I beg to move my recommendation:—
Section 23, sub-section (1). After the word "bets," in line 49, to insert the words "(with the exception hereinafter mentioned)" and to insert before sub-section (2) a new sub-section as follows:—
"Bets entered into at any coursing meeting in Saorstát Eireann in respect of any greyhound competing thereat shall be exempt from the duty prescribed by sub-section (1) of this section."
I wish to press the point in connection with greyhound coursing. The Minister made a concession in the Dáil; he removed the amusement tax on coursing. As one who has spent a lifetime in the country and who has followed that particular line of sport, I appeal very strongly to the Minister to scrap this tax altogether, to take off the betting tax on greyhound coursing. It is within the knowledge of everyone in the Seanad and in the country that greyhound coursing is followed by a class of people who deserve consideration. Coursing has a very ancient history attached to it. For years and years there was no such thing as betting at all attached to it. It was simply a matter of sport. The people who kept greyhounds and preserved their land went out of their way to keep up coursing. One of the chief motives that induced them to go to all this trouble was so as to be able to invite their friends and give them a day's coursing. It was looked upon as a great treat by their friends who had greyhounds. It gave them a day's amusement. At first it used to be open coursing. I do not know whether the Minister ever attended such a function as an open coursing meeting. I have attended very many of them. Apart altogether from any other consideration, the collection of this tax will be a very difficult thing. In the first place, coursing meetings are held in a country district. You have first to get your hare before you course him. At these meetings you have beaters and, bookmakers, and anyone who has been at a coursing meeting will know the noise and the clamour that goes on, and it would be almost impossible to hear the betting. As a rule when there are two dogs running the betting is generally 3 to 1 on some favourite and nothing at all on the other. I never made a bet myself, but the most I ever saw put on at a coursing meeting was one pound or so. This coursing concerns a class of people who are really out for sport. The Minister would be well advised to take off the tax altogether. Such a thing would be well received by the country. It is for the country I am speaking in this matter. It would be a gracious act on the part of the Government, who have many more lucrative ways of raising taxation than by taxing coursing. They might leave that sport alone. It is going too far and I appeal in the most earnest manner I can to the Minister, who has been so good as not to enforce the amusement tax, to leave this betting tax out altogether as far as coursing is concerned. Everybody would look upon his doing so as a most gracious act. Coursing is followed by a class of people who have not a very large income, but who keep up this sport simply and solely from voluntary contributions amongst themselves. There is very little money in it, and it promotes healthy sport in the country. I would ask the Minister, for the sake of the goodwill of the people who are so much interested in this, to agree to the recommendation.