SEANAD IN COMMITTEE. - AGRICULTURAL PRODUCE (EGGS) BILL, 1924—THIRD STAGE.
Section 1 was agreed to and added to the Bill.
In this Act—
the expression "the Minister" means the Minister for Lands and Agriculture;
the word "package" includes any box, crate, case, wrapper, or other receptacle containing or capable of containing eggs for transport, and, where the context so requires, includes the contents of such receptacle;
the word "inspector" includes any person authorised (either generally or for a special occasion) by the Minister to exercise all or any of the powers and perform all or any of the duties conferred and imposed on an inspector by this Act;
the word "eggs" means eggs in the shell of domestic fowls and ducks;
the word "prescribed" means prescribed by regulations made under this Act;
the expression "register of exporters" means the register kept pursuant to this Act under that name;
the expression "register of preservers" means the register kept pursuant to this Act under that name.
I would like to call attention to line 29 in this section, which says "the word `eggs' means eggs in the shell of domestic fowls and ducks." If that line stands as it is, it would mean the exclusion of turkeys and geese. I suggest that instead of the words "domestic fowls and ducks" the word "poultry" should be used. It is a better description and its meaning in the dictionary is given as "fowls for domestic use," and it embraces hens, ducks, turkeys and geese.
I understand that the trade meaning of the word "fowl" is "hens." We want to include "ducks." We do not want to include turkeys and geese.
If the suggestion of Senator Kenny were adopted it would mean that part of this Bill would not fit in with the main part of the industry with which it is intended to deal.
I am afraid that would not meet the point. Hen is the female of any fowl. "Domestic fowls" means hens and ducks and does not include turkeys and geese, and hence we say "domestic fowls" and ducks.
Question: "That the section stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
Sections 3, 4, 5 and 6 were agreed to, and added to the Bill.
REGISTRATION OF PREMISES.
Section 7.—(1) The Minister shall cause to be kept—
(a) a register (to be called and known as the Register of Exporters) of all premises in Saorstát Eireann in which the business of testing, grading and packing eggs for export is carried on; and
(b) a register (to be called and known as the Register of Preservers) of all premises in Saorstát Eireann in which the business of preserving eggs (whether by cold storing, pickling or otherwise), but not the business or any part of the business of testing, grading, and packing eggs for export, is carried on.
(2) There shall be entered in the said registers in respect of all premises registered therein respectively the following particulars:—
(a) the full name and description of the person (in this Act referred to as the registered proprietor) carrying on in such premises the business in respect of which the same are registered; and
(b) a description of the situation of the premises (in this Act referred to as the registered premises) sufficient to identify the same and the limits and the extent thereof.
(3) The Minister shall, before registering any premises in the register of exporters, be satisfied that—
(a) the premises are structurally suited for carrying on the business of testing, grading, and packing eggs for export, and are sufficiently provided with equipment, fittings, and appliances suitable for that business; and
(b) the premises, and the equipment, fittings, and appliances thereof are in a state of cleanliness and good repair; and
(c) the premises contain adequate and suitable accommodation for the carrying on, in accordance with this Act and regulations made thereunder, of the business of testing, grading, and packing eggs, and for the proper storage of a quantity of packages and packing materials sufficient to supply for a period of twenty-eight days the ordinary requirements of the said business as carried on in the premises; and
(d) the premises are properly equipped with the prescribed appliances and requisites for testing, grading, and packing eggs, and for marking eggs and the packages in which they are packed for export; and
(e) the quantity of eggs tested, graded, and packed upon the premises during each week (commencing at noon on Sunday) on which any eggs are tested, graded, or packed on the premises is not less than the prescribed minimum quantity.
I beg to move an amendment:—"In Section 7, sub-section (3) to delete in line 43 the words `a period of' and to substitute therefor the words `such period as may be prescribed not exceeding."
This amendment proposes to give the Minister a fixed period of twenty-eight days, or such period as may be prescribed, not exceeding twenty-eight days. I do not think it is necessary that the exporter should have on the premises packing material for the whole period of twenty-eight days. It may be feasible to carry on without that.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 7, as amended, agreed to and added to the Bill.
Sections 8 and 9 agreed to and added to the Bill.
(1) The Minister may at any time alter or cancel the registration of any premises under this Act upon the application of the registered proprietor, or in the case of an individual, the personal representative, or, in the case of an incorporated body, the liquidator, of the registered proprietor.
(2) The Minister may at any time without any such application as aforesaid, alter the registration of any premises under this Act in any respect in which such registration appears to him to be erroneous or misleading.
(3) The Minister may at any time, without any such application as aforesaid, cancel the registration of any premises registered under this Act if he is satisfied—
(a) that the registration of the premises was procured by fraud or by misrepresentation whether fraudulent or innocent; or
(b) that the premises have ceased to be eligible for registration in the register in which the same are registered; or
(c) that the registered proprietor, if an individual, has died, or, if an incorporated body, has been dissolved, and no other person has, within one month after such death or dissolution, been registered as proprietor in the place of the registered proprietor so dead or dissolved; or
(d) that there has been any contravention (whether by way of commission or of omission) of this Act or any regulations made thereunder on the premises.
(4) Before altering or cancelling (otherwise than in accordane with an application in that behalf made under this section) the registration of any premises under this Act, the Minister shall give at least one fortnight's notice in writing of his intention so to cancel or alter such registration to the registered proprietor, and shall consider any representations made before the expiration of such notice by such proprietor, and may if he thinks fit cause an inquiry to be held in relation to the matter.
I beg to move as an amendment:—
"In Section 10, sub-section (3) to add at the end of the sub-section a new sub-paragraph (c) as follows:—
"(c) that the registered proprietor having made a contract for the sale of eggs to be exported from premises of which he is the registered proprietor has, without reasonable cause, failed or omitted to carry out such contract."
It has sometimes happened that the Irish exporter has failed to carry out his contract in England. If that occurred very often it would give a very bad impression of the Irish trade, and would have a very bad effect. Hence this amendment is considered necessary.
Amendment agreed to.
I would call attention to the last lines in sub-section (1) of Clause 10 "or, in the case of an incorporated body, the liquidator, of the registered proprietor." The incorporated body need not necessarily be in liquidation. This implies that the incorporated body must be in liquidation to the exclusion of incorporated bodies not in liquidation.
I think that is to deal with the case of a registered proprietor which may be an incorporated body, and if the incorporated body goes into bankruptcy they will be represented by the liquidator in the same way as if an individual died he is represented by his personal representative. It is not very clear, but I think that is what it means.
I think the meaning is clear.
Would it not be better to put in the words "Secretary or liquidator"?
I think it would be desirable. I think it is a little obscure as it is.
In order to clarify the matter, I think that the words "Secretary or" should be inserted before the word "liquidator" in the last line of the sub-section.
It is covered by the words "registered proprietor."
It is very confusing, and these words "the liquidator of the registered proprietor" at the end of the sub-section appear to be surplusage.
I thought they made it clear. The words "registered proprietor" apply both to the registered proprietor personally and to the incorporated body—the liquidator of the registered proprietor.
Question—"That Section 10, as amended, stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
Sections 11, 12 and 13 were agreed to and added to the Bill.
(1) The Minister may by order make regulations in regard to all or any of the following matters, that is to say—
(a) the method and manner in all or any respects of testing eggs;
(b) the method and manner in all or any respects of grading eggs;
(c) the method and manner in all or any respects of packing eggs, including the materials and packages to be used for such packing;
(d) the grades and descriptions of eggs which may or may not be packed in the same package;
(e) the prohibition of packing of any particular grades or descriptions of eggs;
(f) the mode in, and means by which the prescribed marks are to be placed on eggs and packages.
(2) Regulations made under this section shall apply only to premises registered in the register of exporters.
(3) All eggs tested, graded, or packed in any premises registered in the register of exporters shall be tested, graded, packed and marked in accordance in all respects with the regulations made under this section and for the time being in force.
I beg to move an amendment:—
In Section 14, sub-section (1) to add at the end of the sub-section a new sub-paragraph (g) as follows:—
"(g) the description of eggs which may or may not be brought on to the premises."
This amendment would give power to the Minister, if he thinks fit, to prohibit the bringing in of foreign eggs on to the premises of any exporter.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 14, sub-section (3). To delete in line 23 the word "or" and to substitute therefor the word "and"—(Senator R.A. Butler.)
Section 14, sub-section (3). Immediately after the word "marked" in line 25 to insert the words "and the packages in which such eggs are so packed shall also be marked."— (Senator R.A. Butler.)
Both amendments were agreed to and added to the Bill.
Section, as amended, agreed to and added to the Bill.
("Regulations as to marking eggs and packages.")
The following amendment was agreed to: "To delete in sub-section (1), line 32, the words "and quality."
Section, as amended, agreed to and added to the Bill.
(1) It shall not be lawful for any person to sell, or offer or consign for sale, on or from any premises registered in the register of exporters any quantity of eggs amounting to or exceeding thirty dozen unless such eggs have been graded, tested, and packed, and the eggs and also the packages containing such eggs have been marked in all respects in accordance with the provisions of the regulations made under this Act and for the time being in force.
(2) If any eggs shall be sold or offered or consigned for sale in contravention of this section, the registered proprietor of the premises on or from which such eggs are so sold or offered or consigned for sale, shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof in the case of a first offence, to a penalty not exceeding ten pounds, or in the case of a second or any subsequent offence, to a penalty not exceeding twenty pounds.
Under sub-section (1) of this section it seems that a person can sell any quantity of eggs up to thirty dozen, and that, so to speak, it is only when that quantity is reached that legality commences. From the reading of the section it appears to me that a person who sells a lesser quantity than 30 dozen will not come under the operations of the section at all.
The idea, I suppose, is that in mentioning 30 dozen in the section you must draw the line somewhere.
Question—"That the section stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
Sections 17, 18, 19 and 20 agreed to and added to the Bill.
All expenses of carrying this Act into effect shall, to such extent as shall be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance, be paid out of moneys to be provided from time to time by the Oireachtas.
I would like to ask if the Government is able to give us an estimate of the cost of administering this Bill. I might state, on the general question, that we never appear to get White Papers, and are only rarely given estimates of the cost in new legislation. It seems very desirable in some cases, perhaps not so much in the case of this Bill, as in the case of the Dairy Bill, for instance. I think it is desirable that we should have an estimate of the cost involved in this measure.
The cost of this Bill will be about £17,000 or £18,000, and we believe that the fees will amount to about half of that. This Bill has been before practically every association in the trade. I think there are more than half a dozen of them, and they have all agreed as to the fees. So far as the fee is concerned it is an agreed Bill. The people who are paying are agreed as to the equity of the fee.
Question—"That Section 21 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
Section 22 was agreed to and added to the Bill.
Question—"That the Schedule be the Schedule to the Bill"—put and agreed to.
Question—"That the Title be the Title of the Bill"—put and agreed to.