Livestock Marts Bill, 1967: Allocation of Time.

Motion No. 1, on the Order Paper in the name of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach.

Before the motion is moved, Sir, we ask you to listen to submissions from us.

I submit that the motion in the name of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach does not comply with Standing Order No. 27 which directs that:

All motions to be put on the Order Paper for any day, shall be in writing, signed by a member, and shall reach the Clerk not later than 11 a.m. on the fourth preceding day. Any amendments to such motions shall be in writing, signed by a member, and shall reach the Clerk not later than 11 a.m. on the second preceding day: Provided that, by permission of the Ceann Comhairle, motions and amendments may be made on shorter notice.

I submit that this motion, which was put on the Order Paper on Tuesday night or Tuesday evening, does not comply with that Standing Order. Further, there is no suggestion either in the motion or in the terms of the legislation involved in the Livestock Marts Bill that the question may be regarded as an urgent one. As far as I am aware, in any case in which this section of the Standing Orders has been abridged, the question of urgency was directly involved. As I understand it, there were two previous occasions on which this section and a similar section, numerically, were involved. They expressly concerned a situation in which remedial action was involved, in the sense that time was of the essence. In this particular case, there is no suggestion, either in the terms of this motion, Sir, or in the actual terms of the Bill which has been the subject of discussion by the House, that any situation might develop in which time was of the essence or in which remedial action could be involved by reason of delay.

I submit to you, Sir, that the terms of this motion and the actual terms involved in the legislation will in no way prejudice the situation by reason of delay. As I understand it, on the two previous occasions, the question of imports was involved. On both of these occasions, your predecessor, Sir, ruled that urgency was of the essence of the motion. That is understandable, because imports at the ports or at a particular port were directly concerned. In this case there is no suggestion that a lapse of time will in any sense involve a prejudicial situation or prejudicial circumstances in relation to the provisions involved either in the legislation itself or in the Long Title of the Bill.

I therefore submit, Sir, there is no justification in this case for abridging the time laid down in No. 27 of the Standing Orders, which requires all motions to be submitted four clear days before the consideration of these motions by the Dáil. It is not for me to suggest—and possibly not for the House to consider, because there may be different views on this—but there are many questions which might well be regarded by individual Deputies as of more urgent consequence to the business of the Dáil and to the nation that have been the subject of legislation. In some cases they have been the subject of Bills being introduced —in at least one case not being circulated and in the other only partially proceeded with—but they are of much greater urgency. That may be a matter of opinion. In this particular case, there is absolutely no justification because there has been no suggestion that any situation will arise between now and the resumption of the Dáil, either at the end of September or in the early days of October, which cannot be remedied by the enactment of legislation at that time and which would be in any way prejudiced by delay in proceeding with the present legislation.

This motion indicates no question of urgency, no question which cannot be dealt with fully and completely by the enactment of legislation in the autumn, and which in any way would be prejudiced by failure to deal with it now. I submit to you, Sir, that any decision to the contrary must be regarded in present circumstances as a partisan and inequitable decision, contrary to the interests of the community and contrary to accepted precedent and practice as operated by this House since the establishment of the State.

I am moving the motion standing in my name because I am convinced——

I should like to dispose of the point of order by Deputy Cosgrave and any others before the Parliamentary Secretary moves.

I am convinced the subject matter of the Livestock Marts Bill——

I do not want to interrupt the Parliamentary Secretary, but I take it, Sir, you will deal with the point of order before you allow consideration of the motion?

Is the Parliamentary Secretary about to deal with the point of order?

I am convinced that the subject matter of the Livestock Marts Bill has been fully debated already. The Standing Order which has been invoked here, Standing Order No. 27, states that by permission of the Ceann Comhairle, motions or amendments may be made on shorter notice than the four days laid down previously in the Orders.

The Second Stage of this Bill has occupied a full sitting of the House, six hours in all. The Money Resolution in Committee took a total of nine and a half hours, spread over two days' sittings. The Report Stage of the Money Resolution in Committee occupied nine hours, also ranging over two days' sittings. This was unprecedented not only in the length of time that it took but also in that, as far as I can ascertain, a full day's debate actually took place at this Stage of a Bill.

The Committee Stage of the Bill has been going on now for four days, since shortly after 2 o'clock on Friday last until a short time ago. So far, that Committee Stage has taken nearly 30 hours. During this period only four amendments have been disposed of— in each case only after a division and in the case of three of the amendments, only after a motion on the amendment, as is provided for under Standing Order No. 53. We still have to dispose of the first section of the Bill. Ever since this motion was tabled, over 20 hours have been taken up and, as Deputy O'Higgins said a short time ago, little or no progress has been made with its passage through the House. Ten hours are still to run before the motion, if accepted by you, Sir, and passed by the House, is to take effect. It is my contention that more than ample time has been made available for the passage of this Bill through the House in all its Stages. The main Opposition Party, Fine Gael, do not want to debate the Bill constructively. Their avowed intention, and this they have openly declared, is to obstruct the passage of this legislation by every legitimate Parliamentary device. With one or two honourable exceptions, and I particularly mention Deputy O'Higgins, Fine Gael speakers have devoted themselves to making well-nigh interminable and irrelevant speeches at every given opportunity.

A reflection on the Chair.

Tedious repetitions have been made and they have been the order of the day and most of the Fine Gael contributions to the debate have been calculated to waste Parliamentary time, to hold up the Bill and to bring this Dáil into discredit, dishonour and disrepute.

Is this a motion or a speech?

In all the circumstances, if the public interest is to be safe-guarded——

On a point of order or information, if you like——

——I submit that it is in order, under Standing Order 27, for you to accept less than four days' notice.

I only want to know if the Parliamentary Secretary is speaking to the motion or making a submission?

He is making a speech, which he prepared for the motion, on the point of order. He had it all there already. They are two different things. He cannot see the difference.

Deputy Cosgrave has put to me several points as to why I should or should not curtail the notice necessary to be given. Standing Order 27 provides that, by permission of the Ceann Comhairle, motions may be moved on shorter notice than that stated in the Standing Orders. I have considered all the aspects of the matter and I have decided to exercise the discretion vested in me by allowing the moving of this motion on shorter notice.

The House will observe that the terms of the motion, namely, that the Bill should be disposed of on Friday, and the normal requirements of notice conflict with each other. One or other of them, therefore, had to prevail and the other to suffer. I feel that in such cases it is usually better, and in this case it is better—much better—that the House itself should decide on the motion. The Chair, in the past, has ruled in circumstances such as the present one, that there is reason for allowing the motion to be moved on shorter notice. I am not creating any new precedent. There has been at least one precedent to which I may refer those seeking light and guidance, and that may be found in the proceedings on the Imposition of Duties (Confirmation of Orders) Bill, 1935.

I had also to consider the time already spent on the discussion of the Bill and the repeated and, I regret to say, unavailing attempts made by the Chair to check what appeared to be repetition. I do not want to quote statistics—I do not intend to do that —but 18½ hours for a discussion of a Money Resolution is unprecedented. I cannot help feeling that, whatever amount of time was spent on the Bill, many Deputies, I do not say all, would still keep on submitting to me that enough time had not been spent on it.

The Standing Orders provide that, by my permission, a motion may be made on shorter notice. I examined this matter as closely as I could and, I hope, as fairly as I could, and I see no reason whatever to withhold permission in the present case. I see every reason to allow it. There is not, as far as I can discover, any definite statement as to urgency being necessary as a reason for allowing the four days' notice to be curtailed. Urgency, no doubt, would be a reason but there are other reasons as well.

Of course, there is another matter. It probably is not very important here because one sometimes can scarcely say which is the minority and which is the majority. I have to balance minority rights and the rights of the majority, though we are accustomed in this House to hear very much more of minority rights. Sitting here, however, between the two sides of the House, I have to take into consideration the rights of the majority as well as the rights of the minority.

In all these circumstances, I have had little difficulty in deciding that the best thing to do was to accept that the motion be taken today. I had no basic reason, no reason of any substance, to refuse to curtail the amount of notice needed. This is not to say that I had any desire to curtail any statements or any remarks. I have arrived at this decision in accordance with the powers vested in me by the Standing Orders and I cannot hear further arguments on the matter. The Parliamentary Secretary.

I move:

That, in the case of the Livestock Marts Bill, 1967, the proceedings on the remaining stages of the Bill if not previously brought to a conclusion shall be brought to a conclusion at 5 p.m. on Friday, 21st July, 1967 by putting from the Chair forthwith and successively the Questions necessary to bring them to a conclusion: Provided that after the said hour on the said day

(i) a Question shall not be put on any amendment (save an amendment set down by a member of the Government, and the Question on any such amendment shall be in the form, That the amendment be made), nor on any motion other than a motion necessary to bring the proceedings forthwith to a conclusion and then only when moved by a member of the Government, and

(ii) the Question to be put to bring the proceedings in Committee on the Bill to a conclusion shall be, That Sections (or Sections, as amended, if amendments have been made) stand part of and that the Title be the Title of the Bill.

I must say at the outset that, of course, we accept unreservedly your ruling on this motion. Whatever personal opinions I may have on it must remain unexpressed. So far as we are concerned, we regard this motion as unnecessary and unjustified by the facts. The two previous occasions on which, so far as I am aware, your predecessor allowed the time prescribed by Standing Order 27 to be abridged applied in circumstances in which delay in taking action might have prejudicial effects or in which delay in taking action could have involved circumstances unexpected and unanticipated by the terms of the order under the specific legislation. In this particular case no such circumstances exist. There is in our present political or economic circumstances no justification for rushing this legislation.

At present, the main question confronting this country is the situation which will arise when this country becomes a member of the EEC. In anticipation of that situation two great problems are likely to arise. In fact, one of them has already arisen in respect of the disemployment of workers and the effects of the dumping of goods on the Irish market at uneconomic prices. In neither of these cases has any action been taken. In one case a belated effort has been made to introduce legislation to deal with redundancy. There has been no suggestion that the question is urgent, although many workers have already been declared redundant. In the other case, a gesture has been made by the appearance of a Bill on the Order Paper to deal with dumping. These are two vital questions affecting the interests of many workers and many industrial concerns, affecting the lives and the interests of a great variety of persons and their families in the community. In both cases no action has been taken.

So far as this measure is concerned, at least ten years ago there were cases in which individual livestock marts or undertakings found themselves in financial difficulty. No step whatever was taken by the Government to deal with it. No action was taken to deal with the individual problems created for farmers who offered their livestock for sale. No suggestion was made that the problem was such as to cause concern either to the Government or to the Dáil. But in recent months, when a dispute had arisen between a farmers' organisation and the Government, steps were taken to introduce what can only be described and regarded as vindictive legislation, legislation which has been criticised not merely by the Opposition—that might well be dismissed as political tactics—but by responsible leader writers in journals throughout the country, in daily newspapers, and finally in a public statement, after mature consideration, by a body like the Incorporated Law Society. All these bodies and individuals condemned, regretted and expressed concern at the trend legislation had taken as evinced in the Livestock Marts Bill.

Consider the problems that people have to face, the rising cost of living due to the failure of the Government to take action, the increase in transport charges, the rises in bus and train fares, the increases effected by the introduction of the turnover and wholesales taxes, the effect of these taxes on business, industry and trade facing the problems and competition of the Common Market. Then consider the dilatoriness of the Government in dealing with the necessary legislation to cope with the problems of redundant workers and their families, workers who find themselves unemployed or disemployed or out on short time, and the problem of dumping. Consider also the delay in the payment of grants in respect of houses, the delay and the shut down in connection with grants under the Local Authorities (Works) Act, the local authority grants for roads and amenity services, and the grants for the minor employment relief schemes. In all these grants and schemes under legislation passed by this House, there has been an absolute shut down, and there are at present much fewer people employed than were employed previously.

Any Deputy or any person who stood in the local elections for the county councils can say that when they attempted to get a grant sanctioned or approval granted for minor employment schemes or for work under the rural improvements schemes, the answer was that the money was not available. Today we find that grants are being refused in respect of school applications, despite the claims made that Fianna Fáil are responsible for educational improvements. It is easy to send a bus around the country with Fianna Fáil slogans on it, but when religious orders apply for grants or facilities, they are denied them. When they apply for grants they are told they are in what is described as a low priority. What does "low priority" mean? It means the never-never system. These are the urgent questions that affect the people today and will affect them in the future.

Can anyone suggest that whether a mart is licensed or whether it is approved or not, any citizen will be any worse off? It is suggested that because we are going to enter the Common Market we must have regard to the standards which are applicable to the other member countries. We accept that. We agree that it is essential that we have regard to and accept the terms laid down by them, but there is ample power in the legislation in the form of the Diseases of Animals Act to fulfil the veterinary, public health or other requirements which are essential in order to comply with those terms.

There is no suggestion that farmers will get the £10 per head the then Minister for Agriculture promised would flow from the Trade Agreement of 1966. The then Minister promised— we realise he may be a window box agriculturist—when he came back from London that farmers would get no less than £10 per head more for cattle. The farmer has received £10 per head less for cattle since then. Not merely is it £10 per head less, but £15 and £20 per head less. Today there are 150,000 fewer people employed than there were ten years ago, and yet it is suggested that this legislation is urgent. I should be surprised that anyone in this House or outside it would have the illusion that this measure is vital or essential, or that anyone who is conversant with modern life or with facts economic, social or political, would suggest there is any urgency in this legislation. There is no urgency or merit in it, nor any suggestion arising from EEC requirements or from any other quarter that there is urgency in it. This legislation is vindictive, partisan and political, and it has been repudiated in the local elections. On every occasion on which it will be offered to the people it will be repudiated, and we shall repeal it.

We are opposing the closure motion because we believe this action taken by the Government is simply an attempt to force through the House a Bill which is not important which is so unimportant that for most of the period of the discussion on it and during the discussion of this motion, the Parliamentary Secretary is taking the place of a Minister on the Front Bench.

That is quite in order.

Of course it is quite in order, but it shows contempt for the House on this motion.

I am offering no disrespect to the Parliamentary Secretary.

The Deputy was not here all day.

I was in the House before Deputy Dowling ever came here, and I shall be in it when he is gone.

Neither was that bunch over there here all day, except for one or two.

You have asked for your medicine and you are going to get it. The position is that this motion is put before the House in an effort to push through the House a Bill which could not be put through in honest debate because there are no rules or regulations in this or in any other House of Parliament which would allow a Government to try to impose legislation on the people as this is being imposed on them, except for the fact that the man who is at present Minister for Agriculture has an undying hatred for one section of the farming community, those who are members of the NFA. If he wants to do it, he should have spelled out what he wanted, that is, that he wants the right not alone to refuse to give a licence or permission to the NFA to run marts on their own, new marts, but also wants the right, if he so desires, to take from those who are at present making a success of running marts, the right to run such marts.

I believe that this is an insult to the House for more reasons than one. There are four or five people present who were invited by the former Taoiseach to go to his office two years ago and discuss with him ways in which the business of the House which, for one reason or another, seemed to spill over into the month of July each year, could be shortened. After a long discussion lasting many hours, the then Taoiseach made a suggestion, which was accepted by all the Parties on his word, that the financial business be reduced in such a way that only one debate would take place instead of two —as had been the procedure up to then, and that from the month of February in each year until the summer recess, no discussion would take place on anything except financial business, the Estimates, and that in no circumstances would any type of contentious legislation be introduced between then and the summer recess.

The agreement was made that unless there was a very special reason, a reason of national importance, this rule was not to be broken and could be broken only after agreement had been reached with the other two Parties together with the Government. What has happened in this case? The Bill was published on 31st May and was left lying on the Order Paper until almost all the financial business had been completed and when Deputies and, indeed, the Ministers with one exception were all of opinion that we were reaching the time when the summer recess could reasonably be expected to start towards the end of June, the Minister for Agriculture got out the big stick and said: "I do not care what any of you want. I want the Marts Bill". I am sorry to say that neither the Taoiseach nor the Ministers nor indeed the backbenchers of Fianna Fáil from rural Ireland who are as well aware as I am or anybody else in the House of what this Bill is intended for, were able to make that Minister change his mind.

Having decided that the Bill was to be introduced and rushed through the House, certain proceedings were put in operation and the debate continued. There is no regulation of this House which says that Deputies, so long as the Chair allows them to do so, may not debate any item before the House. Despite that, I was amazed to hear this evening the Chair pointing out that there was repetition and refusal to obey his rulings. Indeed I believe—and I am sorry to say it—that during the debate the House has been brought to the lowest level I ever saw since I came in here.

You have made a mockery of it.

A negation of democracy.

Deputy Lemass is never here anyway.

(Interruptions.)

My argument is that if Deputies of a Party decide to debate any matter before the House in a certain way, provided they stay within the rules of order, they are entitled to do so. Let me point out to Fianna Fáil Deputies who seem to have very short memories—a number of the younger fellows would not know this —that during the time they were in Opposition, they made an art of it and successfully prevented certain Bills from being passed through this House by talking and talking and talking them out.

(Interruptions.)

The Greyhound Bill was an example.

And every Fianna Fáil gangster has been getting good jobs ever since.

I think that is an objectionable reference. Fianna Fáil supporters should scarcely be termed gangsters and responsible people in the State should not be referred to in this manner. I think the Deputy should be asked to withdraw that remark.

Some of the greatest tricksters in the business.

The Deputy used a much more serious and objectionable word.

(Interruptions.)

If the Parliamentary Secretary wants to make a speech——

On a point of order, I am asking the Chair to ask Deputy L'Estrange to withdraw that remark.

I gave the example of the Greyhound Bill because, in fact, during the passing of that Bill, a member of the Fianna Fáil Party came into this House and spoke for 25 minutes on a section of the Bill and he was talking on the wrong section.

On a point of order——

The Parliamentary Secretary, on a point of order.

I have asked that Deputy L'Estrange be requested to withdraw the word "gangsters". I think it is a gross insult to the people in Fianna Fáil and to people who may not be Fianna Fáil at all but who are in responsible positions. I think the use of language of this nature does no credit either to the Deputy or to the House.

I am entitled to tell the truth in this House and I shall tell it.

That is scarcely the truth.

(Interruptions.)

Deputy L'Estrange is the biggest gangster——

If Deputy Dowling praised me, I would examine my conscience.

(Interruptions.)

I regret sincerely that senior members of this House are taking advantage of the fact that the Acting Chairman is in control of the House. They are doing things they would not dare to do if either the Ceann Comhairle or Leas-Cheann Comhairle were present.

That is a reflection on the Chair.

You shut up. In the few minutes you spend here you would not know what is a reflection or what is not.

Acting Chairman

Deputy Tully, on the motion.

I should like to point out that there was a second Bill which was also held up almost indefinitely by the Fianna Fáil Party, not because it was going to do any damage—in fact, it would do a lot of good—the Local Authorities (Works) Act. The Fianna Fáil Party held it up indefinitely and there was no motion introduced for closure of the debate because those who were in power were prepared to act in a democratic manner and listen to the debate, no matter how long it was continued. But we have this closure motion introduced this evening simply and solely because the people who are attempting to put through the Bill, to put it literally, just cannot take it.

(Interruptions.)

There are a number of very important items which could have been brought before the House. As has been stated here this evening, there is at the present time a considerable amount of redundancy and the Redundancy Payments Bill could have been before the House and passed, but even the true-blue trade unionists who claim to be in the Fianna Fáil Party have not attempted to do anything about this.

We were awaiting your amendments.

They are in.

You did not send them in until last week.

(Interruptions.)

Deputy Tully, on the motion.

Our amendments were in before the Minister's. He has none.

In regard to that Bill, as the Minister well knows, there was no necessity for him to await amendments from the Labour Party. If the Minister was prepared to accept them as they are, there would be some sense in talking. He did not bring in any amendments because he did not want to proceed with it and because he did not consider it was important.

There was a deliberate delay in the Redundancy Bill to allow the people to be left off in Limerick.

Acting Chairman

Deputy Tully is speaking on the motion and he should be given a chance.

If those people were speaking some sense, I could understand them but they do not know the first thing about it. They have been listening to lies all over the years.

I am here 11 years.

I do not care how long you are here. I do not care if you were 100 years here, the fact is that when you want to delay something, you do it. My experience during the last period of the inter-Party Government was that the people who were in opposition then were night and day attempting to obstruct and did cause obstruction to the people in our Party. Those of them who are left now have the audacity to come along and introduce a closure motion because this Bill brought in by the Minister for Agriculture was brought in for one purpose. Those people think they are God Almighty in this country. If they do not realise that they are not, they will find out their mistake in the very near future. They got their answer during the local elections. They got their answer in Dublin city particularly during the local elections.

You will get your answer next week.

Acting Chairman

Deputy Dowling will get a chance later, if he wants to speak.

The position is that even if there was a question of the Minister for Agriculture being anxious to help the farmers—God help the farmers if they have to depend on his help—there are so many things which need to be done to help the farmers at the present time which he did not dream of doing. Would it not be an excellent idea if he initiated a debate in this House about his talks with Mr. Peart and told us what happened during the two discussions he had here and in Britain, told us how he got on and if we will be in the position that there will be more than 150,000 head of cattle, as was stated by the Agricultural Institute, in the possession of farmers at the end of this year? Would it not be a good thing and much more realistic if he told us he was securing a market for all our cattle in this country. The Minister would not dream of doing that. He would much rather engage in a petty scheme which he himself knows is causing great evil in this country. Did anybody ever hear of such a situation in his life?

Is Deputy Tully aware that no member of the Labour Party made a contribution?

You were a disappointed Lord Mayor.

Deputy Dowling does not know what he is talking about.

Acting Chairman

Deputy Tully should be allowed speak on the motion.

Let us come to one other thing. We heard a lot of talk about the British Free Trade Agreement. We were told the great things it would do. We on those benches can now say: "We told you so". We remember the debate and all the rosy promises that were made. We were told at that time the wonderful things it was to do. We had the then Taoiseach coming in and some of the present Ministers praising this Trade Agreement and the wonderful things it was to do. The net result of this has been that agriculture and industry have suffered. I am very glad that the Leader of the Fine Gael Party is here now and that I can say that the Labour Party were right then and that he and his Party were wrong.

Something is bound to go wrong with everything the Fianna Fáil Party put in hands. So many things have gone wrong in this country since the Fianna Fáil Party came to office that we are not one bit surprised when we find something else going the same way. As far as this closure motion is concerned, the simple truth is we could have left over the Bill until the autumn. There was no reason whatever why an attempt should be made to rush it through in this session.

There was a very good reason why it should not have been tried. The words of the former Taoiseach and the words of the people who are now carrying the offices of Ministers are at stake on this because a guarantee was given that the business of the House would be done in a satisfactory way. It was not done in that way and a deliberate attempt was made to fool the people who are public representatives in this House by introducing this Bill at the last moment, in the hope that the desire to get away on summer holidays would bring about a situation in which the Bill could go through in double-quick time. I have never been a believer in a system whereby the business of the House is so delayed, as it has been delayed over the past few days, that it appeared as if the House would be brought into disrepute by the necessity to bring this about. There is no doubt that if ever a Bill came before the House which required the Opposition and the obstruction of the Parties in opposition, this is it.

We could accept it if there were any good reason which the Minister had for introducing this Bill. So far, he has not expressed any good reason. He has not explained to the House any single thing which would affect the interests of the country in relation to failure to have this Bill passed. If this Bill were passed this evening, he would not be able to put it into operation before the beginning of next year. The extraordinary thing about it is that no matter what happens, if he gets the Bill tomorrow afternoon gets it into the Seanad and through the Seanad in double-quick time, it will be 1968 before he is able to put it into operation. He believes that so long as he keeps this Bill on the Statute Book, so long as he keeps talking about it and warning about it, so long will he be able to frighten the farmers.

Let me say this. He tried it before. As a result mainly of his action, decent people spent weeks in jail. I would like to point this out. He will find out on this Marts Bill, as he found out because of his previous action, when it is all over and done with, that it will be the farmers who will refuse to take his dictation and who will refuse to be intimidated by him. They were not intimidated then and this Bill, if it eventually sees the light of day, will not intimidate them either.

Why are we in this position in which we find ourselves tonight? Because this piece of legislation was introduced in this House, not as the considered Bill of a rational Minister but as the angered gesture of an individual pursuing a vendetta against a section of the farming community. I believe the ultimate intention of the Minister is to revive in our time the detestable memory of Mr. Browne and the Fianna Fáil Government of that day who had their agent for every tail on sale in Ireland, to buy the cattle that had been seized from the farmers of Ireland.

For non-payment of rates.

It was a vendetta then and it is a vendetta now. Let us not forget the extremely profound statement made by Deputy T.F. O'Higgins in this House: when you see responsible men acting outside the law and are constrained publicly to condemn their actions, you should ask yourself how has it come about that such men have acted outside the law, who provoked them into doing it. I join with Deputy T.F. O'Higgins in saving that whenever guilt is associated with acting outside the law, the guilt upon the man who provokes his neighbour to do that is double dyed.

I make no apology whatever as one of the most experienced Deputies of this House for announcing on the initial stages of this Bill that it bore on its face all the characteristics that justified us in using every procedural device available to us to arrest its progress in this House because it was a bad Bill. I warned this House, Sir, on more than one occasion that when the Fianna Fáil Party get a clear majority in Dáil Éireann, the worst element in that Party go berserk. That is what has happened on this occasion. The Minister has succeeded in prevailing on the rank and file of the Fianna Fáil Party to support him in this vendetta, of which I believe the majority do not share his view. Some day they will learn that Party loyalty is a good thing in public life but its essential concomitant is moral courage. I know that this Bill was denounced in the Fianna Fáil Party room and I know——

(Interruptions.)
Wait a minute; I will tell the story and let anyone get up and deny it. I know this Bill was denounced in the Party room, trenchantly denounced as a bad Bill, as bad legislation, and I know that that denunciation was received in cowed silence and the Party asked for the next business.

Do not say you were there.

Do not mind how I know it. I dare you to deny it. Now, I hear no one cry from these benches: "We do; we do." I dare you to deny it. Learn this lesson. Nobody admires loyalty in politics more than I. But loyalty in public without moral courage in private is the most contemptible depth to which an insecure politician can sink.

We have loyalty in public and private to our Party and we stand behind any Minister here. We are led by a Taoiseach who has the confidence of a majority Party.

Let Lemass lead on.

There was no member of our Party making bogus speeches in Clonmel——

You will hold on to the job; you are doing well.

A remarkable change has become manifest on the Front Bench of Fianna Fáil. We have noticed heretofore a bland and silent cadre but there is now a somewhat disturbed surface on that scene.

Nothing hurts like the truth. They are going to hear the truth now and they cannot shout me down and they cannot silence me. Here is their great illusion; they imagine that because they can dispose of a clear majority in Dáil Éireann, they can force their beastly motion through. They forget that there is a higher court to which decency in this country can appeal. They like the comfortable feeling that their Party work is done within four walls but they have forgotten that there is a fourth estate which is not only an asset to this society but a window for our people to look in on what Fianna Fáil think they are doing in secret.

They can prostitute the processes of this House; they can assure themselves that they have used the instrument of democracy to destroy freedom by stealth but they cannot get away with it. You tried it before you were so valiant in your confidence that you could get away with anything until you woke up one morning and discovered that you were out on your ear.

You predicted that in 1933 and it took 16 years for it to happen.

The wheels of God grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small. The Parliamentary Secretary has been admirable up to now: do not misbehave. But over and above, Sir, this disedifying spectacle of a Party gone berserk, there is the matter on which Deputy Tully spoke with authority. Our people know—and we know better even than the people—that Parliament functions not only on the basis of those Standing Orders—that is the minimum security which each individual Deputy in this House enjoys—but there is proceeding continually between us all the honourable arrangements that make Parliament work. I have often explained to young students that they should not take scandal when hearing a member of the Government or a member of the Opposition exchange trenchant criticism of one another and share a cup of tea ten minutes later in the restaurant. I have tried to explain to them that that is the way Parliament works. We are not concerned to attack one another personally. When we attack one another by name or designation, it is understood we are attacking the man for the policy he represents.

That is one facet of this scene but there is another. I was Leader of the Opposition, as Deputy Cosgrave is today, for five years in this House. Many people in the country will imagine that Deputy Seán Lemass and I did nothing but exchange harsh discourtesies of ordinary Parliamentary life across the floor of this House, and yet Parliament would not work if that were so. Deputy Corish and I, and Deputy Seán Lemass met not infrequently but the only basis on which we met was a basis of utmost faith. We spoke freely with one another because we were negotiating with one another to make Parliament work better than it was then working.

Deputy Corish and I, Deputy James Tully and Deputy Sweetman met Deputy Seán Lemass when he was Taoiseach and the present Senator James Ryan. The then Taoiseach and the then Minister for Finance, now Senator James Ryan, put the case that it was undesirable to have the finance business dragging along into the end of July and even into the beginning of August, that it was essential to get some machinery worked out whereby we would get the business disposed of. From their point of view, they were prepared to see that the autumn would be reserved for legislation about which it was reasonable to anticipate there might be deep division in the House. It is well the House should know this. In the course of that negotiation, we agreed with the Government that in respect of Estimates, there would be an end to snap Divisions and so it became a Standing Order of this House that if a Division was challenged on an Estimate, that Division would be scheduled to take place at 10.15 p.m. on the day on which it was challenged or, in the event of its being challenged on a Thursday, the Division would be scheduled to take place at 10.15 p.m. the following Tuesday. That was all part of the machinery to try to expedite the disposal of finance business.

Have not those arrangements been honourably honoured by the Opposition Parties in this House since they were entered into with the then Taoiseach, Deputy Seán Lemass? I know they have, but I mentioned it this morning so that the Parliamentary Secretary might send a message to Deputy Seán Lemass that his conduct would be challenged and queried in this House. And I would ask everyone present to check on what I am saying now. I say there has been the grossest breach of faith. I say that the undertakings personally given to me by the then Taoiseach, and to Deputy Corish, have been recklessly and shamelessly broken, because the consideration which the Taoiseach then offered was: "We undertake on our part, on behalf of the Government, that no controversial legislation will be introduced after the finance business had been disposed of".

We were mutually agreed there would be two reservations—one, if the Government certified there was a matter of urgency for which they had to get certain legislative powers or if there was a casual Bill the passage of which our experience taught us would take virtually no Parliamentary time. I ask any fair-minded Deputy can this Bill—whatever he thinks of it; whether he is for it or against it—be described as an uncontroversial Bill? And I challenge Deputy Lemass and his successor, Deputy Jack Lynch—I issued this challenge this morning before the Taoiseach had left for Luxembourg and while I knew Deputy Lemass to be in the House—to come into the House and answer for what I charged was a gross breach of faith—a breach of faith which is largely responsible for what has been happening in this House during the last three days.

The last thing I want to say is this: Why has this Bill been met with the stubborn opposition that has been offered to it? Why is every procedural device which we employ being used in order to arrest its progress to the Statute Book? It is a question Deputies are entitled to ask and the people are entitled to ask. I want to answer it. It is being opposed for two reasons— one, because we are convinced it will make bad legislation—that has been fairly well ventilated up to now, Sir— but there is another reason. This Bill was recommended to us by the Minister as being, with the amendments he had proposed on the Order Paper, the result of substantial agreement between himself on the one hand, the IAOS, the co-operative marts and the proprietary marts, on the other. That undertaking having been publicly given in this House, on the following morning the people on whose behalf he professed to speak, publicly repudiated it and said that his version of what had passed between them bore little or no relationship to the truth, and that in respect of one of the amendments which stood in his name on the Order Paper, it operated, in their judgment, to make the Bill even more unacceptable than it was in its original condition.

That was fraud and he was exposed in that fraud. It is true—let us face it; and I personally will welcome the insertion at least of that one amendment in the Bill—that the Minister has put down an amendment to blot out of this Bill the proposition that an Irish Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries and his officials require police protection to meet the farmers of this country. It is true, on reflection, that on urgent representation being made to him, I believe, from within his Party and outside, he is recoiling from that detestable asseveration. But let us not forget he made it. That is in his Bill as he brought it before this House. That is the spirit in which he approached this House. That is the spirit in which he drafted this Bill and let us not forget it. When that Bill was presented to the Fianna Fáil Party, there was only one voice raised to dissent, one voice and silence from the rest. It was in that form that Bill was brought into this House and it was in that form that they voted for it on Second Stage.

I oppose this motion for the closure. I oppose it, confident that we are doing the right thing. I oppose it because I recognise in it the same instrument as was used against our people elsewhere and the names of the people who used it have stank in the nostrils of our people ever since.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

We had to use obstruction, indefatigable obstruction in defence of our people years and years ago, and we were upbraided as barbarians, unfit for the sophisticated atmosphere of a British Parliament. We brought that Parliament to a standstill and we blocked their coercion Bills and prevented their bailiffs and their agents from taking the field. You have learned your lesson from Buckshot Forster and Bloody Balfour.

I would like to remind the Deputy that many of the people on this side of the House are the descendants of those who supported the remnants of '86 and we are proud of that fact.

Is it not strange that you now want to use the instrument of Buckshot Forster and Bloody Balfour?

When we come against people who obviously do not want to have reason.

This is our own Parliament. Why do you want to use now the methods they used?

The repetition here makes this measure necessary.

I think if the Parliamentary Secretary searches his conscience, he will ask himself: "How did the situation arise in which I have been cast in the role of Buckshot Forster and Bloody Balfour?" If he does, I think it will certainly dawn on him "because I was shoved in by a Minister who is afraid to face the music, to do his dirty work in our Parliament."

The Parliamentary Secretary has not been very long in this House but he has been a fair while. I ask him, since he was elected to Dáil Éireann, has he ever encountered a situation such as that through which he has passed in the past three days?

Yes, I believe there was such a one.

Not one.

Yes, it was either on the Trade Agreement or——

Not once.

Yes, there was such a debate.

I remember one such occasion which has been referred to by Deputy Tully. I remember its being used on the Greyhound Bill and there is no use in concealing, and it was commonly known——

To make jobs for the pals.

——that there were persons whose ambition was to secure what they hoped would be a remunerative post——

Good man: as chairman of the Greyhound Board.

Let us not overstate the case but it was for no more noble purpose. I saw the strange trio of Deputy MacEntee, Deputy Briscoe and I forget who the third one was——

Deputy de Valera.

Deputy O'Malley.

Not at all. I knew there was something odd about it. The third string of that unlikely lute was Deputy Vivion de Valera. Now I knew what was afoot. I knew well what was afoot. I had a clear majority of 14 at that time in the House and I could have gone to Deputy John A. Costello and asked him then to give me authority to bring in such a motion as the Parliamentary Secretary brought in here today, but I did not. I did not relish the role of Buckshot Forster or Bloody Balfour. I did not want to have my name associated with an attempt to gag the Deputies of Dáil Éireann. I will admit that it sits ill on Deputy Davern to be cast in that role. All I ask him to do is when he recalls the noble campaign of Deputy MacEntee, Deputy de Valera and Deputy Briscoe, to ask himself: "How is it that the like of what is happening here has never happened since I came into the House?".

It was attempted once.

Should he not ask himself: "Is there anything on my own conscience?" There is certainly nobody on this side of the House looking for a job in a cattle mart. There is nobody on this side of the House looking for the job of going into the cattle marts under police escort or otherwise. There must be some reason why a body of responsible Deputies have challenged this Bill with the vigour, the resolution and the tenacity we have employed.

Bearing in mind the undertaking of Deputy Seán Lemass which it was the obligation of his successor, Deputy Jack Lynch, to honour, bearing in mind the Parliamentary Secretary's past experience, I ask him to search his conscience. Does he enjoy the role in which he is cast tonight? I do not think he does and I want to tell him that if I were in his position, I would be ashamed.

I represent a Dublin constituency. It is largely a working-class area.

Ranchers.

Twice in the past three or four years, I have walked in with a Fianna Fáil Minister for Finance and a Fianna Fáil Minister for Agriculture where we have transferred no less than £5 million from the urban workers of the cities of Ireland to the rural community. I did that because I believed that this was proper social redistribution of our national income. I believe that my constituents still support me—as they have shown in the last general election —in this action, in the belief that this type of redistribution is necessary.

(Cavan): There has been a lot of change in Dublin since the last general election.

That is twice £5 million transferred from the urban to the rural community and the Dublin Deputies, every one of them, supported that.

Tell us about the reduction of £10 per head and the promised increase?

At the moment something over £60 million, over 20 per cent of the national Budget, is being given to the farmers to subsidise their production and the Minister is concerned about how some of that money is being utilised. As I understand it, the organisation which Deputy Dillon tells us we are supposed to be vindictive about sought such legislation. This type of legislation has been demanded by the farming community for many years. If I as a Dublin Deputy am supporting this type of taxation on my constituents to support in turn the farming community, then I agree the Minister must have the maximum control over how this money is being utilised.

What money is the Deputy talking about?

Every time a heifer is in calf is £15. I was in the House when the Bill was introduced and I naturally had no intention of intervening as a Dublin Deputy because it was not my place. On Committee Stage, I intended to intervene on amendment No. 5 on the question of appeals to the district court, but it is clear now that what Fine Gael are concerned about is that in no circumstances must this House be allowed to debate the bones of the Bill. They have obstructed the Bill's progress by harping on definition. I doubt if definitions have ever taken more than ten or 15 minutes of the time of the House on any Bill. It is clear, therefore, that Fine Gael do not want a Committee Stage debate, that they do not want the Bill discussed. They say it should not have been introduced and they have been trying to prevent the House discussing it.

We spent four hours debating "or otherwise" in one amendment. Then we had amendment No. 2a and amendment No. 2b. Deputy Dillon stood up and said we were prostituting democracy. On this side of the House, individually, without direction, we have shown tremendous restraint. We have allowed the Fine Gael members, without any contributions from this side, to develop their points.

There was nothing to prevent Fianna Fáil Deputies alternating with members of the Opposition and using up the time of the House, but it became clear quite early that they did not want time at all. What they wanted was to prevent a proper debate and I agree wholeheartedly with the decision of the Taoiseach. If democracy has been prostituted, it was so prostituted by Fine Gael.

It was not the Taoiseach.

It was the Taoiseach's and the Government's decision.

We have one Taoiseach.

You had as many leaders in a couple of years as you had shirts.

"There are low standards in high places."

It is perfectly clear to me and to anybody who has been in the House only since the last general election—I have been here a long time before it—to anybody who follows politics, that the only object of this filibuster has been to prevent Fine Gael committing themselves on the main bones of the Bill. I am perfectly capable of indulging in a filibuster. I did so with Deputy Mullen on a certain piece of legislation dealing with the licensing of the Metropole Ballroom. I stood in with him for the purpose of getting some concessions from the Minister for Justice. We got a little—not all we were looking for, not all we should have liked. That was not a filibuster comparable with this one: it was a question of three or four Deputies getting together to try to improve the Bill that was before the House, not to try to prevent the Bill being discussed. That is what Fine Gael are doing now. They do not want the details of the Bill to be discussed. Yesterday and the day before, as soon as a closure motion was tabled by the Taoiseach and we were called into the House, I, by interjection, pointed out it was not our time that was being wasted but the time of Fine Gael. If they wanted the Bill discussed, they would not have indulged in this type of tactic. Of course there was no closure motion last night——

There was a closure motion.

——because they ran out of words. We did not try to monopolise the time to prevent them putting their views across. We gave Fine Gael every facility to put across their point of view. The only time we interrupted was when they brought down Deputies from their tea or from writing their letters. They thought they would starve us but the very reverse was the case. We have maintained our voting strength. Fine Gael boasted of their 54 votes on Second Stage, of their 45 votes on the first division. Now they are down to 38, unless Labour file in behind them.

(Cavan): The Deputy is squealing and this motion is the evidence of it.

Deputy Cosgrave, in an Ard-Fheis speech here which, because of his position, the Chair allowed——

Tell us about the marts.

Deputy Cosgrave said that the results of the local elections indicated a repudiation of our agricultural policy.

Hear, hear.

If we believed that for a moment, you would not be discussing this Bill now. The reverse was the case. Deputy Tully spoke about the gains of the Labour Party as if these were serious losses to Fianna Fáil. Fianna Fáil dropped 1.6 per cent in Dublin and the Labour average was the same but our gain the last general election was 4.2 per cent.

How many county council chairs did you get in Ireland? Seven out of 27.

Even if the same average national decrease took place in a general election, we could still form the next government.

What about the Presidential election result?

We shall send Deputy O'Higgins into retirement eventually but it will not be to the Park. He has false hopes there.

You might call him the President-elect, all the same.

The spending of £60 million on agriculture means that the Minister must have control of every aspect of agriculture.

The marts were set up before Fianna Fáil——

Deputy Tully wanted to know why this Bill is so important now. I know why it is so important for Fine Gael. It was not until today that I noticed the absence of Deputy Flanagan. He was down in his dynasty in Laois where he has his own representation in the county committee of agriculture who are now thinking of passing a very fine resolution condemning the Government for their policy, although as Backbencher said, Fine Gael were hardly noticeable in his election literature. We know that Deputy O.J. Flanagan has personal support and a personal following, and I hope Fine Gael do not think it is Fine Gael support.

That is an interesting line. He is a front bench member of our Party.

Seven out of nine in Mountmellick.

The entire political exercise on which Fine Gael are engaged is to stall this Bill. "Let us find out where we can get resolutions passed by county committees of agriculture; let us create a situation in which there appears to be great opposition to the Bill; but for God's sake, let us not get down to the bones of the Bill because there is no opposition there except on minor details".

Fine Gael have exposed themselves. I do not have to say this. The people of the country are saying it themselves except for dyed-in-the-wool people and the Blueshirts to whom Deputy Dillon referred.

(Interruptions.)

Deputy Tully was very careful to point out that in the last Coalition period when there was some opposition to the Greyhound Bill, they did not resort to a closure motion but allowed full discussion. What happened? They did not have a closure motion; they left office. We have no intention of doing that.

You will be pushed out.

(Interruptions.)

We are here to protect the taxpayers. I would be reluctant to support a Fianna Fáil Minister when he is looking for a transfer from the urban community of £5 million upwards to the rural community in the past few years, and a further £2 million as well, and I could not in conscience vote for that unless I knew the Minister was going to control the spending and the application of this money in every aspect. It is my constituents who are paying the bill, not the rural Deputies' constituents. It is the Dublin city constituents and the Cork city constituents who have to pay the bill. These are the ones who are paying the bill for this House sitting here and will have to pay for the Seanad sitting next week. The staff here are working a 14 hour day. We could go on until September with all this codology. At 5 o'clock tomorrow this will end.

I do not know whether Deputy Lemass is aware that the Marts Bill has nothing to do with the Dublin Corporation election.

Deputy Tully referred to it.

Because he was provoked by a stupid interruption from that side of the House. The Marts Bill has nothing to do with the Presidency, with the heifer scheme, with Blueshirts of Greenshirts or Taca.

(Interruptions.)

Deputy Lemass also talked about the inter-Party Government leaving office. Did Fianna Fáil leave office in 1948 when the country was in a mess? Was that allegation ever thrown at Fianna Fáil? Did they leave office when the country was in a mess in 1954? The then Taoiseach called a general election and Fianna Fáil ran away.

There was a specific issue of three by-elections.

Of course it is different when it is Fianna Fáil.

The Government said that if we were defeated at the three by-elections, we would resign and face the country.

Fianna Fáil ran away in 1948 and 1954.

There was a specific issue.

(Interruptions.)

Deputy Lemass asserted that it is the urban constituents who pay the bills. That is the greatest lot of nonsense. He further said that when this House, through the agency of the Government, gives £60 million to the agricultural industry, that gives a right to the Minister for Agriculture to control agriculture. Does he believe that?

Under the heifer scheme, there are these payments of £15 which come out of the £60 million.

Does he believe that the Minister should have control over someone who grows gooseberries in his back garden? He also talked about the non-participation of the Labour Party in this debate. As the House knows, on the Second Reading of this Bill, the point of view of the Labour Party was put forward by Deputy Tully and Deputy Murphy. I do not think anyone in the House is under any misapprehension as to the views of the Labour Party on this Bill. That viewpoint was put before the House on Second Reading. So far as the Committee Stage is concerned, our attitude was that we should be concerned about and oppose the sections which we believed were the important sections. Quite frankly, we are not particularly concerned with most of the amendments put down by the Fine Gael Party.

You voted for them.

It was their strategy to put down these amendments and to take as long on them as they possibly could. As the Leader of this Party, I would not have engaged in the same strategy, but I do not deny that it is their right, having regard to their attitude to the whole Bill, to engage in whatever tactics they wanted to. On all these amendments the Labour Party had a free vote. The Whip was not on for them. I want to make that perfectly clear.

Deputy Lemass said that the issue seemed to him to be quite clear. I do not think it is. The Dáil has got itself into a sorry mess and, if the tone of the Dáil and the atmosphere in the Dáil could be reported accurately in the newspapers, it would do nothing but tend to bring this Parliament into disrepute, and the two sides are to blame for this—the Minister because he insists on trying to push this Bill through in a particular time. It must be agreed that what has influenced this situation is the fact that this is normally the holiday period. I may be wrong, but I do not think there would be the same attitude on the part of the Government or the Opposition if this debate started in October. I honestly believe that would have been the right time to start it.

I do not see any urgency about the Marts Bill. In my constituency—and Deputy Allen and Deputy Kennedy could corroborate this—no one is concerned with having this Bill passed quickly—no one I met, either farmer or worker. Why the Minister wants to have it passed without an adequate debate during this session, I cannot imagine. I do not think it is any secret that an agreement was made with the former Taoiseach, and I do not know whether it passed on to the present Taoiseach. It was solemnly agreed with Deputy S.F. Lemass present, Senator Ryan present, I being present for the Labour Party, Deputy Kyne, present, Deputy Sweetman, present and Deputy Tully, present, that no contentious Bill would be brought before the House when the financial business had been concluded.

It was indicated about May of this year, or in the first week in June, that it was intended to introduce the Marts Bill. Fine Gael did at that time give notice that they did not think this Bill should be debated in this session. What has happened in between I do not know, but, as I say, the tragedy is that this closure motion before the House will be used because the Fianna Fáil Deputies are here in the maximum numbers. It is also a tragedy that they are so complacent in all this. With all due respect to Deputy Davern, who has been a good attender during this debate, it is, I think, treating the Dáil somewhat with contempt—I do not say this to his person—that a Parliamentary Secretary should be left here in charge of this debate and equally contemptuous that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach should come in here, mumble this motion to the House and then race out of the House. Where is the Taoiseach? I am sure he is busy.

A Deputy

He is in Rome.

I said I was sure he was busy—whether travelling or talking, I do not know. But where is the Tánaiste? Where are the senior members to defend a motion the like of which we have not had in this House for a very long time? There was one particular occasion when such a motion was introduced by the Taoiseach, now Deputy Seán Lemass, in an effort to stifle debate in relation to something to which we took particular exception, the Electricity Supply (Temporary Provisions) Act. This is the Act which we have been referred to and which was intended to prevent strikes but, of course, did not prevent strikes. After argument here with the then Taoiseach, Deputy Seán Lemass, he agreed that such a course was not right and the result was that over a period, an agreed period by the three Parties, we had the right to submit amendments and discuss them, on the understanding that the whole debate would be finished in a short time.

Is it not pretty ludicrous that, despite all that has been said on this Marts Bill, irrespective of whether or not one considers it nonsense, and in view of the fact that we still have not finished the first section, because this House has to be closed or it is the desire to conclude business in a couple of weeks, the House will be denied a Committee Stage, a Report Stage and a Final Stage and the question as to whether or not the Minister or the court should give out these licences will never be debated here? That was referred to on Second Reading. Let us sit here until October, November or December. Let us give up our holidays. I do not know if one could call it rational or not, but I and my Party are quite prepared to debate whether or not the Minister should have the right to give out these licences. If, after a reasonable debate, Fianna Fáil, with their majority, carry the day, that is democracy and we will agree to that, but to curtail the debate in this fashion is something to which I and my Party could not agree.

Having said that, I repeat what I said with regard to the discussion over the past three or four days. These gentlemen are entitled to do what they have done, but, in my view, we should have got down to debating at length the really important sections of the Bill. I am against this Bill because I do not believe there is any need for urgency in relation to it. It is not that I do not want to see proper regulations in these marts in which cattle are bought and sold. What I do not want to see is this or any other Minister for Agriculture taking power to grant these licences. I do not see why he should have that power, particularly when one remembers that dancehall proprietors, publicans, auctioneers and others must go to the courts to obtain licences. I think this is a dangerous power. I do not go so far as to say the Minister will give these licences to his pals or that he seeks this power for this, that or the other motive. Irrespective of motives, it is absolutely wrong for any Minister for Agriculture, and not just the present one, to have this particular power.

We have asked for discussion on other important matters. I got my second post a minute ago. I do not think the Government even appear to be concerned about the grave situation depicted in this document which tells us that, compared with this time last year, there are 9,500 more unemployed. What difference will the passing of the Marts Bill make to the unemployed? Will it make any substantial difference to the buying and selling of cattle or to the price of cattle? What the Government should be concerned about is telling us what their plans are for the creation of extra employment and their plans—they have been considering the matter long enough—with regard to redundant workers, who are out in their hundreds in my home town, walking the streets of Wexford. These are more important things than the licensing of livestock marts, more important than the regulations the Minister says he will introduce to ensure these marts will be properly run.

How many hundreds more unemployed are there?

In one particular industry, 120 were laid off about two weeks ago. I do not want to exaggerate the position.

Permanently?

I am afraid so, until the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Minister for Labour can tell me differently. About 95 per cent of these people vote for me, as the Deputy must know, and so they have to be my concern.

They did not vote for the Deputy in the local elections.

They did. I do not want to descend to discussing the results of the local elections. I do not concern myself too deeply as to who is or who is not chairman. If, however, the Deputy wants to know, the Labour Party got more votes in the recent election than they did in the previous election. The Deputy must recognise, too, that the Fianna Fáil vote in Wexford dropped dramatically, dropped so low that they only succeeded in getting the last two seats in both elections.

That is not surprising.

The Labour Party got more votes than they did in 1960.

In Wexford town?

(Interruptions.)

Order. Deputy Corish.

This is a very bad ending to the discussion we have had over the past two or three weeks. I know there are strong feelings on both sides. I can well appreciate the attitude of the Fine Gael Party in their strong, and quite sincere, opposition to this Bill. I cannot interpret the mind of the Minister for Agriculture because he has not yet to my knowledge given any adequate reason as to the urgency of this Bill. We are, I believe, mature enough to recognise the importance of a reasonable Committee discussion and reasonable amendments. We are mature enough and responsible enough to know that any piece of legislation about which people feel so strongly should not be carried in this fashion, carried by a guillotine motion introduced some 24 or 36 hours ago.

I do not deny that the Labour Party are opposed to the Bill but I would, even at this stage, ask if there is any possibility at all of agreement, if you like, to a reasonable discussion on this Bill to ensure that every Deputy in every Party who wants to talk will have an opportunity of debating sections and amendments and an opportunity, after discussion, of deciding on them. It is sordid to think that the recess should occur now in a situation like this, with discussion stifled and with no real decision on a Bill which both sides of the House regard as so important.

If, in this, his tercentenary, Jonathan Swift were to return, he would find in the antics of the Fianna Fáil Party the most fruitful material for the genius he had for bitter satire. We would have again a fresh edition of the Lilliputian mind, the small mind that is almost inevitably the concomitant of the bully. This is the movement of the Bill, the effort to destroy free speech. Such a process is not new to the Fianna Fáil Party, either inside or outside this House. A motion such as this must have as its underlying reason the equity necessarily associated with urgency. Where equity is sought there is a maxim which is inevitably and invariably applied, that is, that those who seek equity must come with clean hands.

Let us, for a moment, examine the hands, metaphorically speaking, of this Government, whose Minister is seeking this Bill. It was, as I said in an earlier speech, conceived in anger. Having listened to the spasmodic outbursts of people curiously inspired from the Government benches, I have now decided that this Bill was conceived not merely in anger but in hatred—the hatred, again, of the Lilliputian mind associated with the Bill.

The Minister has had his quarrel with the farmers. Not satisfied with keeping them in the gutter of Merrion Street, not satisfied with short or long periods of quite unjustifiable incarceration, not satisfied with fooling them into the belief that better times were in store for them if they avoided clashes of certain kinds with authorities, not satisfied with his own mean and stealthy victory in that regard, he goes further and comes into this House and says, in effect: "This is a measure conceived and designed by the Fianna Fáil Party forming this Government to be put into execution for the good of the farmers of this country." That was the reason given. To support that reason, a solemn profession was made here, by way of jibe at these benches, that he had the support of the livestock marts, of the IAOS, of the Cork marts and of other interests in marts generally. To that, the lie was given in the shortest possible time.

Through every avenue of public opinion, the Minister was discredited, in journals and papers, by societies of repute, farming or otherwise. The Minister apologised? Has he said he is sorry? No. All he has said is that he mistook a situation. If they had not spoken, he would have persevered in telling Parliament the untruth which he told merely to silence us on the Fine Gael benches. But, of course, we knew otherwise and would not be silenced, nor will we be silenced now. Even though we are silenced in this House by a chopper motion, we shall not be silenced outside it.

Democracy means government by the people. The price of freedom, operated in such a democracy, is that we be eternally watchful of the process of government. It is the business of the Executive to plan and to advance legislation. It is the business of the Legislature to examine it and ultimately to pass it. It is the business, then, when called upon, of the judiciary to interpret it. While we here engage in a very close sifting process of examination of a Bill of this kind, we are merely trying to see that the finished article leaving this Parliament will be as perfect as it is within our fallible conception of the perfect to ensure. We do not want, and I do not think any Parliament would want a Bill of this kind or, indeed, any Bill at all to be subjected to the test of constitutionality or, due to its equivocal nature and lack of clarity, to be the subject matter of prolonged and expensive litigation.

We deplore this motion. At a time when so many things require to be done, when so many things require our attention, in a period of urgency, in a period of rising unemployment figures, in a period of an ever-rising cost of living and depreciation in the value of money, in a period when we are engaging in the process of trying to join the EEC, in such an overall period when we should be concentrating all our energies and directing our minds towards the situation that lies ahead of us, we are taken away from all of that necessary national work to engage here in disputation on a measure which has been conceived and brought forth by the bully.

This is a bad Bill. This is a Bill designed to keep people from exercising their rights in the courts of our country, if that be necessary. This is a Bill where thegauleiter system of Fianna Fáil is again rearing its ugly head. This is a Bill whereby people will be appointed outside the cattle marts and within the cattle marts to inspect the cattle marts and every one of them will have to go through the sieve of the Fianna Fáil cumann before he gets the job——

Deputies

Hear, hear.

Every one of them will be tested through the sieve of the Fianna Fáil cumann before he gets the job——

That is not true.

Rubbish.

——and nobody knows that better than Deputy Calleary who has been engaging in this process of corrupt appointments all during his public life.

All his public life he has been engaged in this process of political corruption by way of appointments all the time.

I was in public life before you.

The biscuit factory in Ballina.

That is how he got in.

What happened the biscuit factory?

We do not know. It is still hidden away in the archives of the speeches made by Deputy Seán Lemass. Deputy Tully and Deputy Dillon have already dealt with this closure motion as a breach of faith. It is much worse than a breach of faith. It is an attempt, and it will be a successful attempt, of course, by reason of numbers, to stifle free speech. It is the rampage of a Party drunk with power and, indeed, today aided in that state in certain other ways. This is megalomania of the worst type. This amounts to the rape of the democratic process and I can think of no more fitting description for the Minister for Agriculture and those supporting him than to say that not since the days of mythology when Jupiter, in the shape of a bull, raped the maiden Europa, was such an attack made on democracy or such an attack ever made by a Minister for Agriculture upon the farmers for whom he is supposed to speak and whose interests he is supposed to protect.

This is vindictive, this is petty, this is bullying, and this Bill is only creating further the atmosphere in which the people are getting more cautious and afraid of the manner in which the democratic process is being abused. The time is not far distant when this Bill, if it becomes an Act, will be repealed, repealed by another Government when the people will have wiped away for ever from the benches of the Government in this House the megalomaniacs of the Fianna Fáil Party.

The first thing that must be said is that the Fine Gael Party have spoken on this Bill and said that when they got a majority in this Parliament as Government, one of the first things they will do is to repeal it. Therefore, the people can decide on that particular point. You, Sir, will be fully aware that if you have not been here for a long time and have not known the procedure and practice of what has happened and how arrangements are made, you very often do not understand or realise how business is being put through. We are indebted today to the Leader of the Labour Party, Deputy Corish, to Deputy Dillon, then Leader of the Fine Gael Party, and to Deputy Tully, then Whip of the Labour Party, for the names of the persons who sat with the then Taoiseach, Deputy Lemass, and arranged with him as an All-Party Committee that no contentious legislation would be introduced here when the financial business had been disposed of. The purpose was to see that the business of the House could be judiciously disposed of and that it would be possible to have the recess earlier so that there could be an earlier resumption and an earlier resumption of business.

We see now the breaking of faith. We see now the promises being broken and the absolute epitome of the end justifying the means. If I were to mention something else to show the mind of the Minister for Agriculture and the way he works and the way he succeeds, it would be the incident of the suspension of Deputy Harte when the apology of the Minister for Agriculture came after the event had occurred, and when, in fact, the whole thing could have been eased and the Chair could have been put in a much easier position if that apology had been forthcoming before and not after. However, again the end justifies the means. It was Deputy Harte who was suspended and the Minister for Agriculture, watching the cards fall on the table, with all his knowledge, all his experience and ability in regard to parliamentary work in this Chamber, saw to it that it was his Donegal colleague who fell by the wayside and he came out as the big magnanimous man in the end.

Those of us who have been here for a while can recognise the machinations of somebody who is prepared at all times to allow the end to justify the means. Deputy Lemass has gone, and I have a feeling that if he were in the saddle tonight, this contentious legislation would not have been introduced and there would not have been the situation whereby the Minister for Agriculture had succeeded in bullying his own Taoiseach. Let us remember the night when the farmers were sitting down. We all remember very well when there were four Taoiseachs. One has since mentioned the scandal of low standards in high places. The other three nominated themselves and the Minister for Agriculture nominated himself, as he told us afterwards, as a buffer. Now we have a compromise Taoiseach who can be made to break the word of his predecessor and who can be in the position tonight of being on important international business in Rome, while at the same time, three reputable Members of Dáil Éireann can stand up and name the members of the Fianna Fáil Party who entered into this agreement that there would be no contentious legislation and were prepared to break it then because if they did not break it, they would have to break the Minister for Agriculture.

If he wishes to be on a collision course, there is nothing you can do except sack him and apparently such is his power in the Party that that will not occur. What will happen, I believe, is that as a result he will sack them and in the next general election, which might not be so far away — we can all detect the signs when we have been here a while — there will be the position whereby the Minister for Agriculture will find himself not on those benches but here. In the 13 years during which I have been in this House and in the other House, there has been a phenomenon that rears its head at times. It is the arrogance of a certain section of the Fianna Fáil Party. This is one of those times, but I want to repeat what I said during the Committee Stage of this Bill and also on Second Reading, and which I believe absolutely. It is the statement which has so incensed the Minister that he has made me the target of his tongue. I believe that the Minister, being one of those men who watches votes and seats as certainly no one else in his own Party does, has decided that as a result of the row with the farmers, the Fianna Fáil Party are down about five or six seats, apart from any other losses they may suffer, and that the best thing for the Party to do is to destroy the NFA, even if that means losing another seat or two.

If that election to which I have referred can be staved off for long enough, the best thing for Fianna Fáil to do is break the NFA. It is on that basis that the Minister for Agriculture has set out on his collision course. He is the super-pragmatist and he believes, as no other man in the House believes, that the end justifies the means. He will throw the chessmen on the table one by one so as to get the best advantage for Fianna Fáil. I do not think any reasonable people sitting behind him or any reasonable people sitting over here will deny that, of all the politicians there are in the Fianna Fáil Party, he is the one who will make the decisions on the basis of pragmatism and on the basis of the end justifying the means.

I want to refer to the definition section of this Bill. It has been said we did not get very far on the Committee Stage. It has been said by the Parliamentary Secretary who moved this guillotine motion that we did not go through the Bill as we should have on Committee Stage and that there was deliberate obstruction. But the definition section of this Bill is highly important and the word "adapted" is highly important. I quote section 1:

In this Act—

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

We have gone through the various arguments and, if I want to adapt a phrase from the Minister's speech to my own, I can do it without changing a line, without taking the cross off any "t" or the dot off any "i". In the same way I can adapt my farm, without changing one door, to the dispersal sale of cattle and so on to a livestock mart. This means that the Minister wants to take entire control of the livestock industry. He wants to control every sale. Deputy Noel Lemass is not noted for a vast amount of grey matter, but he let the cat out of the bag. He was present at one of the Fianna Fáil meetings. He says if we are spending £60 million on agriculture and if he has to vote to spend £5 million there times and £2 million in the last few years, they have to see to it that the Fianna Fáil Party have absolute control of the agricultural industry.

The Minister wants absolute control of the sale of cattle. He wants to be able to direct them where he wants to, towards the production of beef, towards the export of stores, towards selling wherever he says. The definition section guarantees him that power. If there is to be arbitration or an appeal as to whether or not he should give the sale of every bullock within a 20 miles area to a Fianna Fáil supporter, that appeal is going to be to a man nominated by himself. Can there be anything more like playing uphill in a game of football with referee and the other 15 players against you? That is what the Minister is seeking. If we speak here for a few days, there is a guillotine motion. It means democracy is gone. It means, when you have a general election and get a majority, these people want to do anything they like, even to the extent of not having the next general election if they are afraid to meet the people.

I want to mention something that has been mentioned before, the Redundancy Bill. I had a visit from a gentleman, not from my own constituency, but from Dún Laoghaire, in fact.

I had a visit from the same gentleman.

He is a personal friend of mine and he did not mention you. Maybe he is not the same gentleman.

Maybe he is not a real friend of yours.

He has been a friend of mine for the past 15 years and he never mentioned Deputy Andrews' name to me. The young Deputy Andrews might be better off if he went away to pluck chickens.

He did not mention your name to me.

Maybe we are not speaking about the same gentleman. I am going to describe my conversation with this gentleman. He said: "The firm in which I have worked for almost 40 years is not closing down but changing its type of business I am becoming redundant. What is my position in relation to the Redundancy Bill? Will the provisions of the Redundancy Bill be retrospective? Will I be thrown on the road, just as I would have been if this happened five years ago?" I wrote a personal letter to the Minister for Labour and got a courteous reply, as I always do, from that gentleman. It said that the Redundancy Bill would not be retrospective, that it must wait until it passed through the House.

We are now in the position whereby 120 people in Deputy Corish's constituency became redundant the week before last. In cross-talk with Deputy Allen, this was not contradicted. These people are not being looked after by legislation which has been on the Table of this House for the past nine months. Yet we are forcing through a Livestock Marts Bill that will give complete control to a man who had no interest in a bullock up to the challenge for power which occurred some months ago. We are giving him control of the entire livestock industry of this country, with the right to say where they will be sold and who will be selling them. If anybody seeks to appeal about it, the appeal will be to a Fianna Fáil henchman. That is being bulldozed through the House before we leave for the summer recess.

Mention was made of the Greyhound Bill. I want to say that Deputy Vivion de Valera, who is here now, had a discussion with me in the most friendly fashion in the Division Lobby yesterday. He told me: "I cannot say anything about what Fine Gael are doing on the Livestock Marts Bill. They seem to feel deeply about it and I did the same thing myself on the Greyhound Bill." If he wants to deny that, he can.

That was a private conversation.

Deputy Andrews has hardly concerned himself since he came here with the niceties of parliamentary behaviour. All he has been is a glorious failure. I am sure he will improve with age, like Jameson's whiskey. There is also the matter mentioned by Deputy Corish and Deputy Cosgrave of between 150,000 and 170,000 fewer people at work than when this Government took office in 1957. Is this a matter of moment? Deputy Corish, for instance, opens his second post and gets a figure of 9,500 more unemployed than this day last year.

(Interruptions.)

Deputy Donegan must be allowed to make his speech.

The young Deputy Molloy and the older Deputy Calleary must know that I am entitled to compare here anything I like. When I have done that, Deputy Molloy or any other Deputy can refute me. He can make his own contribution. I want to make mine and he will not deprive me of that privilege. Roughly 7,000 people in Louth sent me here to do that and I am going to do it. That is my right under the Constitution. I am going to refer to that. If you are going to bulldoze the Livestock Marts Bill through here, you may be up against the Constitution of this country. We have now had the statement by the Incorporated Law Society, which is a body of lawyers not spectacularly noted for making statements which are untrue.

Deputy O'Donnell's committee?

I would like to discuss this intervention that has been made here several times over the past few days. Of course, Deputy Pa O'Donnell is the President for the time being of the Incorporated Law Society. May I say that Deputy Pa O'Donnell feels his position in relation to that office so much that he said he would not speak for his Party on this Bill, except on amendments which had been put down as a result of discussions with the Incorporated Law Society. Although within the House during the entire passage of the Bill so far, simply because he is President of that Society, he has been notably absent from the Chamber.

I want to quote what the Society said about this Bill, and I use the words deliberately. They said that possibly this Bill may be unconstitutional. That means that if the man who sits opposite, who believes that the end always justifies the means, does bulldoze this Bill through here now, this week he may be faced with the situation wherein the Council of State or the President or who will, the meanest citizen of this country, may decide to contest this Bill on the basis that it is unconstitutional.

Another good brief for Deputy Richie Ryan.

We have as good barristers as those on your side who never got a brief when in Opposition.

He has done very well.

Remember, Sir, that the Minister has been disowned.

(Interruptions.)

If I may proceed. The Minister has been disowned by the IAOS.

(Interruptions.)

Acting Chairman

Deputy Donegan must be allowed both from his own side and from the Fianna Fáil benches to make his speech. Everybody will be entitled to make a speech afterwards.

I have made the point that this Bill is defined by the Incorporated Law Society as possibly unconstitutional. I have made the point that they are not people to make unsubstantiated statements. I have pointed out that the meanest citizen or the Council of State or the President or the IAOS, who have disowned the Minister, or the Associated Livestock Marts who have disowned the Minister, or the Co-operative Livestock Marts, who have disowned the Minister — any one of these, including the Junior Chamber of Commerce, may decide to contest that in court and they may prove that the bullying and "the end justifying the means," and the decision that the Government shall steamroll a measure through this House without due regard for parliamentary democracy and what has been the practice may end at naught, as I hope it will. I want to warn the Fianna Fáil Party that they are gambling with themselves. If that happens, that is the finish of them.

What are the other matters that should have been discussed here during this session? I have mentioned the unemployed and the fact that there are fewer employed. What about the public scandal that there is about the fact — without mentioning any of their names — of a loss totalling £10 million of money invested in certain firms by decision of Government Ministers, which have failed and where there has not been an increase in employment but in many cases a decrease in employment and in more than one case a certain decrease in employment in other industries because one or two have staggered on by selling goods at less than cost? Should that be discussed before we break up for the summer recess? Are these things more important than the livestock marts? What about the crisis in the cattle trade? If the Minister likes to look up the answers to questions and supplementary questions given by his predecessor nine months ago, he will find that I told him then that there would be a glut in the cattle trade and over 200,000 cattle too many at this backend. The Agricultural Institute has come out, I think perhaps in a sort of guided leak, to tell us that we are going to have 150,000 too many. We are to have discussions with Mr. Peart and there is an article in theIrish Independent in which it is suggested that we may be paid to keep our cattle back. Should this matter be discussed before or after the Livestock Marts Bill? I would very much like to know which of these things the people think is the most important. I have invited the Minister to look up the records and see whether or not I told you so nine months ago.

I want now to mention something else. There are Deputies interrupting here now who were not here in 1954-57. I was here, in their position, at their age. I will be 44 next October. Deputy Molloy and Deputy Andrews, who are a great deal more impertinent than I was when I came here, are in the same position now as I was in 1954-57. No more irresponsible person in opposition, no more vindictive or vicious person in opposition could be imagined than the Deputy Blaney of that day. I have heard him on these benches keep this House here for 2½ hours. I have heard him on these benches vilifying men like Deputy John A. Costello. That is something that is not forgotten. It is forgiven but it is not forgotten.

Of course, it is not.

He is always the same. The end justifies the means. His slick treatment of the situation today when he got Deputy Harte suspended from the services of the House and then got himself out with a halfhearted apology is typical of his slickness, his oiliness, the thing that will bring Fianna Fáil down.

Do not worry.

Mr. Blaney rose.

Acting Chairman

Is the Minister moving the closure?

No; I am speaking on this motion.

The Parliamentary Secretary is moving the closure and the Minister is speaking.

Acting Chairman

Because of the fact that a Minister replies to a debate, I thought he was moving the closure.

No. Just for the record, I did not move this motion. It is not my motion.

Acting Chairman

I know you did not move the motion. I should like to get guidance on this.

Mr. Corry rose.

I wish to move the closure.

Acting Chairman

The Minister can speak on the motion.

I was not concluding.

The Parliamentary Secretary has moved the closure.

I said I wished to move the closure. You have to send for the Ceann Comhairle.

Acting Chairman

That happened when I was speaking to the Clerk. I am sorry you did not wait until I had finished. I asked permission to get guidance. Certainly, we will send for the Ceann Comhairle.

Will you note that I am offering to speak?

A Leas-Cheann Comhairle——

Acting Chairman

Business must be suspended until the Ceann Comhairle takes the Chair. I am sorry. I cannot allow anybody to speak.

An Ceann Comhairle took the Chair.

I move: That the Question be now put. I think that the matter——

This is not in order. You may move it.

Yes, but I must give an explanation as to why I am moving it.

He may move the motion but surely he is not allowed to make a speech on it?

No debate on it.

May I give my reason for moving it?

I have offered to speak.

I have offered to speak, as has the Minister for Agriculture.

I am not prepared to take the motion for closure at this stage. The Minister.

I am offering, Sir.

I am advised that the Minister was in possession.

Deputy Corry was in possession before.

May I make the point that nobody was in possession because I was not sure whether or not the Minister was entitled to speak and in the meantime, the Parliamentary Secretary moved the closure? So, nobody, in fact, was in possession.

I am calling the Minister for Agriculture.

What this debate is really about scarcely anybody would know, except that it is a continuation and is typical of all that has gone before over these recent weeks. I should like just to comment on a few of the further ridiculous claims that have been made by one of the speakers here tonight. The first one I want to nail right back where it belongs is the refrain that we have been hearing over the past two or three weeks that this Bill is being rushed and that it is a vendetta against the NFA. If any measure of its size could be said not to have been rushed, surely this is it. Surely the time that has been given to it so far is without precedent in this House in a matter of this nature? Surely we begin to realise the hypocrisy of Fine Gael when on Second Reading, the Stage on which each member who wishes to contribute, in order to criticise, to reconstruct, to improve or demolish, makes his overall contribution, we find that the total record of this important Stage of this relatively small measure occupies 99 columns. Ninety-nine columns of print has been sufficient entirely to encompass all that had to be said by everybody in this House in the debate of a general nature on this Bill. If I remember correctly, there was no closure motion on that Second Reading debate. Nobody stopped anybody from talking on that Stage.

Then we come to the Money Resolution which, in my experience over the years I have been in this House, although I am no expert in these matters, is merely regarded as a prelude to the discussion on the Committee Stage of a Bill, big or small. We find on this occasion, after only 99 columns of debate on the Second Stage, there are 354 columns on the Money Resolution, that heretofore, in my limited experience in this House, has been regarded as a mere formality prior to dealing with the various sections, clauses and sub-clauses of the Bill.

We come then to the Committee Stage. Since we started and up to yesterday, I suppose we would have had at least 540 columns and 30 hours of debate. What did we spend this time on? For what did we bring all this print into being except to discuss these words in two amendments to one section? The words "or otherwise" and the words "constructed or reconstructed" in substitution for something else. Those two small amendments cost this House and the country valuable time and money that could have been devoted to some of the important things that have been mentioned here tonight. Fine Gael would only——

(Cavan): You would have gone on holidays if you had got this through.

Of course, you would have been here.

(Cavan): You would not have discussed them in any case.

You would have been here singing to yourself.

You had arranged to go on holidays on 18th June, only for the Marts Bill.

If Deputy L'Estrange, as Chief Whip of the Fine Gael Party, has made certain arrangements, that is no business of mine. I cannot help it if Deputies from Fine Gael wish to behave unreasonably. I cannot help it if they want to engage in a stupid, inane discussion. This has been going on day in and day out with scant regard for the normal procedure of this House. We continue with this, despite the fact that all Members of the House are aware since yesterday morning that the guillotine motion was being introduced, and would become effective at 5 o'clock tomorrow evening. I warned Deputies yesterday to take note of the fact that such a motion was there, and that they should devote the valuable time of this House to dealing with this Bill in a constructive manner in the time available. Instead of doing that, they dug their heels in and spent yesterday and today up to 7 p.m. discussing the insertion of the word "exclusively" in section 1, and the insertion of the words "and habitually used" in the same definition section. Here we are, most of us allegedly mature people, and we have spent——

That remark is well worth making. Here we are with all of this time and all of these columns printed in the records of this House, and I do not think I am reflecting in the slightest degree on the Opposition when I say that all of these columns put together do not help in the slightest in regard to the meaning of this section.

I am appealing again to Fine Gael, even at this late stage, to go through the Bill, to get on to the sections where they might be able to contribute something of value, to leave the definition section alone and stop trying to destroy the whole meaning of it. Every single amendment that has been put forward and discussed here has been designed to destroy the essence of the Bill, and I challenge Fine Gael to show that this is not true. I challenge the legal men in Fine Gael, who are well practised in law and its interpretation, to show that they have not designed these amendments solely and simply in the realisation that by getting even one of them through, they could destroy the effectiveness and the usefulness of the Bill as a whole.

Whether it was a slip of the tongue or not, I do not know, but I rather pricked up my ears when Deputy Donegan talked about the Incorporated Law Society, about which I have no intention of talking. However, did I gather from him that there was something of a virtue to be detected in that the President of the Society, namely, our colleague, Deputy P. O'Donnell, had not spoken on this measure except on amendments that were prepared in the Incorporated Law Society. Is this what I heard him say? Did they prepare these amendments?

Ask Senator Nash.

I am not asking anybody. I am merely putting the question: did Deputy Donegan say what I thought he said?

(Cavan): He said amendments put down by Deputy O'Donnell himself.

(Cavan): Refer to the record.

I gathered that to be so, and if it is so, it absolutely staggers me, but I am prepared, as I said before I even mentioned it——

Just as the Minister for Justice said yesterday that he put down a question in the name of a Deputy.

This is not what I am getting at. What I am getting at is that it was so staggering to me that even though I thought I heard it clearly, I am still not sure and I am posing the question: did he say it, that these were prepared in the Incorporated Law Society?

(Cavan): No, he did not say it.

If that is so, I am much relieved and I have nothing more to say and do not intend to say anything more about the wisdom of the Incorporated Law Society or by whom it may be presided over, or the members of which it may be composed in making any suggestion that they wish to make or what they are about. They are quite free to make suggestions but let us not have it hawked in here.

They are perfectly entitled to suggest amendments if they wish to do so.

Of course they are. But why they should have prepared them for Fine Gael — that is what I am talking about. I am not saying at all that they are not entitled to suggest amendments either to me or to anybody but that it is suggested that they had actually prepared them for Fine Gael. I did not get any prepared amendments from them.

Would the Minister have accepted them?

(Interruptions.)

Not only did I not get any prepared by the Incorporated Law Society — this concerns the Deputy opposite not only as a Member of the House but also as a member of the profession — but I did not even experience the courtesy of getting a copy of the statement until it had first been published.

(Cavan): Is the Minister going to warn the Law Society as well as the farmers?

It may have been an oversight but on the other hand, an uncharitable view would be — and it might be taken out of it by uncharitable people of which there are a few still about — that it was not intended to be helpful at any stage and therefore why send it to the Minister for Agriculture who is responsible for the Bill in this House?

I am not really sore about it. I am trying to be understanding about why the courtesy that one would expect from a body of the standing of the Society, presided over by a man from my own county and a colleague of my own, should not even do me the courtesy of providing me with the benefit of the wisdom of their deliberations and the result of their consideration of this particular measure which they saw fit to get into print and have widely published and probably helped to prepare amendments for Fine Gael to come in here to try to wreck the Bill. Possibly unwittingly they did all this: it is quite conceivable, but I must say I feel I would have been entitled, from a body of this standing, to at least a courtesy copy of this document of great weight that we are told about here. I feel I should at least have got the benefit of its being sent to me rather than have to read it in the papers or possibly to read the abridged version published in certain papers. I think that was the least one could expect from a body of this kind composed of eminent and respected people such as we associate with the Incorporated Law Society.

However, to get back to the Committee Stage, I shall have to try to struggle along without the wisdom of the Incorporated Law Society which Fine Gael have to back their eminent legal people in their own Benches. I shall try to struggle along without these people and the wise counsel and advice which they are capable of giving in a matter such as this and which the Society is noted for giving for nothing. I have had to do without this valuable contribution because of not having this sort of assistance and advice offered to me by this Society. If I have not been as forthcoming in the sort of answers that Fine Gael would like me to give to their questions, it is probably because I have not been indoctrinated or educated in these last few weeks by the wisdom of the members of the Incorporated Law Society.

I am not against this very eminent society in the slightest degree. Probably I really feel slightly peeved not to have had the benefit of their valuable consideration and the time they must have given to this particular measure free and for nothing I am peeved that I had not the benefit of help and assistance from them——

I think you have a number of legal men in your own Party and they are not overworked.

I know, but Fine Gael have put across this organisation — and they are right — as an organisation with no sort of Party allegiance, above and beyond politics. It is really an objective organisation, and good luck to it and long may it continue. I am just peeved that this organisation of such great weight should have put in such arduous work and expended so much sacrifice and sweat in their consideration of this measure and that I, of all people, should not have been offered the valuable information they have supplied to Fine Gael. Why is this? It really saddens me to think that this is the way a Minister for Agriculture is treated on a matter as important, as vital as Fine Gael make this out to be. It saddens me that I am ignored by this very Society of which a man of my own country and an esteemed colleague has the honour to be President in this particular year.

Having said this, I shall go back and try to struggle on in my own way without this valuable assistance in this debate. I want to say that there have been 540 columns wasted, our time wasted, the time of the Opposition wasted, the time of the House wasted and the money of the people wasted, discussing, as I have said, cleverly prepared, one-word amendments to a definition section any one of which amendments or any combination of which, or the total of which, would have the effect of nullifying the intention of the entire Bill.

Fine Gael have worked long and strenuously to try to get just one of these amendments through. There is a belief that you can wear things out so long and so thin that something will give and that by the drip — and it was drip and very boring drip — of this boring discussion and this repetition of one amendment after another, one amendment would be accepted, through boredom if nothing else. This section is so vital to the Bill that, unfortunately, not even my boredom was sufficient to allow me to give way on any one of these, although it would have given me great satisfaction to do so because Fine Gael would probably fall through their seats if that happened because they do not want to improve the Bill. They want to wreck it.

What I want to say to them is that for the few hours that still remain— and there are quite a few hours in tomorrow — we shall not participate in this debate to any extent because we want to hear what they have to say and we shall not overburden them with our contributions. We shall tell them what is in this measure in plain, simple and straightforward language. They can chew it over, digest it and spit it up again in whatever form they like. We will still recognise what it is, despite your best endeavours to make it otherwise. You have got all day tomorrow to do this and I am inviting you now as the Party in Opposition you claim to be, which obviously you are not——

(Interruptions.)

I have valuable advice for Fine Gael and I would like to get it across, if I may. For the rest of the debate tomorrow, I appeal to them to apply themselves diligently to the sections of the Bill, to the sections which have meaning of some value. My belief is that you will not take my advice and for this very good reason. You have created or attempted to create so many myths, you have attempted to build this Marts Bill into such a measure of repression and vengeance that you are afraid to go on to the other sections of the Bill because a discussion of those other sections is so likely and so certain to explode those myths, those half-truths and confusion that you are creating on the definition section——

Who is stopping us from going on?

You are.

You are doing it.

There were 99 columns on the Second Reading Debate, 354 on the Money Resolution, which is never discussed on a Bill and 540 columns yesterday.

And 15 days on the Greyhound Racing Bill up to the Committee Stage.

All the discussion today has so far gone on "exclusively" and "habitually used". Even at this stage I am appealing to Fine Gael to save some of the remaining shreds of decency which might allow them to go on and discuss the sections of this Bill and which might do themselves and the country some good. I am saying to Fine Gael that they are afraid and they have been afraid to discuss the Bill in its entirely because those untruths, the confusion and the half-truths in all those matters they have built up around section 1 would be exploded one by one.

Why the guillotine?

Could you blame any Government asking for a guillotine decision? Could you really blame them? If Deputy Sweetman finds something to laugh at in the big joke they are creating as opposition to the Bill, he is quite welcome to laugh. He may laugh but he will not laugh for very long.

Time will tell.

And Deputy Reynolds can crow north of the line in Leitrim but when he goes south of the line it is a different matter. If he comes up to Donegal we will show him there is a change in the coin.

Is that the place you were to have the fair?

(Interruptions.)

(Cavan): If the Minister comes to the General Council of the County Councils——

This is what you were so diligently busy on during the election campaign.

(Cavan): That is where you were let down.

Is this where you went around to the Chairman of the General Council of Committees of Agriculture and knocked on his door?

(Interruptions.)

Order. This is becoming a football match.

I am asserting as a fact that you went around to the door of the Chairman of the General Council of Committees of Agriculture.

(Cavan): He associated with the Minister and lost his seat.

(Interruptions.)

Is there any use asking the Deputies to consider that this is the National Parliament?

With the Minister for Agriculture, it is very hard to believe it.

(Interruptions.)

I would ask all to allow me to continue. I would ask to be permitted to say a few things further to Fine Gael, and particularly Deputy Fitzpatrick because I would not like him to miss this. He, particularly, and another of his colleagues, did, according to my information, spend many days around the doors of the Chairman of the General Council of Committees of Agriculture.

How relevant is this?

It is as relevant as most of the bunk you were talking.

(Interruptions.)

On a point of order, is it in order — would the Minister mind resuming his seat?

When I am asked to do so by the Chair and when I know it is a point of order.

It is a point of order.

You could not blame me if I did not know.

(Interruptions.)

On a point of order, is it in order for the Minister to bring into this debate his political reflections arising from the local elections? Surely we have had enough to contend with in this motion without the Chairman of the County Committees of Agriculture being brought in?

I had hoped we were finished with the elections.

This I was prevented from saying because Fine Gael know what is coming. The Leader of the Opposition——

(Interruptions.)

I insist that the Minister be heard.

On a point of order, is the Minister in order?

Deputy Cosgrave, the Leader of the Fine Gael Party, spent most of his time discussing the prospects of a general election and the results of the local elections, and now this Deputy here gets up to raise a point of order and tells me I am out of order. Catch yourselves on. This is the sort of game you have been playing all week. You have broken every rule of debate and procedure in this House.

We have broken none.

You have, and you are breaking them now. You have been wasting time for the past fortnight.

(Interruptions.)

To get back to the debate——

What about the hunger strikers for whom you were responsible?

They were in jail too, and there were better men in jail.

And executed.

I am proud to say I had much closer contact with those very people than you ever had.

You never showed it if you had. You let them die on hunger strike.

Go away, you clown.

Is it in order for the Minister even in his most excited moments to express himself in such a manner? I make all the excuses in the world for him, but he has called a Deputy either a clown or a clout.

(Interruptions.)

If such an unparliamentary statement were made, it should not have been made.

Is the Minister withdrawing the statement?

Will you sit down and let me talk and do something for you?

The day I ask you to do anything for me will be a poor day for me.

(Interruptions.)

The Minister for Agriculture.

As Deputy Coughlan is not too sure of what he heard, all I can say is that because of the manner of his delivery and all that went with it what I said was merely a term of endearment for the type of Deputy he is.

Knowing the tactics of the Minister for Donegal and his actions here this afternoon, nothing surprises me and, indeed, his sentiments of endearment would be accepted down in my county as grave insult.

(Interruptions.)

I will not shout my lungs out for people who will not allow me to talk. To get back to the beating of a decent man, the tactics I am told that were used were that the canvass went around to the doors in a townland——

On a point of order, would the Minister resume his seat——

I will not resume my seat on your instructions.

When a point of order is raised, nobody remains standing except the person who raises it.

Is it in order for the Minister to discuss on this motion matters relating to the local elections?

The Leader of the Opposition tonight discussed the local elections, and Deputy Tully talked about the local elections.

No, Sir. If the Minister happened to be in the House, he would know, and the fellows behind him do not know either because they were not in the House.

(Interruptions.)

The story that was told was that this very decent man was being paid £1,000 a year by me to go on the National Agricultural Council. That is the story that has been told to me. If there are those who deny it, I would be happy to hear it; I would hate to believe it to be true.

(Cavan): If that story is attributed to me, I deny it here and now and the Minister should have the decency to withdraw it.

I did not say it was you.

(Cavan): You did.

If the Deputy wishes to deny something I have not alleged against him, then by all means I withdraw what I never said.

Who should deny it?

I am asking that somebody should deny it categorically. It was a dirty sort of business to try. It was completely untrue. No truth exists in this and it is only right that this man's name should be cleared in the best way I can do it here in this House.

Having said that, I shall get back to this Bill which it is of such great importance to Fine Gael to obstruct and nullify, their tactics being by every possible move, as was their expressed intention, to block the Bill and have no part in it. The cuter elements, knowing that this would not go down well outside, came in here and made various speeches and pleas, trying to hold the Bill as something capable of operating, but said they would do no more unless we adopted the stupid amendments they put down.

But, having got round that; having shown the absolute disregard the Opposition have for procedure or order in this House, and the complete disregard they have for all the waste of time and money of the people in regard to the running of this House, I still do beg of them to devote the time available tomorrow to some useful purpose: by going through the Bill. I am defying them to do it; I am challenging them to do it; I am asking them to do it——

Steamrolling——

Be quiet for a moment, because you have to go that road yourself.

If Deputy O'Hara insists on interrupting in that fashion, I will have to insist that he leave the House.

Very well; I will leave, Sir. I have told the Minister what I think about him.

The Deputy has not. Let him take himself off and good luck to him.

I am challenging, defying and, indeed, finally asking Fine Gael to have a little sense, to have a little regard for this House, for the people of this country, for the welfare of the community and the interests of the farmers, and to come in here tomorrow and devote the time left to discussing this Bill in a constructive manner — to discussing it and not obstructing it — and giving us the benefit of any wisdom they have — however little it is, it will be welcome — in whatever way they can, while they can. Above all, let us not have a situation wherein, when this motion is eventually carried and all Stages of this Bill are put through the House by the majority of this House, Fine Gael will say: "Fianna Fáil would not let us discuss it", because they have got more time to discuss it than would have been necessary to discuss it properly ten times over. Instead of using it, they frittered away the time, obstructing the business of the House as they have done. They have attempted, by interruptions in various ways, to bring order in the House to a standstill. Despite all this, let them not expect the public to believe Fianna Fáil stopped them from discussing this Bill, because they will not.

Again, my final plea is: come in and discuss it tomorrow — a challenge, a defiance and, finally, a request. Do that, and you will have achieved something for this House and the regard in which it should be held. You will achieve something which might even save your faces. We do want you to save the face of Fine Gael because nobody is more conscious of the fact than we that we do require an Opposition for all the years we will be in Government, now, and right on into the future. Remember all these things: come in tomorrow and give us some of your wisdom and less of your obstruction.

I move that the question be now put.

I am accepting the motion.

May I make a submission, before you accept it? Deputy T.F. O'Higgins offered before the Minister was called; there have been several references to a meeting which took place between the former Taoiseach, Deputy Seán Lemass, the then Deputy James Ryan, Deputy Corish, Deputy James Tully and myself. I claim the right, Sir, to speak in relation to that meeting, because it was entirely in relation to this type of position.

The motion that the question be now put was moved before; some time has passed since and the motion is now put. I am accepting the motion that the question be now put.

That stultifies the House.

It is a partisan ruling, entirely a partisan ruling.

I am putting the motion that the question be now put.

You are not even able to get the guillotine through on the closure.

Question put: "That the question be now put."
The Dáil divided; Tá, 64; Níl, 45.

  • 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.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Gibbons, Hugh.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • 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.
  • Lenihan, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • 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.
  • Wyse, Pearse.

Níl

  • Barrett, Stephen D.
  • Barry, Richard.
  • Belton, Luke.
  • Belton, Paddy.
  • Burke, Joan T.
  • Burton, Philip.
  • Clinton, Mark A.
  • Collins, Seán.
  • Connor, Patrick.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, Declan.
  • Coughlan, Stephen.
  • Creed, Donal.
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • L'Estrange, Gerald.
  • Lindsay, Patrick J.
  • Lyons, Michael D.
  • McLaughlin, Joseph.
  • Murphy, Michael P.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'Donnell, Tom.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry P.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Donegan, Patrick S.
  • Donnellan, John.
  • Dunne, Thomas.
  • Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
  • Farrelly, Denis.
  • Fitzpatrick, Thomas J. (Cavan).
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Gilhawley, Eugene.
  • Governey, Desmond.
  • Hogan, Patrick
  • (South Tipperary).
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • O'Hara, Thomas.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.K.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Reynolds, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, Richie.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
  • Tully, James.
Tellers:— Tá, Deputies Carty and Ge oghegan; Níl, Deputies James Tully and L'Estrange.
Question declared carried.
Motion put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 64; Níl, 45.

  • 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.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Gibbons, Hugh.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • 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.
  • Lenihan, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • 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.
  • Wyse, Pearse.

Níl

  • Barrett, Stephen D.
  • Barry, Richard.
  • Belton Luke.
  • Belton, Paddy.
  • Burke, Joan T.
  • Burton, Philip.
  • Clinton, Mark A.
  • Collins, Seán.
  • Connor, Patrick.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, Declan.
  • Coughlan, Stephen.
  • Creed, Donal.
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry P.
  • McLaughlin, Joseph.
  • Murphy, Michael P.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'Donnell, Tom.
  • O'Hara, Thomas.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Donegan, Patrick S.
  • Donnellan, John.
  • Dunne, Thomas.
  • Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
  • Farrelly, Denis.
  • Fitzpatrick, Thomas J. (Cavan).
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Gilhawley, Eugene.
  • Governey, Desmond.
  • Hogan, Patrick
  • (South Tipperary).
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • L'Estrange, Gerald.
  • Lindsay, Patrick J.
  • Lyons, Michael D.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F. K.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Reynolds, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, Richie.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
  • Tully, James.
Tellers:— Tá, Deputies Carty and Ge oghegan; Níl, Deputies L'Estrange and James Tully.
Question declared carried.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.40 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Friday, 21st July, 1967.