I move amendment No. 10:
Before subsection (2) to insert a new subsection as follows:
"( ) A decision refusing to grant a licence shall comprise a statement specifying the reasons for the refusal to grant the licence".
Vol. 230 No. 4
I move amendment No. 10:
Before subsection (2) to insert a new subsection as follows:
"( ) A decision refusing to grant a licence shall comprise a statement specifying the reasons for the refusal to grant the licence".
I move amendment No. 11:
To delete subsection (2).
Would the Deputy agree that amendments Nos. 11, 12 and 13 be taken together?
Any idea why?
If you will not let us talk, you will walk.
Can the Minister give any reason why they should be taken together?
They are all of the one kind.
They are completely different.
Not at all.
They refer to completely different subsections.
What you propose to remove——
We will remove the subsections one by one.
You do not want me to be heard on this.
You are totally irresponsible.
The Minister for Justice is the last man who should talk about somebody being irresponsible.
I move amendment No. 12:
To delete subsection (3).
The same thing applies to this amendment as to that just defeated — the subsection is normal routine and essential, and is similar to subsections in any other Act to which Deputies agreed.
I move amendment No. 13:
To delete subsection (4).
Fianna Fáil are sinking.
I move amendment No. 14:
In subsection (5), line 5, to delete "guilty" and substitute "convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction".
You are all the one now—Labour and Fine Gael. I believe the Fine Gael Party are offering membership cards to the conservative element of the Labour Party.
Is amendment No. 14 moved?
A contempt for the courts. Where is the Minister for Justice now?
Very excellently put.
I move amendment No. 15:
In page 3, after subsection (5), to insert the following subsections:
"( ) (a) Whenever the Minister proposes to refuse to grant a licence or to revoke a licence, because of a contravention of regulations under section 6 of this Act prescribing any matter specified in paragraphs (e) to (i) of section 6 (2) of this Act, he shall, before doing so, notify the holder of or the applicant for the licence of his intention and of the reasons therefor, and, if any representations are made to the Minister within seven days after the date of the giving of the notification by the holder or applicant, as the case may be, the Minister shall consider them.
(b) Whenever the Minister proposes to revoke a licence because of a contravention of regulations under section 6 of this Act prescribing any matter specified in paragraphs (e) to (i) of section 6 (2) of this Act, the Minister shall not do so until the expiration of one month after the date of the giving of the notification aforesaid, and, if, within seven days after the giving of the notification aforesaid, the holder of the licence makes a request to the Minister for the holding of an inquiry in relation to the matter, the Minister shall cause an inquiry to be held (unless, as a result of the consideration of representations made to him, the Minister has decided not to revoke the licence).
(c) Where an inquiry is held under this subsection, the Minister shall not revoke the licence until he has considered the report of the person holding the inquiry.
(d) The Minister shall appoint a person who is a practising barrister of at least ten years' standing to hold any inquiry under this subsection and the person so appointed shall have power to take evidence on oath which he is hereby authorised to administer and shall make a report to the Minister of his findings at the inquiry.
(e) The Minister shall give to the person who requested the holding of the inquiry notice of the time and place of the holding of the inquiry and the person shall be entitled to appear at the inquiry personally or by counsel or solicitor and to adduce evidence.
(f) There shall be paid to a person holding an inquiry under this subsection such remuneration as the Minister, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, may fix.
( ) Whenever the Minister revokes a licence, he shall cause a statement of his reasons for doing so to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas.
I should say there is mention here of a paragraph (i), as being the only procedure available to us and one which has been practised on similar occasions in the past, in anticipation of the acceptance of amendment No. 22, which would add another paragraph to section 6 (2).
The purpose of this amendment is threefold, namely, to provide that where it is proposed to refuse a marts licence this intention and the reasons for it will be notified to the applicant, who will have seven days within which to make representations to the Minister, who must—the Minister must— consider any such representations. Further, where it is proposed to revoke a licence for reasons related to structure, accommodation and standards, including hygienic and veterinary standards, similar notification will be given. Similar representations may be made and the applicant will also have the right to request an inquiry by an experienced barrister, whose report the Minister must consider before rejecting the licence. Where mart licences are revoked a statement of the reasons for doing so will be laid before the Dáil and Seanad.
We have already dealt with amendment No. 10 which was to the effect that "a decision refusing to grant a licence shall comprise a statement specifying the reasons for the refusal to grant the licence". Despite the fact that this amendment No. 15 was doing the job asked for by the Opposition in amendment No. 10, and doing it very much better, we had a further indication from Fine Gael of their whole outlook in regard to procedure in this House, because they pressed amendment No. 10 to a division which was completely unnecessary and without any reason whatever.
Blatherskite. The Minister's amendment contains a most loathsome principle.
Deputy Dillon has had ample opportunity. He has availed of that opportunity to talk his way around and about, up and down and across, without contributing anything to the Bill, despite his protestations——
Deputy Dillon does not talk under a "Buckshot Forster" closure.
——that he wished to make the Bill a better Bill and that he did not disagree with it. The throwing across of names now and for the past two or three weeks is of no consequence and certainly is no addition to the worth or otherwise of the Bill. Nor does it inhibit me from saying what I must and should say in regard to this measure in this House for the benefit of Deputies, and particularly for the benefit of the public outside who are being confused by the misstatements, misconceptions, myths and half-truths being perpetrated and circulated by Fine Gael for weeks on end.
Under a Buckshot Forster closure.
The Deputy had his opportunity. He used it to little avail, if any. Now we find him and Fine Gael running away from the Bill, running away from their own amendments, refusing to talk on them and excusing themselves on the basis that there is a closure, notice of which they have had for the past 48 hours, if not 72 hours. They just cannot accept the fact that people are intelligent in this country, both inside and outside this House, but particularly outside.
You have said a mouthful.
They will see through the Fine Gael campaign of obstruction and destruction as far as this measure is concerned and their complete negativing of the normal procedures established in this House, which Fine Gael themselves are loudest in proclaiming should be upheld, but only when it suits them. They are the first to destroy them when they do not suit them, and they then start blaming somebody else. That is typical Fine Gael tactics as they have emerged not only in this debate but on every similar debate since I came into this House. Deputy Dillon is a pastmaster at this business of lauding the procedures of this institution and at the same time, when it suits him and his Party and the politics of his Party——
We use them for the sake of the Irish people.
——he is the man who will demolish them most quickly and justify that thereafter, on the basis that it was his opponents who were at fault.
We are using them very effectively today, in any case.
The Deputy is codding nobody and will not cod anybody in the future, least of all in respect of this Bill. We had a vote on amendment No. 10. We had Fine Gael pushing that, giving us an excellent description of what it would do. They told us in detail how it would help the Bill, what it would add and they were most concise in their explanation because the only words uttered, as far as I know, and I did not hear them, so inaudible were they, were spoken by Deputy Clinton who, I believe, said: "I move". That was his succinct, concise and convincing argument in favour of this amendment which they put the House to the trouble, expense and time of dividing on, when another amendment covering the matter much better was still to come and was not, obviously, being opposed by the Government, which the Government, in fact, had put down. I take it now that Fine Gael will be consistent and, having voted for amendment No. 10, which has been beaten, and rightly so, will now vote against amendment No. 15——
Yes, Sir—against this abomination.
——and that they will swallow their own vomit, as it were, in regard to this matter.
This is the child of the Minister's brain.
They were hoping for amendment No. 10 and would not explain what it was about other than to say: "I move". At the same time, while behaving in this way in regard to their own amendment, on which there was lack of explanation, it is not beyond them, and has not been during these past few days, to charge the Minister with not giving explanations, with not telling the House what he is doing. We were given that very succinct and most concise explanation and argument in favour of his, according to them, very necessary amendment, No. 10, in words which, as I say, I did not hear but understand were: "I move". This is Fine Gael at their very best, at their peak, in deception and hypocrisy, in which only they as a political Party can reach such heights or ever have in the past, or probably will in the future. I am delighted to hear that at least there is consistency in their madness. They looked for this matter in a small way in amendment No. 10 because it is their own and are now going to vote against it in amendment No. 15 because it is put forward by the Government. Could anything be more explicit, more clear, or could anything demonstrate more clearly to the public what a lot of humbugs they are in Fine Gael in regard to this matter and, indeed, to very many other matters, but never more clearly demonstrated than by their tactics and actions on this Bill and particularly on the two amendments I am talking about? Here we have——
A stinking amendment. It reeks to high heaven.
The day I would come to agree with you——
Would be a sad day for me and for Ireland.
—— would be a sad day for me and certainly the beginning of the end of my political being.
Upon my word, on that basis I would be prepared to consider it.
It is not going to happen: rest easy. The day I would agree with the Deputy on a matter such as this has not dawned and will not dawn, I can assure him. So, rest easy. Squirm in your seat. Laugh at what is being said because that is now the only thing you can do. This thing has been made a joke of by Fine Gael, all in the interests of the farmers, on the one hand, and of the mart owners, on the other, of the co-operative movement of which they, apparently, are the guardians. They and they alone have any interest in the co-operative movement; nobody else has any right even to think or talk about such. They are going to guard that well, and the co-ops and the marts.
You spoke for them, and they repudiated you.
They are going to look after the interests of the private mart owners. They are going to look after the interests of the farmers who sell in the marts and of those who buy in the marts. They are going to look after the interests of the dealers in the marts, the shippers, the dead meat trade people and all these others. All of this Fine Gael are going to do, and I emphasise "are going to do". This is Fine Gael in typical attitude. They are always and ever, since I remember, going to do something; they never do anything. This is the sad truth about Fine Gael and that is why Fine Gael habitually occupy those benches over there.
We put you out twice and will again, with the help of God.
What could I liken it to that you will fully understand? The subterfuge by which you got into Government on two occasions could be likened unto the subterfuge by which you got into the Dáil from my unfortunate county on one occasion and could not go back for election the next year.
I was twice a Deputy for Donegal, enjoyed every minute of it and topped the poll.
We found you out. You talked off Fianna Fáil platforms because you had not one of your own.
Not that I remember.
I remember, and I was not very big.
On a point of order, I submit that this is not relevant to the amendment before the House.
Have we a ruling from the Chair?
The interruptions are also out of order. We cannot have order on one side and disorder on the other.
I did not ask about the interruptions; I spoke about what the Minister was contributing to the House. I take it you are ruling the Minister's comments also out of order?
I am doing nothing of the kind.
No, I would not expect you to.
Is the little Deputy reflecting on the Chair again, as he has been doing all day? Does he want to follow that up and really say what he means now?
It is all right. The Minister and the Chair know what is in my mind.
If somebody, including the Chair, knows what is in your mind, he must have great insight to find out what is in your mind. To find your mind in the first instance would require a microscope. To find what is in it is impossible.
Now we would like to hear about the amendment.
I am on the amendment.
On a point of order, the Minister should address the Chair, not the Deputy.
This gives me the greatest pleasure because I have regard for the Chair.
God knows, you ought to.
You are entitled to.
Instead of innuendoes, why do not you have in Fine Gael what you never had——
I said the Minister should be addressing the Chair.
——the courage to get up and say what you are inferring? Stop hiding behind this glib sort of procedure you have practised over the years. If you want to say something, get up and say it.
I take it this is asking you to get up and say something, Sir?
I thought you asked me to address the Chair. Why do you not do likewise?
The Minister is addressing the Chair at all times and is looking at the Chair.
Do not be sore at the child.
It is not that I am sore at the child. It is the intervention of the child that is deliberately intended to put me off a very useful theme, which, from the point of view of the House and the public, should be explored fully and extensively to its logical end. But Fine Gael do not like it because it does not suit them. I understand this but the childishness should at this stage have vanished.
I wish to move that the question be now put, as the Minister has nothing to say on it.
I have not even begun.
The Leas-Cheann Comhairle will now send for the Ceann Comhairle.
An Ceann Comhairle took the Chair.
The Minister was talking on several matters which were not relevant to the amendment before the House. I move that the question be now put.
The relevancy is a matter for the Chair.
The Chair does not see any justification for the indiscriminate use of the expedient "that the question be now put", and I am therefore, in this case, not accepting it.
I should have been sorry if it had been otherwise, because, as I have been saying to the Deputies, I have not quite begun, never mind finished on this matter.
The Minister was talking irrelevantly for 20 minutes.
He has only 25 minutes.
If I were allowed to talk for some minutes of these 25 minutes without interruption, I think what I have to say would be of use to Deputies in their understanding of the Bill, and particularly of the section as it will be amended, if this is carried, more particularly since the amendment encompasses the amendment they themselves have put down and covers the matter far better than theirs. Of course, it is only to be expected that Fianna Fáil would do the job better than Fine Gael.
Why did the Minister oppose amendment No. 10?
Why did the Deputy put it down? I am glad Deputy Clinton is in because the very succinct explanation and arguments he is advancing in favour of his own amendments have almost impressed me into accepting them, except for the fact that this amendment No. 15 is far better and covers all that is in the other amendment.
This amendment stinks.
I suggest it is not this amendment that stinks but the one emanating from over there. In the Seed Production Act of 1955, there is no appeal on any matter to anybody, barristers or other persons. This is another of the little gems that Deputy Dillon, as Minister for Agriculture in those days, sponsored and piloted through this House, supported by most of the people over there or whoever came before them. The Seed Production Act of 1955 contains no appeal or inquiry provision such as I am providing here. What I am proposing here does mean something and it is more than was given to the farmers by the Fine Gael Party in those days. Remember, it was largely the farmers that that Act covered, although there would have been dealers as well. Here in this amendment we are dealing with mart owners and operators who are much fewer in number than the farmers. There are far fewer participating in the marts business than there are farmers in the seed production business. Yet Deputy Dillon, this guardian of all he regards as sacred for the benefit of our people, piloted the Seed Production Act through this House in 1955, and not as much as a line was there of redress or appeal being given to the farmers under this great man of those days who has just departed out the door.
Why have things changed so much since then? Have we all become much less enlightened than the Members of this House in those days? Is it to be expected that we would be treating our people worse in 1967 than they were treated in 1955? This surely is not in keeping with the trend of things since those days. It is a complete answer to Deputy Dillon and his colleagues who are looking for appeals on behalf of the mart owners in regard to the revocation or the granting of licences, that they themselves, and he, in particular, as Minister for Agriculture in the then Coalition Government, put through the Seed Production Act without making any provision whatsoever for appeal by farmers about whom he shed so many crocadile tears.
Whom does he think he is codding? Does he believe he is codding the farmers in respect of his alleged regard for their wellbeing and the upholding of what he calls their inalienable rights? Deputy Dillon is not codding me or anybody else on this side of the House, and I know from the fact that they threw him out some while ago that he is not codding Fine Gael. Nobody knows him better than they do. They found him out, only it was a wee bit late. The election was over and they had gone down the drain for another time. It was not all his fault, but they did find him out. He is not codding anybody and he is certainly not codding the farmers, big or small. With all his glib talk in the House, when we look back on the record, we find what he did in similar circumstances when he had the same opportunity as I have as Minister for Agriculture. He put through the Seed Production Act, without a right of appeal provision. In addition, there was the Fertilisers and Mineral Mixtures Act and it did not include anything he now says is so vital to this Bill.
We want the House and the country to realise that this amendment, which is long and somewhat involved but, nevertheless, clear and precise, does confer benefits on those people who will come within the categories to be licensed under this measure, if it becomes an Act, and that it has been put there by Fianna Fáil voluntarily and with the knowledge, and I hope— I would almost say absolutely—the agreement of the Marts Association. Or does somebody want to say he does not agree with this, that he is against it? Do I hear a voice saying that some one or other of the associations are opposed to the amendment? If there is such a voice, I should like to hear it.
The NAC have considered and discussed this sort of an arrangement and they also agree that it is an addition that is well worth making to the Bill as originally drafted. Fine Gael do not seem to want it; they want their own little niggling way of putting it in the amendment already defeated and which they cannot recall. Surely, even at this late stage they will have the courage of their convictions if they have any—I should first have questioned if they have any courage—and support this amendment, even though supporting it will only lay them further open to the charge of duplicity, of not being logical or consistent within the last hour in this House. But this inconsistency, this lack of logic that will be displayed if they support the amendment will be small in comparison with the good they will do themselves in the eyes of the public whom they are trying to cod but should be serving.
I wish to move that the question be now put. This is all bull. We have an elected dictatorship here.
The Cheann Comhairle will be sent for.
An Ceann Comhairle took the Chair.
I move that the question be now put. There are only ten minutes left and there are important amendments to be voted on.
I have been explaining this amendment to the House. There has been obstruction right down the line.
I refuse to make any comment and I refuse to accept the motion.
Thank you, a Cheann Comhairle.
And that is out of due respect for the rights of the minority.
Resuming where I left off in the hope of educating the Opposition as to the merits of this amendment, let me put it to them that here is what it will do. Those who find themselves in the position that for one reason or another a licence is refused or revoked under subsection (a) and when the Minister proposes to refuse to grant or revoke a licence because of a contravention of the regulations under section 6 of the Act—section 6 is a governing section——
Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted, and 20 Members being present,
What I was saying when the call for a house interrupted me was that section 6 of this Bill, as is indicated here in subparagraph (a) of the proposed amendment, is rather a governing section in regard to the matter of refusal to grant or to revoke a licence by the Minister. It gives this right to those who find themselves, for these reasons under section 6, in the position that either a licence they hold is proposed to be revoked or where they are applying for a licence and because of some shortcomings under section 6, they did not qualify. They are given a right in the first part of the amendment that the Minister must notify the holder of, or the applicant for, the licence of his intention and, furthermore, that he must in doing so, give his reasons for this proposed revocation or his proposed refusal.
We go on from that, lest these applicants might in any way be taken short for time—if this had escaped them— and say to them: "If by any chance you missed the reason why we are to revoke or refuse your licence, we want you to know that this is the reason specified and set out; we want you to have seven days to consider this information, if it should be new to you, during which time you may, if you think fit, give notification—either the holder of a licence or the applicant for a licence—for consideration to the Minister, and the Minister will be obliged personally, as Minister for Agriculture, to examine these things that may be sent back at this very late stage.
Again, where we have a revocation in prospect for contravention of the regulations under section 6, the same section, we are providing that the holder of a licence, within seven days after the giving of the notification telling them of the proposal to revoke his licence, may require the Minister to cause an inquiry to be held——
And do nothing at the end.
The guillotine at the end.
We do not do things like that. To compact this and get it finished before 5 o'clock, as there are other important parts to be dealt with, let me say that we have this provision whereby a barrister of standing——
Selected by Fianna Fáil.
Take, for instance, the latest barrister we put into one of the highest positions in this land. Do you know his name? When a Member of your Party is a distinguished man on the bench, a distinguished man of your Party, do you want to slag that man who was so eminent in your Party? This was a Fianna Fáil selection.
Can the Minister tell us about any others?
It is now 5 o'clock and to bring the Bill to a conclusion, the question is that amendment No. 15 be made.
I move amendment No. 20:
In page 3, before section 4, to insert the following section:
(1) The Minister may, if he so thinks fit, grant exemption from the provisions of this Act in respect of the carrying on of any particular business or business of any particular class or kind.
(2) This Act shall not apply in relation to a particular business or business of a particular class or kind in respect of which an exemption under this section has been granted and has not been withdrawn.
(3) An exemption under this section may be withdrawn at any time by the Minister.
(4) The Minister shall cause particulars of any grant or withdrawal of an exemption under this section to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas.
I move amendment No. 22:
In page 3, subsection (2), between lines 41 and 42, to insert the following paragraph:
"(d) provide that the receipt of entries for and the conduct of such auctions shall be carried out in accordance with conditions of sale drawn up by the owner of each such place and approved of by the Minister and that the conditions of sale relating to any such place shall be displayed in a prominent position which is accessible to the public at that place."
I move amendment No. 25:
In subsection (1), lines 18 to 20, to delete paragraph (b).
Agreed. We are happy we got the Minister to remove the stigma of the Garda escort.
I move amendment No. 27.
In page 4, paragraph (e), line 29, after "require" to insert "the person who carries on the business of a livestock mart at the place of any person holding a responsible position of management at the place or, in the absence of any such person."
I move amendment No. 31:
In page 4, subsection (2), lines 41 and 42, to delete "regulations under this section" and to substitute "this Act".
I move amendment No. 37:
In page 5, subsection (3), lines 33 and 34, to delete "one thousand" and to substitute "five hundred".
I move amendment No. 39:
In page 5, subsection (3), lines 35 and 36, to delete "one hundred" and substitute "fifty".