no further question.

You said you asked in layman's language.

I did not qualify it by what sort of language. It could have been any sort of language, but I asked for it. I asked for what I wanted and I did say that when I got it back, without any legal assistance or interpretation, I was able to read from it and see clearly that what he has given me is exactly what I asked for. So, again, I say to the Opposition, in case this conundrum is difficult for them at this hour of the night, that what is in the Bill is what I asked for. Having got what I wanted, obviously, what is in the Bill is what I asked for.

The Minister's intervention has been very revealing. I have been arguing in connection with this section that the word "adapted" as it is used means that any place which is made suitable for use for the auctioning of live stock is captured by the definition. The Minister now makes it quite clear that he agrees with that point of view, that if a place is made fit or suitable for sale of livestock by auction it is then adapted for that purpose. Therein lies the whole danger in this definition section. Remember it does not now apply only to a place where livestock is, in fact, auctioned. It can apply to any type of sale of livestock because the Minister, supported by the Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party, in the Division Lobby, has insisted on the retention of the words "or otherwise" in the definition section, so that from the time of that decision onwards we must take it that we are talking now, not merely about the sale of livestock by auction, but about the sale of livestock in any manner at all, whether it be by auction or by private sale.

Now we have arrived at the situation which the Minister has underscored by his last intervention, that not only are we talking about the sale of livestock in any manner at all but that we are talking about the sale of livestock in any place that would be fit or suitable or has been made fit or suitable for the sale of livestock by auction. That means that even the accidental making of a place fit or suitable for the sale of livestock by auction is captured by this Bill according to the Minister's definition of the word "adapted" because, according to the Minister, irrespective of the purpose, if it is made fit or suitable for the sale of livestock by auction then it will be brought in under this definition.

Our concern on these benches, which we have made known to the Minister time after time, is that this Bill should not apply to places that are brought within an artificial definition of the business of a livestock mart accidentally and that it should not apply to cases where a person wants to sell privately his own livestock on his own premises merely because those premises happen to have been made fit or suitable for the sale of livestock by auction. Even though an auction has never been carried out and it is never intended to carry out an auction on those premises, yet, as I see it, according to the Minister's definition of the word "adapted" those premises, that place, could be regarded as a livestock mart which would require it to be licensed before a beast could change hands in it even on a private sale by private treaty.

It is to avoid the danger of that kind of thing arising—and obviously the danger is there—that I am suggesting now that we should get away completely from this word "adapted", associated as it must be in this context with the kind of dangers of which I speak, the accidental adaptation. We should get away from it completely and put in words that will require that the place which is going to be regarded as a livestock mart requiring a licence must be a place which has been constructed for that purpose or reconstructed for that purpose.

Accidentally reconstructed?

No; it must be positive.

It could very easily be accidental. These accidents can happen in Fine Gael.

Deputy Cunningham made the point that if the words "constructed or reconstructed" were brought in, then we would be making it more onerous for applicants to comply with the terms of the Bill. I think Deputy Cunningham is not looking at the proposition in the right way. I think he has misled himself. The effect of accepting this amendment would be to alter this definition section. Deputy Booth will recall that this is a double-barrelled definition of the business of a livestock mart.

I remember distinctly. We have been discussing this for some days now.

The first part of it relates to the business of selling livestock by auction. The second part with which we are concerned here is "or providing for the holding of sales of livestock by auction or otherwise a place adapted for the sale of livestock by auction." My suggestion is that that should read: "or providing for the holding of sales of livestock by auction or otherwise a place constructed or reconstructed for the sale of livestock by auction".

That is what we gathered.

If this amendment is accepted and if the definition is altered accordingly, the type of accidental case I talked about simply cannot arise, and the case Deputy Cunningham refers to will not be a problem at all. That place will simply not require a licence under this Bill when it becomes an Act and can continue its operations perfectly lawfully and legitimately without any interference, good, bad or indifferent, from the Minister or any officer of the Minister. Therefore, instead of this amendment making the position more onerous for people who want to engage perfectly legitimately in the trade or business of selling livestock, it is relieving them of any obligation in relation to this Bill. It is relieving them even of having to seek a licence from the Minister. It is relieving them from even having to make the kind of sounding out of the ground to which the Minister referred earlier, because this Bill will then simply not apply to that place at all.

There is no point in bringing the Bill in at all then.

I am inclined to agree with Deputy Booth there is not much point in bringing in this Bill——

Not with that amendment.

——but the Bill is here and we have to deal with it.

Is that the Deputy's advice now as a TD?

My advice is to withdraw the Bill.

As a TD or a legal man?

My wholehearted advice to the Minister is to withdraw the Bill. Perhaps if the matter comes up later on in another Bill, we could have another look at it. However, the point I want to make— I am sure Deputy Booth would be interested in it—is that the type of case to which Deputy Cunningham refers, will be excluded from the application of this measure if what I am suggesting is accepted.

We know that. The Deputy has told us that ten times. It is not getting any more sensible.

Whenever I think I am getting it across, Deputy Booth interrupts me and I have to start again.

He does not need to.

My remarks, unlike this definition, are not doublebarrelled; I want to make a clean sweep of what I am saying. Those particular places to which Deputy Cunningham refers, on acceptance of this amendment, would have complete authority and protection. They could not be interfered with. They would not require to be licensed. That would leave the position that there would still be a certain type of livestock mart that would require to be licensed and that type of livestock mart that would require to be licensed would, as far as I can judge the situation, be the livestock mart the Minister wants to have licensed, the livestock mart that is permanent in character, that is constructed or reconstructed for the purpose of being used as a livestock mart, where there is something done in a positive and in a concrete way to turn it into a livestock mart.

I may be wrong—no doubt the Parliamentary Secretary will be anxious to correct me if I am—but I understand that that is what the Minister wants to provide for in this Bill, that that is the kind of mart that the Minister feels requires to be regulated, that the Minister wants the powers under this Bill, amongst other things, to prevent that type of mart proliferating unduly. If the Minister and Deputy Booth get together tonight, have a chat about this section and look at the amendment I am proposing, they will see that there is a certain amount to be said for it. They will see this much in any event, that as long as we leave the word "adapted" in the Bill unaltered, unqualified, then you arrive at a situation which is dangerous, you arrive at a situation where this Bill may operate in a way that is not intended either by the Minister in introducing it or by the Oireachtas in accepting it,

The word "adapted", according to the Minister, means "to make fit or suitable". I accept that. I think it is a reasonable definition. It is shorter than the definition which Deputy Booth read out here earlier today, but it is a definition which shows very clearly how elastic the word "adapted" may be when used in this context. It emphasises again the danger of leaving a word as elastic as that as the word which governs, in effect, one part of the definition of the business of a livestock mart.

I do not want any accidents to happen in relation to this Bill. If this Bill must go through, then let it go through in such a manner that it will have incorporated in its provisions the true intention of the Oireachtas and that we shall not have a situation arising later perhaps under a different Minister, perhaps under a different administration, where the Bill which we pass for one purpose could be used and be regarded as being for another purpose at another time. That is the kind of danger I see here, and that is why I feel strongly that the amendment I am proposing warrants the very closest attention and consideration by the Minister.

We are discussing the substitution of the words "constructed or reconstructed" for the word "adapted", and we have had definitions and dictionary meanings of the word "adapted". Dictionary meanings are one thing and practice and usage of the English language another. I would wish to give a few extra interpretations. If I wished, I could take quotations from the Minister's speeches here on this Bill or any other Bill in the past and adapt them for my own purposes, quoting them back so that their meaning would give support to my own views on the subject. That would be an adaptation which would not change, by the dotting an "i" or the crossing a "t", the Minister's own words.

Similarly if there was—I hope there never will be—a dispersal sale in my farmyard and if without changing one of the gun barrels that Deputy Clinton talks about—in this case it would not be gun barrels but bits of timber out of the hedge—used to divide a shed into four pens, sheds where cows are put that are about to calve or cows that are suckling calves and if these pens, without being changed in any way, were adapted for the use of cattle to be sold and if these cattle emerged from these doors into the yard and were auctioned by a licensed auctioneer, there would then be carried on the business referred to in this Livestock Marts Bill.

Similarly, if these cows emerged and were sold by me to a cattle trader or a farmer friend—Deputy Corry, if he chose to come along—there would then be carried on as long as the word "adapted" for sale of livestock remains in this Bill the business of selling cattle. I refer back to the question of the interpretation I might put in a passage in a speech by the Minister, or the Parliamentary Secretary, or by Deputy Corry, Deputy Clinton or any other Deputy to suit my own purposes. The devil can quote Scripture for his own purposes and that, I think, is straight from the Gospel. There is no reason why, if we can do this with words, we cannot do it with farmyards, buildings or any other places and thus we immediately bring the entire cattle trade within the control of this Bill. This has not been said before and I cannot emphasise it sufficiently: if we take the meaning in the definition section of the word "adapted" and if we take the practice and usage of that word in the English language, then the Minister is seeking control of the entire cattle trade.

The example has been used here of the few straw bales set up around a farmer's yard for a dispersal sale and this was meant to constitute a saleyard. Perhaps my colleagues were far too kind and too generous in their interpretation because I say the straw bales are not necessary, and that if the yard or place or public road or fair green is adapted for the purpose of selling cattle, then that action has become enveloped, if we leave the word adapted in the Bill, by the tentacles of the Bill. That involves putting the entire cattle trade under control. That is what the Minister seeks and that may not have been said as forcefully as I wish to put it now.

The Minister made great play of the discussion he had with the parliamentary draftsman and said that there should be no more talk about this because, he said, he had asked in the language of a normal man for what he wanted, that he got what he wanted and that was what is in the Bill. If brought to its full usage, from its dictionary definition provided by Deputy Booth, the word "adapted" means complete control of the cattle trade here. It means that when my father used to send me to the fair of Loughrea many years ago, give me two cheques and tell me to come back with three cattle and abuse me when I did, no matter how good or how cheap were the beasts I bought, that action of mine in coming up to a man on the fair green and buying two cattle with one cheque and going to his neighbour and buying another beast with the other cheque, represented the business of selling cattle if we put the normal usage and interpretation that it would bear on "adapted" in the definition section of this Bill.

I have spoken very briefly on this Bill but I want to make the point as strongly as I can that the Minister has said that what he asked the parliamentary draftsman for, he got. I am clear in my own mind that the use of the word "adapted" means entire control of the cattle trade. On the other hand, the amendment proposed by Deputy O'Higgins on behalf of the Fine Gael Party means restriction of the power in this Bill to cover places where the business of carrying on cattle sales is normally transacted. "Constructed or reconstructed" means the introduction of concrete or gun barrel pipes and pens and a compound. It means that here you have a place easily definable or recognisable as a place constructed or reconstructed for the sale of cattle. It immediately obviates the question of the dispersal sale which I hope will never happen in my place.

We of Fine Gael have been attacked by the Minister on this point. He says that in another section of the Bill there is permission to exempt. Surely, if there is merely right to exempt, that is again in the Minister's hands and the position is that he has taken full control of the cattle trade and at the same time, has taken the right to exempt, if he chooses to do so, certain individual sales on farmers' places or in other places such as fairs. Paramount in the thinking on this whole section is this: if the Minister wants to do it, and if he wishes not to exempt, he takes for the first time into his own hands, control of the entire cattle trade of the country. If the word "adapted" remains, the Minister, if he so desires, can direct the cattle under the provisions of this Bill, towards beef or towards store cattle, or towards certain avenues of sale and purchase, and if he wanted to direct them in other ways, he could do so. He got what he wanted when he asked the parliamentary draftsman for a wording and phrasing in the definition section. He got complete control of the cattle trade as long as the word "adapted" remains there.

(South Tipperary): It is clear from the continued opposition of the Minister to the various amendments we have put down to this definition section that what the previous speaker has said is true, that the Minister is not seeking control of the livestock marts as we know them but of the cattle trade in general. I submit that even from the point of accuracy in terminology or nomenclature, this should not be termed the Livestock Marts Bill but the Livestock Sales Bill, or even the Livestock Bill, because it has ceased to be applicable, or solely applicable, to livestock marts by virtue of the fact that the Minister has resisted all our amendments.

We have been endeavouring in the case of this amendment as in the case of the previous one to put the definition as given here into more concrete form and apply it specifically to livestock marts. This is being resisted and I would ask the Minister whether he wants nobody in the livestock business excluded from the provisions of this Bill. That is a fair question to ask. If he wants nobody excluded, why is he introducing an exemption clause at all? If on the other hand, there appear to be certain further exemptions, as obviously there must be when the Minister has an exemption clause in the Bill, why will he not allow us, and indeed help us, to define and spell out the categories that may be exempted.

This amendment, as other amendments, is an attempt to define the position so that certain categories of operators may automatically be excluded from the Bill, so they will not have to go cap in hand to make representations at a later stage, but will have this exemption as a right and not as a concession.

This is basically good democracy. It may be difficult to define any category, but if the amendments we have introduced, or some of them, were accepted in a more reasonable spirit by the Minister, we would feel we were getting somewhere and might be able to get over the broad, ambiguous, all-embracing nature of the Minister's definition in the Bill. That definition is so extremely important that the Bill hangs on it. It defines the number of categories of operators to which the Bill will apply. We are trying to narrow down the classes to whom it will be applicable at a later stage.

It is for that reason we have brought in these various amendments. I cannot see why, if the Minister is prepared to make exemptions, he could not at this stage accept by definition certain categories, those categories which will be excluded from the operation of this Bill if our amendments are allowed to stand.

It is clear from the point of view of administration that the Minister wishes to give himself more iron control, and adopt a less generous attitude, if he wishes to retain the ambiguous nature of the Bill and have all exemptions sent in to him later to be adjudged by him personally without appeal to a court or anybody else. Because of that objection to the definition, and to its broad nature, we have submitted these amendments.

First of all, there is the nature of the business, whether it is an auction or any means of sale—(a) a method of sale and (b) the place where the sale takes place. If the Minister had adopted our concept of a mart as a place where cattle are sold by auction in a well defined enclosure of buildings which is the ordinary concept of a mart, then we would know where we stand, but the Minister defines all forms of transfer, auction or otherwise, by hand, barter or otherwise. Any place that can be adapted is without qualification. He will not allow any place which can be adapted in the most loose fashion under this ambiguously defined and broad measure. Any place, therefore, comes within the terms of the Bill and will be subject to the onerous restrictions which the other sections of the Bill spell out.

These are our objections to it and I cannot see why the Minister will not list those people who may later qualify for exemption. There will be many categories who will be exempted later on and possibly the Minister has these categories defined in his mind now. I cannot see why he cannot incorporate the substance of them in the Bill by accepting the amendments which we have put down here one after another, including that now under discussion.

I should like to express my sentiments as to how this Bill will affect the agricultural community in Donegal. I should like to tell the House that there are three different ways by which cattle or livestock are sold in County Donegal, the old traditional way of the fair, the new method of marts and other traditional methods such as in the farmyard.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted, and 20 Members being present,

I was saying that occasionally we have cattle sales in farmyards.

Deputy M. J. O'Higgins said that what the Deputy has to say is important. Let us now see how important it is.

Coming from a constituency like Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown, the Deputy knows as little about a cattle mart as a cattle mart——

We have very important marts in Dún Laoghaire.

Deputy Andrews, if he wishes to contribute, can make a statement himself.

I have just made it.

And if he is as successful as his father in other walks of life——

(Interruptions.)

I was saying that we have three methods of selling cattle in Donegal. Traditionally, we have the fair which, apparently, has now given way to cattle marts but we still have another traditional way of selling cattle, namely, sale in the farmyard. This is a system which will stay with us, in spite of all the developments which co-operative movements have provided in the organisation of co-operative marts. Coming from the same constituency as the Minister, I am quite sure constituents of his have made their protest to him, that this in effect is a threat to a traditional way of selling cattle in County Donegal, and if we must have the Bill, is it too much to ask that he will accept the amendments proposed in the name of Deputy M.J. O'Higgins? This means that if any small farmer wishes to have a farmyard sale, he contacts a local auctioneer—at least this has been the procedure—and the auction is advertised. The system is that the buyers, or indeed the audience, form a circle; the livestock, the cattle, calves and sheep, are let out to the farmyard from a shed and the auctioneer tries to get the best price possible for the stock he is selling. Does this not mean that this farmyard has been adapted for this purpose, merely by those people attending the auction creating a circle—not a ring, as Deputy Corry might imply in another context.

Do not bring Deputy Corry down on top of us; he is up there.

Nobody will be more pleased to see him take his seat than myself.

Carry on.

At least I have one disciple in the Fianna Fáil Party.

I would not upset you for the world.

I suggest that if the words proposed in the amendment were included, it would protect such types of sales.

I see no reason why we cannot be more specific when we say that the mart should be adapted, why we cannot go further and say "construct or reconstruct". This would suggest that the premises being used would be used continuously for the sale of livestock.

But the section says that; it says "the business of providing....". If the Deputy looks at the section, he will see that what is referred to is the business of providing a place for the sale of cattle.

That is the Deputy's interpretation.

It is in the Bill, which the Deputy should read.

Deputy Booth spoke at some length and we listened patiently.

But I had read the Bill.

We heard Deputy Cunningham speak and he did not know whether he was speaking on Committee Stage or Report Stage. There is so much confusion in the minds of Fianna Fáil Deputies they are now acting as "yesmen". If the Minister moves to closure the debate they trot after him through the Division Lobbies as "yesmen".

(Interruptions.)

I do not particularly wish to fight an election, though I can assure Deputies that I am not afraid to do so. I wonder how many back bench Deputies in the Fianna Fáil Party would be afraid?

Deputies

None of them.

Let us get back to the debate.

Deputy Booth is as confused as Deputy Cunningham. Let me say to him—I am not aware of the type of constituent he represents in this House, nor am I up to date with the type of person who might solicit Deputy Booth's help in this particular matter——

That hardly seems relevant either.

——but I am familiar with the type of person who contacts Deputy Cunningham and who speaks with the Minister. I can say this——

Would it not be better if the point at issue, and not extraneous matters, were debated?

There have been interruptions and Deputy Harte has probably been put off his speech.

I am quite on the mark, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle. I am making the point that the type of people whom this can affect are the people who have come to my house in the past fortnight, and it is not unreasonable of me to think that the same people, or people like them, have made the same approaches to the Minister and to Deputy Cunningham. If they carried on the same type of conversation in their livingrooms as they did in mine, then they are against this Bill.

Were these people from Strabane?

Does the Deputy know in which county is Strabane?

He does, well; the Deputy need not worry.

These are the type of people whom I can see being very much affected by this Bill. It is for this reason that I support the amendment. Tradition dies hard in Ireland and if farmers have a traditional way of selling cattle, this should not be disturbed. If a farmer feels he can obtain a better price for his livestock by having a private auction in his own farmyard, if he has some reluctance to pay fees in a co-operative mart or indeed in any cattle mart, then he has the right as a citizen, if he wishes, to have a private sale in his own farmyard, but according to this Bill, if he does this, he is breaking the law. Could the Minister, or rather the Parliamentary Secretary, at this late stage not accept the amendment?

No; the answer is in the infirmary.

That being the case, the people who have been in contact with the Minister, and indeed the people who could not communicate with the Minister because he was not available to talk, and the people who have succeeded in contacting Deputy Cunningham are being disappointed. These people have been at my door; they have been on the telephone and I have discussed the matter with them in the course of our casual meetings.

(Interruptions.)

Would some Deputies support the Bill by making some contribution instead of, when someone calls for a quorum, coming in so annoyed that they continue to interrupt? I am quite sure that people have been in contact with Deputy Molloy, for instance, over the past fortnight and I wonder if the Deputy would be manly enough to tell the House what they have told him. Would he go on record as saying that he is either in support of or against this Bill? We know that when the division bell goes, Deputy Molloy, like his other colleagues, will trot after the Minister or the Taoiseach through the Division Lobbies.

It is hard on you when you must bring me into the Marts Bill.

Ag seinm ceoil do phócaí folamh!

That is purely the action of a yesman.

I told Deputy Harte before, he is like a bad actor going back for prompts. Deputy T. O'Donnell can say these things himself but coming from Deputy Harte, they have not the same impact.

That has nothing at all to do with what we are discussing.

Deputy O'Donnell will make his own speech in his own time if you allow him.

I have yet to read that the Parliamentary Secretary has denied that people have been with him.

Nobody has been with me on this issue.

The Parliamentary Secretary puts that on the records of the House?

Yes, nobody.

Nobody in your constituency?

I am stating it categorically.

We are discussing amendment No. 2 in the name of Deputy M.J. O'Higgins. Order.

Does Deputy Harte——

Would Deputy Corry please cease interrupting for the few minutes that are left?

And if he wishes to interrupt, would he speak more clearly so that I can know what he is talking about and can answer him?

I am only trying to help you, man.

I am glad Deputy Corry has offered help because listening to him speaking on this Bill last week, I could not relate what he said then to what he said in the discussions here during the Economic War.

(Interruptions.)

The Deputy must relate his remarks to the amendment.

Deputy Luke Belton and I spent a great evening reading Deputy Corry's remarks during the Economic War.

Deputy Harte might relate his remarks to the amendment.

If I were allowed to. I am just conveying to this House that when Deputy Corry says he is trying to help me, I am glad of it because Deputy Corry did such injury to livestock by his remarks during the 1930s the period of the Economic War.

That has nothing to do with the amendment.

I am just putting on the record my appreciation. I appreciate the help of Deputy Corry, the help of a convert, and I wonder if he would try to solicit——

Your gang should be ashamed of your Judas work during that period. How is the puck, anyway?

If there is a need for a puck goat in Cork, there is no need for it in Donegal.

I understand he was stolen from Killorglin Puck Fair.

I can assure you that we have no need of it in Donegal, whatever purpose you put it to in Cork.

I support the amendment because I believe that small farmers elected the Minister, elected Deputy Cunningham and elected me to represent them as best we see fit. I am glad Deputy Cunningham has now come into the House, despite the fact that there is only one minute left, and I want to ask him through the Chair have the people——

I know they elected you last anyhow.

The shakings of the bag.

Elected us?

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday, 19th July, 1967