SEANAD IN COMMITTEE. - RAILWAYS BILL, 1924.—REPORT STAGE (RESUMED)

SECTION 54.

I beg to move:

In sub-section 6 to delete at the end of the sub-section the words "Provided always that such modifications shall have regard to providing any extra capital or any extension of or improvement in the railway system which the tribunal may consider necessary or desirable for the development of the trade or industries of the Saorstát."

Amendment put and agreed to.
SECTION 55.

I move Amendment 16:—

Section 55, sub-section (1). To delete all after the word "between" in line 54 and to substitute therefor the words "the trade unions representative of such employees of the one part and the railway companies and other persons by whom they are respectively employed of the other part."

This merely brings the Bill into line with the British Railways Act, except that it does not go so far. It merely provides that the conditions of service and rates of pay shall be such as shall be negotiated between the representatives of the trade unions and the railway companies. The Minister, I think, indicated that that was what he had in mind as regards what he was prepared to accept, and I move accordingly.

I am sorry that Senator the Earl of Mayo is not in his place to-day, because he misconstrued what I said on the last occasion when speaking against another amendment. I had referred to two special bodies mentioned—the Wages Board and another Board of Appeal, and I said these might disappear. I was taken by Senator the Earl of Mayo, and reported in the newspapers as having said, that trade unions might disappear. I do not suppose it is necessary to make it clear that I said nothing of the sort.

Senator the Earl of Mayo's amendment follows later, and I had held out objection to any amendment so phrased that individual employees would have to make individual contracts where they were not members of a trade union, as this would preclude them from appointing anybody to represent them. On consideration, I have come to the conclusion that the numbers of such individuals who would not be members of trade unions, and with whom individual contracts would have to be entered into, is likely to be small, and that in order to preserve the power and responsibility of trade unions, it would be better to waive that objection, and to let an amendment of that sort be made. I prefer Amendment 16 to Amendment 17, and I presume it will be moved in substitution of the latter one. It is quite acceptable as it now stands.

Will not some definition of "Trade Union" be necessary in the definition clause?

I do not think so. Everybody knows what trade union representatives are.

I am speaking of people in a judicial capacity who may be interpreting this phrase. It may be common knowledge, but when a trade union or legal body comes to deal with a term like that, it is found extremely vague.

There has not been any difficulty in regard to this in respect to the British Act, and I do not think there will be any difficulty between the railway company and the railway trade unions. In any event, we do not anticipate any difficulty.

Amendment put and agreed to.
SECTION 56.

On Section 56 intended to draw attention to a possible difficulty which may arise in consequence of an amendment inserted at the instance, I think, of Senator Mrs. Costello. I have not the words of the amendment before me, but I think the substance of it was that in any examination held under this section Irish shall be a compulsory subject. I do not want to say anything at all on the merits of the question broadly, because it does not seem to me to matter whether I personally think that the study of Irish is a waste of time or not. But the point I want to draw attention to is that as things are at present——

Is there an amendment down to this section?

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

The Senator may move an amendment to it.

I was in hopes that the mover of the original amendment might possibly see some force in my observations and modify her proposal, but if not, I should be prepared to move some form of amendment. I hope the necessity may not arise. If examinations are held under the present conditions, it may possibly happen that there will be more vacancies at the disposal of the amalgamated company than there are candidates to fill the posts. At this moment—whatever may happen in the future—there are not a large number of men in the country who are properly conversant with the Irish language.

It might well be that there would only be five candidates who could talk Irish, and they would get the vacancy no matter what their other qualifications were, while the remaining vacancies would not be filled. In ten years time, when Senator Mrs. Costello succeeds in educating the youth of the country in the Irish language, we might have an abundance of candidates. At the moment, I think that the amendment is likely to defeat its own object. If she would change it, I would be glad, but if not, I would move that the words be deleted.

The amendment which was proposed in Committee was more or less a pious aspiration, and stated that Irish should be a compulsory subject, but nothing was said about the percentage or standard required. It would then be within the discretion of the examiner to say that a knowledge of tá and níl would be sufficient.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

That would be making the section absurd.

It might be areductio ad absurdum, but it is clear that it would lie within the competence of the examiner to decide how much Irish is required.

I would like to state for the information of Senator the Earl of Wicklow and other Senators, that I have had experience of Irish being compulsory in examinations to the Dublin Corporation and other bodies, and that there was no difficulty about getting candidates of high proficiency.

I think that Senator the Earl of Wicklow is somewhat out of touch with the Gaelic feeling throughout the country, and imagines that because the people whom he usually meets do not speak Irish, there are not many Irish speakers. If he attended one of the Irish plays recently in which nothing but Irish was spoken, he would have seen the theatre filled with a crowded audience. Many years ago Irish was made compulsory in the National University, and it was then argued, even by our own bishops, that the University would be ruined. The University was not, however, ruined, and there have since been plenty of students.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

As a matter of order, I must ask Senator the Earl of Wicklow whether he is or is not moving an amendment.

Perhaps I had better move the deletion of the word inserted in Committee by Senator Mrs. Costello.

I will second that.

There has been one statement made here to which I should refer. Senator MacLysaght has said that this amendment on Committee drew the remark that a knowledge of Irish might mean only a knowledge of tá and níl. I am responsible for that argument, but it arose on a previous amendment, providing that 15 per cent. of the marks shall be for a knowledge of Irish. I pointed out that it was so loosely worded that a knowledge of tá and níl might get that 15 per cent., and that was wide of the section. I would like to agree with what Senator Mrs. Wyse Power has said. When I was a student at the National University the question of compulsory Irish arose, and it was held that its introduction would lessen the number of students. In the Dublin College of that University, so far from compulsory Irish lessening the number of students, it has within the last five years more students than Trinity College, so that the compulsory knowledge of Irish has not prevented students from coming to it. If you take the three Colleges together, Galway, Cork and Dublin, and if you were to add Maynooth, which is a recognised college, in all four of which Irish is compulsory, the number would be in relation to Trinity, as five is to two. There has been no opposition, and there has been no question whatever raised with regard to students keeping away because Irish was insisted on as compulsory for matriculation in the National University. I am not clear that what Senator the Earl of Wicklow has stated is likely to happen, and that there will be ten vacancies and only five candidates with a knowledge of Irish. I have examined on many Boards where Irish was a compulsory subject, and I do not remember having ever been up against that situation that there were more vacancies than candidates, and that candidates were ruled out because they had not Irish. I do not think that the Senator's fears are likely to be realised.

Senator the Earl of Wicklow need have no anxiety on the point. I have had experience in this matter in railway and other institutions, and I know that there is no difficulty in getting young men to go up for examinations in Irish. Apart from the compulsory aspect of the case, I think that most young people take up Irish, because they are anxious to learn the language, and it is no trouble to them to pass the examination. So far as the railway that serves the Senator's district and mine is concerned, he will be glad to know that without compulsion we have a number of Irish speakers in the employment of the company, and some of them are extraordinarily able Irish speakers.

I assume that the appointment which is to be made and to which objection is taken, will be a junior position in the clerical grades. We cannot shut our eyes to the fact that in the last two years compulsory Irish has been adopted in nearly all the National and most of the Secondary Schools. In my opinion we will not, unfortunately, have sufficient positions to offer to people with a knowledge of Irish.

It is unfortunate, I think, that when every kind of question affecting the Irish language comes up, gentlemen are found to oppose it in violent and bitter language.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I did not notice anything either violent or bitter in the debate so far.

I am not saying that it happened on the present occasion, but previously some gentlemen were eloquently violent. Kildare, the county from which I come, was the first of the counties to lose the Irish language, and in recent times we have the authority of those prominent in the language movement for stating that it has become one of the foremost counties in the restoration of the language. A few years ago we had only a few dozen people who could speak the language, but now we have the people all over the county speaking it, and they compose all classes of people. A discussion will come on later here on the same question, and I trust that the same attitude will not be taken towards it as has been taken heretofore. A lot is owed by supporters of the Union to Ireland, and if it goes abroad that members of this House who were upholders of the Union, are now opponents of the Irish language, it will create a very bad impression, and much of the confidence of the country in this House will be lost. I strongly oppose any change in this amendment that was inserted on the last occasion. I think that there will be no difficulty in the matter of filling places by having compulsory examinations in Irish.

After the last speaker I feel it my duty to say a few words on behalf of those who are opposed to compulsory Irish. I disclaim any intention of having used bitter or violent language. I think it is a pity that this should be brought into a question of party politics. Frankly, the reason I am opposed to this is—it may be a bad reason, but we in the minority have a duty to perform—I feel that a very valuable asset, a thing that is rare is brains, and the best brains will not submit to those compulsory measures, and will simply leave the country. That is my view, but I may be wrong. Brains are exceedingly scarce. What we want above all in the rejuvenation of our country is brains. I feel that people will not learn a language which, in their opinion, is of no value and they will rather leave the country. That is my view. It may be materialistic, lacking in sympathy, perhaps. I may be of a materialistic mind, but there it is, and it is my duty to state it. As to the general question, I am not sure that the views of the last speaker represent the views of the country. I should be very satisfied to see this whole question of compulsory Irish becoming the subject of a referendum, and I think, if it does, its most warm advocates will have a surprise.

The EARL OF WICKLOW

I beg to say that I did not make use of language which by anybody could be described as violent. Might I draw the attention of the Seanad to one point? It may be perfectly true that there are a number of young men in this country who have enough knowledge of Irish to present themselves for examination. My friend in front of me tells me that is the case, and I believe it; but may I point out that there is a large section of the population of this country, amongst it young men, who are not conversant with the language, a good section loyal to the Free State, and in bringing in a resolution of this kind you are banging in their face the door which would admit them to the service of the amalgamated company. These young men cannot present themselves for an examination in Irish. Is it fair to do this suddenly? You will drive those young men to seek employment over the water. It will be competent for the Oireachtas after a few years have passed to insert some such provision in a short Bill. I submit it is an unfair action to insert a compulsory provision of this kind suddenly, in such a manner as to affect detrimentally a large and deserving section of the nation.

Senator the Earl of Wicklow seems to lay great stress on the subject of compulsion. Compulsory Irish has been before this country for a great many years, and is in existence in the university, and the language is being spoken in several households throughout Ireland. To suggest, after all the teachings of the university, after all the noble teachings of the Gaelic League, that it is now a thunderbolt is hardly reasonable.

It has never been compulsory in any public department.

Surely, when the language has been fostered, it must have been understood that it would become a compulsory subject when Irish nationality was achieved.

I think it is a pity that it should be made compulsory. What I fear is compulsion being applied to such places as universities and so on. When you come to deal with the public services of the country you want to get the best ability. Another way in which the language can be fostered, to a great extent, is to have an arrangement by which a fairly high percentage would be given to those who took the trouble to learn Irish. None of us care for compulsion. If some amendment could be put in in that way it would be better than to have the examiners allotting a small percentage of marks, and the students might learn only a sufficient portion of the language to qualify. If there was a high percentage of marks given for the trouble they took to learn the language, it would be better.

Amendment put and negatived.

SECTION 58.

The EARL OF WICKLOW

I beg to move the following amendment:—

Section 58, sub-section (2). Immediately before this sub-section to insert a new sub-section (2) as follows:—

(2) The amalgamated company or any other railway company in respect of that portion of its undertaking situate in Saorstát Eireann shall not abolish or unduly restrict the railway services, facilities or conveniences upon any portion of their railways, whether by reason of financial loss upon such portion or otherwise, without the prior consent of the railway tribunal; and before giving such consent the railway tribunal shall have regard to any representations made by any representative body of railway users.

I put this amendment on the Order Paper to try to remedy what I ventured to point out on the Committee Stage was a danger affecting the poorer railways. As I said then I fear that the amalgamated company may find that certain portions of the railway under their control do not pay to work, and may, therefore, cut down their services to such an extent as seriously to inconvenience the public. It strikes me that although economy is the object aimed at by this Bill, it may very well happen that in their desire for economy the amalgamated company may cease to work services which are really almost essential in the public interest, and the object of my amendment is to secure that no services shall be abandoned without the leave of the tribunal and without those people who are particularly interested in the service in question having a right to appear before the tribunal and be heard.

I beg to second the amendment.

This amendment was first raised without notice in Committee, and I said that it was my intention to have the matter looked into to see if the danger feared by the Senator was a reasonable danger. It is my contention that the position of the railway users is amply safeguarded as it stands, and if we were to tie the hands of the amalgamated company in their efforts, which we are trying to make compulsory on them to make all possible economies in order to reduce the present outrageous rates and fares, then we would by passing this amendment really be preventing their attempts to coincide with our aims. It is not in the power of the amalgamated company to abolish services because there are certain Parliamentary regulations with regard to the running of trains and with regard to the running of trains at certain rates which are taken over in the general clause whereby we take over the rates, duties, and liabilities of the companies. With regard to particular trains or a particular train, I think that should be left to the management of the amalgamated company, subject to the safeguard provided here under Section 57. The second portion of the section states that:—

The railway tribunal may, on the application of any body of persons representing any such interests, by order require the amalgamated company or any other railway company in respect of that portion of its undertaking situate in Saorstát Eireann to afford such reasonable railway services, facilities, and conveniences upon and in connection with its undertaking as may be specified in the order.

I think with a proviso of that type that the Senator's fears ought to be lessened, and I urge definitely against this amendment that it would unduly restrict the power of the company to make the reduction in their rates and fares which we are urging and pressing on them, and which, if they are not carried out, may lead to some other measure being passed to deal with them.

The Earl of Wicklow need not be under any fear in regard to this question; if you will allow me I will read the section:—"With a view to securing and promoting the public safety, or the interests of the public, or of trade, or of any particular locality, the railway tribunal may, on the application of any body of persons representing any such interests, by order require the amalgamated company or any other railway company in respect to that portion of its undertaking situate in Saorstát Eireann to afford such reasonable railway services, facilities, and conveniences upon and in connection with its undertaking (including the provision of such minor alterations and extensions and improvements of existing works as will not involve in any one case an expenditure exceeding ten thousand pounds) as may be specified in the order."

Read the next section.

It is provided so forth and so forth. The Senator wants to secure that any person or body of persons who think themselves aggrieved by restriction of any facilities they have enjoyed shall have a right to appear before the railway tribunal. The section gives him that, and unless it can be proved by the railways that the carrying out of the suggestion of the people aggrieved is one that seriously affects their financial stability or their reasonable economies or things of that kind, unless the company can convince the tribunal on that point the tribunal orders them to give these localities or persons such reasonable facilities—the same facilities as they enjoyed before.

Senator Sir Thos. Esmonde tells us that we are quite safeguarded by the section, but if he had gone on to read what he had described as "so forth" and "so forth" he would find that the railway company is not allowed to carry out the recommendations of the people who appeared before the tribunal if the capital required cannot be provided without prejudicially affecting the interests of the then existing stockholders. Where you have got an uneconomic section of line it will be perfectly possible for the railway company to point out "we should like to provide you with the service you ask for, but we cannot do it without prejudicially affecting our stockholders." I have heard nothing from the Minister or from Senator Sir Thos. Esmonde to show me that the people living on non-economic sections of lines are safeguarded under the Bill.

Senator the Earl of Wicklow has not said the magic words "so forth" and "so forth." He has halted at the point which suits his argument, but there is a further proviso which says: "Provided further that the powers under this sub-section shall be in addition to and not in derogation of any other existing powers of requiring measures for securing the safety of the public or the provision of reasonable facilities." That refers back to the taking over of the liabilities already imposed on the railway companies, say the baronially guaranteed lines where they are required to run a certain number of trains in the day and to charge certain rates and fares. That is the last proviso. Nobody can say that I am halting at anything that could be said, and I think it answers the Senator's arguments.

With the leave of the House, I will withdraw my amendment on the strength of what the Minister has said, and I hope if any section of the population finds itself deprived of any facilities they are entitled to they will remember the words which the Minister has just spoken.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
SECTION 59.
The following amendment was in the name of Senator Barrington:
Section 59, sub-section (2). Immediately after the word "notice" in line 34 to insert the words "and have the same served on all persons interested."

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

This was a matter which the Minister said he would consider. It is with reference to the service of notice on parties interested in any land acquired for the railway undertaking.

Might I suggest that unless a Senator in whose name an amendment is put down is here, or unless he gets somebody to father the amendment for him, we should treat it as not moved? It is hardly fair to hold up the House when the Senator is not here.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I quite agree, but I did think in regard to this matter in which the Government suggested that it might stand over so that they should consider it, the House might like to know what the result of the consideration of the Government was. At the same time, it is to be greatly regretted, in the interests of the dignity and utility of the Seanad, that Senators would put down amendments to this important Bill and neither think it well to attend here themselves nor to ask any other Senators to move them for them.

I forget what took place on the Committee Stage, but it may very well be that Senator Barrington thought some undertaking was given.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I do not think any undertaking was given, but I think the Minister said, on my suggestion, that he would look into the matter. It was a question with reference to the taking of land compulsorily, and it was thought, in addition to the public notice of the inquiry that the persons interested in the land should get an actual notice as they might never see a newspaper notice.

I do not pretend to know what was in Senator Barrington's mind in regard to the amendment, but possibly the Minister may have something to say, and just to give the Senator every facility, I beg to move the amendment.

On your suggestion that I would consider the question between the Committee and Report Stages this amendment was, by leave of the House, withdrawn. On looking into the matter since, I find that the Railways (Ireland) Act of 1851, has a special clause—Clause 3—referring to this. Clause 3 reads:—"The clauses of the Land Clauses Consolidation Act, 1845, with respect to the purchase and taking of land otherwise than by agreement (except Section 16 and Section 17 of the said Act) shall not be applicable or in force with respect to any railway or portion of railway in Ireland to which this Act applies." So that the 1851 Act set out by a special clause deliberately to exclude the provisions of the Land Clauses Consolidation Act of 1845, from application to any railway undertaking in Ireland, and I found, therefore that I was following on the lines of the 1851 Act in leaving out the special provisions of the 1845 Land Clauses Consolidation Act with reference to the serving of notice in a particular way.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I think you will find every Railway Bill that has ever been introduced or passed since has incorporated by express incorporation the Lands Clauses Act.

What you have said, sir, may be quite true, but I am simply brought up against this fact that the 1851 Act deliberately, by a special clause, excluded the particular provisions which Senator Barrington sought to import into this Bill, in so far as they were applicable to Ireland.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

Does not the Railway Act of 1853 supply an alternative mode of service?

Yes. With regard to the alternative mode of service——

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

Surely it did not mean that a man's land was to be taken without any notice of any kind? It must have provided some alternative method of service.

It provided not exactly an alternative method of service, but it provided for this particular situation, and the provision was this, that there should be publication once in theDublin Gazette and once in each of three successive weeks in some one and the same newspaper circulating in the county in which the lands are situated.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

You see that is not in your Bill. What you have said as being notice would be satisfied by notice in a Dublin paper. What you have referred to requires three publications in a local paper.

Once in theDublin Gazette and once in each of three successive weeks in some one and the same newspaper circulating in the county in which the lands are situated. I may say that there was a clause later which was explanatory to the procedure set out in the 1845 Act, that where you could not get the person interested all you did was simply to paste up a notice on a tree or on a wall on the lands, and you left it for anybody to come along and read it. That was a sort of alternative procedure in a particular Act, and I think that this provision that public notice be given is the fairest, in all the circumstances. This is, of course, making the better provision, but I should state that it is not necessary in the circumstances to insist that all the persons interested— which is a very wide phrase—would have to be sought out and notice served on them personally before you could proceed to acquire any land. The provision with regard to the public notice seems to be an equitable one in the circumstances, though it seems better to have some provision for publication in newspapers, once in the Official Gazette and three times in a local paper.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

Could you not adopt the clause from this Bill which is in substitution of the Land Clauses Act? You see, according to your present clause, one notice in theIrish Times or in the Gazette would be sufficient even if you were acquiring lands in Tipperary.

"Before an order is made under this section the railway company shall deposit with the Minister such plans, specifications, and other documents as shall be required by the Minister, and after the deposit of such documents the Minister shall give public notice, in such manner as he may consider best adapted for informing persons likely to be affected by the order, of his intention to consider the making thereof, and of the manner in which and the time within which representations and objections in respect of the order may be made, and shall, if he shall consider it expedient so to do, cause a public inquiry to be held in regard to any matter relating to the making of such order." That seems to me to be quite specific and to meet the case.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

There were very strong objections urged to this by Senator Jameson and others. There seems to be nobody to speak on the matter now, but I would suggest, in the ordinary interests of fair play and justice, that if you were going compulsorily to acquire a man's land, he should at least get some form of notice other than the mere statement that public notice is to be given. If you insert: "Namely, notice by an advertisement in the local press," then he would have some chance of knowing what is going to take place.

I suggest that it should be that the Minister may give such public notice as he thinks is necessary, with the minimum that it should be published three times in a local paper and once in a Dublin paper.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I think that would be fairly satisfactory.

The position of Ireland at present differs greatly from what it was in 1851. In those days the land of Ireland was divided amongst a certain number of landed proprietors who had different means of finding out what any public notice was. Now it is divided up amongst an immense number of very small proprietors who never read the "Dublin Gazette" and who do not read a Dublin paper more often than once a week It seems very hard that some small man in Connemara, or some place like that, should suddenly find his land snapped away from him before he knew anything about it. When a man's land is going to be taken from him he should be told about it.

I think it is largely a question of drafting the amendment. I do not know whether I should be allowed to substitute for Senator Barrington's amendment something like this: "The Minister shall give public notice by publication for three successive weeks," and so forth.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

Could you not say: "Give notice in the manner prescribed by Section 3," and so on, of the Railway Act of 1853? That is all you want.

I am quite satisfied to do that if the Minister agrees to accept it.

I would support the suggestion in Senator Barrington's amendment. There are a number of people who would not be reached by a public notice, and I cannot foresee that the number of cases will be so very great that the difficulty of serving notice personally would be excessive.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I certainly know this, that in every Private Bill that has ever since been passed enabling any Irish railway company to acquire land compulsorily they have been compelled by the Bill itself to serve notice on everybody interested.

The authority of the Oireachtas obtained by Private Bill includes the service of notice on persons interested, so that anything coming under sub-clause (4) would have as a requirement the service of a notice on the persons interested. It may be argued that that depends upon the opinion of an individual Minister.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

That would be done, after the inquiry is over, of which the man, presumably, has got no notice.

Yes, after the inquiry, but before the actual acquisition has taken place. It has been urged then that to meet the gap that is there left, and undoubtedly left, for certain for rushing the acquisition over the man's head or taking it without any deliberate intention, without, in fact, notice having been given to the person who is entitled to the land, that I should incorporate Section 8 of the Act of 1853. There are objections to that, because the clause is a very long one and certain portions of it would have no bearing here at all. I do think, however, that it will be necessary to have some insertion made in either sub-clauses 1 or 2. It would be better, perhaps, in sub-clause (2) to incorporate the principle of notice in three successive weeks in the newspaper circulating in the locality. I do not know how far I can fit that in with the Standing Orders of the Seanad, but if we could pass from this and return to it later I would have an amendment brought in in proper form.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

The simplest and shortest form would be to have notice served in the manner prescribed by the Act of 1853.

I do not like that, but still it is a suggestion that we will follow out. If the matter is left over to a later stage, I will have an amendment brought in so that no further amendment will be necessary on the Fifth Stage.

Amendment postponed for later consideration.

I beg to move the following amendment:—

In Section 59, sub-section (3) (a), line 41. Immediately after the word "may" to insert the word "incorporate." (b), line 42. To delete the word "incorporate."

This is merely a drafting amendment.

Amendment put and agreed to.
The following amendment stood in the name of Senator Barrington:—
Section 59, sub-section (4). Immediately after the word "matter" in line 50 to insert the words "involving payment of compensation for land exceeding one thousand pounds."

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I think this amendment is in the same position as another amendment that we had earlier. I do not think there was any pledge given by the Minister.

So far from any pledge being given, may I read from the Official Report what Senator Barrington said?

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I do not think you need do that as long as you say there was no pledge given. The simplest and best way is to pass it over.

I see here in the Official Report that the Senator said he would withdraw it.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I do not know why it appears on the Order Paper.

Amendment not moved.
SECTION 61.

I beg to move the following amendment:—

Section 61, sub-section (2). Immediately after the word "locality" in line 21 to insert the words "or

(e) of a railway company or other transport undertaking affected by such agreement or arrangement."

This is an amendment about which a promise was given in the Dáil, and I am now fulfilling the promise I made. Section 61 deals with the carrying on of agreements which are not statutory agreements, agreements other than those not either statutory or schedule agreements or confirmed by statutory enactments. When we come to sub-section (2) we find that the order that was to be made could not be made save on the application of certain enumerated parties or bodies, and it did seem to us that an omission was made: that the railway company or other transport undertaking affected by such agreements or arrangements should be given power to make application as well as the parties mentioned, such as the amalgamated company and representative bodies of traders. It is simply to give the railway company or the transport undertaking affected by the agreement power to make application, on foot of which an order could then be made by the railway tribunal, I move the amendment.

When this Bill was in Committee I asked the Minister whether agricultural societies would be allowed to make representation to the tribunal. He told me he would look into the matter and suggest something on the Report Stage. The Minister did not say whether agricultural societies would be considered as a body of traders, and I want to know if such societies will get power to make representations when these agreements are put forward.

The Senator did raise that point on an earlier section, on an amendment to Section 42 which had been moved by Senator Counihan dealing with the carriage of live stock at other than the company's risk. Senator Bennett then raised this question as to co-operative societies. I said I would inquire whether the word "trader" should be made to include such bodies as those to which the Senator refers. I put the matter before the Attorney-General, and I am informed that the word "trader" must be held to include the type of bodies to which the Senator made reference, and for that reason I did not bring in any amendment.

I apologise to the Senator for not having given him an explanation earlier when we were dealing with Section 42.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I think that the word "trader" would include a company carrying on trade, but the question is would it include an organisation simply interested in promoting trade. I am not at all sure about that. I do not mean to say that it would not.

I took the Official Report in which Senator Bennett raised this point, and I had that referred to the legal adviser. On reading the matter there raised, the legal adviser said that there was no necessity to bring in a further definition Clause, and that without any further definition the case made was met. That is the best advice I could get on the matter.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

You may remember the fierce litigation that arose and that was carried to the House of Lords on the question as to whether the word "person" included the Apothecaries Hall.

It might happen that an organisation representative of a large number of societies would think it wise or necessary to approach the Government for some of these purposes, but I am afraid they might not be traders. I accept absolutely what the Minister says as regards societies, if they are societies which trade in any way, but there is a society in Ireland which does not trade in any way.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

That is what I thought you had in your mind.

I think that a body of that kind should be allowed to make representation for the large number of its members.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I think that any organisation, whether a company or an individual carrying on business, and carrying it on as an organisation or as an individual or as a firm, would come within the definition of "trader," but I doubt if a protective organisation of trade would come within the definition of "trader." In fact, I am pretty certain it would not. Perhaps the Attorney-General was not acquainted of the distinction.

Possibly not. The only thing the Attorney-General had before him was the point raised on the last day. The points that are now being discussed were not raised on the last day, and my difficulty is that at this late hour I am faced with this new position. This seems to be a new point, and it deserves consideration. I am of opinion from the very sweeping opinion given to me by the Attorney-General, that a further amendment will not be necessary, but if it will appease the Senator I will undertake to have the matter considered again to-night, and mention it to-morrow.

That will meet my position.

Consideration of amendment postponed.

SECTION 63.

The following amendment stood in the name of Senator Barrington:—

Section 63, sub-section (1). To add at the end of the sub-section the words "and thereafter such portion of the forty thousand pounds per annum charged on the Irish Church Surplus Fund under the Tramways and Public Companies Act, 1883, as has been allocated to the Light Railways constructed under that Act, and which has not been redeemed."

I formally move this amendment, as the Minister may have something to say on it.

I find that on looking over the Official Reports Senator Barrington withdrew this amendment on the last day. I may say that I made a mistake when I referred to the last amendment having been withdrawn. It was not so definitely withdrawn, but it was stated that it would be left over on condition that the principle was accepted and you, An Cathaoirleach, said that no principle was accepted. That was with regard to the last amendment. I now come to this one, and the Senator's observations at the end were: "It does not seem likely that I could carry this, so I withdraw it."

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

The other amendment was not exactly withdrawn.

No, it was this one.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I will not put this amendment then.

Amendment not moved.
A NEW SECTION.

I beg to move the following amendment:—

Immediately before Section 67, to insert a new Section 67 as follows:—

"67.—When repainting their premises and rolling stock the amalgamated company shall replace all public notices and signs (including names of stations) which are now painted in the English language only by notices and signs in both Irish and English, and shall within one year from the 1st January, 1925, submit to the Minister a scheme for the printing of their Passenger Card Tickets for journeys within the Saorstát in both the Irish and English languages, and the Minister shall, unless he is of opinion that the adoption of the scheme would jeopardise the standard revenue and result in increased rates and fares, order the amalgamated company to put such scheme into operation.

"Provided that existing stocks of tickets shall be used until exhausted."

In moving the amendment standing in my name I may say that it has no relation to any of the public notices. The amendment as it appears now was drafted by persons of experience in the railway office, and I understand it is actually accepted by the Government as satisfactory. I may say that it is only as a compromise that I accept it. It does not give all that I want, but nevertheless it is a step in the right direction. We have had a long debate on the general subject about Irish and I do not want to start it again, particularly as I believe that this amendment is not likely now to cause any argument. There was, however, one statement made during the debate on the Committee Stage of this Bill, and on this very amendment which, I think, ought not to be allowed to pass without some reference to it. It was made in these words: "I think the brunt of the fighting and the greatest exertion were borne by men who did not speak a word of the Irish language, and that the experience of those who knew most about the fighting was that the idealists of the Gaelic League and the Gaelic language were very little good as soldiers."

I may say this, that personal friends of my own, members of the Fáinne, were killed in the fight which led up to the Treaty. The rank and file, and even prominent men such, for example, as General Mulcahy and Cathal Brugha, were leading figures in the language movement. The list of prominent men in the fight who had a knowledge of the Irish language would be too long to recite here. I think it will be sufficient if I say that the two outstanding men in the fight, Pearse of 1916 and Collins of 1921, were both enthusiastically for the Irish language. Griffith, while he worked all his life in that particular cause, if he did not know the Irish language himself, at least his two children got the Fáinne last week.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

Have you seen the amendment standing in the name of Senator Jackson?

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

The reason I mention that is that it would look rather curious in an Act of Parliament to have Clause 1 beginning with the words "when repainting their premises."

That phrase emanated from the people who drafted the amendment.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I am afraid that starting a clause with these words would be rather laughed at. I think that Senator Jackson's amendment accomplishes everything that you want.

Senator Jackson's amendment is quite unacceptable altogether. I did not alter in any way the amendment as drafted by the Government people, because I thought it much better not to touch it. As regards Senator Jackson's amendment, as far as I see, it will be a dead letter altogether, because it would simply result in the notices required by Statute to be exhibited in the Irish and English languages. I understand that already these are required to be in Irish and English by Statute, and as far as I see all that Senator Jackson's amendment aims at is to have the notices that are required by Statute to be in Irish and English to have them printed in these languages. In that way I do not think his amendment is necessary at all. What I am aiming at is to have the names of the stations, indication signs, and so forth, not required to be exhibited by Statute in Irish and English, printed in these languages. As regards the opening of the new Section that I propose with the words, "When re-painting their premises," I am not responsible for that.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

Would it not be sufficient to say that "the amalgamated company shall as soon as reasonably practicable" do so and so rather than use the form of words in your amendment?

Yes, I thoroughly accept your suggestion. I think it is a better form of wording than what is printed in the proposed new Section.

I take it it is only fair that where the State intervenes to help materially an organisation of this character that some little thing might be expected in return from those who are interested in the railways. I go farther and put the thing on a rather higher plane than that. So far as the subject matter of this amendment is concerned, the mover of the amendment has a perfect right, and every Senator who stands up here has a perfect right to speak for all the citizens of the Free State. The Senator has a perfect right to put forward this amendment, and not only to appeal in favour of it, but to demand that these printed notices be printed in Irish. That is a Constitutional right. He has a right based upon the Constitution. Irish and English are set out and defined there as being the official languages of the Free State. In fact, clause 4 of the Constitution gives Irish pride of place as being the official language, and supplementary to that is the statement that English also shall be considered an official language.

There are many citizens of the Free State who know nothing whatever of the English language—who can neither read nor write it. They know nothing whatever of it. These railway lines run through certain districts in the Free State where the English language is not known. There are districts where many of the citizens going to the railway station might as well look upon a notice printed in Greek or Hebrew as in English. They would have to go to an interpreter or, perhaps, to the railway porter, to find out when the train would start for a certain place. These people may be relatively few, but still they have a Constitutional right and they are entitled to have public notices printed in Irish. I think where the State intervenes and comes to the rescue of organisations of this sort, trading communities, they should insist on these rights being observed; that is, if it is the policy of the State to revive the language and foster it, to give the citizens every facility for using it as a spoken language and reviving its spoken use. If that is the policy, I think the State and the Government where they intervene should lose no opportunity of inserting clauses which will further that policy. The time is ripe for testing the actual feeling of the Seanad in this matter of the language.

This question will be cropping up periodically in the legislation introduced here. It is better that, here and now, we should understand what the attitude of the Seanad is to be towards the language movement. If this language movement has any good in it. if this priceless heritage, as it has been described, is not to be lost it will require the greatest effort on our behalf. If we are not prepared to lend our aid and do our part in giving that revival help then it is simply a matter of mathematical calculation as to how many years with so much decay each year will see the end of the Irish language as the spoken language of this country. If that is to be the fate of our language, it would be better that we should cut this thing here and now and get on with something else. If it is dying and if we are a party to that, every man who stands up in this House and gives halting support to this movement is doing his part in facilitating the decay. If the language is to be allowed to die, it is better that we should know here and now and get on with something else. But would it be a good thing to know and feel that we in this Seanad, who had hitherto a better reputation in these matters than the Dáil —although we are supposed to be more conservative—should have responsibility for this? Would it be a good thing that instead of taking pride in being Irish, a pride in our past, in the traditions that have been handed down to us and in our own most priceless possession of all, we should allow these things to fade away and allow our language to die out? Would it be a good thing for us and our children, when they travel abroad, that they should have to hang their heads and admit that their ancestors dissipated their heritage?

If we allow our language to pass away and to decay we become merged and submerged in the great commonwealth of European nations. We will be no longer a distinctive race; we will have lost the hall marks of nationality. We are all Irishmen here and we have to face facts. We are not going to go back to where we were before the fight. We are now Irishmen with our own fate in our own hands, and I think, above all things, we ought to try and preserve the traits and characteristics of our race and be very jealous to guard what we still preserve—our distinctive nationality. Much has been written and spoken recently about the danger of losing by the accident of fire or otherwise some of the ancient treasures and relics in the Museum here. One can understand that if these things by any chance were to be destroyed, some evidence of our past civilisation would have disappeared. I am surprised that those who advance these arguments for taking every care of our national treasures, should have a different outlook with regard to the most priceless treasure of all—the national language, which, if destroyed, cannot be replaced.

It has been stated here in a former discussion that a railway ticket should not be made a text-book of the Irish language. Those of us who are students of the language go as often as we possibly can to the text books. Our point is that if you have public notices in the Irish language you have always an open page before you. As you go along the street, you have an open page in every direction you look. You are constantly brought into touch with the language and it is borne in upon you that you still have a national language. When other railway companies in other countries were confronted with the same problem, they were equal to it. They did their part in preserving the language. Instances were given by Senators here of what has been done in other countries where the same difficulty presented itself and the same question was raised. In those other countries they surmounted the difficulty by the railways, in a patriotic spirit, rising to the occasion and, I suppose at some extra expense, falling in with the public view of the matter. If there is one thing we ought to try and foster and guard more than another it is our language. It harks back to the very earliest days. It has been evolved by the civilization that has been spoken of —our early civilization.

It is the only self-contained and complete language in Europe. It is built from its own materials and it has been constructed on its own foundations. It has not borrowed from any other language. In fact, the most ancient languages in Europe have borrowed from Irish. That has been told us by very distinguished philologists from different parts of the world. Senator Doctor Sigerson and Senator Mrs. Stopford Green could speak on this matter. It is this beautiful language which these eminent men thought fit to travel from distant parts to study in this country that we are now concerned with. It is a sort of turning point in the fate of the language. If the Seanad takes a strong stand, I think we will impress upon the Government that it is our view that this question of the language is a most important thing from the purely national point of view and that we are determined to conduct our affairs here from that point of view. If we can succeed in impressing that upon the Government and if the Government will in every branch of its administration let it be known that it is their will to Gaelicise every Department of State, that disposition of the Government will permeate every official and we will have every reason to congratulate ourselves that we have done a very good day's work.

Senator Kenny rather suggests that this House has a mandate or an implied mandate to force and to carry out propaganda effort for the Irish language on every possible occasion. I wish I knew my position with regard to the feelings of the country on the matter. I should be very glad to see a referendum on this question and then we would know where we were. If there is this powerful impetus and national feeling behind all this, why have not any of these proposals been introduced in the more democratic House. This Bill comes up to us and we, as the least democratic body, proceed to champion what is claimed to be a strong national feeling.

made an observation to Senator Sir John Keane.

We all differ as to what the definition of democracy is, but the present method of election is very democratic—one man one vote, or the counting of heads, irrespective of their contents.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

Have you any reason for saying that one man is content with one vote?

I do suggest that this is a bad amendment on which to test a broad principle because, happily, the amendment has been very much watered down from its original form. I intend to oppose it on principle, because I do not believe that this feeling is so strong as it is generally represented in certain quarters. Although it has been very much watered down, I still think it is not necessary. We should judge this matter entirely from the point of view of public facilities, and under Section 58 the tribunal have power to grant any facilities they think necessary in any districts where the public require them.

I do not think, on the amendment we are discussing, that it is necessary to allude to the vast importance of the Irish language as a whole. We have on more than one occasion in this House by a vast majority declared that we believed Irish is the language of this country and that we believe it ought to be more and more the language of the country. With these facts, I think we know where we are as regards the feeling of this House on the matter. We are dealing with a body to be set up by the Oireachtas. We have, so far as this House is concerned, urged the necessity for the Irish language being part of the equipment of the clerical staff of that body.

All we ask in this amendment is that the matter set out be done as far as practicable (amendment quoted). There are ample loop holes. I really think the amendment, as proposed, is a very modest one, and I feel certain that no member of this House will vote against it. As regards the broad question of Irish, there is no doubt at all that you will have a number of people in the various parts of the Saorstát who will be able to read those notices in both languages, but there will be a certain percentage who will be able to read them in one language, but not in the other. For that reason, I think it is essential that in a country like ours, this modest amendment should be adopted.

I would seriously suggest that we should vote on the question now. Otherwise, language will be used not found in any dictionary.

Shall I be in order in moving my amendment?

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

Yes.

I move a new Section. Immediately before Section 67 to insert a new Section 67 as follows:—

"67. All Public Notices, other than those of a temporary character, which the Amalgamated Company are by Statute required to exhibit at their Passenger Stations or in their Passenger Trains, shall, when replaced or renewed after 1st January, 1925, be exhibited in the Irish and English languages."

I do not intend to take up the time of the House, nor do I intend to enter into the large questions raised here. Certainly this amendment is not proposed to throw any discredit on or to retard the progress of the Irish language. It is rather proposed from the point of view of economy. The amendment will include all public notices which refer to refreshments, licensing, rules, trespassing, etc. The other amendment would involve the company in a heavy expenditure.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

It would also include the fares and by-laws.

The names of the stations would not be included, and that is most important.

I have already pointed out that this amendment was unacceptable, and I do not wish to do so again.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I shall put Senator Jackson's amendment first.

Amendment put and declared lost.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I shall next put Senator MacLysaght's amendment, as amended.

Amendment, as amended, put and agreed to.
NEW SECTION.

I move a new section. Immediately before Section 69 to insert a new Section 69 as follows:—

"69. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in Section 10 of the Companies Clauses Consolidation Act, 1845, it shall be lawful for the Amalgamated Company to substitute for the Shareholders' Address Book provided for under that section a card or other index (of a type to be approved by the auditors of the Amalgamated Company) containing the names and addresses of the several shareholders of the Amalgamated Company and that section in its application to the Amalgamated Company shall be read and have effect accordingly, and when such card or other index has been so substituted Section 34 of the Regulation of Railways Act, 1868, shall cease to apply to the Amalgamated Company. Provided that the charge made for a copy of such card or other index shall not exceed the sum of £2 10s. 0d.

"(2) If the Amalgamated Company act in contravention of Section 10 of the Companies Clauses Consolidation Act, 1845, as varied by this section, they shall be liable for each offence to a penalty not exceeding twenty pounds, which shall be recoverable, and applied in the same manner as penalties imposed by the Railway Clauses Consolidation Act, 1845, are for the time being recoverable and applicable."

This amendment is in lieu of an amendment which stood in the name of Senator the Earl of Kerry on the Committee Stage. It is modified with a view to meeting the views of the Government in the matter. I do not propose to give either the arguments as to the unnecessary waste incurred and the hardship involved in having to buy shareholders' address books at a price immeasurably below the cost of production. I want to refer to the meaning of card or other indexes. If a shareholder wants, say, part of a list of the shareholders, he can get the part without having the whole production. That is the reason for that part of the thing. The other two amendments follow on the first one. The cost proposed does not represent more than a tithe of what the cost will really be, but it renders more remote the frivolous and unnecessary applications for shareholders' address books involving the amalgamated company in a liability.

Amendment put and agreed to.
FIRST SCHEDULE.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

The next amendment is a Government amendment:—

First Schedule.—Immediately after the words "Cork and Muskerry Light Railway Company, Ltd," in column 2, to insert the words "Cork City Railways."

Amendment put and agreed to.
THIRD SCHEDULE.

I move:—

Third Schedule.—Page 34. Before the first paragraph (line 34) to insert a new paragraph as follows:—

"Every person who on the 3rd day of April, 1924, was for a period of less than five years an officer or servant of any amalgamating company or absorbed company, and who shall not, prior to the amalgamation or absorption of such amalgamating or absorbed company, have voluntarily retired or have been removed from the service of any such amalgamating or absorbed company by reason of misconduct or incapacity and who does not become an officer or servant of the amalgamated company, shall be entitled to a gratuity calculated on the basis of one-sixth of the amount of his annual salary and emoluments for every completed year of his service."

The effect of this amendment would be that employees of not less than five years' service who may become redundant as the result of the operation of this Act shall be entitled to a gratuity calculated on the basis of one-sixth of the annual salary and emoluments for each year of service. The maximum any employees could get who had less than five years' service would be eight months' salary. That would be for an employee of four years' standing. An employee of three years' standing would get six months' salary, and so on. I think that is reasonable. It was generally accepted on the Committee Stage that in the case of a man in the clerical staff who had to prepare himself for an examination, when he was turned out of employment he should get something in the way of a gratuity to enable him to tide over the time necessary to get a new post. It might be impracticable to give them a pension even of a very small amount, because of the difficulty of book-keeping and so forth, but I think this proposition is a reasonable one, particularly in view of the fact that railway directors, irrespective of the time that they are directors, will get compensation although they may have less than five years' service, seeing that they have to be re-elected year after year. I think in the case of the ordinary employees it is not fair to turn them out owing to the exigencies of the service without giving them some compensation to tide over a difficult period which they will have to face before they get employment, particularly in view of the position of the unemployment market.

The Senator has said in his remarks that this did apply more particularly with regard to the clerical staff. When this point was raised previously in the Dáil and even here in the Committee Stage, the amendments were so designed as to cover all employees, but the whole argument proceeded on the basis of the injustice done to the clerical staff. As I remember, the argument was that a man had entered by examination in some competitive way, and went into the service with reasonable hopes of permanency. That would apply to the clerical staff, but not to the ordinary permanent waymen or other grades. It would not apply to anyone save the clerical staff. I know the Senator has put down an amendment which covers all employees. Even while putting this very comprehensive amendment he is certain that his remarks were particularly directed towards an injustice done to the clerical grade. The amendment is quite acceptable with reference to the clerical grade, but I would like to see some reason as to why a man who has no hopes of permanency and who would leave and change his employment should now be brought under this and entitled to a gratuity calculated on a particular basis. I think the amendment is reasonably justifiable as far as the clerical staff is concerned, but not as far as others are concerned.

I merely stressed the case of the clerical staff because they had a particular training to get in order to qualify for entry to the service, but I would not admit that there is not an exceedingly strong case for the other grades also. The Minister has not got the correct impression when he says that people enter the railway service with no idea at all that they are to be made permanent. Every employee who enters the railway service does so on the understanding that it is to be permanent provided he does not misconduct himself.

In fact, one of the arguments against the high rate of wages is the permanency of the railway service. In that respect the permanent way-man is just as permanent as the clerical staff. I would not like to be taken as making a special case for the clerical staff as against any other grade, except the preparation they have to undergo, and the difficulty of getting into clerical service after one reaches 21 years. Those men who are three years in the service understand they are permanent, and are declared to be permanent, inasmuch as the Ministry of Industry and Commerce exempts them from the operations of the Unemployment Act. Their training is largely of a specialised character and they are not the same use in the commercial world as those in other employments might be.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

Are you prepared to accept the suggestion of the Minister and confine the amendment to the clerical staff?

I would strongly urge the Minister to accept it for the lot. I do not think it will mean much. In the interests of equity I urge acceptance of the amendment.

I threw out the suggestion, as it appeared to me that the argument was directed towards the clerical staff and the clerical staff only. The word "permanency" has been introduced and I used it myself in a relative sense. Senator O'Farrell asserts that parties other than the clerical staff have the some hope of permanency. It is not exactly the same. It is even less relative. In one case the contract is terminated by a month's notice, and in the other case by a week's notice. It is a very slight permanency in such a case. Taking into consideration the present situation, the lack of employment, and the fact that certain men, undoubtedly, if discharged, will simply take refuge in the unemployment benefit I am not disposed to quarrel very violently with Senator O'Farrell in his object in the amendment. In the absence of any statement that it would put an unsupportable burden on the amalgamated undertaking, I am prepared to go the full length and take the amendment he proposes.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

There might be a chance for solicitors with 30 years' service now.

Do I understand that Senator O'Farrell's amendment makes the same provision for those who have been dismissed for misconduct or incapacity?

No. There is an express reference excluding those charged with misconduct. The amendment deals merely with people who would ordinarily be in the service of the railway, were it not for the operations of the Bill; whose services were dispensed with because of the amalgamation effected under the Bill. I might say that people in the railway service start at a very low wage and work up. Anyone with less than 5 years' service will, in the ordinary course, have an exceedingly small salary. It means that for each year's service such a person will get two months' salary. The amount will be exceedingly small and cannot be a big impost upon the amalgamated company.

I am in agreement with the spirit of the amendment, but I would not like to give only the same amount to a person in the service as to a person who has been dismissed for incompetence.

Such a person gets nothing.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I beg to move:—

Third Schedule.—Page 34. To delete in line 35 the figures "1924" and to substitute therefor the figures "1923."

On the Committee Stage I endeavoured to explain the object of the change. It was, if possible, to save certain officers and servants from injustice, who, apparently had been dismissed in order to facilitate the working of the amalgamation. The Minister suggested that I should, if possible, give substantial cases, and that he would then consider them. My great wish was that we should not build on any particular case, but that there should be a means of allowing those who considered themselves aggrieved by dismissal, to apply to the tribunal, the company or the arbitration board, as the case may be, to have their cases thoroughly investigated. As I live in Dublin, and, having a short time at my disposal, I could only submit one case to the Minister. Unfortunately it is the case of a senior officer in one of the companies who considered himself aggrieved. That is Mr. Bennett. I should like to have been able to supplement that with cases of labourers and clerks but the time at my disposal was not sufficient. I submitted that case to the Minister. He will be able to form an opinion whether it is desirable to deal with new cases in the manner I suggest, by altering the date, so that anyone who is aggrieved shall have an opportunity of submitting the case to the authority who will arbitrate in these matters.

I beg to second.

I do not wish to oppose this amendment, as I do not know enough about it. There may be some cases, such as Senator Sir John Griffith has mentioned but I would point out that were it not for this Bill, those cases, hard though they may be, would not be capable of being re-opened. I do not think it was intended that this Bill should be availed of as an opportunity for a sort of court of appeal, or a re-trial of the cases of men who may have suffered under previous railway administration. I think that would lead to abuse, and while I have no strong feeling against the amendment I feel that it is a rather dangerous precedent, and might be availed of to allow cases to be re-opened that should not be re-opened.

What Senator Dowdall has stated is, to a certain extent, my answer to the amendment. Senator Sir John Griffith has presented me with one case. It is quite true that he preferred not to have this amendment based on a specific case, but preferred to have it looked at in another way. He sent one case to me, and if I am to take it as a typical case, I am, certainly, against the amendment, even on the grounds stated by the Senator. The case mentioned by the Senator did not give much details, but I got them in another way. I am quite convinced that this gentleman's dismissal, if it is called dismissal, is not in any way due to the coming of this Bill, or any proposal for amalgamation or other scheme.

I am informed that legal proceedings have been instituted in the particular case mentioned by the Senator, and it is not a matter into which I should go now. But no plea is made that the disappearance of the gentleman concerned was due to the coming of this Act. On the other hand, I would agree with Senator Dowdall that the Bill was not intended to give anybody a weapon with which to re-open cases of hardship, where the hardship simply came about in the ordinary course of railway administration, and was not due to the operations of this Bill, or to the coming of this Bill, and it would have a very definite evil effect, if passed, on a man whom it is sought to protect under the Bill.

I am not sure, for instance, if Senator O'Farrell has adverted to the full meaning of it. It seeks to strike out the 3rd of April, 1924, and to substitute the 3rd of April, 1923. It would very definitely rule out a very big number of people who had come in five years previous to the 3rd April, 1924, and while seeking to provide for a very limited number of individual cases of hardship which apparently are known to Senator Sir John Griffith, it would rule out a big body of men whose interests are sought to be guarded by the clause as it stands. In regard to the one case mentioned, believing as I do that the bringing in of the amendment would defeat the interests of a large number of men to whom justice must be done, I must oppose the amendment.

Amendment put and negatived.

I move:—

Third Schedule. Page 35 Immediately after the words "shall be" in line 11, to insert the words "in the case of an officer or servant with less than five completed years of service a gratuity calculated at the rate of one-sixth of his remuneration and emoluments for each completed year of his service, and in the case of an officer or servant with not less than five completed years of service."

This is an amendment which I held over on the last occasion to find out what the Minister was prepared to do. As the Bill stands it provides that any promotion that took place between the 3rd April, 1923, and the 3rd April, 1924, shall not count in the event of the person becoming redundant, and his salary for the purpose of calculating rates of compensation shall be the salary he had prior to the date of his promotion, no matter at what time the redundancy took place. I pointed out that the very wide and sweeping effect of that affected hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people promoted from one grade to another. I notice that there is a Government amendment which seeks to exclude from that provision grades dealt with in the agreement between the railway companies and the trade unions. To that extent it certainly protects the rank and file, and all the staff, with the exception, I think, of the officers. If I might say a word for the officers I think it is hardly fair that they should be excluded. The majority of them were members of the ordinary rank and file up to the time they got their promotion. In some cases they have been waiting for it for ten years, and even longer, and it just happened that the promotion became available after the 3rd April, 1923. They are now to be deprived of the benefits of that promotion and when they become redundant their compensation is to be based on the salaries they had before the 3rd April, 1923. It was unfortunate for them that the particular vacancies arose within that period, but in view of the fact that at most there are only a few known cases I hardly think that it is fair that they, who have been the victims of circumstances, should be punished because of what was really an accident in the matter of vacancies falling due.

I have to urge, sir, that the next amendments be accepted in place of this—amendments 30 and 31. They have reference to this particular portion of the Schedule. This is a very difficult portion of the Schedule. It is one that we have chopped and changed many times, and I am not even yet sure that we have got the matter right. I think I met all the arguments that Senator O'Farrell put on Committee Stage. I did emphasise here what the object of the limitation was. It was to remove from the operation of the Schedule people who received promotion within a particular period, that period being the period after which notice had been served on the railway companies that no official promotions were to be made, that is to say, it was not to cut out the ordinary natural promotions in certain grades, but where men were lifted unnecessarily that we did not intend, and we do not now intend, that they shall get compensation based on the proper scale. The only thing we have to take care of is that in cutting out people of this type we should not do any injustice to men who had got promotion in the ordinary way. Senator O'Farrell did the last time, I think, admit that that met the position as far as the people in whom he got interested were concerned, and he said that he left the spokemanship of other interests to those who would be better able to represent them. I did not hear from any other interests concerned, and I am not even clear that the particular type of officials to whom the Senator refers are not technically within the grades dealt with in the agreement, because these official grades to which the Senator refers are, I understand, mentioned in order to be exempted, but they are in that technical sense a grade dealt with under the agreement between the railway companies and the trade unions, and would, I believe, be brought in. I have not had it proved to me that they will not be brought in, and I believe they would be, and until the other case is made clear to me I am going to abide by the Government amendment No. 30, fortified by 31.

Lest we might lose all I am prepared, with the leave of the House, to withdraw my amendment in favour of the other, particularly as that will be doing the greater good to the greater number.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

The next is a Government amendment—an agreed amendment. It reads:—

"Third Schedule. Page 35. To delete in lines 63-64 the words `within one year before the 3rd day of April, 1924,' and to substitute therefor the words `subsequent to the third day of April, 1923.' "

Amendment put and agreed to.

I beg to move the following amendment:

"Third Schedule. Page 35. To delete the words added in Committee at the end of sub-paragraph 5, line 67, and to substitute therefor the words, `In the event of an existing officer being appointed a standing member of the railway tribunal he shall be regarded as an existing officer whose office is abolished as from the date of amalgamation and shall be entitled to be compensated accordingly, but during the period for which he acts as such standing member of the railway tribunal his compensation shall only be the difference (if any) between his remuneration as a standing member of the railway tribunal and the annual allowance granted to him under paragraph 5 (a) of this Schedule.

The explanation of this amendment is that it was agreed to provisionally in Committee on the understanding that the Government would bring up words to suit themselves to meet the case. For that reason, it is not possible to insert this as a Government amendment, because it would have the effect of repealing an amendment which was already passed in Committee. It is to carry out the Government's undertaking—and it is in the form which they approve of—and inasmuch as it was practically agreed to, on the last stage, the Seanad will have no difficulty in consenting to it.

I beg to second the amendment.

It seems to me that the amendment makes the matter too rigid, and might result in the Government not getting the type of man they might wish to have. If it said "shall be taken into consideration" it would be better, but this is absolutely rigid, and I think it is a mistake to have it so.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

Do you mean that it provides that no matter what the conditions are he is to be treated as an officer whose position was abolished? Is that what you are referring to?

The amendment says that his compensation shall only be the difference, if any, between his remuneration as a standing member of the railway tribunal and the annual allowance granted to him.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

That is only for the period for which he acts.

If he is a standing member it will be more or less for ever, or so long as he is competent as a standing member. I am against it, anyhow.

Amendment put and agreed to.
FIFTH SCHEDULE.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

The next amendment is an agreed amendment, which was put in at the request of the Seanad. It reads:—

"Fifth Schedule. Part IV., Division 1, page 37, to delete the figures in the headings of the first six columns."

Amendment put and agreed to.
SEVENTH SCHEDULE.

I beg to move: "In the Seventh Schedule to delete all after line 61." This amendment is in keeping with and follows the other amendment which I moved. I do not intend to say anything more about it.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

That was accepted by the Government.

So I believe. This amendment and the one following will also be accepted.

I second the amendment.

Amendment put and agreed to.
TENTH SCHEDULE.

I beg to move: "In the Tenth Schedule to insert at the commencement of the Schedule the words `31 and 32 Vic., ch. 119. The Regulation of Railways Act, 1868, Sec. 34.' "

I beg to second the amendment.

Amendment put and agreed to.
SECTION 59.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

There were two amendments left over. What are the clauses to which they refer?

I just noted one amendment to Section 59 where we had the question raised as to what constitutes reasonable notice to persons interested in land which it was proposed to acquire for the purposes of the railway undertaking. The suggestion is made in sub-section (2) to delete the words "in such manner as he may consider best adapted for informing persons likely to be affected by the Order," and to substitute therefor the words "shall give public notice, to be published once in `Iris Oifigiúil,' and once in each of three successive weeks in some one and the same newspaper circulating in the county or counties in which the land is situated." That is the suggestion I make now in response to the arguments used here that some notice other than the mere indication by public notice, should be given—that some further provision should be made other than merely leaving in the vague phrase "public notice." I hope that will be acceptable to the Seanad.

Amendment put and agreed to.
SECTION 61.

There is one other amendment which I promised to hold over, as to the necessity for defining "trader" so as to include cooperative societies or persons interested. We can take that to-morrow.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

We cannot conclude the Report Stage now if that remains open and you are going to insert it to-morrow. It would be sufficient, I think, if you put in the words "which shall include not only a trading corporation, but shall also include a trade protection society."

There is this difficulty. This was originally raised, I think, by Senator Bennett on Section 42. It was secondly raised to-day on Section 61. Now, Section 61 has certain details with regard to parties who may apply to the railway tribunal to make a certain order.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I do not think, Senator Bennett, it is reasonable to ask this alteration to be made. There should be no difficulty in getting a trader to make the application. As long as there is any grievance that affects a particular trade, there should be no difficulty for a trade organisation to get some particular individual to allow his name to be used. I do not think you should worry over this.

At this stage of the Bill I will not proceed with the amendment. If it were earlier, I would like to.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I understand the respective Ministers engaged have arranged, subject to the consent of the Seanad, which, I imagine, will be given, that we should now take up the two Bills in which the Minister for Agriculture is concerned.