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

Debate resumed on the following amendment:
In page 2, line 15, to delete "adapted" and substitute "constructed or reconstructed".
—(Deputy M.J. O'Higgins).

I would again ask the Minister, now that he is present, to reconsider his decision and to accept this amendment. Perhaps I might be allowed to ask him if he does not consider that one of the traditional ways of selling cattle in Donegal, apart from the fairs and the cattle mart, is to have sales on the small holdings and that, for various reasons, the owners of livestock see advantages in selling their cattle in this manner. As Deputy Dillon has said, if every member of this Party spoke here for a month, we could not put it more clearly than it was put by Deputy Carty, Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach, when he said, just before Question Time: "You cannot construct or reconstruct a field". But you can construct or reconstruct premises. You can also adapt a farmyard or a small holding for the sale of cattle.

I know the small farmers on the Fanad Peninsula, the home of the Minister, and I know that this is a peculiar way for those small farmers to sell their stock. Maybe, with the new mart being erected at Milford, this will cease to be as popular in the future as it has been in the past, but nevertheless that is not for us to decide. What we have to decide here is whether these people will be allowed to continue a tradition which their fathers and grandfathers used in days gone by for the sale of livestock. We must ask ourselves whether we shall prevent these people from using this method in the future. If the Minister agrees that this system of marketing cattle is to be allowed to continue, then it is only reasonable to request him to accept the amendment.

As Deputy Carty says, you cannot construct or reconstruct a field and you cannot construct or reconstruct a farmyard. This is the nucleus of our argument. However, you can adapt a farmyard or you can adapt a small field for the sale of cattle. This being so, the owner of the cattle must, as I understand it, make application to the court or to the Minister or to some other authority for permission to hold a small auction if he feels it necessary to sell his stock. Failing that, any auctioneer who accepts the business and is found to have sold cattle by this method can be prosecuted.

If the Minister accepts this amendment, then any person who would construct or reconstruct premises, be it a farmyard or a small field, would do so with a view to having cattle sales there at some future date or dates. He or she would therefore be in a position, or should be in a position, to know what was required in order to have such a sale. People have sold cattle by this method possibly since the barter system went out. They have sold cattle by this method under alien and under native Governments. I do not know whether it is that the Minister is being thick in this matter: I should explain that in County Donegal, that term means "awkward". For the life of me, I cannot see why the Minister or the Government hold out the threat of intention to take this traditional right from the people.

Speaking on behalf of the small farmers in particular—some of the Fianna Fáil Party seem to think we speak for nobody but small farmers —because there are more of them in Donegal than larger farmers and for any farmer who wishes to sell his cattle by this method, I feel the Minister must be alive to the desire of these farmers to protect their God-given right. I have been in contact with people who are concerned with the operation of co-operative marts, and people concerned with the sale of cattle by other methods, and I do not think it is unreasonable for me to conclude that people have also approached the Minister to see if he would either delay the implementation of this Act or accept reasonable amendments by the Fine Gael Party. These people have been with me and they have been with Deputy Cunningham. They have asked Deputy Cunningham to request the Minister to come down off his high horse.

I have a vague notion that I heard that already this morning.

I agree, but the Minister was not here to hear it.

That is no justification——

I am trying to use this opportunity to make, through you, Sir, to the Minister for Agriculture——

Repetition is not justifiable, even to inform a Minister.

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

The pattern here appears to be that Members on the back benches of the Fianna Fáil Party——

What has that to do with the Bill?

——are so unfamiliar with this Bill that when they come into the House, they find themselves speaking on the same lines as Deputies on this side. They are confused. They feel their function in this House is to be elected to represent the Fianna Fáil Party and when the division bells go, their function begins and ends when they go through the Division Lobbies. Just before Question Time Deputy Carty passed a few remarks, and I think he was echoing——

The Deputy was not here when Deputy Carty passed the remarks.

—— the views of the Fianna Fáil back benchers. If more of them stayed in the House and provided a house, they might know more about this amendment.

Perhaps the Deputy would tell us about the amendment?

I spent ten minutes this morning explaining it to Deputy Booth. Has that all been in vain?

If the Deputy has already done it once, he does not need to repeat himself.

Why then did you ask? If Deputy Booth would stay in the House and help to provide a quorum, and not have Deputies like myself asking for a house and then——

I suggest the Deputy address himself to the amendment.

What a hope.

It is very difficult.

The Deputy can always try.

The only time Deputy Cunningham has spoken is by way of interruption.

Not at all.

The Deputy has addressed remarks to Deputy Cunningham on two occasions. I am not going to allow the Deputy to repeat himself. I am just warning him. To my knowledge, he has repeated himself at least twice. I hope it will not happen again.

I appreciate your difficulty, Sir, but it is difficult for me to abstain from referring to Deputy Cunningham when he interrupts.

There is no difficulty at all.

The Minister should reconsider his decision and accept this amendment.

The Deputy said that before.

It will certainly meet the requirements of County Donegal to ensure that people who have been accustomed to use this method to sell their livestock will be allowed to continue to use it. Would the Minister care to state either that he is prepared to accept this amendment or that he is not prepared to accept it? If he is not going to accept it, will he go so far as to say whether he disagrees with me when I say that this is a popular way of selling cattle in County Donegal?

The Minister, to conclude.

Concluding on what?

He is the only person offering.

(South Tipperary): I offered.

Even if the Minister speaks, can we not all speak afterwards?

If nobody offers and the Minister in charge of the Bill rises it is the duty of the Chair to call on him to conclude.

On a point of order, surely the Minister can intervene in the debate as often as he likes?

I did not say he could not. The Minister has not offered up to now and when he offers and nobody else offers——

Deputy Hogan offered.

If Deputy Hogan offers and the Minister does not offer to intervene, I will call on Deputy Hogan.

(South Tipperary): This amendment, as indeed all the amendments which we have offered so far, is an attempt to circumscribe the application of this Bill to livestock marts proper. The very name of the Bill, the Livestock Marts Bill, 1967, becomes a misnomer unless we by our amendment here endeavour to limit the definition to livestock marts proper. The very Preamble to the Bill reads:

Bill entitled 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.

That very Preamble, as well as the Title of the Bill, to any reasonable person would mean livestock marts proper, as we understand them and as they operate in this country at present. But when we come to read the definition as drafted, it extends the scope of the Bill to all types of livestock sales, so much so that the Preamble becomes nonsensical and the Title of the Bill becomes incorrect.

That just is not a fact, of course.

(South Tipperary): I submit the correct Title is the Live-stook Bill or the Livestock Sales Bill, whichever you like; but certainly not the Livestock Marts Bill, because it goes outside the terms of those activities.

That does not seem to be relevant to the amendment before the House.

(South Tipperary): The amendment is to try to bring the definition into conformity with the terms and the Preamble of the Bill and with our notion of what the Bill should cover. This amendment and the previous ones were all devoted to that purpose. It is obvious to me that the Fianna Fáil Deputies must not have had a Party meeting to discuss this Bill. Certainly, very few of them appear to be well-briefed on it. Deputy Booth has read the definition, but I do not know whether or not he has gone any further. He attempted to give us a dissertation on the definition on a couple of occasions, but apart from that, there is no evidence that the Opposition have studied it. I believe it is our duty to try to educate them in this matter. If their own hierarchy have failed to give them that information and if they have not had a Party meeting to study it, it is desirable that we should point out where their failure to accept our amendments may lead them and the country in general.

At least I read the amendment.

(South Tipperary): This amendment, if not accepted, will culminate in certain developments— certain things will automatically flow from it. The previous amendment has been turned down. If this and subsequent amendments calculated to circumscribe the application of this Bill are not accepted, certain eventualities will arise. I will attempt, for the guidance of the Deputies on the far side of the House, to point out the dangers inherent in their failure to accept this amendment. That is a fair comment to make about the amendment. You all have read it. You appreciate its purpose is to limit the wider application which the Minister seeks, seeks with a definitive purpose. The Minister has told us that when this Bill becomes an Act all existing marts will be licensed. I take that as correct. Of course, he has not added that these licences might be subject to certain provisos and to regulations being adhered to. He has not told us he can on the morrow following giving the licence revoke it for reasons entirely his own, that the appeal will be to him and to him alone, although he may make provision for some kind of——

Surely the Deputy is travelling?

(South Tipperary): It is necessary that I travel a little to relate my observations to the amendment.

I am afraid the Deputy will not be able to relate them.

(South Tipperary): I am attempting to explain to Deputies on the far side of the House, through you, Sir, the importance of this amendment and how their failure to support it may lead us into extreme difficulty and an undesirable situation, which even they may not desire. I do not believe they desire the eventualities which I will attempt to show will flow from their failure to accept it. The Minister has promised that he will license all marts. But we have had no pronouncement about what he is going to do with existing fairs. Fairs are still a prominent feature in parts of the country where marts have not gained a monopoly.

That does not arise from "adaptation" or "construction".

(South Tipperary): Failure to accept our amendment on the question of reconstruction means that this Bill is extended to cover fairs.

(South Tipperary): Even the Donegal fair.

Perhaps Deputy Booth would explain his point of view when Deputy Hogan has finished.

No. You are keeping it going.

(South Tipperary): The Minister has taken in this Bill the power of exemption. That is his answer to our amendment. We are trying to limit application of this measure roughly to livestock marts.

That was never suggested for a moment.

(South Tipperary): The Minister's answer is that he intends this to be of limited application and that he will exempt certain activities. Of course, he will. It is logical to assume he will straight away exempt fairs in some areas of the country where there are no marts. If he did not, how could the people dispose of their cattle? That exemption may be temporary, but at least it would be an exemption. We may assume all existing marts will be licensed and all existing fairs allowed to continue for some period, as yet unspecified.

Why is this amendment being resisted then? The obvious purpose is this. If the marts refuse to operate this Bill and seek to divert their services and their work back to the fairs, the Minister is then empowered, if this amendment is defeated, to proscribe these fairs and say to the marts: "You have failed to provide an essential service for the people. I proscribe these fairs. I will not allow them to be held, because it would be a restrictive measure and they are largely closed at the moment. You have failed to provide an essential service. Therefore, I will take you over." The Minister will probably operate these marts on his own. He may open State marts elsewhere in time in areas where fairs are being held. That is the eventuality that will flow from this Bill.

Because of the word "adapted"?

(South Tipperary): That is the fundamental purpose behind it.

The word "adapted" is the dangerous one.

(South Tipperary): The NFA are threatening to establish a marketing organisation of their own. If the marts are taken over by the Minister and State marts are built in areas where there are no marts, then any effort by the NFA to establish a marketing organisation of their own will be largely nullified by the operation of this Bill and what flows from it. That is the point I want to bring home to the Deputies opposite, if they refuse to accept the amendment. Sooner than let them be deceived, I have told them exactly what is there. They will be thankful to me because their Minister has not taken them into his confidence. He has not come to Party meeting to explain all these things that are at the back of his mind but because I have unveiled them now, instead of being thankful, they proceed to barrack me. I do not think that is fair.

Is it in order that when Deputy Hogan is making a speech that he should be subjected to this interference by Deputies who do not elect to speak when they have the opportunity?

We have heard him five times already.

Deputy Hogan: on the amendment, I hope.

(South Tipperary): I have, I hope, been very relevant and coherent in respect of the amendment.

I prefer not to say anything about that.

(South Tipperary): In the context of my relevancy, I have endeavoured in so far as my limited capacity will allow me, to educate Deputies on the far side of the House and instead of receiving gratitude, I receive nothing but catchcries and innuendoes and attempts to hound me down. I do not think that is quite fair. I have endeavoured to the best of my ability to help them but there is no reciprocity, no response.

It will come after death.

(South Tipperary): It looks to me as if it will have to wait until after death as far as the far side of the House is concerned. I have given my point of view but I do not think I have penetrated any further. In spite of the reaction I have received at the moment, I am still convinced that a few points have gone home and a few points may have gone home through the Press here to the country at large. These are the eventualities which I can foresee flowing from this measure and I again appeal to Deputies on the opposite side of the House to consider the wider implications. I appeal to Government Deputies to weigh up the implications of their refusal to accept the amendment and to use their influence on the very recalcitrant Minister whose recalcitrance shows no sign of abating no matter how long the debate becomes. Perhaps in the later hours of the afternoon they would use their good influence on him when he may be more amenable and more receptive to the mollifying influence of which I am sure they are capable.

I was glad to see the Minister offering to speak but he sat down very quickly when he discovered that he was not concluding. It is fairly obvious to me now that he is afraid not to have the last word. He is afraid to make his contribution and to give anybody else an opportunity of dealing with the contribution he has to make in relation to this amendment. We have repeatedly appealed to Deputies opposite to apply their minds to the seriousness of this definition section and all it stands for. We have asked them to remember that if arising out of this definition section, any other section of the Bill or any of the provisions in this Bill are contravened by any farmer in any part of Ireland, he is likely to go to jail for six months and to be fined £1,000.

This does not arise.

Is there any rural Deputy over there who wants to contemplate that sort of thing arising through the looseness of this definition section?

You are building castles in the air.

By the amendment we are endeavouring to eliminate from this section vagueness and words that can be interpreted in whatever way the Minister wishes to interpret them at a particular time in whatever mood he happens to be or any attitude towards any individual farmer or section of farmers.

It is never up to the Minister to interpret an Act.

I think it is intended mainly to catch the small farmers.

Do you represent the small farmers now?

Deputy Allen is taking over the role of the chief interrupter. Deputy MacEntee has retired.

The Bill deals with the sale of cattle, sheep and pigs but horses, for some reason, are excluded. You need no licence if you have bloodstock. If you are a big man with bloodstock, you need no licence.

What is the relevance of this to amendment No. 2?

This is indicative of the fact that the Minister wants to catch the ordinary farmer and say to him that he cannot sell his beast in whatever way he likes.

Have you an amendment down about horses?

We do not want it to apply.

We do not want anything included.

Why do you not put down an amendment about horses?

We do not want it to apply.

This is cross-fire across the floor of the House. Deputies should restrain themselves. Deputy Clinton to continue.

He represents nobody.

I know Deputy Allen is seriously concerned because he represents a rural constituency and he is an auctioneer, and he sees the seriousness of this thing but he cannot speak and cannot say that he is in favour of it.

I can speak all right. I am very much in favour of it.

He knows he would be destroyed. He will just flop into the lobby like the rest but will not stand up and make a speech.

I have already spoken.

The only two Deputies opposite who had the necessary courage were Deputy Booth and Deputy Cunningham. Deputy Carty made a very valuable interjection when he said that this definition was intended to take in every field in the country, every field, every garden, every yard. Of course it was, he said, because, he said, you cannot reconstruct a held and that is why the Minister objects to this "construct or reconstruct" because, he said, you can neither construct nor reconstruct a field and that he means "adaptation" to include a field. The Minister, I hope, will deal with this when he gets up because it certainly has been made clear to all of us by the Parliamentary Secretary and by anybody on the far side who has intervened that they are terribly confused.

We want this tightened up and perhaps by this time the Minister may see the seriousness of leaving this definition section so loose that so many farmers can find themselves in court and in jail and fined. When he has another look at this, I think he will come back and say that Fine Gael are sensible in this, that they want this drafted so that it can be read by the ordinary man, so that it can be defined by the court and so that people can know in advance where they stand and whether they are acting within the law or outside it.

I was hoping the Minister was going to intervene but perhaps his Parliamentary Secretary has permission to speak.

We always have permission to speak but I have no inclination to do so.

If he has, I would be quite willing to give way to him.

Can you not keep it going by yourselves? Do you want some help?

I do not know whether or not Fianna Fáil Deputies have been forbidden to contribute to the discussion. If they have, it raises a very serious question.

You can talk about everything except the amendment.

I will talk about the amendment.

When are you going to start?

I hope to be able to make the position quite clear to Deputy Booth but I think I am entitled in reference to this discussion and this amendment, to say that I would regard it as very serious if Deputies, particularly Deputies from rural constituencies, who were elected to represent their constituencies, were to be forbidden to participate in a discussion on this important amendment.

It may be serious but it is scarcely relevant.

It is, Sir. Visualise for a moment the position, a Cheann Comhairle, if in relation to any particular amendment Deputies constituting a large bloc in this House are forbidden to speak.

But they are not. Let me assure the Deputy that that is not so.

I cannot force them to speak to the amendment.

No, but think of what the House loses. Think of what the country loses. Surely we are entitled to the benefit of the views of Deputies such as Deputy Booth, Deputy Allen, Deputy Lemass, Deputy Cunningham, Deputy Moore, Deputy Molloy, Deputy Andrews and others on those benches?

Nobody knows better than the Deputy that he is quite irrelevant.

I am sure the Deputies are quite relevant. I would hate to be responsible for putting them in the category of the irrelevant. This amendment, as some Deputies have probably gathered by this, relates to the definition section of this Bill. Deputy Booth, not for the first time, may I say, in the course of a discussion on this Bill, made a very valuable contribution a few minutes ago when he stated categorically—I hope I am not misquoting him—that it is never up to a Minister to interpret an Act of Parliament. I take it what Deputy Booth had in mind in making that contribution was the fact that it is the business of the courts to interpret Acts of Parliament. However, the point is this, and this is where Deputy Booth fell down: he is quite correct in saying that it is not up to the Minister to interpret an Act of Parliament, that that is a matter for the courts, but this Bill does not become an Act until it has been passed by this House and by the Seanad, and has got the signature of the President. It is not yet an Act; it remains a Bill, and it is the Livestock Marts Bill, 1967, we are engaged in considering at the moment.

That did not escape me.

I thought it might.

Does the same apply to other Bills?

It applies to every Bill.

What about the amendments to the Bill?

That is the important point. As long as it remains a Bill, it is open to amendment.

There you are, legal advice for nothing.

We are now engaged in considering an amendment to this Bill, and so long as it remains a Bill, it is open to this House to amend it; so long as it remains a Bill, it is, in my humble opinion, open to the Minister or his Parliamentary Secretary to give the House his interpretation of what the Bill means, what every section in the Bill means and, if necessary, what every line and every sentence in the Bill means.

Has the Deputy any particular amendment in mind himself?

Therefore, Deputy Booth, while he is right in the blunt statement he made, is wrong if he applies that to the present situation in this House. The Minister is quite free to give us his interpretation of this section. Deputy Booth is concerned about the amendment. The definition section of this Bill sets out to define what the business of a livestock mart is. Some difference of opinion has been expressed as to whether we are dealing with livestock or dealing with livestock marts. As Deputy Hogan pointed out, it is clearly the intention of the Bill— and this is implicit both in the Short Title and the Long Title-to deal not with livestock as such but with livestock marts.

You do not reconstruct livestock marts.

As a matter of fact, you could.

The Deputy would know all about that being a butcher.

I take it we are agreed that the Bill should apply to livestock marts?

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

I think I have arrived at the stage of convincing the House that we are dealing now with livestock marts and not livestocksimpliciter. The definition section of this Bill sets out to define what livestock marts are, and we are concerned on this side of the House to ensure as far as we can that the definition of livestock marts will be confined to livestock marts proper. It is not, as I understand it, the intention that places which are not, in the ordinary meaning of the term, livestock marts will require to have licences under this Bill when it becomes an Act. It is not intended, as I understand the position, to interfere with the right of farmers to sell their stock in such manner as they think right and proper and most suitable to them. All that is intended or was intended—I am not entirely sure now if I am still right in saying that all that is intended—as I understand the position, was that the Minister should take certain powers in connection with livestock marts and that only those marts which are licensed by him could carry on the operations and the business of a livestock mart. If that is so, vital importance attaches to what is or is not the business of a livestock mart.

Deputy Booth will recall that on another occasion the House found a measure of agreement on the proposition that this definition presented to us is a double-barrelled one.

That was on lap 10; we are now on lap 84.

I also recall that there was a certain measure of agreement in that no one was particularly worried about the first part of the definition of the business of a livestock mart.

That was lap 12.

The first part of the definition, as Deputy Booth will further recall, means the business of selling livestock by auction.

The Deputy has a better knowledge of the laps than of the amendments.

Deputies should keep to the amendments.

I am trying to get there but Deputy Booth is talking of lap 5 and lap 12 while I am trying to deal with the amendment we have here.

It is not so much the lap as the lapse that I am concerned about.

The second part of the definition means, in effect —I am summarising this for the benefit of Deputies——

Oh, thank you.

——the business means the business of selling livestock by auction or providing for the holding of sales of livestock by auction or otherwise,—there is a comma there, as I pointed out to Deputy Booth——

It is still there.

——a place adapted for the sale of livestock by auction. I suggest in this amendment that we take out the word "adapted" and that instead we insert the words "constructed or reconstructed".

The Deputy proposed that yesterday and has been supporting it ever since.

It is not done without purpose.

Even the Deputy himself cannot swallow that one. If only we had TV in the House, people could see the Deputy grinning.

Whatever they could see here, they would see nothing over there.

I suggest that we come to the amendment.

I am right on it. I have just said that I am suggesting in this amendment that we take out the word "adapted" and replace it by the three words "constructed or reconstructed".

It is a pity to lose a word like it.

We shall talk about the word "adapted" in moment. That is the suggestion. The suggestion is not being made without purpose. We feel that the word "adapted" which although some Deputies might regret to see it go, is, in the context in which it is used, vague and loose and too elastic and can be extended without any very great imagination to cover a horde of transactions that really should not be covered.

The Deputy has been saying that for hours and hours and it becomes no more convincing.

Deputy Lemass and Deputy Booth will, no doubt, be free in their own good time to tell us why they feel themselves unable to be convinced by my arguments.

I said it once and I am not in the habit of repeating myself, not like other people who shall be nameless.

Except by interruptions.

It is very good of them to come in at all.

I wish this dialogue would end and that we would have a speech by an individual Deputy on the amendment.

I agree. It would be a very good idea. I was saying that I argue that the word "adapted" in the context in which it is used in this definition is too elastic and that it may enable this definition and, by virtue of that, the entire Act to be extended to bring within its framework various transactions which should not be in it.

Deputy Booth, in one of his not infrequent contributions, questioned whether Deputy Hogan was correct in suggesting that there might be circumstances in which the ordinary fair we all know about, the ordinary town fair or market, would come within the provisions of the definition as it stands. As I understand the purpose of Deputy Booth's interjection on that occasion, it was to question the validity of the argument, to question whether if we do not accept the amendment, a fair could be captured by the definition. I put this point of view to him: there is no doubt that if the amendment is accepted and if, instead of using the word "adapted", we use the phrase "constructed or reconstructed", then, to my mind anyhow—I think the same is probably true of other Deputies—it would be beyond doubt that a fair would not be captured by the definition in this Bill which would then refer not to the adaptation of a place for the sale of livestock by auction but to the construction or reconstruction of such a place. Normally, where a fair is being held in a country town, a certain amount of adaptation might be necessary to adapt the market square or the fair green for use for that particular purpose.

What sort of adaptation would be necessary to adapt a fair green for a fair?

For example, it might be necessary to rope off particular sections or to provide openings to allow livestock to move to and fro.

Could they not jump over the ropes?

I hope the Deputy is not misleading himself. As Deputy Clinton explained, the artificial definition of livestock contained in this Bill refers only to cattle, sheep and pigs. It does not refer to horses, donkeys or mules, so that it is unlikely that the class of livestock that we are dealing with here would be trained for show jumping or the other jumping Deputy Booth has in mind.

Did the Deputy ever try to keep in a pig with a rope?

What I fear is that we might be sold a pig in a poke and that is what I am trying to guard against. The Deputy asked me quite fairly what kind of adaptation would be necessary for a market square or a fair green. I have given just one example. If allowed time to consider it, I am sure I could think of others.

Why not sit down and have a rest and let somebody else speak?

It would be better still if the Deputy continues interrupting; things may come to my mind. I think I have said enough to convince Deputy Booth that there are types of adaptation which could be made. If the Deputy is still with me, we can go on from that point. If the adaptation is such as would render that place, in the words of the Minister, fit or suitable for the holding of an auction, then that place would come within the provisions of this definition section so long as we keep the word "adapted" there, and so long as—and I concede this point to the Deputy—it is not merely one isolated incident.

Deputy Booth may not be aware, but other Deputies are, that normally speaking, fairs are not fixed on any kind of haphazard basis. They are regular functions. They occur and recur, usually on the same day of the month, or on the same day of the year, time after time, in the same town.

So I have been informed.

There is no question here of an isolated incident. This is something that has happened for a long time past and will continue to happen, so that here we have a situation arising where adaptation has taken place, and where by virtue of that adaptation the place has become suitable for the sale of livestock by auction, even though no auction may take place. In addition to the adaptation having taken place, and in addition to its having become suitable for the sale of livestock by auction, we have the final clincher that it is not a single isolated incident. It is something that is recurring time after time, month after month. Surely Deputy Booth and the Parliamentary Secretary will agree that in those circumstances that place falls within the proposed definition?

My complaint is that that is not intended, and it is not wanted. I have invited the Parliamentary Secretary to contribute to the discussion. Even though he may feel shy about getting to his feet——

Not a bit.

——is he prepared from where he is sitting to tell me whether or not it is intended that that should be captured? He does not want to commit himself. I take it that it is not intended. Deputy Cunningham contributed his views to this and it would seem to me from the views expressed by Deputy Cunningham that not only would a fair which had gone through the process of adaptation fall to be licensed under this Bill, but that a farmer's own yard, in certain circumstances, would also require to be licensed, although the farmer is selling only his own livestock in his own yard.

Would the Deputy like to quote Deputy Cunningham on that?

Yes. At column 1807 of the Official Report of the Dáil Debates on Friday, 14th July, 1967, Deputy Clinton said:

There is no limitation of the words "adaptation" or "adapted". I have seen hundreds of cows and hundreds of calves sold in a farmer's yard where the only adaptation was the placing of a few bales of straw to make comfortable seating under cover for people who were there to bid.

At that stage Deputy Cunningham intervened and said: "It must be licensed". I do not believe I have been misquoting the views of Deputy Cunningham in any way.

That is where it has become a practice for the farmer to adapt his yard in a certain way for the purpose of selling, but not, as the Deputy suggested, any restriction on a farmer using his own premises for the occasional sale of his own cattle.

I am conoeding the point. This is a case where it is an annual affair.

He is not making a business of it on a once a year basis.

Do not let us get into an argument as to what business means. Surely we are having sufficient trouble about the word "adaptation"?

Will section 4 not do?

Deputy Lemass brings in section 4 again. I will deal with that before I sit down. Deputy Cunningham made this contribution and I believe he is right. I do not know whether Deputy Booth wants to dispute it either with me or with Deputy Cunningham. I believe Deputy Cunningham was right.

The Deputy does not give the entire picture.

I have read out the full quotation.

On that particular passage. The whole point is where this is a business by one person constantly providing——

Where does the word "constantly" come in? Perhaps the Deputy is confused. There is another amendment in which we suggest the phrase "and habitually used"'.

Making a business of something means you are constantly doing it.

The Deputy may be right there, although I am not so sure. This is an artificial definition we are dealing with. We are saying that the business of a livestock mart, in inverted commas, means a certain thing.

This business of providing a place.

There is no definition of what "business" means. Maybe it will be necessary to put down some amendment to clarify that. The Deputy is quite right to make that point.

The Deputy had better hurry because there is little time left for further amendments.

That also is a matter for further discussion. However, I have given this quotation and I am going on record as saying I believe the views expressed by Deputy Cunningham are correct. If he was correct in relation to the farmyard sale by a farmer of his own livestock, on his own premises, how much more correct would he be if he applied that reasoning to a monthly fair where an adaptation has taken place and where, even though no auction is held, the adaptation is such that the fair green or the market square has become fit or suitable for the sale of livestock by auction, and that is the whole test.

The definition of "adapt" which I quoted and stand over is to maKe fit some thing or person for another purpose. You could adapt a fair green to make a football pitch, and you could adapt a golf course to make a corral for cattle, but you cannot adapt a fair green to be a fair green.

When the Deputy refers to making fit or suitable a thing or a person, I take it he could be adapted, for example, to become Minister for Agriculture and to give us his views on a Bill of this sort. The kernel of this is that you make fit or suitable for the purpose of——

For another purpose.

Thereby you change the whole character of the thing you are adapting.

When you adapt something for one purpose, you may incidentally by reason of the adaptation make it fit and suitable for another purpose.

We are talking about a fair green. You cannot adapt a fair green.

Of course you can adapt it.

You can adapt it for some other purpose. You cannot make it anything other than a fair green.

It is used for many purposes.

Precisely. This is where Deputy Booth seems to bead idem with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach. You cannot construct or reconstruct a field or a fair green but you can adapt it. If you get rid of the word “adapt” from the definition, then you are on much more firm ground and can safely put down your feet in all firmness and say that the definition does not mean this and does not mean that.

I am on that firm ground all along.

You could construct or reconstruct a field. It all depends on the construction you put on it.

It seems to me that only God can make a field. You may alter, adapt, fence, put a gap or dig a hole in a held but I do not think that by doing so you are constructing or reconstructing a held. If the Deputy is with me to this extent, that the preferable thing to do would be to be clear in our definitions, he will agree that between the phrase "construct or reconstruct", on the one hand, and "adapt" on the other, the phrase "construct or reconstruct" is more definite and concrete. It requires something to be done physically to the field. It does not mean, as in the case of the phrase "adapt", that accidental adaptation can take place. I do not think you can construct or reconstruct something accidentally.

How can you adapt something accidentally?

Has the Deputy not already made his point?

I do not seem to have made it clear to Deputy Booth. He wants to find out what I mean by the phrase "adapt accidentally". The phrase used in the second part of the definition of the business of a livestock mart is that it provides for the holding of sales of livestock by auction or otherwise. It is a place adapted for the sale of livestock by auction or otherwise. It does not say that it has to be adapted accidentally for that purpose. You can have a field or a yard or any other place you like to think of, and by virtue of adapting it for a particular purpose, for example, for penning sheep before you dip them, you then have adapted your field or paddock for the purpose of containing sheep before you dip them. But by virtue of the adaptation which has taken place, you have also made the field a place fit or suitable for the sale of livestock by auction.

How have you done that?

That is the accidental result of the work performed. This reminds me of a famous cookery book which, when saying how you could make hare soup, started off by saying that first you catch your hare. In this case you first of all get your staples or whatever else is necessary to fence off your field into the different parts. That is how you set about it.

Is there not a fence around the field before you start?

Possibly the Deputy has no farms, large or small, in his constituency but he could go to the Phoenix Park.

I sometimes move outside my constituency.

In the Phoenix Park, he will find that there are many unfenced fields.

I have not found any such in the Phoenix Park so far, and I know it like the back of my hand.

Then let us take the case of a ten acre field. If I want to divide it into two five acre fields, in what way would I do that?

If you want to divide a 15 acre field into four, what method would you adopt?

I would have to get pencil and paper to work that out. If Deputy Booth and the Chairman consider it relevant, we can come back to it later but I am trying to be strictly relevant to the amendment under discussion. If any of the Deputies across the House want to contribute to the discussion, they are quite welcome.

We are not fencing them in at all.

I do not want Deputy Booth to think that I want to keep him from contributing to this discussion.

We know exactly what you are up to.

If instead of using the word "adapt," you use the words "construct or reconstruct," then all the difficulties that Deputy Booth, Deputy de Valera and I are talking about will disappear. I now want to get back to the important contribution Deputy Booth made some time ago when he said that it is never up to a Minister to interpret an Act. At the moment we are talking about a Bill, but if the Government force this Bill through the House, if it is carried through the Seanad and if the Government can persuade the President to sign it——

That is most improper. Nobody has any influence over the President. The Deputy should withdraw that.

——if the President signs it without referring it to the Supreme Court and if there is no move from the Members of the Dáil and Seanad to seek a referendum on it, eventually the Bill will become an Act. At that stage Deputy Booth is correct. It would not then be open to the Minister to interpret it. It would be a matter entirely for the courts and that is why it is of the very greatest importance that we should put into this Bill only that which we intend should go into it because nothing Deputy Booth says here, nothing the Parliamentary Secretary says—I am sorry to say he has not said much—and nothing the Minister says will affect the determination of the matter by the courts. The courts can have regard only to what we put into the Bill. Deputy Booth will now see the importance of being careful about what we put into the Bill. If the Government accept my amendment, which has commanded the support of Deputies on this side of the House, deletes the word "adapted" and substitutes the words "constructed or reconstructed." many of their difficulties in relation to this section will disappear and many of the difficulties which the court might subsequently encounter in interpreting the section will also disappear.

The amendment put forward by Deputy M. J. O'Higgins is not merely logical but absolutely necessary because the section, as it stands, leaves the thing wide open and a place "adapted for the sale of livestock by auction" can mean anything. It can mean the adaptation of any kind of premises or place, such as farmyards and markets. These could be adapted for the sale of livestock by auction.

I understood the purpose of this Bill was to give the Minister power to control and regulate the sale of livestock at the various livestock marts. The Title of the Bill is the Livestock Marts Bill, but it would now appear from section 1, and particularly that part to which Deputy O'Higgins's amendment relates, that the Minister is seeking power to control and regulate not merely the sale of livestock at cattle marts, as we have come to know them, but the sale of livestock everywhere. He is seeking complete control of livestock sales of every kind.

A point made by the Minister when introducing the Bill was that he felt it was necessary for him to exercise control over livestock marts in view of the stringent regulations which would have to be applied consequent on our entry into the EEC. Far from the Minister limiting the power he seeks, or confining it to livestock marts, he is now seeking, in fact, complete control over the domestic marketing of livestock. It is very easy to adapt a place, be it a fair green, a field or a backyard, for the purpose of conducting a sale of livestock by auction. There is too, the question of adapting a place temporarily for a specific purpose, or for one particular sale, and adapting it permanently. I fail to understand how a fair green or a farmer's yard could be adapted for the purpose of a sale of livestock by auction under the regulations which apply now and the more stringent regulations which will apply in future to livestock marts. Surely "construction or reconstruction" is the correct term? Surely buildings— yards, pens, offices and all the paraphemalia necessary in a modern cattle mart—presuppose that construction will have to be undertaken? The substitution of the words "constructed or reconstructed" in place of the word "adapted", as suggested in Deputy O'Higgins's amendment, will clearly define the application of this Bill. More important still, it will set clear limits on the powers of the Minister. I appeal to the Minister to accept the amendment.

I should like to inform the House that the temperature of the water in Salthill at the moment is about average and there are large numbers of people there at present and there were large numbers there on Sunday having a very good holiday.

The Deputy will appreciate that is not relevant.

I suggest it is as relevant, and I will prove it, as most of the speeches I have heard here all day today and yesterday.

That is a reflection on the Chair.

Deputies

Chair, Chair.

Acting Chairman

The Deputy must discuss the amendment to section 1 and only the amendment.

Which section?

Acting Chairman

Section 1, amendment No. 2.

This section refers to the operation of marts. It is quite possible—this is how my remarks are relevant—that some of the people operating these marts may, in fact, go to Salthill on their holidays. It is quite proper and correct that a business such as a livestock mart should make a profit like most other businesses and it is quite proper and correct that those who operate these marts should be entitled to spend well the money they make on the operation of the marts.

Acting Chairman

The Deputy is not in order in discussing Salthill.

It is only fair to the people who have sent us here, to carry out to the best of our ability the work of the State, to insist that this House should not be treated to the absolute ridicule to which it has been treated and is being treated by the Opposition Parties, particularly Fine Gael. We know now the Labour Party have left Dublin and have gone to whatever their abode is. They left this filibuster in the hands of Fine Gael, in utter disgust, and it is a complete disregard of democracy that the Chair has allowed throughout the debate——

Deputies

Chair, chair.

Acting Chairman

The Deputy is not in order.

——the improper repetition of the same statements.

Deputies

Chair, chair.

Acting Chairman

I must ask the Deputy to come to the amendment.

I only wish the people who are paying for this carry-on realise how foolishly their money is being spent and wasted.

Acting Chairman

That has got nothing whatsoever to do with the amendment.

These people, because they got some little win, have decided to sit this thing out.

Acting Chairman

The Deputy must relate his remarks to the amendment.

My remarks have been as relevant as anything I have heard here today.

(South Tipperary): I certainly take issue with the last speaker when he describes our contributions here as being nonsensical.

I did not use the word.

(South Tipperary):——and foolish. I shall endeavour to explain to him——

The Deputy cannot explain. The whole country knows.

(South Tipperary):——why we have put in these amendments. This amendment is concerned to make the definition of the Bill more specific. It is calculated to limit its application to a certain form of trading activity. Failure to accept this amendment and analagous amendments simply gives the Minister control of our domestic marketing arrangements —fundamental departure from the position we have enjoyed up to this— and ultimately of our export marketing arrangements.

There has been considerable agitation in the past few months by various farming organisations who claim a right to a say in marketing arrangements and who ask the Minister to set up a marketing board in which they will have some operational say. Failure to accept this amendment would mean that the entire marketing arrangements, domestic and non-domestic, will flow into the hands of the Minister in contradistinction to the fundamental constitutional rights not alone of farmers but of every citizen. It is to that fundamental concept that Deputy Molloy must advert. Obviously, he has not done so or, having adverted to it, he does not want to see it and, merely to paraphrase his words, he is indulging in silly filibustering tactics.

It is quite obvious from the smiles on the faces of Fine Gael Deputies yesterday and today that they are pleased with their filibustering.

(South Tipperary): A man may smile and smile and be a villain.

I do not think I shall be able to smile until I get out of this place.

(South Tipperary): Deputy Molloy finds it hard to smile at the best of times.

I have been smiling here for the past 13 years. Deputy Molloy has just come in.

(South Tipperary): Deputy Molloy comes from a part of Ireland——

Salthill.

The Deputy must come to the amendment.

(South Tipperary):—where fairs are dominant in marketing arrangements. Does he not realise that in opposing this amendment, he is giving his Minister powers over the traditional open fairs and open markets? Does he think we are merely being obdurate in a nonsensical way in soliciting his support for the amendment?

If the Deputy will read any of my speeches, he will note that I have always requested an orderly marketing system for cattle. This is a move in that direction.

Not at all. Deputy Molloy should go away and do his homework.

(South Tipperary): Deputy Molloy's concept of an orderly marketing arrangement is possibly not the concept that would be adhered to by the majority of people who have a fundamental right and interest in these matters.

We know the vested interests in the livestock industry.

That is what Deputy Corry said in 1930.

(South Tipperary): It is calculated to cut across any attempt by co-operative or private effort to establish their own marketing arrangements. Does Deputy Molloy not accept the concept of the co-operative movement? The answer is a simple “yes” or “no”.

The Deputy should address himself to amendment No. 2.

(South Tipperary): Deputy Molloy's opposition to this amendment means, in effect, that he refuses to accept the co-operative concept as we know it in our society here.

More rubbish.

What did the IAOS do about the starting of the marts?

This does not arise on the amendment.

(South Tipperary): I am talking about marts, private and co-operative. We are attempting to keep this measure to private and co-operative marts.

——to the amendment.

(South Tipperary): The amendment is devoted to that purpose. Much as we dislike the Bill— we dislike it in its entirety—at least a bad Bill should be as circumscribed as possible. The people have the right to do wrong. When the people, as expressed by the Government of the country, do wrong it is our duty to ensure that it will be done to the least number of people. This amendment is an endeavour to limit the application of this wrongdoing; it is an endeavour to ensure that this obnoxious Bill and the various obnoxious sections will apply only to a small sector of the community, namely, to the livestock marts and to them alone. We do not want to extend its activity.

We want to ensure that when this Bill is enacted and put into operation, as it possibly will, the Minister will not be enabled thereby to make things more difficult still. We do not want a situation to arise whereby refusal to accept this amendment will give him greater scope and that he will be able to proscribe fairs. If this Bill should prove too onerous on proprietors of marts, they may decide to close their doors. I do not think we should give the Minister such powers. If the farmers want to go back to the old fairs, we should not, by rocking this amendment, give the Minister power to proscribe fairs thereby giving him that loophole and depriving the farming community of an alternative method of selline their stock.

The Minister has said he wishes to establish these marts as a popular marketing system, although they were not initiated by him, and that, in the event of our joining the Common Market, it would be a very desirable type of arrangement. I agree with that, but it should be done by evolution, not by revolution and not by steam-rolling legislation through this Oireachtas.

In the greater part of the country, marts have taken over fairs but, particularly on the western seaboard, fairs are still the order of the day in places. If the Minister will accept this amendment and thereby limit the legislation to the existing marts and allow the ordinary evolutionary process to develop in the other part of Ireland as it has developed in other parts of the country in the past ten years, then at least the legislation will be less objectionable. In so far as he is looking for a blanket coverage, we must ask everybody to support this amendment and try to convince Government Deputies of the seriousness of our purpose and the justice of our case.

Despite the fact that some Deputies move out when we are discussing an important matter like this, and despite the fact that some of them heckle us a little, I am still confident that they are gradually being indoctrinated to a certain extent with the wisdom of our attitude and our approach and with the commonsense aspect of our approach. The Fianna Fáil Party are not completely devoid of commonsense or a sense of justice. There are many honourable Members on the opposite side and I include the small number of three now present, which is two more than we usually have.

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

(South Tipperary): My train of thought has been interrupted. I am sorry Deputy Booth has not returned because he is the only Deputy, apart from Deputy Cunningham, who appears to have read the first section of this Bill which comprises five lines. It seems to me that no other Deputy of the Fianna Fáil Party has read these five lines. Deputy Booth has made some contribution, as has Deputy Cunningham. Deputy Booth is a rational individual, as is Deputy Cunningham. Deputy Booth is engaged in private business and he would be the last man to concede that where a private business is being properly conducted, legislative measures should be introduced to infringe its liberties in any way or to control it unduly. I am sure he would go this far with me, that that should not be made an excuse for extending legislation to a form of trading for which it was never intended. The ordinary fairs have a system of selling which is on the way out. I do not know how long it will take but I do not feel that we should give the Minister power to use the guillotine on the fairs as it appears he is going to use the guillotine on discussion of this Bill.

It is terribly important that we should know what we are speaking about. Some Deputies who represent a rural community regard the Bill as covering puck goats and we had an address about the sale of puck goats. I have the Oxford Dictionary now——

On a point of order. is this proper to the amendment?

The point I am making is that we should know what we are talking about. I am not permitted to say that livestock takes in cattle, sheep and pigs and therefore I cannot say it. Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary will have a word with Deputy Corry and explain the difference between puck goats and cattle, sheep and pigs. If I could get the Members opposite who represent the agricultural community to understand the difference, then we might get them to understand the——

(Interruptions.)

Has Deputy Allen taken on the role of chief interrupter? If he has, he should move into the Front Bench.

I gather from the inability of Deputy Booth to proceed beyond the letter A that he has not got as far as the letter C. Last night he was very erudite and showed an ability to read the dictionary by reading the definition of the word "adapt". He was quite adept at defining the word "adapt". If we go further into later volumes of the dictionary, we find some interesting information. The important thing about the word "adapt" defined in the dictionary and quoted to us last night is that to adapt, one makes suitable by modification or alteration.

On a point of order, from what is the Deputy quoting?

I am quoting from the text once used to establish that we were a Republic, from the Oxford Dictionary, and for the sake of brevity and with regard to the wishes to get this through the House quickly, I am quoting from the Concise Dictionary. If that will not suffice, we can send for the non-concise Oxford Dictionary and we will be here even longer. We are being concise as we are on the Committee Stage. We will bring in the other volumes later, perhaps.

The Deputy who has the amendment down is not in the House.

The amendment is being well looked after.

The words we seek to insert in place of this most inappropriate and most unreasonable word "adapted" are "constructed or reconstructed", and we will help Deputies opposite with a definition of those words. Webster's International Dictionary of the English Language, 1902 Edition——

That is far back enough.

(Interruptions.)

We knew you were behind the times.

If the Members opposite would occasionally use the Library. they would find that this is the only reference work used by our parliamentary draftsmen. The Members opposite should understand what we are talking about and they will find the definition of the words set out in great detail in Webster and in the Oxford Dictionary. The word "construct" means "to put together the constituent parts of something." Now we come to the word "constituent." Some people with a limited understanding might think that it refers to political matters alone, but it does not. The word "construct" means "to put together the constituent parts of something in their proper place and order." What we seek to do is to insert in its proper place and order——

Is this relevant to the amendment before the House, Sir?

What could be more relevant?

You are getting a lecture; why not take it?

Deputy Ryan would be better advised to give you the lecture because you are much more in need of it.

The Minister asked for an explanation of the word "construct."

We are always willing to help—and that is what we are doing here—people to understand. The words we ask to have inserted are "constructed or reconstructed." I was explaining to the Parliamentary Secretary that the word "construct" meant putting together the constituent parts of something in their proper place and order. We seek to insert in the proper place and order the words "constructed or reconstructed" so that the section will read:

"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 constructed or reconstructed for the sale of livestock by auction.

In other words, a construction which has been put together, in its proper place and order, for the provision of a livestock mart; not just something altered or modified, not just a question of rearranging a few bits and pieces, but a construction.

Now "reconstruction."

Oh, no. We are not finished with "construction" yet. Rome was never built in a day, and a livestock mart is not built in minutes. We do not believe any livestock mart or any arrangement for the sale of cattle should be covered. We say "No." Let it be a properly constructed livestock mart, with all its proper constituent parts, before it requires a licence. We do not require that it should be licensed, but you say it is unpardonable to imagine the sale of beasts without the Minister certifying that he considers the persons holding the sale to be fit and proper persons. We say you are daft in that. But, if you want to be daft, we want to keep you within well defined limits. You are grabbing for this unnecessary power but we want at least to confine you to no more than a properly constructed livestock mart. Not only is it the putting together of the constituent parts in their proper place and order, it is also "the building, the forming, the making, the construction of an edifice."

An edifice. Do I have to go to "edifice," too? I missed my vocation.

Please, teacher, can I go now?

Leave the teachers out of it.

Níl cead agat. An edifice is "a building, especially a large one." It is not a farmyard. It is not a person's field with a few bales of straw strewn around. It is not a farm-yard with Deputy Dillon's forms out in it. It is "a building, especially a large one. The word "edifice" comes from the Frenchédifice or the Latin aedificium, which is a temple. I could go on, but I think I will confine myself for the moment to the English and the Irish language. To construct is “to build, to erect, to form, to compile, to make, to fabricate, to originate or to invent.”

You are good at the last one.

But at least it is something more than a mere modification. It is something planned for, something drawn up, something constructed. It is a building, especially a large one. Deputies will recall that in my quotation from Webster's International Dictionary. I said the word "construct" meant to put together the constituent parts and I promised I would help them out with that difficult word. The word "constituent" means "that which constitutes or composes, as a part, or an essential part; a component; an element". The important thing to remember is the constituents, the essential parts.

Dryden it was who said "Body, soul and reason are the three parts necessarily constituent of a man. Body and soul do not make man." But the Minister and the Deputies opposite would have us consider that a livestock mart meant any arrangement, any modification, any assembly of inanimate objects which could be used for the purpose of the sale of cattle by auction even on a temporary basis. When we emphasised that that was the meaning of this Bill, the Minister did not deny it. When these most reasonable of all amendments which could be tabled in any Parliament in the world were put down, the Minister said he would not allow them because we were trying to put a restriction on him. He wanted the widest powers so as to prohibit every sale unless it was one done under the sanction of himself and of his inspectors. That is what is very wrong. That is why we say reject the word "adapted" and use "constructed or reconstructed". I go now to the Oxford English Dictionary, the latest volume available to Deputies.

No. It must be a long time since Deputy Cunningham consulted it. The volume for 1933 is still there. If the Minister for Finance wants to bring it more up to date, it is up to him. The word "construct" means "to make or form by fitting the parts together; to frame, build, erect". It means to build, to construct, to pile up, to heap the parts of things together. Again, the emphasis in the Oxford Dictionary is on the placing of parts together, assembling them together so as to complete an edifice, to complete a building. The purpose of the Fine Gael amendment is to provide that we will not consider anything to be a livestock mart unless it is a building constructed for that purpose. We consider, and the Members opposite know, that the ordinary, reasonable people of this country do not consider anything to be a livestock mart except a building constructed for that purpose. What you are seeking to license here is not a building of that kind but every sale of cattle, sheep and pigs by auction. One Deputy who supported the Bill thought we were going to licence the sale of puck goats. It did not seem to worry him that nanny goats were exempt. That was his understanding of it.

I apologise to Deputy Clinton but somebody wanted an explanation of the difference between "construct" and "reconstruct". Again, Sir, out of consideration for your feelings and those of others, we rely upon the Concise Dictionary which Deputies will be glad to hear is 1929—27 years later than the non-concise one. This deals, at pages 966, 957, 968 with an explanation of the prefix "re" in compound words. I think, Sir, this could be an advanced course for many of the Deputies opposite and I do not propose to go beyond their understanding, but it explains that "re" is used in connection with other words for the purpose of explaining the doing of something once more, again, anew, afresh, repeated, often, with the implication that previous doing, etc. was deficient or erroneous or now requires alteration or improvement or renewal and mentions in this general description as an example of what they have in mind the verb, transitive, "reconstruct". I hope that will be of assistance to Deputies opposite in considering the worth of this most reasonable amendment tabled by Deputy O'Higgins on behalf of the Fine Gael Party.

Could I suggest to Deputy Ryan that he issue a dictionary with the next policy statement?

If they fail to understand the meaning of what I have been saying, if they repair with me to the Library, I will be only too glad to take them through more of the reference books there, some of them published a long time ago, which will give them a better understanding of the remaining words in this Bill which runs to six pages and of which we are now only at the fifth line. If they are unable to accept the validity of what we say, it does seem to me that they would need a crash course in the English language.

We ask to have this "building", as Deputy Hogan said, confined within the limits which the Minister considers are absolutely vital. We do not consider it is necessary to have this evil exist anywhere, but if it is to exist, let it be within a well-constructed edifice so that at least this madness will not spread over all the land and poison every activity of our people. Because, remember, this, if we confine it today to cattle, sheep and pigs, we will have it extended for Deputy Corry's edification to the puck goats and then to the nanny goats and then to the sheep of the Fianna Fáil Party and then throughout the country. The limits of this amendment do not allow me to describe the horrors which will flow if we allow this evil to spread.

If there is no other speaker, I propose that you put the question.

The Leas-Cheann Comhairle cannot put such a question. We will have to send for the Ceann Comhairle.

An Ceann Comhairle took the Chair.

Question put: "That the question be now put."
The Committee divided: Tá, 63; Níl, 38.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Lorcan.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Burke, Patrick J.
  • Calleary, Phelim A.
  • Carter, Frank.
  • Carty, Michael.
  • Clohessy, Patrick.
  • Colley, George.
  • Cotter, Edward.
  • Crinion, Brendan.
  • Cronin, Jerry.
  • Crowley, Flor.
  • 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.
  • Boland, Kevin.
  • Booth, Lionel.
  • Boylan, Terence.
  • Brady, Philip.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Gibbons, Hugh.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • Haughey, Charles.
  • Healy, Augustine A.
  • Hillery, Patrick J.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Kenneally, William.
  • Kennedy, James J.
  • Kitt, Michael F.
  • Lalor, Patrick J.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • 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.
  • Burke, Joan T.
  • Burton, Philip.
  • Clinton, Mark A.
  • Conner, Patrick.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, Declan.
  • Creed, Donal.
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Desmond, Eileen.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry P.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Donegan, Patrick S.
  • Donnellan, John.
  • Dunne, Thomas.
  • Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
  • Farrelly, Denis.
  • Governey, Desmond.
  • Harte, Patrick D.
  • Hogan, Patrick.
  • (South Tipperary).
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • Lyons, Michael D.
  • McLaughlin, Joseph.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'Donnell, Tom.
  • O'Hara, Thomas.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • Reynolds, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, Richie.
  • Spring, Dan.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
  • Treacy, Seán.
  • Tully, James.
Tellers: Tá: Deputies Carty and Geoghegan: Níl; Deputies T. Dunne and Reynolds.
Amendment declared lost.
Question declared carried. Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 38; Níl, 64.

  • Barry, Richard.
  • Belton, Luke.
  • Belton, Paddy.
  • Burke, Joan T.
  • Burton, Philip.
  • Clinton, Mark A.
  • Conner, Patrick.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, Declan.
  • Creed, Donal.
  • Harte, Patrick D.
  • Hogan, Patrick.
  • (South Tipperary).
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • Lyons, Michael D.
  • McLaughlin, Joseph.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'Donnell, Tom.
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Desmond, Eileen.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry P.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Donegan, Patrick S.
  • Donnellan, John.
  • Dunne, Thomas.
  • Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
  • Farrelly, Denis.
  • Governey, Desmond.
  • O'Hara, Thomas.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • Reynolds, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, Richie.
  • Spring, Dan.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
  • Treacy, Seán.
  • Tully, James.

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.
  • Clohessy, Patrick.
  • Colley, George.
  • Cotter, Edward.
  • Crinion, Brendan.
  • Cronin, Jerry.
  • Crowley, Flor.
  • 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.
  • Gibbons, Hugh.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • Haughey, Charles.
  • Healy, Augustine A.
  • Hillery, Patrick J.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Kenneally, William.
  • Kennedy, James J.
  • Kitt, Michael F.
  • Lalor, Patrick J.
  • Lemass, Seán.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • 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.
Tellers:— Tá, Deputies Reynolds and T. Dunne; Níl, Deputies Carty and Geoghegan.
(Interruptions.)

I move amendment No. 2a:

In page 2, line 15, after "adapted" to insert "exclusively".

This amendment also concerns the definition section of this Bill. So far, the Minister has resisted making any alteration at all or, in any event, so far, he has resisted making any of the alterations already proposed to this definition section.

The first amendment was designed to clarify the position by confining the definition section to auctions. That has been defeated by a vote of this House. It was then suggested by way of amendment that the operation of the Bill should be restricted by altering the definition section so that the second half of the definition would apply only to places that had been permanently adapted for the sale of livestock by auction. That amendment also was resisted by the Minister. He resisted it, I think, on the ground that it was restrictive of the definition section and not acceptable to him.

We then suggested that the Minister should at least modify the application of the Bill or, rather, modify the Bill in its application by providing that instead of referring to a place adapted for the sale of livestock by auction, it should refer to a place constructed or reconstructed for the sale of livestock by auction. That, too, was rejected by the Minister, and now the House has decided against it.

The amendment I have now moved is also for the purpose of trying to clarify the definition section of the Bill and, at the same time, of trying to impose a restriction on the application of this measure, a restriction which I think—and I hope I am right in this— is in line with the intention of the Minister, and the intention of the House.

In order to put this in perspective I think we should consider how the definition would read if this amendment were made. It would read:

"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 exclusively for the sale of livestock by auction;

Various arguments were advanced in the course of the discussion on the other amendments, and Deputy Cunningham was one of those who contributed very helpfully, albeit at times only by interjection, in the previous discussion. It transpired from what was said earlier that circumstances could arise in which a sale conducted by a farmer in his own farmyard would require to be either licensed or exempt from licensing if it were to be lawful.

Deputy Cunningham will remember the particular example given by Deputy Clinton of a man conducting a sale in his own farmyard, and adapting the farmyard by putting out a few bales of straw to provide comfortable seating accommodation for those who attended to bid for the livestock. Deputy Cunningham made it clear that those circumstances would warrant that place being licensed. I am not going to fence with Deputy Cunningham or anyone else as to whether the occurrence was a single transaction or a series of transactions. I am prepared to accept that what was in Deputy Cunningham's mind was that this was not merely an isolated transaction but a series of transactions whereby the farmer utilises his yard in that manner for selling his own livestock.

The point is that Deputy Cunningham believes that such an operation would require to be licensed under this Bill. I think he is right but I do not think that was the intention of the Minister when he first introduced the Bill. I think his intention was that the Bill should apply only to proper livestock marts and that it should apply only in the case of operations which were operated as a business, the business of a normal livestock mart. I do not think it was intended when this Bill was first introduced to capture this kind of accidental operation and I do not think it was intended to have it applied to the control of livestock sales other than in a livestock mart. It has transpired in the course of the discussion that the wording of the definition section as it stands is at least capable of being interpreted in such a manner as to capture these other operations.

We have endeavoured to solve the difficulty by some other amendments which were moved. I am now trying in connection with this amendment to solve the difficulty by presenting the Minister with another suggestion which I think is not going to detract one whit from the effectiveness of the definition section if the amendment is accepted by the Minister and if I am right in what I think was the intention of the Minister and the Government in introducing this legislation at the start.

It has now been decided by the House that the word "adapted" should remain part of the definition section. While I and others have argued that in the context in which it is used, that word is too vague and too elastic, the House has come to the decision that the word is to remain. What I want to achieve now, if I can, is that while the word "adapted" remains in the definition section, it will be qualified and limited in the way suggested in the amendment. The quarrel with the use of the word "adapted" in relation to a place for the sale of livestock by auction was that in any adaptation which might take place for another purpose, it would, in the sense of the definition of "adapted" given by the Minister, become a place which had become fit or suitable for the sale of livestock by auction.

Although the intention might be different, by reason of the adaptation which had taken place in the premises, field or yard, the place had accidentally become fit and suitable for the sale of livestock by auction. That danger is there and that danger remains, unless we do something to qualify the word "adapted", unless we do something to restrict it and to restrict the definition contained in this section. I would not be happy with the definition even if the amendment were accepted, but I would be a little happier with it if the Minister is prepared to accept the amendment so as to say that the place adapted for the sale of livestock by auction requires to be adapted exclusively for that purpose. That is the amendment I am now suggesting, that whatever adaptation is made must be exclusively for the sale of livestock by auction.

If we make this amendment, a certain amount of the obscurity which exists in relation to the definition, a certain amount of the confusion which may arise later if the courts are charged with the task of interpreting this section, will disappear. At least we will have achieved the position where there must be a definite intention on the part of the person who carried out the adaptation and that intention must be to make some alteration which is exclusively made for the purpose of enabling that place to be used for the sale of livestock by auction and for no other purpose.

Relating to the example I gave the Minister earlier, if a person carries out alterations to a paddock for the purpose of containing sheep in pens before dipping them, and if as a result of that operation, the place has become fit and suitable for the sale of livestock by auction, as I see it at the moment there is a danger that that operation would be captured by this definition. But, if we insert after the word "adapted" the word "exclusively", then that danger disappears and the man who constructs barriers, fences or pens to contain his sheep before dipping, can do so with a clear conscience, in the knowledge that there is no danger that that construction of his will require to be licensed or exempted from licence under the provisions of this measure. If this amendment is accepted, the only places which will require licences will be places which have been provided and adapted exclusively for the sale of livestock by auction.

It is clear, I think, that those of us who want to deal with the Bill at all want to deal only with livestock marts. If that is so—again, I invite the Minister to give us his ideas on the matter —surely there is no reason at all why anyone should resist an amendment which will make that position clear or, at least, make it somewhat clearer than the definition section does at the moment? I would strongly urge on the Minister, and on the Deputies behind him, the desirability of limiting the all-embracing nature of this definition section. The Minister has refused to accept our invitation to restrict the definition in the manner previously proposed in the earlier amendments. This amendment will not cause any radical or drastic change in the definition section but it will at least impose on any authority which seeks to establish that a place should have been licensed but was not licensed the obligation and the onus of showing that that place has been adapted exclusively for the purpose of the sale of livestock by auction.

The Minister for Finance is here now. He is a man who has had some occasion to deal with questions of agriculture during the period in which he was Minister for Agriculture. I do not know whether he obtained any briefing from his successor before he left the House but, if he did, I would invite him to give us the benefit of whatever briefing he got. If he has not had the benefit of such a briefing, then I would ask him to give us his own views on the desirability or otherwise of accepting this amendment and altering, modifying, and qualifying the definition section in the manner I now suggest. Whether we like it or not, nothing the Minister will say, nothing I will say and nothing any Deputy will say will be relevant subsequently in the courts if this section has to be interpreted by the courts, and, once again, I urge on the House the desirability of clarity, the desirability of ensuring that in this definition section we say what we mean. If we do not mean to deal with places other than livestock marts, then let us say so in this definition section. If we do not intend to capture places by accident, because some adaptation has been carried out, which accidentally makes them fit and suitable places for the sale of livestock by auction, let us say so. We can do that by accepting this amendment and providing that the places in question must be adapted exclusively for the purpose of the sale of livestock by auction.

I strongly urge the Minister and the House to reject this amendment because, if adopted, it would penalise co-operative societies and groups of farmers who will adapt or reconstruct places suitable for the auction of livestock. As well as that——

How would it penalise them?

As well as that, there will be auctions in these marts of commodities other than livestock. At the moment there are wool sales. That is a good thing.

If the word "exclusively" is accepted, where a place is adapted exclusively for the sale of livestock, then it will be illegal——

——to sell in that place any other agricultural commodities or farm produce.

If it were adapted exclusively for the sale of livestock by auction, it would not require a licence at all and this Bill would not apply to it.

I am talking about a place which is constructed for the purpose of a livestock mart and which will be licensed as such. If we use the word "exclusively", it will mean no other operation can take place there other than the sale of livestock.

That is my case and I am sticking to it.

Good. In fact, the Deputy can have a ballet if he wants to.

If it is adapted exclusively for the sale of live-stock——

And subsequently a symphony concert.

——sales of wool, hay, straw or anything else cannot be held in it. If my contention is right, and I think it is, then I urge the Minister and the House to reject the amendment.

It is quite extraordinary how Fianna Fáil Deputies who intervene in this debate invariably show themselves to be on our side. I do not think they can be rational men at all. This amendment has no relation to subsequent user of the premises at all. The amendment meets the point so eloquently and effectively raised by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach, Deputy Carty, when he intervened in the debate. He pointed out that the definition section, as at present drafted, includes a farmer's field. He was arguing against Deputy O'Higgins's proposal—"construct or reconstruct". He said we cannot construct or reconstruct a field and he was perfectly right. The purpose of Deputy O'Higgins's amendment on that occasion was to exclude a field and to make it perfectly manifest not only to the citizens but to the judiciary that they must not interpret the business of a livestock mart as meaning the sale of livestock in a field. For reasons best known to himself, the Minister resisted the amendment. We now propose to him another phrase which would narrow the application of the Bill to what I understand everyone wants it narrowed and that is a livestock mart as it is popularly understood.

Deputy Cunningham cannot get it out of his head that the words in the definition section are words of restriction on the user of a livestock mart. There is no reason why, if you have a livestock mart, you should not employ the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and have a symphony concert. There is no reason why, having got a licence to carry on the business of a livestock mart, you should not have an open-air dance in it or any other function you care to stage in it. There is no reason why you should not sell wool, hay or any other commodity in it which did not thereby create the kind of nuisance that would render it unfit for the sale of livestock.

We are all agreed on every side of this House, so far as I can find out, that it is a matter of consequence that this Bill, if it ever passes, should apply to what we ordinarily understand a livestock mart to be. We are also agreed that manifestly, as the Bill is drafted, it will not do that. It will apply not only to what we all understand a livestock mart to be but to fields, yards and a variety of other possibilities to which clearly the House does not want it to apply. The Minister's defence of that is not that he disagrees with that assumption but that he knows it to be true. It is for that reason that he has put section 4 into the Bill. He wants to say to the House: "Everywhere is potentially a livestock mart but I will undertake hereafter-ward, by regulation made, to exempt such premises as are caught which do not fall within the ordinary meaning of the words `the business of a livestock mart". We pointed out to him that that is not the way to pass legislation.

I understood the Minister to say to Deputy Corish that he intended to spend the months that lie immediately ahead after the passage of this Bill in discussion and negotiation with the various interests to determine what exemptions need to be made in order to bring within the scope of the Act those premises he intended and believed the House intended to cover and to prepare the exemptions requisite to exclude the premises which manifestly were never meant to be touched. I think he demurred to my paraphrase of what he said when I spoke of discussions which would lead to agreement as to the exemption orders. He was prepared, I think, to discuss it only for the purpose of agreeing, if that were possible, on the terms of the exemption orders he ought to make without any prior commitment to make such orders. We are not prepared to accept that and I think any Legislature that did accept it would be reneging on its fundamental responsibility.

I think there is a graver indictment against the Minister. All his colleagues in his Party have made it manifest that they do not understand precisely what it is the Bill will actually operate upon. He does not claim to know himself at this stage when he says that, after discussions, he will, by regulation, limit the application of the Bill in such a way as to make it apply to what is known only as the business of the livestock marts. Our purpose is to come as near to a definition in the Bill as to make the user of section 4 virtually unnecessary, except in the case of an exceptional show, an agricultural show or perhaps a place where a sale would be held once, or even once a year. We made suggestions for the qualification in the definition section which would make the use of that exemption section virtually unnecessary if the Minister meant to transact parliamentary business in the customary way.

It was perfectly open to the Minister, at the beginning of this Committee Stage debate, to say: "You have down approximately seven amendments all substantially directed to the same end, that is, to make the definition of "the business of a livestock mart" more certain. I do not like Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. I shall look at this No. 6 or I shall look at No. 7 and I shall see if I cannot draft something on those lines between now and Report Stage." Everybody would then know that the Minister meant business and that that is the way he would go about his business. I want to admit quite frankly that had the Minister, at the beginning of the Committee Stage of this Bill, done so, he would then have the right to look across at us and to ask: "Why are you trying to resort to perpetual devices to hold up this Bill?" and we should have had to answer and to make a case for that but it has never happened.

A deliberative assembly has no purpose if there is not some effort to reach a consensus about the details of a measure. It is perfectly proper and perfectly normal, in regard to only about 20 per cent of our legislation, that, on the principle of the Second Stage of a Bill, there should be a head-on clash, on principle, which is to be resolved in the lobbies. Eighty per cent of the legislation of this House never brings anyone into the lobbies at all, for the simple reason that 80 per cent is necessary legislation which all reasonable men know is requisite for carrying on the affairs of State. The remaining 20 per cent of the legislation deals with matters about which we differ fundamentally and this is resolved by applying the rules of majority. But of the 80 per cent that passes through on Second Stage without reference to the Division Lobby, 90 per cent is amended in Committee and the interesting thing is that it is almost invariably at the instance of the Opposition.

The Minister for Finance, not so long ago, learned that the sensible and sane way in which to get legislation enacted sensibly is not to come in convinced that in regard to everything, you must dig your heels into the ground. If the Opposition feel strongly about something that does not go to the roots of the Bill and about which a change might be made, he may say: "Very well; as to amendments Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4, these are amendments I cannot accept: Nos. 5 and 6 aim at the same end and while I could not accept them in their present form, I will look at the matter and I can bring in something on Report Stage." Has the Minister for Agriculture said that at any stage of the Committee Stage of this Bill? He has not. If the Minister had said,ab initio:“That definition is adequate; it is precise and there can be no doubt about its application. It will stand up in any court of law. I have examined it from all aspects raised by the Opposition and I am advised, and I agree——

The Deputy is very general in his remarks. There is an amendment.

I am saying that this amendment is merely another effort to produce the certainty which the Minister does not claim is present in his own Bill. The only definition he has to fall back on is section 4. I am arguing not to reverse the decision taken in principle on the Second Stage of the Bill but recognising that decision has been taken, against our vote, not for a moment declaring we approve the principle of the Bill, though we accept the fact that Dáil Éireann has, but saying at least let us know what the Bill is intended to do. Let us know the categories of persons to whom the Bill is intended to apply. I say, and I challenge contradiction by the Minister for Finance or anybody else, that there is no living creature at this moment who knows to whom this Bill will apply. We know the categories of persons who will be overtaken but we do not know the categories of persons who may be overtaken by this Bill in regard to section 4 to secure certificates of exemption from the Minister for the time being.

Deputy Cunningham is wrong in imagining that this amendment would place any burden on co-operative societies. The amendment simply imposes the duty on a court to determine what the intention was of the adapter when he made the adaptation, If he had a certain intention, then he had undertaken the business of a livestock mart, and immediately all the other sections apply to him, but it would be open to him to argue in court: "I never sought to qualify as a person in the business of a livestock mart. I made these adaptations to my premises just to make them more convenient and I do not want, and am not looking for, a licence for a livestock mart. Therefore sales carried on here otherwise than by auction do not come within the ambit of the Minister's supervision at all". But suppose he makes the adaptations exclusively for the sale of livestock by auction, then his decision affects merely his status in the eyes of the law. He now ceases to be a farmer and becomes a person engaged in the business of a livestock mart. Thereafter he is as free as a bird to use his premises as he will, provided he does not reduce them to a condition in which the Minister's regulations would declare them to be unsuitable for the purpose of carrying on the business of a livestock mart.

It is manifestly ludicrous to suggest that the sale of wool, or corn, or any other material ancillary to the agricultural industry, in such place could be calculated to violate any rational reeulation the Minister could conceivably make under a Livestock Marts Bill. If the Minister, on Committee Stage, is prepared to say: "I agree that the definition section is too wide but I have not found any of your amendments which I regard as acceptable, but I will look at the Bill and if I do not take Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5, we might find a solution which would be satisfactory in relation to No. 6 or 7," then a very different situation would arise. However, we are in the position that the Minister is steadfast in so far as he wants power over everybody and the House must take on faith what the Minister will provide in due course under section 4. I do not accept that and I do not think anybody on this side of the House will accept it. I never heard such a claim being made by any Minister of any Government before. It is a bad legislative precedent and one to which we emphatically demur. Even if he persists in it, we want to fix the House with notice that we think it is a bad principle, that we will correct it at the earliest possible opportunity and that we will not accept it hereafter as any precedent upon which legislation can be promoted here.

Although we on this side of the House have made it very clear that we do not like this Bill in any shape or form, the Minister must concede that this series of amendments on section 1, coming up to the one we are dealing with at the moment, is a definite attempt to give a fundamentally sound definition to the Bill. My principal objection to this Bill is that it is filled with ambiguity from the word "go". A Bill such as this, which is likely to meet a good deal of opposition and, shall we say, adamant resistance in the country, should be made crystal clear to those who have to construe its meaning. I submit to the House that this section, unamended as it is to date, is such that it is going to lead to endless controversy as to what the section actually means. From the beginning we have argued from this side of the House that a clear definition of what is intended is necessary for those who will be directly concerned with this legislation.

The amendment I am speaking in support of at the moment, moved by Deputy M.J. O'Higgins, seems to make absolutely clear what is intended as a definition of a livestock mart. It seems to pin it down and to place over it an umbrella of safety from the many doubts, dangers and difficulties cited by Deputies on the Fine Gael benches. If we have embodied in this section the word "exclusively," far from its causing confusion, as suggested by Deputy Cunningham—the only Deputy from that side of the House who has spoken on this amendment so far—it will make clear to all and sundry that a livestock mart is an exclusive place for the sale of cattle.

In the very few interventions made by the Minister, at least while I have been in the House, during this long session, he referred to the fact that any existing livestock mart would be granted a licence. That stands here officially on the record. He said that dogmatically here one day. For that reason it is above all necessary to get a clear picture in our own minds of what a livestock mart means. Anyone reading the opening section—un-amended as it unfortunately is to date, despite the valiant efforts of my colleagues—must see clearly that it does not define what a livestock mart is. Words can convey a good many things. If words did not convey a good many things, we would not have so many of the legal fraternity practising in this country today. We are trying to nail it down so that in this Bill, in this unwanted political child of the Fianna Fáil Party in this Dáil, we can at least get a definition of what we are going to deal with. That is the reason why this debate has dragged on interminably.

The Minister knows the Bill is arousing a good deal of controversy. He knows there is a great deal of opposition to it. He is probably conscious of the fact there is not a lot of support over his shoulder in favour of the Bill, in spite of the oft-repeated protestations of his Parliamentary Secretary that we are speaking to a unanimous Party on the subject. It is necessary this Bill should get off to a good start. Therefore, it is unfortunate that this debate from the beginning has been marred by the fact that amendments put down by the main Opposition Party—it appears to be our function in this House to protect the rights of those we conceive we should protect— should have been treated with such scant consideration. I would hope that when the Minister intervenes, as I hope he will intervene presently, to say "yea" or "nay" to this amendment— I consider it more likely he will say "nay"—if he says it with a good grace and gives us a full explanation as to why he says "nay", it will create a happier situation in this long drawn-out debate and will also create, if we have to have it, a better Bill. That is the main and primary purpose of the introduction of this amendment.

Deputy Dillon drew attention to the very unusual fact—in my time in Dáil Éireann I never remember it-that on the first section of a Bill there are six or seven amendments tabled to the definition. I have never known that to happen before. I hope that as long as I remain in public life I will not see it happen again. It is surely an indication that we are dealing with a measure with which there is something wrong. In my experience of debate in this House, which is considerable, normally a Bill comes in and perhaps meets with a certain amount of adverse criticism in the preliminary stages when opinions are expressed in favour of or against it. But when one proceeds to the Committee Stage, the Ceann Comhairle says "Section 1 stand part of the Bill" and there are no amendments before the House. That, in itself, should make the Minister, his Parliamentary Secretary and those who advise him stop to think.

After all, this strenuous and hard-fought opposition on behalf of the Party to which I belong must mean something. What have we to gain by holding up this Bill, when it is quite evident already that the guillotine is being used almost as freely as it was in France in 1797? We have nothing to gain except the fact, as I have said, that we wish to try to secure at least a clear definition. The Minister will find that acceptance of this amendment would do nothing except improve and clarify the definition. If he accepts the amendment, he will find that he will have a better atmosphere in dealing with the Bill generally, that he will get more co-operation from the Members of this House than, perhaps, he is likely to get if everything we suggest here, everything we offer him, is rejected. These amendments come, not from the idle thoughts of an idle fellow, but from hard work, thought out behind the scenes with competent advisers and the full use of the political intuition which I claim we command in this Party.

It is frustrating to an Opposition if they try to make a debate effective and to produce a better Bill and a better definition by amendments so that it may be acceptable not only to us on this side of the House but to the Minister's Party and, above all, to the country, to have their amendments rejected. Therefore, I ask the Minister when he intervenes, as I hope he will in the near future, to consider including this simple word "exclusively" in this first section and in that way provide some clarification. If he is not prepared to accept the word "exclusively", will he open up the debate and tell us why he feels that word is not acceptable? If he does that, he will be going a long way towards making this a more useful debate, not only for us in the Opposition but for his own followers because when they go down to their constituencies at the week-end they will be able to justify themselves to their constituents for voting for the Bill. They will be able to say that they did not vote like sheep, that they voted because their Minister got up and opposed amendments and when he opposed them, gave a full explanation justifying his opposition. It is for that purpose, not wishing to detain the House any longer, at this stage that I now give way, hoping that the Minister's answer this time will be "aye" instead of "nay".

I am sorry to disappoint the Deputy but the answer is still "no" and for the very good reason that far from the Deputy and his Party having given any great thought to this matter with a view to being helpful, they set out from the start and time without number during the various Second Reading debates, not to mention the filibustering of the past couple of days, they have indicated that they want no part of the Bill and this they have displayed to such a degree that the most obtuse of their blindest followers must know that their opposition is for opposition's sake. After all the flowery language in which they may dress up this amendment, it comes down to the same thing that if we are to have the definition section as they propose, it would require another volume to define what the definition section meant. The Deputies well know that this is the purpose of their amendments and then they come in tongue in cheek after spending nine hours on the previous amendment, on which incidentally, technically, there was a closure motion but the fact is that they had dried up and had nothing more to say.

The Minister was not here. He cannot say that.

They have spent nine hours bluffing and bumming their way, obstructing the House, with no thought —I deliberately say this—not a thought in the nut of any one of them, to do anything for the Bill except to obstruct its passage. Their object has been determined quite a bit back, namely, to obstruct this Bill as a test of their strength as an Opposition to overpower the majority in this House. This they are not going to get doing now or at any other time either inside the House or outside.

The definition section in this Bill, without amendment, is as clear and as fair as it is possible to draft such. The word now under discussion, the word "exclusively", if adopted, would do nothing for the section, which is a definition section and should be to define something. All it would do would be to make for imprecision. That is all it would add to the section. It is proposed to amend the section by the addition of a word and the only thing this word would do is to make for imprecision. There is the sort of Opposition that we have who have behind closed doors or out of sight given a great deal of thought to this and put a great deal of effort into it and were well advised. I have not the slightest doubt that they were well advised, that they gave it a great deal of thought, but I question the motives that inspired the work and the thought and the advice that was tendered which brought about these amendments because here is how the section would read if Fine Gael had their way. Listen to it and then tell me when I am finished what it does mean:

"business of a livestock mart" means the business of selling livestock by auction or providing for the holding of sales of livestock at 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.

Did you ever see anything approaching that as a definition section in any Bill, even those introduced by your Party as part of the Coalition Government?

The Minister is being ridiculous.

They introduced the measures that I have chided Deputy Dillon for bringing into this House and he would glory in their usefulness now, despite the fact that what is in them is no different in the slightest degree from the terms of this Bill here. I refer to the Fertilisers, Feedingstuffs and Mineral Mixtures Act, 1955. That is the sort of stuff we are getting from Fine Gael and Fine Gael seriously expect to get it across in this House and hope for outside publicity, and that there may be people foolish enough to believe that they have any role in this House or wish to have any role other than that of obstructors and destroyers in every sense of the word.

We have listened to the mumbo-jumbo that has come from that side of the House for nine hours on the previous amendment, a continuous repetition, as far removed as possible from what was at issue. Then they come along, tongue in cheek, in an effort to show that they are good boys in the Opposition, trying to make the Bill better than it would be without their assistance and that the Minister does not appreciate their efforts. I do appreciate them and that is why I am saying what I have said now so that the few members of the public outside who can see anything in their antics except obstruction will not be misled —not even the few.

If they feel as an Opposition that they are getting anywhere with this creation that they are trying to impose on us here by sheer will of their Party, they have a change of mind coming. I will go further and say that after the whipping up of opposition to this Bill they have attempted in this House opposition to it is now dwindling. By their antics they have helped it to dwindle because those on whom they may have exerted influence are beginning to catch themselves on, are beginning to realise that this section does not mean what they have gone to great lengths to repeat time without number. It does not mean that farmers cannot sell their cattle in their own backyard, that farmers cannot sell their cattle in their own pastures. This is the greatest fabrication of all time and it has been repeated over there, parrot-like, by speaker after speaker as if it were gospel. It is the greatest lie that has been put across the House so far, and goodness knows, there have been many in the days we have been listening to the Opposition opposing this measure for opposition's sake.

I want to let the Opposition clearly understand they have had their hours of debate. They have contributed nothing. They have attempted to arouse opposition to the Bill where none exists. They are doing no service to the community, no service to the farmers, no service to the mart owners, and in time they will find they are doing no service to themselves as an Opposition. We have a motion on the Order Paper to put an end to this farce that has been imposed on the House by Fine Gael, claiming it is their right as an Opposition to uphold the rights of the public. This farce will be brought to an end within a few days, and I think the public, if they could have their voice heard in here, would have it finish tonight, not two or three nights from now.

We are bringing it to an end because of the waste of time and money that has been imposed on this House by Fine Gael for the sheer sake of obstructing a measure they do not like, in the hope of making political capital out of it. This cost is too high to be allowed to continue further. The Opposition have their hours between now and whatever time may be determined by the motion which will be taken tomorrow night. Let them not waste those hours on these useless, stupid amendments they have down here. Let them go on to the real bones of the Bill. Let us hear some construetive thoughts expressed by them and let them get away from these silly little pranks in which they have been indulging.

Let this be a warning to them. Let them not say at the end of the week they had no time to discuss the important parts of the Bill. They will not have any time if they fiddle their time away as they have been fiddling the time away in this House for the past couple of weeks on these silly little amendments, trying to make imprecise what is precise and is as fair and just as can be composed by any draftsman. They should not try to put it across that this definition section is something to be abhorred, the like of which was never seen before. It is in several Acts, two or three of which have been supported by the Party who now oppose this measure. If it was worthy of their support then, why is it so abhorrent now?

Let them tell this House and the public why they cannot see the point in having a definition section which is fair and just and which, if the Opposition amendments were added to it, would become so imprecise that it would need further definition to define the definition section. Do not let Deputies in Fine Gael, either in the front bench or in the back benches, tell me that they are so far removed from things that they do not see that this is the effect their amendments would have, and let them not be so naïve as to try to make me or any other Member of this House believe that these amendments were not designed for the purpose of confusion and imprecision.

That is what Fine Gael set out to do and they worked very hard behind closed doors to do it. All I can say is they did an excellent job. With the help of all the legal brains in their Party, they have done their best to nullify the definition section so that the Bill would have no meaning. This is what Fine Gael want to do and this is exactly what the Government will not allow them to do.

(South Tipperary): I must thank the Minister for his intervention, but I must also say he is not being very informative on the different points on which we have been seeking information. He has sidestepped those points and contented himself with merely telling us how to conduct our opposition.

I admit we are filibustering, and there is nothing wrong with that. I do not think any Irishman should ever say anything about filibustering. It was filibustering by Irishmen in another House, the parent House of Parliament, which first focused attention upon the wrongs and sufferings of this country and helped to initiate developments which culminated in the measure of freedom we enjoy today. Therefore an Irishman is the last man who should decry filibustering. I suppose it is an annoyance to any Minister who wants to push through a Bill, and if I were in the Minister's position, I would probably be saying the same thing about filibustering. Nevertheless, I do not think it is a terrible crime or anything of which we should be ashamed.

We object to this Billin toto, and we object particularly to its broad implications. We realise we cannot prevent its being passed and we have endeavoured, in so far as we could, by various amendments, to limit its application. This purports to be a Livestock Marts Bill and the amendments we have put in have been designed to keep it as that and no more. It is quite possible that when this Bill is passed, if it does not receive too much opposition and if the Minister can get it to operate, it will be remembered and used, for a considerable time at least, as a Livestock Marts Bill. However, by definition, the Minister has extended its power and its scope.

We have been chided here for devoting too much attention to definition. The Minister said that many Bills have got through this House and never before had he seen this type of opposition on the simple question of definition. Even the Ceann Comhairle has criticised our approach as being too broad when dealing with, perhaps, a simple amendment concerning one word. He has remonstrated with us more than once that we are extending the scope of our remarks too widely, but I would make the point that the various amendments we have put down, including this amendment, are not simple amendments to ordinary sections in the Bill. This amendment with which we are dealing is an amendment to the very fundamentals of the Bill, the definition of what is a livestock mart. It is an amendment to the field of operation of the Bill, and if we object to the Bill in substance, we must logically try to limit its application.

We can only do that by putting down a series of amendments to the definition section of the Bill. In so far as the definition section is fundamental to the Bill, our remarks, of necessity, at times tend to be general and indeed would warrant in that context almost a Report Stage speech. It is wrong to contend that, because it is a short amendment, our remarks must therefore be confined to extremely narrow limits and, as might be said, entirely related to the amendment as written down. All these amendments are on a broad issue, the spread, scope or extent of the Bill. We are trying to persuade the Minister to accept a watertight definition applicable solely to livestock marts as everyone here understood that term up to now.

At the moment, this is, in effect, a Livestock Sales Bill if we are to follow the definition which we are trying to amend. It purports to be a Livestock Marts Bill and I believe the Minister initially will try to operate it as such but he has allowed himself sufficient elbow room to operate it as a Marts Bill if he finds he is obstructed. That is why there is this apparent discrepancy between the Title of the Bill, which is the Livestock Marts Bill, the Preamble to the Bill and the definition. By a definition bringing all forms of livestock sales within the ambit of the Bill, the Minister is giving himself power to meet any opposition which he feels may arise. Obsessed with this difficulty he has had with the farming organisations, particularly the NFA, he is resisting any attempt to narrow this down to livestock marts.

The Deputy might relate his remarks to the amendment. He is broadening the scope of the discussion.

(South Tipperary): The amendment is designed to relate the Bill to livestock marts: the definition is designed to relate the Bill to livestock sales. It is that discrepancy we are attempting to overcome. In the event of the livestock marts not accepting this Bill, refusing to operate it or suppose it comes about that the farmers refuse to send cattle into the marts when this Bill comes into operation because they are frightened or because they think they will not get fair play, or because they do not like the Bill or for any other reason, they may decide to do as their fathers did, not go to the marts even if there is a local one but try to sell their cattle as best they can outside the mart at a local fair. They may say: “Although there is a mart in the town, we will not go there any more and let the Minister see how we dispose of our livestock. We shall do as we always did. We shall now go back to tradition and hold our meeting as a fair.” The Minister by extending the scope of the definition bevond livestock marts in now entitled to intervene and proscribe any fair which may be set up in that way. This is why he has introduced the extensive definition.

The amendment limits this very much.

(South Tipperary): Our amendment limits it to livestock marts.

It limits its activities.

(South Tipperary): All our amendments have been designed to that purpose, to limit the Bill to the Title, to the Preamble of the Bill which I think is the loeical thing to do. I am sure Deputy Cunningham, a man with a logical mind and a man who has studied many more of these productions than I have, would appreciate and understand that conformity between the Title of the Bill, the Preamble and the definition is very desirable and that anything else suggests a lack of logic and coherence. The purpose is clear and I have outlined it. I believe the Minister does not wish to do that; I give him that much credit but he is obsessed with this fear of opposition to such an extent that he feels he must take unto himself power to proscribe any fair that may arise as an evasion of the operation of this measure or in any other way. This is a completely wrong approach. None of us agrees that this Marts Bill is really necessary.

The marts welcomed the licensing of marts.

(South Tipperary): It is something different the Deputy is talking about. He is not talking about this Bill which we are now disoussing.

Yes, the marts have welcomed this Bill.

Acting Chairman

Deputy Hogan, on the amendment. The Deputy should please come back to the specific amendment on the Order Paper.

"Exclusively"; that is the amendment.

(South Tipperary): Yes, “exclusively”. Deputy Cunningham is a stickler for accuracy of terminology and therefore I am surprised that he does not take that accuracy of thought and apply it to this Bill.

"Exclusively" is in the amendment. Tell us about it.

(South Tipperary): A place adapted exclusively for the sale of livestock——

You could not sell hens in it——

(South Tipperary): The adaptation is exclusive.

Acting Chairman

Deputies should cease interrupting.

Is it exclusive adaptation or adaptation exclusively?

It is "adapted exclusively".

(South Tipperary): The functioning of the business which is the subject of the Bill is not necessarily exclusive of other things. You could sell hens. You could even sell lawyers' secondhand books.

What about horse? What about Deputy Clinton and horses?

We all know what Fianna Fáil want—to catch every farmer in the country.

Do not talk rubbish.

Every farmer who has anything to sell except in the blood-stock sales.

You are obsessed: that is what is wrong with you.

(South Tipperary): I have attempted already to point out to some of the Deputies who are here what their opposition to these various amendments will lead to. I do not know whether they are prepared to believe their own Minister or to believe me.

(Interruptions.)

(South Tipperary): A refusal by the Government to accept these amendments may culminate in rather unpleasant circumstances for many of the people whom Deputies on the opposite side represent in this House—the ordinary farmers up and down the country who are trying to sell their stock.

Rubbish.

(South Tipperary): There are many farmers in the Deputy's Party who belong to farming organisations——

Certainly.

(South Tipperary):——and it is quite proper that they should—who do not see eye to eye with the Minister. Does the Deputy accept that?

Rubbish.

(South Tipperary): Every farmer who supports them automatically agrees with the Minister? That is new logic.

The Deputy's colleague said this was only for the small farmers.

(South Tipperary): So far as I know the marts are used by all farmers, big and small.

I said big and small.

Deputy Clinton would not know a small farmer.

(South Tipperary): The marts I know of are used by all farmers, big and small. In fact, the fairs are rapidly going out. We have the odd small fairs here and there but, by and large, most of the business is done in a half a dozen marts in my constituency. I believe it is entirely different in the West. I understand there are still a considerable number of fairs there. We want to protect the people in the West and to allow them to continue to market their stock in the traditional fashion until such time as they, through their own wishes, and co-operation, and natural evolution, decide to establish marts. We are facing the Common Market and probably the marts are an advance on the traditional buying and selling methods——

Of the small farmers.

(South Tipperary): The Deputy is inclined to embrace every small farmer in the country.

Representing them as I do.

(South Tipperary): The Deputy has put me off my train of thought, but——

Acting Chairman

The Deputy is inclined to make a Second Reading speech, take in a scope that is too wide. It would be preferable if he came to the amendment.

(South Tipperary): The Deputy is under a terrific strain at the moment. He is being thwarted by the Deputies from Wexford and Donegal, and there will probably be a few more of them in a short while. It is very difficult to keep your thoughts aligned to the matter under consideration when you have A, B and C preparing little darts to throw across at you. We have put down these amendments and I am trying to confine myself to this amendment, but the Chair will realise that I am labouring as best I can to apply myself to it with all the interruptions and obstruction with which I am being harassed. I believe this Bill is a double-edged weapon.

Is it the Bill or the amendment you are discussing?

(South Tipperary): The amendment is framed to prevent that. The Minister is leading with his left and he carries a KO in his right. We want to stop it. The Minister means to have the Bill extended in scope to cover all the farmers who sell——

The Deputy's imagination is running away with him.

(South Tipperary): This Bill will operate if everyone bows down to the Minister, and the fairs will continue and the livestock marts will operate, but if anyone obstructs the Minister, he will immediately introduce the guillotine. He will say that they must go back to the marts, and if the marts do not function, he will say that he will open marts and hope that in time, because the people will find it difficult to sell their cattle elsewhere, they will be forced into Government-operated marts. In the West he will say: “Look at the success I made of the marts in the South. Now I will show you how a real mart should be established.” He may establish marts all over Mayo and even up to Donegal.

Acting Chairman

The Deputy should come back to the amendment.

(South Tipperary): The ultimate purpose behind this facade is to control the domestic livestock market in this country. No matter how gently the Bill is introduced, no matter how gently it is operated in the preliminary stages, the long-term purpose of this Bill is the control of the domestic livestock trade and eventually the export trade, because whoever controls the domestic livestock trade will automatically control the lot. That is the long-term purpose of the Bill. It is not as simple as the simple Deputy from Wexford seems to think it is.

The Minister's latest contribution to this discussion was an outburst which indicated to me his extreme annoyance at the fact that we in Fine Gael have joined the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society, have joined the Cork Marts Association, have joined the Irish Livestock Marts Association and have joined the National Farmers Association in our opposition to this unwanted, undesirable and unnecessary measure, a measure which is detrimental to the best interests of the farmers, no matter how we look at it. The Minister complains that we have already made three Second Reading speeches. He made three Second Reading speeches. He gave the impression that he was compelled to do so and then he proceeded to make a fourth and I do not think he referred to the amendment at all.

Acting Chairman

He did in fact, and I took it that he was only intervening in reply to a speech by Deputy Esmonde. I do not think that should be made a precedent for widening the scope of the debate. The Chair would prefer Deputies to keep to the amendment.

I have no intention of departing in any way from the amendment, which I regard as extremely important, but the bad example we are getting here from anybody who intervenes from the opposite side of the House makes it difficult to keep to the amendments. We are getting bad example from the Minister himself. The Minister did refer to the amendment in a passing manner towards the end of his speech and said he had no intention of accepting it or any other of the amendments on the definition section, that if he accepted any of them, it would only lessen the effectiveness of the section and make its meaning more obscure.

From his standpoint, the amendment might make the definition section less effective because he does not want it to mean anything other than what he wants to achieve from it. We know that this is the most important section of the Bill because on it depend all the other sections, on it depends his whole control over the livestock marts of the country. We have reason to suspect how he is going to use that control and for that reason we are using every device at our disposal, and we make no apology for it, to make this definition section so clear that there will be no uncertainty about it and that when the courts come to interpret it, they will have a fair chance of saying that someone has or has not contravened the Act.

The Minister went on to endeavour to word the definition section with all our amendments in it in order to confuse the public mind. What we have done is to offer the Minister a number of amendments but they are alternatives all down the way. If the Minister did not accept the first amendment, which we believe to be the best, we offered alternatives. We worked down in easy stages hoping that at some stage the Minister would see the light of day.

In other words, this amendment is not as good as your first one.

Of course not. They are interrupting me again now when I am beginning to think properly. If we cannot get all we want from the Minister, if we cannot get him to see total commonsense, we are hoping that he will see some sense at some stage of this Bill and we are offering him a position in which he can move a little less to meet our requirements. He complains that we do not drive on into what he describes as the more important sections of the Bill. We have no intention of driving on. This is a disgraceful and abominable piece of legislation that we want to dissect into its smallest pieces to show the people the rot that is in it and I do not accept that the Minister has the right to dictate to us as to how we will conduct our business as the Opposition in this House.

The Minister tries to bluff the people that we are responsible for keeping the House in session beyond the normal period. Who is responsible for this waste of money? It is well known that this is not only not urgent legislation but that it is unwanted legislation.

Unwanted by whom?

Unwanted by everybody. I have not heard anybody say that this is good legislation or that he wants it. The Minister succeeded in getting his own NAC to put the rubber stamp on this legislation with certain modifications but nobody else has said he wants it. We were all afraid of what the Minister's NAC would do, but apart from them, we have absolute proof that all the other organisations of farmers are opposed to the measure.

Acting Chairman

The Deputy is going very wide of the scope of the amendment which the House is discussing. I would request him not to go so far afield, to come back to the amendment.

I will accept the ruling of the Chair on this, but I have been goaded into it by the remarks of the Minister on one of the few occasions on which he has contributed to the debate. We have one purpose, and one purpose only, in putting forward these amendments, that is, to make this definition section less dangerous and to clarify the situation for all those who will eventually be concerned in the operation of the Bill if it succeeds in getting through this House. I know that all the force the Government can use, the closure and the guillotine, is being used by them to secure this measure for their own purposes, to secure a measure that is unwanted by everybody concerned in the trade.

We are naturally going to use all the devices we can to oppose this Bill, and if we cannot oppose it outright, we are doing our best to improve it. It is not easy to improve a measure that is rotten in itself but we have tried to divorce ourselves from the background which begot this measure and to see if there is any way in which we can make it less dangerous and less objectionable to the people who are being forced to accept it until we get this Government out of power.

No one was forced to accept it.

Fianna Fáil got a serious warning in the local elections and if they persist, they will get their answer completely when the electorate get another chance. We are trying to save them from their own folly. We are trying to improve this Bill and, by our amendments, save them from their own destruction because their majority in this House has obviously gone to their heads. The only thing we can do now, therefore, is to take this Bill to pieces to see in what way we can possibly improve it. We have made a number of attempts to amend it. Our first amendment was not accepted; our second amendment was not accepted.

The Deputy is going over this for the third and fourth time.

The amendment we now propose suggests that the word "adapted" be qualified by the addition of the word "exclusively". The Minister stated earlier on, and he repeated it a while ago, that he wants this word "adapted" to apply only to what everybody knows is a full-blown livestock mart, with all the equipment and essential ancillary buildings. That is what the Minister says and then he comes back again and says it excludes the field and the man selling cattle in his own haggard. He repeats that. But I have heard the Minister before repeat things on other measures and I know that it does not matter how often he does so.

Such as what?

I am talking about the Planning Bill and the Housing Bill. A great deal of what the Minister said on those two Bills has proved to be a lot of nonsense. Law agents all over the country have laughed and said: "We do not care what the Minister said. It is not written into the legislation." While the Minister says he does not mean it to apply to certain things, we have fears about it because he refuses to amend in the slightest degree the definition section and because we know he is completely insincere in the statements he makes here. If he said: "Look, I see it is wide open and I am prepared on Report Stage to redraft it along these lines so that it will not be limitless and will not be wide open to any and every sort of interpretation, will that satisfy the Opposition?" then he would automatically eliminate seven of the amendments we have down to this section. If he were generous enough and genuine enough to do that, we would long since have finished our discussion on this definition section but, because he refuses to move and because he comes in here and makes a bluffing speech, intended to deceive the public, we must keep on.

That is very unfair.

The Minister's contribution was nothing but bluff. He talked of the Opposition wasting public money, not caring how long they spend wasting it, and the Government would move the closure and insist on getting their measure, and the Government would not be overpowered by the Opposition. We are now accused of overpowering the Government when we come in here and use the rules and regulations to put before the House the things we know to be essential in order to prevent unwarranted, undesirable and disgraceful legislation passing through this House.

I support this amendment. The outburst we have just had from the Minister is typical of his attitude, typical of the bulldozing tactics he is adopting in order to get this legislation. In putting forward these amendments, we have tried to clear up ambiguities in the definition section. The Minister really went to town a few moments ago in relation to the Opposition because we have put down seven or eight amendments to this definition section. We make no apology either to the Minister or to the Government for moving this amendment, an amendment designed to ensure that the Minister will see eventually that this word "adapted" needs qualification. In an earlier amendment, we tried to get it deleted altogether from the Bill. We failed in that and we now seek to qualify the word "adapted" by the word "exclusively". We would have preferred it had the Minister accepted the earlier amendment and deleted the word "adapted". But the Minister refused and we must now press for acceptance of this qualification.

The argument in support of this amendment is somewhat similar to that advanced on a previous amendment. By the insertion of the word "exclusively", we are trying to ensure that the powers the Minister seeks will be clearly defined and that, in the event of premises being adapted for the sale of livestock, that adaptation would be done in such manner as to bring the particular premises into conformity with modern marketing requirements.

The Minister makes a very big mistake if he thinks that by hurling all manner of abuse and imputing all manner of motives to us in the Opposition for daring to fight this Bill line by line in amendment after amendment, he will win the day. As Deputy Clinton said, our opposition to the Bill and our amendments are put forward because we want to ensure that the powers the Minister seeks will be as limited as it is humanly possible to make them. We are opposed to a Minister seeking the dictatorial powers he seeks. We are doubly concerned because the present Minister is, in our opinion, not the type of person to whom unlimited powers should be given to control this most important sector of our agricultural industry.

Is the Deputy jealous because he is Minister?

I do not interrupt but, if provoked, I can prove to be a dark horse.

I merely want to keep the Deputy on the right lines.

The Minister a few moments ago left me and my colleagues under no misapprehension whatsoever as to what he is seeking, particularly under this definition section. It is something we have suspected for a long time; he is seeking unlimited power to control not merely the livestock marts but the entire internal marketing of livestock. Judging by the mood he was in a while ago, there seems little hope that the Minister will listen to reason but I would appeal to him at this stage to accept this amendment. It is not limiting his powers as much as we might like them limited, had he accepted the earlier amendments, but at least by accepting this amendment, he would be showing some evidence of goodwill, of being reasonable and of a desire to arrive at some type of a formula which might be acceptable. I trust the Minister will see his way to consider acceptance of this amendment.

I must confess I am sorry I missed the Minister's last contribution to this discussion.

(South Tipperary): You did not miss much.

Judging from the descriptions I have heard of it, it seemed to be interesting and possibly even informative. I gathered the Minister repeated his performance in endeavouring to read this definition section in the context of including in it the various amendments which have been proposed and some of which have been discussed. Of course, that is not realistic.

As Deputy Clinton pointed out and as I pointed out earlier, we are moving a series of amendments. A number of them would not arise if the first amendment which was debated to this section had been accepted. It is because of the insistence of the Government that this Bill should be so framed that it applies not only to auctions but to any other type of sale of livestock which is involved in the inclusion in the definition section of the words "or otherwise" and because they resisted the amendment proposed in that connection that it then became necessary for us to consider in the light of that attitude, what alternative existed, what other method might be appropriate for mellowing in some way the provisions of this definition section.

The Minister and his Parliamentary Secretary will recall, I have no doubt, that the amendment we are now discussing and the other amendment, Nos. 1a, 2b and 3a, were handed in and tabled only when it became clear that there was no "give" in the Minister in relation to the first amendment proposed by Deputy Clinton. There is nothing anomalous, therefore, at all about tabling amendments which give, or are designed to give, alternative reliefs if the one at first suggested could not be availed of. In those circumstances, the other amendmenrs were tabled only when it became clear that the first amendment would not be accepted.

All the amendments are designed to limit the scope of the operation of this Bill. The only way in which the scope of its operation can effectively be limited is by an amendment of the definition section. It has been pointed out already that this section is an all-important section because it sets out the territory over which the writ of this Bill will run. The definition section sets out the types of places, the types of transactions, that will be made subiect to the other provisions in the Bill. If the definition section is expanded, then the whole scope of the Bill is ex-Danded. If the definition section is limited or restricted in any way, then the whole scope of the operation of the Bill is likewise limited and restricted.

We are unashamedly seeking to limit the scope of the operation of this Bill. It has, I think, been made quite clear, and I think it is accepted by both sides of the House, that the second part of the definition of a livestock mart, which appears in the definition section, is open to endless possibilities if it remains unaltered and, in particular, if the word "adapted" is allowed to remain in that definition without any qualification or modification whatever.

Other amendments were designed to bring about a limitation of the section and thereby to bring about a limitation of the operation of the Bill, when enacted. The amendment we are concerned with at the moment is designed to pinpoint as far as we can the type of place which will be affected by this Bill when it becomes an Act. It is suggested in the definition of "business of a livestock mart" which appears in the Bill at the moment that any place which is adapted, and adapted in any way, for the sale of livestock by auction should come within the scope of this Bill.

What does coming within the scope of the Bill involve? I do not want to wander into a discussion which anticipates any of the other sections of the Bill or any of the other amendments, but as the Minister pointed out, it is necessary to have regard in our discussions to what comes later. It is at least necessary, to drive home the point, to advert to what the scope of the Bill involves. It involves the necessity of obtaining a licence. It involves that that licence, the giving or withholding of it, should be within the sole discretion of the Minister. I do not intend to initiate a discussion on that but when we have regard to that fact, we shall see that the question of what will or what will not be affected by the licensing provisions of this Bill is important and they are defined by the section we are now discussing arising out of this amendment.

As it stands, any adaptation of a place which renders that place fit or suitable for the sale of livestock by auction is captured, in my view, by this definition. I know there is the point of view, and I think there is validity in it, that it is captured only if it is more than an isolated incident, if the business of providing such a place is being operated, but the business of providing such a place may be operated in a number of ways which I still believe it was never contemplated should require to be licensed under the Bill. The most glaring example of that is the case of a man who habitually conducts, or arranges to have conducted, a sale of his own livestock in his own premises. There seems to be no doubt that if he does that as a course of conduct, does it following a traditional pattern which he has established himself or which has been established by his father or forefathers in relation to that place—if that is done by auction and if the premises are in any way adapted, such a transaction is captured for licence under this.

As I say, as long as the word "adapted" is not modified or limited in any way, then it does not matter whether the adaptation that takes place is large or small. It has been conceded that the throwing out of a few bales of straw to make comfortable seating accommodation under cover for people interested in bidding for the livestock comes within the ambit of this definition. That has been made clear through the discussions that took place on other amendments and it is not necessary to labour the point, but when we see that an adaptation as slight as that can bring that place within the ambit of this definition, then surely we can see the dangers involved in allowing this definition to remain unaltered and allowing the word "adapted" to remain without qualification.

As I have said, we made efforts which, without boasting, I would regard as valiant efforts to bring about some changes. Those efforts have been defeated because time after time the Government have applied the closure to the discussions and subsequently voted down the proposed amendments. The amendment we are now discussing is not an amendment which is going to change radically the position under this definition section. At least it is not going to bring about changes as radical as those already discussed here, and consequently Deputy Clinton is right when he points to the fact that by reason of the other amendments having been voted down, we are now a stage nearer to the Minister.

All we are asking in the amendment is to modify the word "adapted", which is an elastic word, by providing that the place in question should be adapted exclusively for the sale of livestock by auction. We do not like the idea that a place even adapted exclusively for the sale of livestock by auction should require to be licensed or exempt from a licence under this Bill. We do not like that idea at all but it is better that we should endeavour at least to limit the application of the Bill in so far as we can to such places as are exclusively adapted for the sale of livestock by auction.

Deputy Cunningham advised that this amendment should not be accepted. I do not pretend to recall accurately every word the Deputy uttered but the general idea of his argument seemed to be that he was against this amendment because it would penalise farmers' co-operative societies. Deputy Cunningham has the wrong idea about this Bill. He seems to regard it as a Bill which is conferring a benefit on people by requiring them to obtain a licence. That is poles apart from our conception of this Bill. We do not regard it as conferring any benefit on people to require that they should have their premises licensed. It is much preferable that the situation should exist where they do not require a licence and where they are not guilty of an offence if they do not obtain either a licence or an exemption order under section 4. Deputy Cunningham seems to think that there is some advantage in making this definition section as wide as possible to enable as many people as possible, as many businesses as possible and as many places as possible, to come within its ambit.

If Deputy Cunningham thinks about the matter a little more, he will find that the reverse is the position and that the more you confine the operation of this section the more you confine the operation of the Bill, and the more you confine the operation of the Bill, the fewer people are going to be afflicted by its provisions. Many of the provisions of the Bill are tough. As the Bill stands, they can lead to fines of £1,000 or six months in jail, or both, on breach of the provisions, so that so far as the ordinary owner of livestock Is concerned, it seems to me to be obviously to his advantage that he should not come within the scope of this Bill. We are trying in this amendment to exclude from its provisions any place which was not adapted exclusively for the sale of livestock by auction. If it is adapted exclusively for that purpose, then without any pleasure, without any joy in it, we are prepared to concede to the Minister: in that event let the provisions of this Bill apply, let that particular place be required to get a licence, let the owner be guilty of an offence if he carries on the business of a livestock mart in it without either obtaining a licence or obtaining an exemption under section 4. We are prepared to give that concession to the Minister—not because we like doing it but because the votes of the majority of Deputies have rejected what we regard as more suitable amendments, which would have a greater mellowing effect on the section.

Deputy Clinton stated that this Bill was unwanted. He was challenged on that by some Deputies who wanted to know by whom the Bill was unwanted. The difficulty is to find out who wants the Bill, apart from the Fianna Fáil Government. There is no gainsaying the fact that there has been no outcry in favour of this Bill. There has been no demand to have a Bill which defines the business of a livestock mart in this particular manner. There has been no demand from anyone I know of. It may be that the Minister, or the Deputies who interrupted Deputy Clinton, have more detailed information than I have. As far as I can see, the NFA, the Council of the Incorporated Law Society, the IAOS, the Cork Marts, the Associated Livestock Marts, and I think I could say two of the national newspapers, theIrish Independent and the Irish Times have all been critical of the provisions of this Bill. The Council of the Incorporated Law Society have described the Bill as “dangerous and possibly unconstitutional.” They have gone on record as giving their criticism of the Bill.

If the Bill remains unaltered, if the scope remains as wide as it is, then the danger is all the greater. The more you limit the scope of the Bill—at least this much can be said—the more you are reducing the danger that exists. If we could succeed by our efforts in connection with the definition section in reducing the application of this Bill to a large extent, then obviously the dangerous elements in the Bill would be reduced, because we would be confining the operation of the Bill to a smaller section of the community. I do not suggest that any section of the community should be afflicted in this manner. That is not our desire. This Bill has not been introduced by us. It has been introduced by the Minister for Agriculture

If we are going to have any reasoned discussion on these things in Parliament, surely it is only on the basis of an exchange of views across the floor of the House? Surely it can be only on the basis of weighing up the pros and the cons of each amendment as it is moved and discussed? It cannot be done by endeavouring to make a skit of serious amendments proposed unashamedly with a view to limiting the scope and operation of the Bill. I could just as easily bulk all the Minister's amendments together and try possibly to ridicule the Bill in regard to what its reading would be then. For example, at least one of the later amendments I have proposed would involve the deletion of a section of the Bill. Clearly, you cannot look upon that amendment as something to be added to a section when in fact the deletion of the section is involved if the amendment is accepted.

The main point in connection with this amendment is that its acceptance by the House would enable us to see reasonably clearly to what extent places would be affected by the operation of the Bill. If this amendment is accepted, the Bill will have application only if the particular place is adapted exclusively for the sale of livestock by auction. It will not apply otherwise. If it did not apply, then the other provisions of the Bill would not apply. That is an important point for Deputies opposite to keep in their minds—that any place excluded from this definitions section is then going to be freed from the other restrictions in the Bill. It is going to be freed from any requirement to obtain either a licence or an order exempting the licence requirement.

That could be of considerable importance, as had been pointed out, in connection with country fairs. There is no doubt that if fairs are held regularly, possibly on a monthly basis, in a particular locality, if that place is adapted in connection with the fair and, having been adapted for the fair, is then satisfactory and suitable for the sale of livestock by auction, that place or the proprietors of that place are in jeopardy under this Bill if they do not obtain a licence or an exemption order. That is the kind of danger we are trying to avert in arguing out this section and urging the acceptance of this and indeed the other amendments which have been tabled. I do not know if the Parliamentary Secretary has any authority at this stage to indicate his preparedness to accept this amendment. I hope that, if he is not prepared to accept it, he is at least prepared to report to his Minister that he should have second thoughts about the rejection of an amendment of this sort.

There are other matters which I suppose could be dealt with in connection with this amendment, or possibly they might be more relevant in connection with other amendments and other sections of this Bill. But the vital point to bear in mind is the desirability, from the point of view of those who are going to come up against this Bill, of limiting its operation as far as possible. The particular limitation now proposed is, as I said, not as radical an alteration as we would like but at least it would go some distance to make the position clearer and to clip the wings of the definition section.

I have already made my case in favour of this amendment and I do not intend to continue speaking on it. I do not want to be accused by the Leas-Cheann Comhairle of repeating myself and I think I have said all that I wanted to say in direct relation to the amendment. I rise to challenge the Parliamentary Secretary and, if he does not answer this challenge, I will challenge Deputy Booth who has taken a keen interest in this Bill, to answer two questions. The expression "a place adapted" is dependent on a rough specification of what the Minister has in mind as to what a livestock mart should, in fact, look like or what a place adapted for that purpose should look like and it is incumbent on the Parliamentary Secretary on behalf of the Minister, or on some Deputy on that side, to give us a rough specification of what this type of place would look like or what it would require to make it look like that.

The Minister made another statement which I intended to challenge and to ask him exactly what he meant. He said that all unlicensed mart operations are outside the scope of this definition. What I want somebody over there to tell us is what type of mart operations will be permitted by the Minister without a licence? The Minister says that all unlicensed mart operations are outside the scope of the definition. What type of mart operation is he going to permit in future without a licence if he gets this Bill through the House because that could be so limited as to require a licence in every sales transaction that takes place in the country, unless we get a more liberal description of what he means from the Parliamentary Secretary. The other Parliamentary Secretary—the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture—who was here, disappeared when I put him the two questions.

But this is a very farseeing man who is coming in now, who will put his finger on the heart of the whole matter.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach was very helpful earlier in the day in indicating quite clearly what was meant when we were discussing the other amendment and perhaps he can give us what I am looking for—a rough specification of what a place adapted for the purposes of a livestock mart would look like and what it would require to adapt it. and he might also tell us what the Minister meant when he said that all unlicensed mart operations are outside the scope of this definition. I want somebody over there to attempt this because we cannot get very much further with clearing this definition section until we get a clear reply to both these questions and I am quite sure that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach or Deputy Booth would be quite capable of telling us what was in the Minister's mind when he made the statement.

When the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach intervened in this debate today, I think I was heard to say that a Daniel had come to judgment. We were then discussing the amendment relative to construction or reconstruction and he went right to the heart of the subject at once by asking: "How could you apply these words to a field?" Of course, you could not apply them to a field. That is the very reason why we suggested them.

I do not see how the Parliamentary Secretary can now have any objection to a proposal to make this definition section read:

"the business of a livestock mart" means providing for the holding of sales of livestock by auction or otherwise a place adapted exclusively for the sale of livestock by auction.

It is important to bear in mind that the section as it stands prohibits not only the sale of livestock by auction but the sale of livestock by auction or otherwise in a place adapted for the sale of livestock by auction. According to the Parliamentary Secretary's expresed anxiety, that means that the definition article covers a field where livestock is sold otherwise than by auction and therefore would be caught by this definition unless the Minister exercises his powers under section 4 expressly to exempt every field in Ireland, but that is a daft way of going about it. What objection can the Government have to providing that this Bill will operate only on places which are adapted exclusively for the sale of livestock by auction? Is that not what they want this Bill to operate upon? Is it not a place where somebody has altered the whole condition in order to adapt it for the sale of livestock?

Deputy Cunningham is anxious that if this word were inserted, it would not only govern the definition or description of a place but that "exclusively" would operate to prevent people from doing anything else in it. I think the Parliamentary Secretary will agree with me that, of course, that is wholly false. The insertion of the word "exclusively" in this definition section does not prevent anybody doing anything he likes in the place thereafter but it does ensure that unless it is adapted exclusively for the sale of livestock by auction, there is no need to submit to inspection by inspectors or civic guards or anybody else.

Is it not reasonable to say that if a man occupies a home or a field or a yard which he does not propose to adapt exclusively for the sale of livestock by auction, he ought to have preserved sacrosanct his right to say to any representative of the Government or to anybody else: "Keep out until you are invited in"?

I do not suppose the Minister contends that he claims under this Bill or any other Bill the right of entry at his own sweet will on to any man's home or land unless under the code of criminal law, but if, as I think the Parliamentary Secretary must agree, this definition section is passed in its present form, it is open to the officers of the Department of Agriculture escorted by civic guards to enter any man's holding which has been adapted, whether expressly or not, for the sale of livestock by auction.

I do not know if the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach is authorised to make any observations on these amendments at all or not but I would be glad to know if any of the other amendments designed to qualify this part of the definition section on the lines on which this particular amendment travels would be acceptable to the Government. It is high time, if such be the case, that a Government spokesman should say so. An important principle is at stake.

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

A very interesting interjection by Deputy Lemass: he says he is bored.

A Deputy

The House was not in session.

I think Fianna Fáil are bored by the obligation of legislating through Parliament.

Eight hours on an amendment—surely that is excessive— and four hours on two words.

It is monstrous that a Bill of this kind should be brought before this House, that before we can determine what this Bill applies to, eight hours have to be spent trying to extract from the Government do they themselves know, and the only answer is that they do not know, and every Fianna Fáil Deputy who has intervened in this discussion so far has given a different interpretation.

That is not a fact, as the Deputy well knows.

It is a fact as far as my experience and careful attention lead me to believe.

The attention is not as close as it might have been.

I think it was close enough. They are not unfamiliar matters to me: I think I know a little about them. I manifestly know more than Deputy Lemass. I am not bored.

Anyone would get bored by repetition.

The Deputy is not listening to himself. That is the burden we have to bear.

I believe legislation by Parliament is preferable to legislation by order. That is why I want the definition clause of this Bill to be settled by Parliament, the Oireachtas, rather than by the Minister.

By way of debate rather than filibuster.

By way of debate, exactly.

Rather than filibuster.

By way of debate.

We have not had one.

Let us get back to amendment No. 2 (a).

That is the amendment the discussion of which has been boring Deputy Lemass. It is important to register on his mind that we receive £1,500 a year and expenses for the purposes of discussing rationally in this House legislation and of arriving at as near consensus as it is reasonably possible to hope. I doubt if any Deputy of the Fianna Fáil Party will claim that in respect of this matter of definitions, their Minister has made any effort, good, bad or indifferent, to seek or find a consensus in the matter of the effect of the provisions of this Bill on our people.

I think we have.

I am glad Deputy Gallagher has come to join us, because I am sure he will be in a position to throw a hood of light on this business. I think he can help us because he is a Deputy with a special expert knowledge in regard to the matter of adapting a premises for any purpose.

We are dealing with "exclusively" rather than adaptation.

Adapted exclusively for the purpose of an auction mart.

Could we not discuss that?

Is that not what we are discussing?

Not so far.

The Deputy is not bored?

Bored to tears.

I know the disciplines of parliamentary life are hard for certain people to bear, but, as President Truman said: "If you cannot stand the heat, keep out of the kitchen."

I am standing the heat at the moment.

With loud lamentations. There is only one thing worse than a man who staggers out; it is the man who weeps on your shoulder, and I do not wish my shoulder to be wet with Deputy Booth's tears. If he cannot endure the ardollr of the parliamentary life, he has an option.

If I could not endure it I would get out, but I am bearing it remarkably well.

With loud lamentations.

The things I do for Ireland no one will ever know.

It is important that we should resolve that the scope of this Bill will be settled by the decision of this House and not by a subsequent decision taken by the Minister and inserted here by order. He says he proposes to limit the application of this Bill by the orders he intends to make. Is it unreasonable to offer him seven options effectively to limit the purpose of this Bill to what is generally under-mart, so that it may be done not by ministerial order but by action of the Oireachtas? We have a very grave obligation to press the desirability of that course upon the Minister. We have a grave obligation to bring home, even through the veil of boredom that enshrouds Deputy Booth and Deputy Lemass, that it is the duty of this House to see that Ministers do not seek power or, if they seek it, do not get it to legislate by order.

Would the insertion of the word "exclusively" limit the Minister's power under any regulation?

Perhaps the Deputy will explain that.

Very gladly. I am much obliged to Deputy Booth for directing my attention to that aspect of the question, because it opens a wide field. The power to make an order under any Act of this House is, fortunately, pretty rigidly interpreted by the courts. I think the Deputy will find on inquiry from competent authority that if the Minister sought to make an order altering an express decision of this House under a power conferred upon him by this House in a Bill of this kind, the courts would hold the Act wasultra vires, that no Act of Parliament could confer upon the Minister the power to widen the Act himself.

Does the Deputy imagine that, under his power to make orders under this Bill, the Minister could declare that this Bill applies to every acre of land? I am anxious to know. The purport of the Bill is to confine it to certain categories of places. Does the Deputy apprehend that the Minister could completely abolish that restriction, it being an integral part of the Act under which he proposes to make that order? Of course he could not. Now, perhaps it is dawning on the Deputy's mind why we want the words put in by the Oireachtas. It is because if they are put in this Bill by the Oireachtas, then no order of the Minister made under the same Act can operate to take them out.

But there is no danger.

How many people have gone swimming, having eaten a full meal, assuring their anxious families that there is no danger and then been caught in a lump of old seaweed and removed to the morgue? Of course there is danger. If you leave the section in a state in which the Minister says: "I am going to make orders because I recognise the necessity to limit further the application of this definition section", you hand over to the Minister a duty which I suggest is the function of Oireachtas Éireann. The Deputy asks even if the Oireachtas succeeds in amending this definition in order to restrict it, what is to prevent the Minister making regulations hereafter removing a restriction? He could not do it.

No. He will not make any order under this definition section.

He cannot make an order changing what we now do. If he wanted to change what we now do, he would have to come back here with another Bill.

Of course he would.

That is what I want to do.

That is already done in the Bill.

It has not yet dawned on the Deputy. The Deputy interrupted me a moment ago asking why should we worry about putting in this restriction when the Minister could bring it in by order——

No; I never suggested that.

You did.

I understood the Deputy to say that it could be done by order. I said it was for that very reason that we want to put in these amendments, because we want to limit by act of the Oireachtas the scope of the application of the Bill. And the Deputy said: "What is the use of doing that when the Minister by order under the Bill could subsequently undo the limitation you seek to impose?

The idea never occurred to me. If the Deputy would listen or read, or both, he would know what I said.

I listened very closely and I understood the Deputy to say that.

Even the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture quoted section 4.

Yes, but it is with Deputy Booth I am concerned. This is why we are fighting for hours here, trying to get these words inserted by the Oireachtas and not by executive order made by the Minister. If we get the Oireachtas to insert the necessary words of limitation, it is not within the power of the Minister to take them out without coming back to the Oireachtas. Suppose we give him this omnibus definition and he then sits down and discusses the matter with the NAG, the IAOS, the NFA, the co-operative marts, ICMSA and the various other agricultural organisations, by his own statement in the House, he is quite likely to come to a conclusion at the end of the discussions, where the wish has become the father to his own thought and he may amend by order, honestly believing that he is meeting the reasonable representations that have been made to him, only to discover the following morning that the NAG, the IAOS, the co-operative marts, the NFA and ICMSA say: "That is not what we agreed at all."

I am giving the Minister the charity of my belief that he reported truly to the House his previous experience of his discussions with these bodies. He got up in the House afterwards and having read what these bodies had to say of what they remembered of the discussions, admitted that what he had told the House was incorrect and that perhaps he had allowed himself to be carried away by his enthusiasm for a consensus when he was discussing this matter with these organisations.

Interesting, but hardly relevant.

Surely Deputy Booth said that the Minister could, by order, do the very thing we are seeking now——

I did not, but even if I did——

Or did the Deputy not say: what is the use of doing these things here when the Minister by order can undo them?

What I may have said or not said is irrelevant. Could we get back to the amendment?

Surely the whole purpose of debate in this House is the expression of opinion and counter-opinion? What is the use of discussion if it does not evoke dialogue?

The dialogue should be on the subject which is under discussion.

It is a monologue the Deputy wants.

The dialogue is at present on the amendment which we are pressing in order to get it enacted by the Oireachtas rather than hope that a similar amendment will be made subsequently by order by the Minister. I understood Deputy Booth to say: "What is the use of spending eight hours in trying to get this put in when the Minister could take it out by order?"

I never said anything like that.

I think that if the Deputy looks at the official record, he will find he did say it, even if he did not mean to say it.

I neither said it nor meant it.

Then my ears must have deceived me.

Yes, but that is not relevant.

Would Deputy Booth stand up and contribute?

This is on the amendment.

I am not in favour of dialogue across the floor of the House.

This is Committee Stage. We can become too stiff and formal in our procedure. I understood Deputy Booth to say that it was a waste of parliamentary time to seek to urge on the Minister words of limitation in the defintion section because, after all, whatever words we persuaded him to adopt he could subsequently take out by order.

I heard all that, and I suggest that the Deputy should deal with the amendment.

I can see that I have not yet carried conviction to Deputy Booth's mind that he is mistaken in his belief that the Minister could do these things. I am trying to explain why we are so solicitous to get even one of these amendments accepted. It is in order to put it out of the Minister's power to alter the scope of the operation of the Bill. I think that is worth all the debate we can give it and if it takes a long time, it is time well spent. I am not bored with that operation. It is part of the work we are paid to do.

It is not a question of debate but a matter of endless reiteration which is unconvincing.

I suppose there never was a man of slow wits whom I could hope rapidly to make see the light but I should be long sorry to be guilty of uncharitable impatience in my endeavours to illuminate. I think it is part of my job to do so. I am here to argue the case and that is what I am doing to the point of making the Deputy uncomfortable. I think that is the purpose of debate. If I can make Deputies uncomfortable, the counter irritation will probably help to illuminate their minds. I know well that many Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party secretly agree with me but are afraid to say so, because they are going to be made vote very shortly.

The Deputy is departing from the amendment.

On this amendment, I believe many members of the Fianna Fáil Party agree with me but they will be constrained to vote against it.

That does not make it an argument for the amendment.

I am pressing strongly on the Government to provide that only the person who deliberately seeks to be brought within the scope of this Bill by his own action and intent should be suffered to have the sections of this Bill operate on him. Various other amendments designed to remedy the evil we see in this have been offered but we have no indication from the Minister at all that he is ready to consider any of them. The only suggestion we have had is that by executive order whatever needs to be done he will do it. That is not enough. I want whatever needs to be done to be done by this House. Here is one way of doing what needs to be done and I urge Deputies to come behind me in the task of doing it and not delegate our responsibility to the Executive as a whole or to any member of it.

There are no marts at all in my part of the country. I do not intend to dictate to the House how they should run their marts but what I want to say is that we have a Bill being pushed through this House, being bulldozed with a battering ram, if you like.

By whom?

That does not come well from the Deputy. If the Parliamentary Secretary wants to contribute, I will give way.

That is very good.

A good muzzle has been put on every one of you. You are told to keep quiet. You are a bunch of yes-men. We have only had a few interruptions from some of you on the far side. You have not the courage to stand up and say something.

The Deputy knows there is an amendment before the House and he must address himself to it.

There are many amendments.

There is only one amendment before the House.

On the amendment, it is our intention to see that it meets what we have expressed from this side of the House. We intend to dot the "i's," cross the "t's," and put in the commas in the right places. If Deputy Carty still wishes to take over, I will give way.

You have nothing to say.

I stood up which is something more than you who purport to know something about this section have done.

I would ask the Deputy not to address another Deputy across the floor of the House.

Through the Chair.

There is no need to say "through the Chair." The Deputy must address the Chair.

We do not want to leave the running of the marts to some faceless individual in a swivel chair to control.

That has nothing to do with the amendment. On a point of order, is the Deputy not straying to a Second Reading speech.

We will leave that to the Chair. In this we see intrusion into private enterprise by a Government who have messed up everything they put their hand to. This is unconstitutional. It is wrong. I hope the Deputy will make a speech to defend the Government.

On a point of order, the Deputy is straying away from the amendment. He is making a Second Reading speech.

The Chair is not expressing a view. If the Deputy continues on the lines he is on the Chair will express a view.

It is quite obvious, as I said, that every one of the Deputies opposite is muzzled. They have no freedom in this House. This Bill is being bulldozed through the House It is very wrong and is unconstitutional and will have effect later.

The definition section of the Bill is of course the most important section. It covers all that is in the Bill. That is why at this stage we must use every power available to us to ensure that the definition section is as tidy, as accurate and as relevant as it can be made, no more and no less. The purpose of our amendment is to ensure that it is no more. We sought earlier on to make it less than the Minister wanted to make it. The word we ask to insert after "adapted", for the benefit of Deputy Booth and others who may be in some doubt about it, is the simple word "exclusively". I imagine Oxford, Webster, Dinneen and any other dictionary would define the verb "exclude" as "keeping out"

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

We are glad to see some more Members coming in to be enlightened as to what this Bill is all about. The section to which we address ourselves, about which Members opposite are not aware, is the first section of this most important Bill, An Bille um Margalanna Beostoic, 1967, which will probably become known as the Livestock Marts Act, 1968 and 1969. We are asking you to direct your attention to this Bill now because what you decide now will be the law of the future and we seek to prevent you doing more than your Minister says he intends to do.

He wants, we understand for some reason still unknown and yet to be disclosed, to reserve unto himself the right to decide who may and who may not sell livestock, where and when they may do so, and to make it an offence on anybody to do it without his fiat. His fiat means his "say so". We seek to provide, even though this outrageous proposal is being put before us, that it be no more than what the Minister considers to be absolutely necessary. That is why we say if he proposes to consider a livestock mart as a place which is used for the sale of livestock by auction, it should apply only to an edifice, to a building constructed for the purposes of a livestock mart. It is wrong to say that every farmyard must be licensed, that auction of cattle may not take place anywhere unless in a licensed property.

The definition section put before us would make it an offence if a farmer sought the assistance of an auctioneer to auction his cattle on his own land. The purposes of Deputy O'Higgins's most reasonable amendment is to provide that such an event would not require the licence of a Minister and would not make it an offence to have such a sale conducted but would make it a perfectly permissible thing to continue operations of that particular kind.

We seek no more in this amendment than to allow reason to prevail. It is no answer to our appeal for the acceptance of this amendment to say that what we seek can be provided in a regulation to be made by the Minister, that what we seek may be provided in exemptions which the Bill with certain amendments will give the Minister power to grant. That is making all these amendments mortal sins and reserving to one individual the right to give exemptions or absolutions in advance to certain people he considers deserving of his benediction in doing exactly the same thing as other people will be doing. This thing of catching all the fish in the sea by putting in a very fine net and giving somebody power, having caught all the fish, to decide what fish will be dropped back into the sea is extremely wasteful.

That is the kind of thing Professor Parkinson speaks about, this folly of creating offences that they may be exempted, this stupidity of making regulations in order that they need not be enforced in certain circumstances and creating inspectorates to ensure that they are not enforced, that they are recommended for enforcement or non-enforcement, as the case may be. It is to avoid all that folly and to avoid a Parkinsonian institution, and all the rest of it, that we seek to exclude from the provisions of this measure any place which is not generally known and accepted to be abona fide livestock mart.

If it is in the competence of the Minister and his advisers to draft regulations and formally to exclude the places we now say should be, and which everybody opposite us believes ought to be, excluded, then we should do it by providing in this Bill the simple word "exclusively". To refuse to do so is to continue to fly in the face of all that is reasonable, to continue to declare to the public that the Government will not allow democracy to operate, will not allow legislation by parliament and will not allow the laws of this country to be made by the freely elected representatives of the people. But the Government want power to have these laws made by persons who have no responsibility to the elected representatives. It will then become the law of this land to be purchased at additional public expenditure from the Government Publications Sales Office, hidden away so as to trip the unwary, to trip the innocent and to confuse people who have, in this country as in other countries, been carrying on sensible sales of livestock over the years by makingad hoc arrangements in accordance with their own requirements.

It is well known that in legislation in the past definition clauses have been inserted to define in tight terms, understandable terms, certain occupations and to control those occupations. There are many professions, many industries, many commercial activities, which are caught by a suitable definition section, but I defy any member of the Government to provide any definition section in any Act of Oireachtas Éireann which is so clumsily, loosely and irresponsibly drawn up as the one before us tonight for consideration.

This is clearly one which was drawn up in haste, without regard to the extent or the damage which will be done by it. The only answer we have in this particular case is refusal to accept amendments, refusal to speed up the passage of this Bill by accepting these reasonable amendments.

This is encouraging this spread of disease, the spread of bureaucracy. There is no justification for it and there is no answer to our charge of this irresponsible and unproductive spread of bureaucracy, even though this may be encouraging disease. We will control it later on by taking certain steps to repair the damage that might be done. Now is the time to do it and we would again appeal to the Government to exclude what is unnecessary, to shut out what is unnecessary, and to do that by the simple expedient of adopting the reasonable solution in the name of Deputy M.J. O'Higgins, to insert after the word "adapted" the simple word "exclusively".

If that is not done, we will continue to oppose this Bill line by line and a guillotine motion which has been threatened on the other side of the House will not deter us from our major objective to amend this Bill at the definition stage, which is the most important stage. It is, unfortunately, the stage which is all too readily passed over in this House, and in another place, in various Bills that come before us. It is too casually treated but in this particular instance it is the greatest evil and one which will permit the greatest evil to be done. We can control it by adopting the reasonable amendment proposed by Deputy M.J. O'Higgins.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary going to speak? I was hoping he would contribute to the discussion at this stage.

We have no objection to the Deputy eating the straw out of his own saddle. He can keep talking as long as he likes.

He never saw a straw.

In the wind.

Nihil obstat.

You are getting very ecclesiastical over there.

At the moment the position is that, with the exception of the intervention of the Minister and, I think, of Deputy Cunningham, no reasons have been advanced by the members of the Government Party as to why this amendment should not be accepted. There are two Parliamentary Secretaries in occupation of the Government Front Bench. Apparently the position is that neither of them desires to disclose to the House whether or not he agrees with this amendment, whether or not he has any reservations regarding the desirability of the present definition section standing as it is worded at present.

Deputy Ryan has quite rightly referred to the importance of this section. It is not possible to deal in any detail at this stage with what follows in the Bill but I think the Parliamentary Secretaries will appreciate the validity of the point made by Deputy Ryan when I point out that in the portion of this section with which we are concerned in this amendment, we are endeavouring to define the business of a livestock mart. In the next following section, it is provided that no person will be entitled to carry on the business we are now defining, unless that person obtains a licence from the Minister.

Hear, hear.

He cannot carry on that business at any place unless a licence is first obtained from the Minister. That is the importance of this section; that is why it is important, if we disagree with other provisions in this Bill, we should endeavour to limit this section. We are endeavouring to do that in this amendment, and we endeavoured to do it in other amendments we proposed.

I have for some time been trying to get an answer to a specific query: whether it is the intention of the Government in this measure to preclude a man from selling his own livestock, on his own premises, unless he obtains either a licence or an exemption order. Deputies opposite seem to me to be rather coy about venturing an answer to that question. On re-examining the definition section of this Bill, it seems to me now to be clear that the sale by a man of livestock on his own premises, by auction, is intended to be covered by this Bill. I do not know whether the Parliamentary Secretaries appreciate how wide is the definition. According to the definition, the business of a livestock mart means two things; one of the things it means Is the business of selling livestock by auction. There the position is simple and clear—the selling of livestock by auction is the business of a livestock mart. That applies, irrespective of the place where the sale takes place; it applies whether or not the place is adapted in accordance with the second part of this definition of the sale of livestcck by auction. The business of selling livestock by auction is brought in as a definition of the business of a livestock mart, and that business cannot be carried on at any place unless a licence is obtained. The second part of the definition deals with not the actual sale by auction of livestock but with the provision of places for carrying on this particular business and it is provided that the business of a livestock mart means providing for the holding of sales, by auction or otherwise, a place adapted for the sale of livestock by auction.

I do not want to repeat myself on this amendment but, once more, might I call the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary to the elasticity of the word "adapted" used in this particular connection? Might I call his attention to the fact that any type of adaptation, be it large or small, will be captured under this definition? In these circumstances, it does seem to be reasonable to try to qualify that word, to try to make the word mean what the House intends it should mean in relation to this measure.

If the intention is to control and deal with the control of livestock marts, surely what we should be doing in relation to the definition section is trying to get an adequate definition of what constitutes a livestock mart? We are not doing that. The Government have chosen to bring in the Bill in its present form, with its present definition, and that imposes on us the obligation of examining their proposals and seeking to amend them, if we think amendments are desirable.

I would again urge the desirability of limiting the word "adapted," of qualifying it, modifying it, by accepting this amendment and inserting, after the word "adapted," the word "exclusively," so that then the requirement for a licence would be that the place should be adapted exclusively for the sale of livestock by auction. That would make the second part of the definition at least bear some reasonable relationship to the first part. Remember the first part of the definition of business of a livestock mart is the business of selling livestock by auction; in that part of the definition the sale must be by auction. If we now provide, in the second part, the insertion of the word "exclusively," it will automatically exclude the accidental type of adaptation of which I spoke earlier. Then the requirement would be that the place must be adapted exclusively for the sale of livestock by auction. Therefore, while I would not dream of suggesting that the definition would then be perfect—I do not think it would even be a good definition—at least it would be an improvement on what is in the Bill at the moment.

I take the view, rightly or wrongly, that once the House has accepted the principle of the Bill by giving the Bill its Second Reading, whether we like that or not, we must do whatever we can by our contributions here to improve the measure. I believe that this amendment would constitute an improvement which would be welcomed by the people who are likely to be not only affected but afflicted by this Bill on those grounds, I would again urge that it should be accepted by the Minister. His Parliamentary Secretary has shown commendable patience in listening to the arguments here. I hope that the patience he has shown may be taken as an indication that he has been impressed by them and is now reporting accordingly to his Minister.

When this Bill was introduced, I, and I think every other Member of the House, took it that it was to deal practically exclusively with cattle marts. It is only when these amendments were brought in that it was brought to light that the Minister will not express himself in such a way as to define what the Bill really means. I think every Member of the House felt this Bill should deal only with actual auctions in marts which take place every week and sometimes twice a week. Those amendments were brought in and those who moved them deserve great credit for bringing them before the House and having them discussed. As I said, we thought it was intended for an auction mart sale but now the Minister is not going to exclude any other auctions, as far as we know. He is not going to have the definition confined to actual auction marts, livestock marts as we regard them, but he may take a hand in controlling private sales.

In my own county each year farmers in the springtime auction in-calf heifers. They are large farmers and they have quite a number of these in-calf heifers, pure breds, usually Friesians. They set up a mart for the day in their own yards. There is a ring but maybe there are no seats. They employ an auctioneer to auction the heifers for them. There are several auctioneers in my county, including a Member of the Upper House, Senator Teehan, who organise auction marts each year. They advertise that there are two or three farmers offering heifers for sale on that particular day and invite farmers in the same district—Callan, in Senator Teehan's case. There are several other auctioneers as well as Senator Teehan in the same business. I would like to know whether these marts are to be brought under the powers of this Bill.

There have been different words used. Marts "constructed or reconstructed" and the one we are dealing with "marts exclusively used for the sale of livestock". These people have these annual and sometimes bi-annual sales and I would not like to see those people affected. I would not like to see ordinary farmers having to go to the Minister and beg favours from him to permit them to hold these sales. I would appeal to the Minister to accept this very reasonable amendment, that is, that this Bill will affect only "livestock marts exclusively used for the sale of cattle". I think it is only a reasonable appeal. I appeal on behalf of my constituency of Kilkenny so that the people will feel that they are entitled to hold these sales. It is quite a common sale in our county by the farmers and the auctioneers. I appeal to the Minister, who should be a reasonable man, to accept it.

(South Tipperary): The Minister, in an intervention and speaking on the amendment under discussion at the time, the one which mentions the word “exclusively”, criticised our efforts in respect of that and in respect of all our amendments as lacking effect and said that our efforts, would merely cause imprecision. He chose to use the word “imprecision” on a few occasions. This seemed to be the main impact which our efforts made on him and his main objection seemed to be that our amendment would mean imprecisions in the wording of the Bill. He then proceeded to catalogue the various words which had been used in the amendments: “constructed and reconstructed”, “adapted exclusively”, “habitually used”. He blocked all these, stuck them in somewhere in the definition and then described it as an impossible piece of draftsmanship.

Indeed I agree that if you put an adjective, an adverb, some kind of conjugation altogether after some noun, you will get a pretty incomprehensible sentence but that does not detract from these amendments. It was impossible for us to deal with this matter in any other comprehensive fashion. If the Minister is not satisfied with our attempts at defining the application of this Bill, I invite him to help us. He can do it in a very simple fashion. He can add a Schedule to the Bill and can write into that Schedule all the forms of trading activities which will be exempt so that they are incorporated in the Bill. If he wishes, and it might be a purposeful way of doing it, he can write in two Schedules. I would regard the position to be somewhat like this: Schedule (1) would deal with areas where marts are already present and there he could probably write down a limited amount of activities for exemption. Then he could write in Schedule (2)——

Is the Deputy speaking on a new amendment altogether?

(South Tipperary): I am replying to points raised by the Minister.

In respect of the amendment?

(South Tipperary): When Deputy Booth elects to speak, if he says anything intelligent, I shall be delighted to get up and comment on that also. I am dealing with what the Minister said. Whether it was intelligent or unintelligent, at least he spoke, which is more than Deputy Booth did so far.

Oh, yes; I have spoken.

Not on this amendment.

Neither has anybody else.

(South Tipperary): I was suggesting that the second Schedule could be devised for the non-mart areas. Here he could exempt a broader field of activities, for example, fairs because they would have to be exempted if people are to sell their cattle. In the non-mart areas, they could be exempt for some such period as until the marts are built. That would be a simple reply to give us: the type of activities which he is prepared to exempt in the mart and the non-mart areas.

How does this relate to amendment 2a?

(South Tipperary): I was dealing with the contribution by the Minister when dealing with the amendment.

It is amendment 2a that is before the House.

(South Tipperary): That is what we were discussing at the time of the Minister's intervention and now that he is back, I am referring to the point which he made that it would be impracticable to incorporate our amendments in the section, and I am showing him a way out, an acceptable way out. He will be exempting some under section 4, and I am inviting him to do that now and incorporate the exemptions in the measure itself so that he will escape all the trouble that will come upon him when the Bill comes to be interpreted. I am trying to save the Minister from himself.

Is the Minister going to reply?

To what?

There were various suggestions made.

And I gave quite a comprehensive covering of them this evening.

I missed that.

You will see the sense of what I said when you read the debate.

It was described to me and I am wondering now if the Minister wishes to add to what he said.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá; 38, Níl, 65.

  • 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.
  • Dunne, Thomas.
  • Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
  • Farrelly, Denis.
  • Gilhawley, Eugene.
  • Governey, Desmond.
  • Harte, Patrick D.
  • Hogan, Patrick.
  • (South Tipperary).
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • Lindsay, Patrick J.
  • Lyons, Michael D.
  • McLaughlin, Joseph.
  • Mullen, Michael.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'Donnell, Tom.
  • O'Hara, Thomas.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • Reynolds, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, Richie.
  • Spring, Dan.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
  • Tully, James.

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.
  • Clohessy. Patrick.
  • Colley, George.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Cotter, Edward.
  • Crinion, Brendan.
  • Cronin, Jerry.
  • Crowley, Flor.
  • 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.
  • Gibbons, Hugh.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • Haughey, Charles.
  • Healy, Augustine A.
  • Hillery, Patrick J.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Kenneally, William.
  • Kennedy, James J.
  • Kitt, Michael F.
  • Lalor, Patrick J.
  • Lemass, Noel T.
  • Lemass, Seán.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • 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.
  • Smith, Patrick.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies T. Dunne and James Tully; Níl, Deputies Carty and Geoghegan.
Amendment declared lost.

I move amendment No. 2b:

In page 2, line 15, after "adapted" to insert "and habitually used".

This amendment also seeks, as did other amendments, to place some bound, some limit, on the definition section of this Bill. The House has now decided that we should not qualify the word "adapted" used in the definition section in the manner suggested in the other amendments. The House has just taken the decision that we should not qualify the word "adapted" by inserting after it the word "exclusively".

I am suggesting now in this amendment that, after the word "adapted" in the definition section, we should insert the words "and habitually used". The Minister will probably recall that this was a suggestion made by Deputy Dillon in discussing amendment No. 1 moved some time ago by Deputy Clinton, and a discussion took place in which the Minister participated, as to whether or not the definition of the business of a livestock mart in the Bill now before us could be extended to cover particular cases of a more or less isolated nature, cases where places became adapted by reason of work, possibly of a temporary nature, done to them. Having been adapted, they thereby became suitable for the sale of livestock by auction.

Deputy Dillon offered the suggestion to the Minister that while he did not like the Bill, at least what seemed to be the apparent intention of the Minister could be clarified and crystallised in this section by inserting the words I suggest in the amendment, "and habitually used", after the word "adapted" so that the definition of "business of a livestock mart" would then read: "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, at a place adapted and habitually used for the sale of livestock by auction".

If this amendment is accepted it will certainly put beyond doubt the intention of the Legislature in relation to the definition of this particular business. It will put beyond doubt the fact that we do not intend this measure, if it is enacted by the Legislature, to apply to what has been described here more than once as the farmyard sale, the conducting of a sale by a man in his own farmyard periodically, possibly once a year. Then, in circumstances where the farmyard attached to the farm or farmhouse is used every now and again for the purpose of conducting a sale by the farmer of his own stock, that place will not come within the definition section. Clearly it will not, if this amendment is accepted.

If the amendment is accepted, in order to become involved, to become enmeshed in this definition, it would be necessary that the place adapted should be habitually used for the sale of livestock by auction. Either the Minister intends what I have said on more than one occasion, I think he intends, that this Bill should apply to livestock marts proper—either he intends by his definition section to capture all sorts of transactions involving the sale of livestock—or he does not. If he does not so intend, now is his opportunity to make that clear. He can make it clear without embarrassment to himself or to the Government, without jeopardising in any way the controls he proposes to impose. I urge him to do so.

I am grateful to Deputy O'Higgins for recalling that the substance of this amendment was adumbrated by me during the discussion on the Money Resolution associated with the Bill. I confess I cannot foresee any legislative proposals coming from a Minister for Agriculture without an instinctive desire on my part to help him to make it better, though it looks incongruous of me to try to help the present Minister. However, there it is.

The moment the Bill came before us, I saw the defects of this definition and the manifest fact that its drafting was done under such pressure that the Title brought within the scope of the Bill far more than the Minister needed, or, I believe, intended, to bring within its scope. There is a variety of devices which could be employed to correct that defect but of them all, the one we now submit is probably the best.

In drawing his definition, the Minister had two purposes in mind, according to himself, and I believe it to be true. First, he wanted to describe what the business of a livestock mart is; but secondly, he wanted, by implication, to provide that if you were running a livestock mart and purporting to sell cattle by auction in the mart, you could not escape from the obligations imposed on you by this Bill merely by saying: "I did not sell the cattle by auction; I sold them by hand." It is to be borne in mind that that is not an impossible contingency. In the Dublin Cattle Market, for instance, there is a situation where auctions occur in one part while sales by hand are proceeding in another part of the same premises at the same time.

I foresee the possibility that if it were open to a person who wished to avoid the impact of these proposals, he could provide for the holding of sales of livestock by auction in a place adapted for the sale of livestock by auction and then claim that though his premises were so adapted, he was not, in fact, selling by auction but by hand. This is the reason for the insertion of the words "or otherwise". What the Minister failed to observe when inserting those precautionary words to prevent people from escaping the liabilities of this Bill by alleging that though they had adapted the premises for auction they were selling by hand was that he has cast the net more widely than he realises and he will have continuous recourse to section 4 for the purpose of exemption. We think that is wrong.

I overcame my natural reluctance to help the Minister to improve the Bill, the principles of which I thoroughly disapprove, by pointing out to him that if he puts in after "adapted" the words "and habitually used", he completely, or very nearly completely, removes the objection that has been repeatedly raised here that in his effort to prevent what he would call abuse in an auction mart, he has, in fact, equipped himself with powers he does not want to go into places all over the country and interfere with the normal buying and selling of cattle. If he does not actually do that, he has created a situation in which the law will be flagrantly and openly broken all over the country because the Minister never intended to enforce it.

I am waiting to see whether the Minister accepts this amendment. Will he accept this amendment? If he does, then I think he is entitled to claim that he is bona fide attempting to confine the effect of this Bill to what we in this House and those outside it ordinarily regard as livestock marts: (1) a place equipped to sell cattle by auction and (2) a place habitually used by the proprietor for that purpose. These are the two inescapable facts upon which the Minister can rest if he wishes to invoke any of the other provisions of the Bill against any particular individual. All he has to do, if he wishes to initiate a prosecution and the individual concerned raises the defence that the place is not an auction mart at all—"Despite the fact that there are pens there, despite the fact there is a rostrum there and despite the fact there is a ring there, we were not selling cattle by auction"—all the Minister need say is that he has evidence that the place is not only a place provided for the holding of sales of livestock by auction but it is a place habitually used for the sale of livestock by auction. The moment a man is forced to concede that the place not only appears to be what we ordinarily would regard as an auction mart but that he has habitually used it as an auction mart, then, whether he likes it or not, he will require a licence under this Bill and be subject to all the liabilities imposed by this Bill.

Note carefully the words in this amendment—"habitually used." It does not say "going to be habitually used." The fact that the premises have been habitually used brings them into this definition section. If the man concerned has habitually used them, and has got a licence, he cannot escape the responsibilities involved under this Bill without asking the Minister to cancel his licence. His premises remain a licensed premises for the purpose of this Bill and he cannot raise the defence, if the Minister's officials come in and say: "You are operating an auction mart and you have no licence", that he does not intend to do it any more. The answer is: "But you have habitually used it and you cannot sell in this place, because you have habitually used it, without a licence."

I do not think anyone here would object, except in so far as there is objection to the principle of the Bill itself, if these words were added and, if they were, the weight of objection to the scope of the definition would be substantially removed. I wait with interest to hear whether it is the intention of the Minister either to accept these words or to say: "These words are fairly reasonable and, if I cannot accept them in the form on the Order Paper today, I undertake to have a look at them and, if necessary, redraft and bring something forward on Report which will meet the point raised and narrow the definition so as to avoid the dangers the Opposition apprehend."

I urge on the Minister that it is not enough to say: "Your apprehensions are wholly unfounded? It is quite possible the Minister honestly believes that, but he is not dealing in this debate, after all, with Deputies who know nothing about this business. I have been myself a Minister for Agriculture and it will be Deputy Clinton's job to undertake this responsibility in due course, and he is a man who did not come down in yesterday's shower. Deputy Michael O'Higgins is a man not unconversant with the ordinary affairs of the average enterprise in this country. Our views in this matter are entitled at least to respect equal to that accorded to the views of the Minister. Mark you, in many respects the Minister could claim superior knowledge if we were dealing with day-to-day affairs of the Department of Agriculture on the grounds that he had the information in his hands and the reports of his experts, that he knew the nature of the negotiations proceeding, and had available to him a variety of confidential knowledge which those who are not in the Department cannot have. But that is not the kind of matter we are dealing with here. Here we are dealing with the question of definition and there is no special knowledge available to the Minister or, indeed, to his advisers which is superior to that of which we dispose.

I do not conceal the fact that in some ways I would be disappointed if the Minister accepted this amendment because that would display a degree of reasonableness in him which, I have reason to believe, people no longer discern. On the other hand, if we can repair what is manifestly a gross error, we will be doing a good day's work. I remember saying to the members of Macra na Feirme: "If you do not agree with what the Minister for Agriculture is doing, attack the Government; do not attack the Minister for Agriculture. Try to build him up. Try to make him sensible and worthy to represent agriculture within the Council Chamber of the Government of this country."

If the Minister refuses to accept this amendment, that refusal will, in my view, be a contradiction of his expressed wish to eliminate from the scope of this definition section all occasional or chance sales of livestock. When he last spoke, the Minister set out to ridicule all our amendments to this definition section by incorporating all the amendments in an imaginary Fine Gael definition section. I explained, of course, in the Minister's absence, that we went to considerable trouble to get him to accept the best possible amendment. When he refused that, we scaled down our demands so that eventually, if there were any reason at all left in the Minister, he would have to accept some kind of limitation of this definition section.

The Minister said quite clearly that it was his intention to bring within the scope of this measure and within the scope of this definition section only sales by auction or by hand or, as he said himself, by foot, for that matter. It might occur at present or in the future in what was well recognised by all of us as a livestock mart that nobody could mistake as being anything else except something that was built and designed to be a livestock mart. We are helping him to do just that. If that is his wish, then we are helping him to ensure that his wishes will be carried out. If his wishes are to be carried out, something like it must be written into the legislation. If a place adapted and habitually used for the sale of livestock by auction or otherwise is written into the legislation then I think that meets with his wishes and desires. It did not occur to him, I am sure, at the time that this should be done. Deputy O'Higgins and Deputy Dillon have appealed to the Minister to see reason in this and to see that this is only doing what he himself has said he wants to do if he does not want to catch every sale.

I know various parts of the country. I want to ask the Minister what he thinks about this in various parts of the country at different times in the year. In the Dublin district, there are places where, for two or three months, two or three sales of milk cows will take place and they will not take place in a properly-designed livestock mart but in a farmer's yard that is sufficiently equipped to sell perhaps 50, 60 or even 100 cows for two or three months in succession at the time of the year when milk is scarce and when milk is in most demand. In the Dublin District Sales Area, those months are August, September and October. After that, no more sales would occur in those places. Now, in parts of the south of Ireland we can do the same thing but the sales would be taking place in perhaps February, March and April in order to coincide with the summer milk production in the creameries in the south of Ireland.

I should like to ask the Minister if he wants these occasional sales to come within the scope of this legislation. Does he want these people who are, in fact, providing a valuable service to be deprived of the opportunity of providing that service or does he want to insist that, if the service is to be supplied, they must go to all the trouble of applying for a licence, some sort of qualified licence, some sort of occasional licence in order to cover them for this type of sale? Is this the type of sale the Minister intends should not require a licence? If it is, I think the one way to ensure that it is not caught up in this legislation is to include in it the type of amendment that is now offered from these benches by saying that it must be a place that is not only adapted but habitually used for this purpose.

I take it that the expression "habitually used" means at least a sale once a month in the 12 months of the year. Sales may occur as they normally will occur, once a week or twice a week for this to be habitual use. I also take it that sales once a month in each month of the year will be habitual use also. I think a limitation must be put on this. If there are three sales at a convenient time of the year in any part of the country, an effort should be made to avoid the necessity of going to the Minister and looking for a licence and hearing from the Minister all the qualifying things that must be done before it is legal to carry out this business of selling cows for a limited period on a limited number of days at a particular time of the year. This is a valuable service but it will be eliminated for all time, and the milk producers and the farmers will be deprived of it if the Minister insists on carrying through this definition without any qualification of any kind because in it as it stands, all sales are included.

It is all right for the Minister to say: "They are not; I know they are not," but it is not said here and that is the important thing. Until the Minister says: "This is quite right. I do not intend to trap these occasional sales or to bring them within the ambit of this legislation but I shall write it in" all sales are included. If he is not prepared to accept the amendment in the form in which we are giving it to him, I think everybody would be quite prepared to accept some similar wording to provide that safeguard which we believe to be necessary to overcome this irritation and this difficulty that will occur unless we make some limitation and definitely decide what wording will in fact ensure that only the livestock mart that is carried on as big business will be involved. The livestock marts are big business. It is the Minister's intention that they will be big business and will include and cover quite a big catchment area and that there will not be a proliferation of small marts throughout the country. I hope it is not his intention that these small accommodating sales will be caught within the net of this legislation. I hope that not only will he get up and say that but that he will agree to write into this definition section some suitable form of words to that effect. We are offering this form of words as a convenient form of words to suit the purpose. If they do not suit, perhaps the Minister will suggest what he thinks are more suitable words to safeguard the situation.

My heart goes out to Fine Gael for their efforts to help me with this Bill. I should love to be able to say "Yes", but unfortunately I must say "No". The reason is that they are habitually used. We had Deputy Clinton's interpretation of what he felt would be the outside limit in one direction—once a month. Deputy Dillon chimes in behind with "Let the courts decide". I think Deputy O'Higgins might say that once a week would be habitual. Somebody might say, in certain circumstances, that once a year would be habitual. You see how useless this term is even to the Opposition themselves who will undoubtedly stand up as one man in opposition to me to hold up this Bill but, in their utterances, they have no agreement whatsoever among them as to what it means, and this, of all places, in a definition section. Surely it is the height of nonsense to talk about something on the interpretation of which they do not agree on among themselves?

Widely different interpretations have come from the few members of the Fine Gael Party who have spoken and I am sure that further variations would be elicited if we heard them all. If we cannot have from the sponsors of this amendment any concise meaning then to put it into a definition section, is surely absolutely ludicrous. I do not say that in any spirit of reflecting on the Opposition in this instance. I become more mellow as the night wears on and I get into much better humour than I might be in all during the day. All I am sorry is that we have not got another four or five hours, up to 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., and I have an idea that then we would make headway. It is a pity that we are adjourning in the next 20 minutes. As the matter was presented by the last two speakers, I would very much like to be able to say "yes", but quite candidly, I cannot. I just cannot say "yes" to this amendment for the reason I have given, that it is an indeterminate term and to put it into the definition section would be wholly contrary to what "definition" to my mind should and does mean. To leave the section as it is is far better than to start messing about with it in the manner suggested.

There is one other observation I want to make in regard to something which seems to be lost sight of, and of course it is difficult not to lose sight of what is intended in this Bill, with the messing around with small, fiddling little amendments which mean nothing except confusion. The Bill is primarily intended to be of assistance and a help to the farmers. If this were kept in mind by the Opposition, and all other sorts of motives that have been attributed to the introduction of this Bill removed from the scene, even if the amendments might be poles apart from what I think should be accepted, nevertheless if they could get this into their heads and forget about the allegations in regard to the motives that inspired the Bill, we should really make headway on the Bill. This is a far better Bill than they give it credit for being and it will do a great deal to help the community which all of us participating in this debate are concerned about, the farming community. This is in their interests. If we keep that in mind, we will get places and make headway beyond the first section, even before 10.30.

Is the Minister serious in putting forward those reasons for rejecting this amendment? Is the Minister, who accepts a word such as "adapted" in the context in which it is used in the definition section, serious about refusing to qualify that by incorporating the words "and habitually used" on the ground that nobody is going to know what "habitually used" means? The whole difficulty about this section is that the word "adapted" can be so elastic as to cover practically anything and no one knows precisely what is required to be done in order to adapt a place in the context of this section for the sale of livestock by auction. The Minister has given his views as to what "adapted" in this context means. He may be right or he may be wrong, and that is a matter which possibly will require construing at a later date by the courts, but there can be no doubt as to what is intended by the phrase "and habitually used". It means that it has been the habit to use that place for a particular purpose.

How often?

That does not matter, once it is the habit.

Once a year for the past ten years or once a year for the next ten years?

Would you call a man who is drunk once a year a drunkard?

We are talking about marts practice at the moment.

Let us see what harm it would do to include these words.

What good would it do? You should make the case on that basis. Tell us about the good.

It would do a considerable amount of good. Even so far as this House is concerned, it would be evidence of the Minister's desire to treat this Bill seriously as it should be treated in Parliament. It would be evidence——

You will bite your tongue.

——of the Minister's desire to get from the House a measure with a certain amount of agreement at least with regard to the scope of the Bill. As I have been at pains to point out, this is the section that settles the scope of the Bill. The Minister cannot feel very confident in putting forward the kind of case he has put forward for rejecting the amendment. If the Minister has made up his mind that he is not going to consider any amendments to the definition section from these benches, he might be able to shorten discussion by saying that and saying it out bluntly.

I do not think it is a reasonable case to make that nobody would know what the phrase "and habitually used" means. It is self-evident and requires no further definition. The amendment could not harm the section in any way. Put it at its worst, from the point of view from which the Minister put it himself, that there would be difficulty in knowing what the phrase meant— would it mean once a week, once a month or once a year—and compare that with the situation that exists if you do not put in the words. You are in a position where any kind of adaptation can put an ordinary farmer who uses his farmyard for the purposes of a sale in jeopardy of the penalties provided in the Bill. At least if this modification is made, it will be a guideline, to put it no further, as to the intention of the House and the Minister in settling the framework of the Bill.

It seems to me to be idiotic simply to ask how do you define the words "habitually used"? Nobody in this House knows what the true meaning of the word "adapted" means. Is there anyone who does not know the meaning of the word "habitual"? If a man goes on a batter once a year, do you call him an habitual drunkard? If a man is absent from this House for a week because he has a cold, do you call him an habitual absentee? If a man tells you he has gone to visit a sick friend when in fact he is in the Savoy Cinema, do you call him an habitual liar? Does not every sane, rational being know the meaning and significance of the word habitual whether you apply it to a virtue, a vice or a practice? Is there any action of which anyone of us is capable which we cannot segregate in relation to one another by saying: "Ah, he only does that once in a while" or "Ah, that fellow habitually does that"? We are dealing with the daily affairs of our own neighbours. Deputies are only too prone to forget, in the complexity of dealing with a Bill that we are defining in this section, not the daily activities of an individual which shall make him liable to the criminal law, but what is the business of a livestock mart. We are defining that because section 2 says a person shall not carry on the business of a livestock mart——

We are not at section 2 at all.

That is what is wrong with this Bill. The Minister has not realised the effect of his own Bill. The definition section is not dealing with the actions of anybody; it is defining a category of persons to whom section 2 shall apply. We make the case all through this debate that the definition section is bringing within the terms of section 2 hundreds of people whom you do not want to bring in under section 2 and an indeterminate, unascertainable category of persons who never ought to be regarded at all as engaging in the business of a livestock mart.

That, we have submitted, is the case because the word "adapted" is capable of so wide a meaning. How dubious is the meaning of that word has been demonstrated by Deputy Cunningham's intervention, by Deputy Booth's intervention and, most notably, by the intervention of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach. He was anxious to demonstrate that you could not construct or reconstruct a field. Of course, I have every sympathy with them. The word "adapted" is so vague as to create a serious danger of involving a multitude of people in a tangle of litigation in which they do not want to be involved and in which the Department, in fact, ought not to be involved at all. But, if you put in after the word "adapted", the words "and habitually used", you instantly contract the whole section to that very limited category of persons who carry on the business of a livestock mart as every Deputy understands those words in their ordinary context.

The Minister asks: "Do you mean once a year, once a month or once a week?" Picture a man going into a court and saying: "I do not carry on the business of a livestock mart because I hold auctions only once a month". What do you think the court would say to him? "You are crazy. If that is not habitually using your place for the holding of marts, you are daft. But if you do not think it is, we will deal with you under the POA." Certainly, if you are going to allow yourself to get drunk once a month, very soon you will get drunk once a week and later you will be drunk every day. I do not deny the possibility of a marginal case arising in which a man might say: "I hold an auction twice a year in that place for the neighbour's cattle." I think he is entitled to go into court and argue: "In my circumstances, it is fantastic to say that I am conducting the business of a livestock mart. Five or six neighbours of mine, and indeed my father and my grandfather for the last 100 years, have gathered heifers in my yard twice a year and we have a bit of a sale. Neighbours from around and maybe a couple of dealers interested in this type of heifer come." Do you want that type of person to be licensed under this Bill? I do not think any Deputy, including the Minister, wants such a person to be licensed. If the Minister were to prosecute them on the ground that such user of their premises meant they habitually used them for that purpose, he would be laughed out of court. Is that what we want? On the other hand, if the Minister is prepared to say that on the first Monday of every month or on every Monday, there is an auction sale held in those premises, the defendant would be laughed out of court if he said holding it once a month or once a week was not habitual user.

Have we reached the stage where the injection of normal commonsense into the terminology of our legislation is anathema? That is not an impossible situation. That is what people describe as the ultimate strangulation of a legislature, never mind Government, by red tape. Because words are widely comprehensible, they must no longer be used in statute law? Statutes in order to be good law must be incomprehensible to any normal man? I suggest that when the Minister gets up and says: "Who is to tell what `in habitual use' means?" he has become like the most red of red tape Victorian bureaucrats, who says: "Unless you can devise a phrase for me to express that which no normal man could hope to understand, it would be intolerable to put such words in an Act of Parliament. The awful thing is to use words in an Act of Parliament that anybody can understand."

I admit, of course, there are certain branches of legislation in which certain forms of words have to be used, because those forms of words have had judicial interpretation attached to them in quoted, recorded cases. But there is no quoted, recorded case which creates the situation that "habitually used" could create a serious doubt in the mind of any rational man or court of law as to whether a person habitually used his premises in such a way as to justify describing him as being engaged in the business of livestock mart.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.