Public Business. - Agriculture Bill, 1930—Third Stage.

The Seanad went into Committee.
Section 1 agreed to.
SECTION 2.
In this Act—
the expression "the purposes of agriculture and other rural industries" includes assistance, improvement, and development of and instruction in all or any of the following industries, that is to say, agriculture, horticulture, forestry, dairying,...

I move amendment 1:

After the word "agriculture," in line 42, to insert the word "tillage."

This is the defination section. As I fear that the word "tillage" has been inadvertently omitted in the description of agriculture my amendment is moved to supply that omission.

I had always thought, giving words their ordinary meaning, that the word "agriculture" meant the culture of the land. In other words, that is tillage.

I am not sure whether grazing is included in the word "agriculture," but certainly tillage is.

I think that is perfectly clear. There is some doubt as to whether grazing is included.

I think the Minister does not consider that agriculture means anything except grass.

Cathaoirleach

The Minister states quite the contrary. I would like to know from Senator Linehan if he is satisfied that the word "agriculture" includes tillage?

I would prefer to have it included in the definition section, and therefore I intend to press this amendment to a division.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 15; Níl, 16.

  • Sir Edward Coey Bigger.
  • R.A. Butler.
  • Caitlín Bean Uí Chléirigh.
  • Michael Comyn, K.C.
  • Joseph Connolly.
  • J.C. Dowdall.
  • Michael Fanning.
  • Sir John Purser Griffith.
  • Sir John Keane.
  • Thomas Linehan.
  • Seán E. MacEllin.
  • The McGillycuddy of the Reeks.
  • William John Molloy.
  • Colonel Moore.
  • Thomas Toal.

Níl

  • Sir Edward Bellingham.
  • Miss Kathleen Browne.
  • Mrs. Costello.
  • John C. Counihan.
  • The Countess of Desart.
  • Sir Thomas Grattan Esmonde.
  • Thomas Farren.
  • P.J. Hooper.
  • Thomas Johnson.
  • Seán Milroy.
  • Joseph O'Connor.
  • John T. O'Farrell.
  • L. O'Neill.
  • Dr. William O'Sullivan.
  • Michael Staines.
  • Richard Wilson.
Tellers—Tá: Senators Linehan and Moore; Níl: Senators Milroy and Johnson.
Amendment declared lost.

On our side we counted sixteen.

Cathaoirleach

I have got the signed division lists, and the result is as I have announced.

Sections 2 to 7, inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 8.
Question proposed: That Section 8 stand part of the Bill.

On the Second Reading of the Bill I drew attention to the words "upon the request of the Minister" which occur in sub-section (3) of this section. The sub-section provides that all moneys, stocks, shares and securities transferred to the Minister at the commencement of this Act which are standing in the books of the Bank of Ireland or of any other corporation or company in the name of the Department shall, "upon the request of the Minister," be transferred into the name of the Minister.

The other sub-sections provide that automatically anything that stands in the name of the Department is transferred to the name of the Minister. The Minister for Industry and Commerce was in charge of the Bill when I raised this question on the Second Reading, and said that the wording of this sub-section was in accordance with some provisions of the Companies Acts. I have not attempted to find out what that provision is, but it occurs to me that in enacting legislation of this kind we need not put in the words "at the request of the Minister" if we want the transfer to take place automatically. It seems to me, in the absence of any explanation, that there is no necessity to insert the words "at the request of the Minister." If the Minister failed to make the request, then it would appear that these stocks, shares and other securities would remain in the name of the Department, which, of course, would be foolish, because after the passing of the Act there will be no Department. I am raising the question to find out why the request of the Minister should be required in this particular class of transaction when all other matters are automatically transferred by the passing of this Act.

There is a functionary known as the Registrar of Public Companies. It is his duty to transfer shares. He does that after somebody has moved, and not on his own initiative. There is, for instance, an agreement between people and shares are transferred. Shares are also transferred under Acts of Parliament. If it were the responsibility of the Registrar to transfer shares on his own, his task would be practically impossible. He would have to keep in touch with all agreements filed and all legislation passed. This sub-section is provided as a matter of convenience. The Registrar of Companies does not transfer shares until a request is made to him by somebody. That absolves him from the duty of keeping in touch with all the regulations passed and agreements filed. If he could transfer shares on his own without anybody making a request to him to do so his duty would be a rather onerous one. Where a transfer of shares is to take place either under an agreement or an Act of Parliament, it is felt that it is perfectly safe to put the onus on the person who is going to benefit to draw the attention of the Registrar of Companies to the fact that the transfer is necessary. He never acts until his attention is drawn to the matter. For that reason, it is provided here that the Minister shall draw the attention of the Registrar when a transfer of shares is necessary.

There may not be very much in this, but it seems rather curious that all these arguments do not apply to the transfer of land.

Land is transferred automatically by Act of Parliament. The land coming within it is mine as Minister. The position is different with regard to stocks and shares. In addition to the passing of the Act of Parliament it is necessary that some one should move before the transfer of stocks and shares in books can be effected. That saves the Registrar from the very serious duty that otherwise would devolve on him: of keeping in touch with all the legislation passed and agreements come to.

If, automatically, the Department becomes the Minister, surely then in any future legal action of any kind the Minister is the Department, and the shares belong to the Minister?

I am advised that under the Act there is no transfer until the Registrar does his duty.

Sections 8, 9 and 10 agreed to.
SECTION 11.
(4) A consultative council established under this section shall meet whenever summoned by the Minister and also on such other occasions as such council shall from time to time determine.

I move amendment 2:

Section 11, sub-section (4). To delete all after the word "Minister," in line 2, down to the end of the sub-section.

I consider it would be quite sufficient for the council to meet whenever it is called upon to do so by the Minister. Any further meetings could only lead to expense. In any event it would have nothing to do except to deal with matters that might be referred to it. I take it that whenever the Minister requires to get its advice he will take steps to call the council together. I think the sub-section as worded might only lead to expense, and I move the deletion of the words indicated.

The point of the amendment is that the council should not meet unless it is called together by the Minister, that the members should not have the option of meeting on their own volition. Possibly the Senator's experience of me has led him to believe that all Ministers are perfect. The fact is that they are not. My own view, while I do not care what the Seanad does with the amendment, is that there may be other Ministers more sensitive to public criticism than I am, and consequently may be a little bit chary of calling the council together. My own personal view is that the members of the council should have the right of coming together if they wish to do so. I think that a council like this, a council of technicians, should have the right of coming together to express their views if they wish to do so.

Amendment put and declared lost.
Section 11 agreed to.
Sections 12 to 35, inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 36.
(1) Every council of a county shall in every local financial year (including the local financial year commencing on the 1st day of April, 1931) raise equally over the whole of their county (excluding any urban districts comprised therein) by means of the poor rate a sum equal to not less than a rate of two pence in the pound on the rateable value of such county at the beginning of such year, and may, if they so think fit, in any local financial year (including the local financial year commencing on the 1st day of April, 1931) raise by the same means and in the same manner an additional sum equal to not more than a rate of one penny in the pound on the rateable value of such county at the beginning of such year, and all sums raised by virtue of this sub-section are in this Act referred to as the agricultural rate.
(2) Where the Minister has made a forestry scheme order in respect of a county, the council of such county shall in every local financial year after the date of such order if so required by the Minister during the preceding local financial year, but not otherwise, raise equally over the whole of their county (excluding any urban districts comprised therein) by means of the poor rate a sum (in this Act referred to as the forestry rate) equal to not more than a rate of one halfpenny in the pound on the rateable value of such county at the beginning of such year.

I move amendment 3:

Section 36, sub-section (1). To delete the word "shall" in line 54 and to substitute therefore the word "may."

This is really the most important amendment which I have down in connection with the Bill. Hitherto, the striking of the rate by the county councils was optional and so was the contribution from the Department of Agriculture. This Bill, while leaving the contribution of the Department optional, compels the county councils to strike a rate of 2d. in the £. From time to time we see here different sums being placed on the ratepayers. Under the Vocational Education Bill there is a rate up to 6d. in the £, I think, imposed, and under this Bill there is a further 2d. in the £ to be struck. That is made mandatory on the county councils. I am aware that, heretofore, the councils have themselves struck a certain portion of this rate and that useful schemes have been carried out on that rate for the development of agriculture. That condition of affairs, I think, might be allowed to remain. I think that the Minister and the Department might trust the county councils and might appreciate that they would never turn down a useful scheme but would be as ready to supply the necessary funds in the future as they were in the past. The manner in which the rates are increasing is very serious. No Bill is being introduced to reduce the rates or to wipe them out. Every Bill is putting an additional burden on the unfortunate ratepayer, and the word "ratepayer" is, of course, another name for the farmer. I really believe that the Government are not fully aware of the position of the agricultural community. If they were, the placing of an extra rate upon them would be the last thing that they would think of. As the previous scheme of voluntary co-operation between the county councils and the Department has gone on so successfully, I think it is a great mistake to make a change now and to apply coercion to the county councils in respect to this rate. The Bill will be quite as valuable and as workable if the striking of the rate is left optional with the county councils, as was the case in the past. I move the amendment.

I rise to support this amendment whole-heartedly, because it involves the element of permission instead of legislative imposition. I admit that all, with the exception of, I think, three county councils, have up to the present imposed a 2d. in the £ rate, but that does not affect the principle. If they have done that voluntarily, why not leave well alone? I suppose the Minister thinks that these three recalcitrant councils are not alive to their duty and should be forced to an understanding of it. There, I say, the Government attitude is wrong. These people should be allowed to do what they like. There is no question here of public health or anything like that. The members of these councils are the elected representatives of their areas, and if they do not want to strike this rate why interfere with them? This amendment bears on the motion which I have on the paper and about which I shall speak at some length some other time. If we admit this principle, where will it lead us? A certain number of councils—say half—may in the future strike a 2½d. rate and we may have legislation brought in to compel the remaining councils to strike that rate. We are getting back to a principle of the American Constitution—that when a certain number of States accept a particular principle the others are roped in automatically.

I should like to point out that there is no analogy whatever between rates and taxes. Taxes are payable out of profits. They can be avoided by the person affected. If he does not possess the requisite income, he is not subject to income tax. If he does not drink or use tobacco, he escapes other taxes. In the case of rates, the person concerned has got to pay whether he is making profit or not. The option, whether or not a particular rate should be struck, should, therefore, be left in his hands. He should be allowed to exercise his discretion freely, because the principle of compulsion in this matter is wrong and should be resisted.

I agree with Senator Sir John Keane. In regard to practically every Bill brought forward by Ministers here, it is a case of "must, must, must." The county councils and the local bodies have no power to do anything. They must appoint certain officials and carry out the Minister's will in practically everything. That is not alone the case in respect of the particular Minister present to-day, but it is the case in respect of practically every other Minister. There is one matter which the Minister might explain on the present Bill. The Bill says that the Minister may draw up a scheme. Is he free to draw up any scheme he likes? Must that scheme be laid before the House? Are the county councils bound to strike rates for any scheme the Minister chooses to bring forward, or is he bound by any Act as to the manner in which the scheme is to be drawn or the purposes for which it is to be drawn? I support the amendment because I do not think that the bureaucrats here should be given power to do as they like.

Surely, at this hour of the day, the Senator should know that the schemes are prepared by the county committees, and that the Minister has only sanctioning powers. The initiative is with the committees of agriculture. There is one point on which the Seanad should be clear at the beginning. There was a certain fund available for this work up to about two years ago. It represented the proceeds of the rate struck by the county councils and the contribution of the Department of Agriculture. There was a certain fund built up as the result of savings each year—that was ten or twelve years ago—and that fund has been used in recent years to supplement the finances of the county committees—in other words, to supplement the amount found by the Department of Agriculture and the amount found by the ratepayers. That fund is almost exhausted. The schemes that are at present in operation were prepared when you had a rate of 1¾d., when you had taxation that brought in about twice that amount, and when you had this fund which is now almost exhausted. These schemes were paid for out of a joint fund—rates, taxes, and the residue I have referred to. Unless you have a slight increase of rates or taxes existing schemes cannot be kept up. There is no doubt that the existing schemes are sound. They were prepared by farmers. and, as a rule, by fairly sensible farmers, who were pretty close to the ground and knew their business. Nobody in the country—no matter how foolish—can attack any of our principal schemes. They are all sound. If they are to be maintained, not to say increased, there must be a slight increase in rates or taxes. We propose that there should be a slight increase in rates.

Senator Linehan suggested that there was no proposal that taxes should be maintained. Of course, with the contribution from taxes, the present schemes could not be kept up unless there was a slight increase in rates. What are the contributions from taxes? The State spends £600,000 every year on the Department of Agriculture alone. The county committees spend £125,412 on their schemes—schemes initiated by themselves, over which we have no more than sanctioning powers. Of that £125,412, we find £79,000, and they find the balance, £47,000, out of rates. There is no likelihood whatever that our contribution will decrease. It has been increasing every year, and will increase further.

Senator Keane said that there should be freedom to do as one likes. I am not going into that question at this hour of the day. The people have come to realise that these questions are no longer academic and can no longer be discussed in an academic way. Criticism is pretty free in this country. The people—especially the local bodies —feel quite free to express their opinions on schemes which are initiated in Dublin. There is no reason why they should not do so. As a rule they do not mince their words or hide their feelings. We took the precaution of seeking the views of every country council in Ireland on this scheme before bringing it before the Dáil or Seanad. On the 31st January we wrote a letter to every county council in Ireland telling them what we were going to do. We did not receive a single protest.

Did you ask them for their opinion?

We wrote them telling them what we were going to do, and we took it for granted that if they had any objection to the proposal somebody on the county council would say a word openly about it. If you put a proposition before a county council on the lines, "We propose to provide by legislation that you shall compulsorily strike a 2d. rate for agriculture in the future," every county councillor understands what is intended. There is no danger that anybody will misunderstand it. There is no danger that anybody will be under any delusion as to what we are going to do. We did not think that any further invitation was necessary. Knowing county councils as I do, and knowing how free they are with criticism, I am satisfied that if there was any real, popular opposition to this proposal we would find somewhere some county councillor objecting to it.

Does the Minister suggest that a letter to that effect came before every county council?

On 31st January an official letter was addressed to each county council stating what we were going to do.

Did it come up for discussion before every county council?

What is the use of this sort of thing? A letter was written to the secretary of each county council stating that we were proposing to make it mandatory on every county council to strike this rate.

Does the Minister know whether or not the county councils have held their quarterly meetings since then?

All of them?

Yes. Everybody knows that who takes an interest in the matter.

They must have been of opinion that de-rating was to be introduced.

When you know how easy it is to get the county councils going and when you know how many cranks, if I may say so, there are on the county councils; when you have all parties represented on the county councils and all seeking to take some political advantage of the Government, and when you find that there was not a single county council to take exception to this proposal, you must assume that the county councils realised that it was something above politics and clearly in the interest of agriculture; that they realised that it is vital to keep our schemes going and that they cannot be kept going unless with this 2d. rate. We gave the county councils the opportunity of making objection, but there was no opposition whatever to the proposal. If this proposal is not carried, our schemes will have to be cut down. They are valuable schemes, and I put it to the Seanad that if they reject this proposal they will be acting against the views of every county council in Ireland.

The Minister says that these schemes will fail unless this proposal be carried. I say that they will not fail.

I did not say that they would fail. I said that they would have to be reduced.

What does reduction mean? You are giving a tremendous amount of money in premiums. These premiums, which are a subsidy from the State and a subsidy from the ratepayers, merely mean the subsidising of the breeders of livestock. These premium schemes cost a lot of money, and could very well be reduced by 20 per cent. or 15 per cent. or so, representing the difference between the voluntary rate and the compulsory rate which the Minister is seeking to impose. The Minister says that at a time when taxation was much greater than it is at present we voted 1¾d. At that time, the prices of commodities produced by the farmer were much greater than they are at present. At that time we were not selling milk at 2d. a gallon. At present the prices of the farmers' commodities are down to bedrock, and any increase in rates is to be deplored and ought not to be introduced. The present schemes provide, in many cases, for subsidies to the extent of £60 for premium bulls. That amount is spent over three years. That is a tax upon the man who wants to buy an animal at the Show and who has not a premium, and it really means subsidising the breeders of livestock. I cannot see why the schemes could not be reduced to bring them within the cost of 1¼d. rate—the rate voluntarily raised heretofore by the farmers on the county councils. I propose to vote against the proposal in the Bill.

I cannot allow my friend, Senator Wilson, to speak with disrespect or to make little of the premiums given to help the cattle trade.

I did not ridicule the premiums. I said they should be reduced.

I do not think that the amendment brought in by Senator Linehan is concerned with this question of premiums. I have spent a lifetime in the study of this premium question and I always considered that the premiums were too low. The man who has to feed and keep a premium bull according to regulations is generally at a loss. In some counties, the premiums are not applied for owing to the loss. The premium does not compensate the man for the amount he has to spend in keeping the bull according to the conditions laid down by the Department. Only those who have had experience are aware of the cost of keeping these bulls, which are really for the benefit of the country. The man who keeps a premium bull is conferring a great benefit on the district in which he lives. I am not satisfied with the amount of the present premiums and I think the Minister should increase the premiums by £10 each, at least.

I do not consider that it is fair, at this hour of the day, to raise an objection to this proposal. I agree with what the Minister has said. Each county council had an opportunity of making objection to the scheme at the proper time. As far as the county council which I represent is concerned, the demand there is for increased grants to agriculture. This Bill is introduced with the intention of helping agriculture. As regards the premiums for bulls, if there were not a demand in a county for additional premiums, surely the money would not be voted. I think that the Department realises that the demand exists because grants have been given out of the Relief Fund for the erection of poultry-houses. When each county council got opportunity to raise objection to this proposal at the proper time and no objection was entered, I think this is not the time now to take exception to the proposal.

I should like to ask the Senator what is the proper time, if this is not the proper time. We are the regularly-constituted machinery for examining these proposals.

The proper place to make objection was at the county council meeting.

We here have nothing to do with the county councils, though they are a factor in the situation. I have read the circular which was sent to the county councils. It gives them an opportunity of making a protest, but it does not invite them to offer their opinion. It informs them undoubtedly that it is proposed to make the striking of this rate mandatory. However, whether they objected or not, the vicious principle would still be there. I do not quite see how schemes will be substantially affected, as I understand most of the county councils have already been raising a 2d. rate. Those who would not raise a 2d. rate would be very few and they would be the only councils which would be interfered with. I cannot allow the Minister to stand on the principle of interference and to say that I cannot stand on the principle of freedom. I do not stand for absolutely unfettered liberty, but I do not think the Minister can stand for the unfettered right to make the councils do what he likes. The principle in this case should be resisted. That principle is the right of the State to tax people in respect of rates—the right of the Government to impose rates, as distinct from taxes, on the people. They have no such right. The county councils alone have that right.

The speech of Senator Sir John Keane was rather remarkable, because, as far as I know, he has been a fairly strong supporter of the action of the Ministry whenever it has been decided to close down a local authority, such as the Dublin Corporation or some county council.

Shall I be allowed to reply to this speech?

I have never heard the Senator raise any objection to interference of this description. Obviously, it is his opinion that it is the duty of the State to interfere when it considers that a local authority has failed to do its duty. Senator Sir John Keane is evidently arguing this as a question of principle, while Senator Wilson is arguing it as a question of finance— the difference between 1¾d. and 2d.

And compulsion.

The Senator limited his case to the question of finance. I wonder for whom the Senators we have heard to-day speak? I think they are speaking, in the main, for the large farmers, who are a very small minority of the community. A 2d. rate, whether compulsory or voluntary, is a very small consideration to the majority of Irish farmers, who have valuations of less than £10. The idea of this Bill, as I take it, is to consolidate these schemes, to ensure their continuance for the future and not leave them to the vagaries of any particular county council which, for some cause or another, might decide not to levy any rate at all, and thus cause the collapse of schemes that are vital to the development of the agricultural industry. A Labour party on the county council might take quite a different view from that which is at present held. They might decide to levy a rate for works of quite a different character and make a saving in the rate for agriculture. I think the farmers ought to be thankful that they are safeguarded in respect of this Bill. From every quarter we hear calls at present: "What are you going to do for the farmers?" If you are going to do anything for them, there must be a certain element of compulsion.

Senator Sir John Keane knows that compulsion is necessary. He has belonged to a party which has imposed more compulsion on this country than any Senator here has. You have to impose compulsion on a county council to collect rates. You do exercise a certain amount of compulsory power in local government affairs, and it is ridiculous to use the argument of compulsion on this Bill. I do not say this of Senator Sir John Keane, but anything is good enough for some people to use as a political stunt, irrespective of the fact that it may injure the people whom the speakers profess to serve. Anybody who professes to have any interest in agriculture at all must know in his heart that this is a proper and businesslike proposal, no matter who makes it; that it is in the interests of agriculture, that it is not going to impose any hardship on anybody—even the big farmer—and that it is the farmers, and the farmers only, who are going to benefit by it. I do not understand the reason for the storm which has been raised in the teacup over this matter. If it is a question of principle, that question has been decided already. If it is a mere question of finance, it is hardly necessary to enter into it at all. The object of the proposal is good. No principle has been violated, and I will vote for the Bill, believing that I am voting in the interest of the farmers to a far greater extent than those who hold themselves out as self-appointed guardians of the farming industry.

The only matter raised that I think I have to deal with is the statement that a letter was sent to the county councils notifying them of the intention to make this rate mandatory. I have here a copy of the circular letter sent out, and I find that it contains quite a number of other matters which were brought to the attention of the county councils. The councils were informed that the Bill was going through the Dáil. Possibly that gave them an idea that it would be futile to raise any objection to a Bill already under way. It is stated in the circular:

It is fully anticipated that this Bill will become law before the 31st March next, but as the county council will shortly be considering their estimates, I have to suggest that they should take the necessary preliminary steps towards raising, in respect of the Agricultural and Live Stock Schemes, a sum equivalent to the proceeds of a rate of 2d. in the £, as stipulated in the Bill.

My idea of this circular is that the county councils were asked, when they were considering their estimates, to decide whether they would raise this 2d. in the £ suggested by the Minister, although there was no legal sanction for so doing. The circular also declares:

In order to regularise the position of the county councils in this matter, the Minister for Agriculture will arrange, when the Agriculture Bill is next under consideration by the Oireachtas, to obtain legal sanction for any action taken at this stage by county councils towards the striking of a rate in excess of 1d. in the £ for the purposes of the schemes referred to.

I take it that is the most important point in the circular. It is not merely that there was a notification that 2d. in the £ was mandatory, but the county councils were asked to notify the Minister whether they would strike this extra 2d., and whether also they would do so before they had any legal power. The making of a rate of 2d. in the £ mandatory is the greatest objection that I have to this Bill. I know that the schemes would go on quite as well if it were left optional with the county councils to strike the rate. I think it should be purely a voluntary matter with them now as in the past. I do not agree to this extra rate being made mandatory.

With regard to the point raised by Senator O'Farrell that I have consistently welcomed the suppression of local bodies, if I ask the Senator to verify that I think he will find it very difficult indeed. In some cases I have agreed to the suppression of local bodies for obvious and marked misbehaviour and dereliction of duty, but I think I can honestly say that I have throughout rather defended the liberty of local bodies and pleaded liberty of action and local option in favour of local authorities.

I will read portion of the circular for the Seanad:

You are probably aware that under Section 32 (1) of the Agriculture Bill now before the Dáil, it is proposed that the raising by means of the poor rate of a sum equal to not less than a rate of 2d. in the £ in each financial year (including the financial year commencing the 1st April, 1931) shall be mandatory, and that each county council shall be empowered in the same financial year to raise, if necessary, a further sum equal to the proceeds of an additional 1d. rate.

That circular was dated 31st January, 1931, and there was not a single protest. With regard to Senator Sir John Keane, he says that he takes a stand on principle. That is the trouble about Senator Keane—he is always saying he is standing on principle without knowing exactly what it means. What is the principle? It is the principle that the county councils shall have absolute discretion as to the striking of the rate. Apparently this is the first time that principle has been infringed. Apparently the Senator is enunciating that we are doing something new. Does the Senator object to a compulsory rate for criminal injuries? The county councils are compelled to strike a rate for criminal injuries and for the Diseases of Animals Acts.

I am only resisting the continuance of a bad practice.

On that basis we are in line.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 9; Níl, 30.

  • Sir Edward Bellingham.
  • R.A. Butler.
  • Michael Comyn, K.C.
  • Sir John Keane.
  • Thomas Linehan.
  • Seán E. MacEllin.
  • Colonel Moore.
  • Joseph O'Connor.
  • Richard Wilson.

Níl

  • Sir Edward Coey Bigger.
  • Miss Kathleen Browne.
  • Caitlín Bean Uí Chléirigh.
  • Joseph Connolly.
  • Mrs. Costello.
  • John C. Counihan.
  • William Cummins.
  • The Countess of Desart.
  • J.C. Dowdall.
  • Michael Duffy.
  • Sir Thomas Grattan Esmonde.
  • Michael Fanning.
  • Thomas Farren.
  • Dr. O. St. J. Gogarty.
  • Sir John Purser Griffith.
  • P.J. Hooper.
  • Thomas Johnson.
  • Cornelius Kennedy.
  • The McGillycuddy of the Reeks.
  • Seán Milroy.
  • William John Molloy.
  • Joseph O'Doherty.
  • John T. O'Farrell.
  • L. O'Neill.
  • Bernard O'Rourke.
  • Dr. William O'Sullivan.
  • Siobhán Bean an Phaoraigh.
  • Séumas Robinson.
  • Michael Staines.
  • Thomas Toal.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Linehan and Colonel Moore; Níl, Senators O'Farrell and Toal.
Amendment declared lost.

I beg to move amendment 4:

Section 36, sub-section (2). To delete the word "shall" in line 8 and to substitute therefor the word "may".

This amendment is somewhat to the same effect as amendment 3. It refers to a rate of one halfpenny in regard to forestry. Whatever reasons there may be for having a compulsory rate for agriculture I see none whatever for a forestry rate because forestry is of no benefit to agriculture. Forestry, in my opinion, will never produce a profit. The only thing it will do for the country will be to enhance the beauty of the scenery. Perhaps forestry might give employment, but in that way the work would be in the general interests of the community at large. I suggest that this rate of one halfpenny should be voluntary and not compulsory. Of course the amount is very small, but the principle is the same as in the case of the last amendment.

This rate is not mandatory; it is voluntary. If Senators will refer to Section 35 they will see:

(1) Where the Minister, on the joint representation of the council of a county and the committee of agriculture for such county, considers it desirable that steps should be taken to preserve existing woods standing in such county, the Minister may by order (in this Act referred to as a forestry scheme order) declare that such county is a county in which it is desirable that a forestry scheme under this section should be put into effect.

In other words, no forestry scheme can be put into effect unless there is representation made by the county council. It is entirely for the county council cil to make representations. If they consider a forestry scheme is desirable they can make a representation to the Minister. The Minister may refuse that scheme or he may agree to it. If he does agree, there must be a rate, but the rate is in no sense mandatory.

Following the Minister's explanation, I ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 36 to 46, inclusive, agreed to.

I beg to move:—

New section. Before Section 47 to insert a new section as follows:—

"47.—The Mussels, Periwinkles and Cockles (Ireland) Act, 1898, shall hereafter be included in the group of Acts which may be cited as the Fisheries Acts, 1842 to 1925."

On a point of order, I would like to raise a question as to whether this proposed new section comes within the scope of the Bill. I have gone through the Bill, and I can find no connection whatever. It seems to me that the mover of the motion merely wants to put this section into the Bill because apparently it was forgotten somewhere else. It has no connection whatever with the Bill, and I question whether it is in order that it should be here inserted. My suggestion is that it is outside the scope of the Bill and, therefore, is not in order.

Cathaoirleach

Has Senator Johnson any particular reason for saying that this is not within the scope of the Bill?

My reason is that there is nothing in the Bill dealing with the Fisheries Acts.

Cathaoirleach

We are dealing with the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction, which is being disbanded.

The Department of Agriculture is being dealt with in this Bill, but the amendment before the House proposes that a certain Act known as the Mussels, Periwinkles and Cockles (Ireland) Act, 1898, shall be included in the group of Acts cited as the Fisheries Acts, 1842 to 1925. There is nothing whatever in the Bill dealing with the Fisheries Acts, 1842 to 1925. I suggest the amendment, therefore, is outside the scope of the Bill.

Cathaoirleach

I will ask the Minister for Agriculture to give an explanation before I give my decision.

The Fourth Schedule of this Bill repeals the Agriculture and Technical Instruction (Ireland) Act, 1899,in toto, in so far as it relates to agriculture. I have here a copy of that Act, and Section 30, sub-section (2) sets out that the Mussels, Periwinkles and Cockles (Ireland) Act, 1898, may be cited with the Fisheries Acts, 1842 to 1925. This is a sub-section of the Act of 1899 which we are repealing. We do not want that particular sub-section repealed, although we do want the rest of the Act repealed in so far as it relates to agriculture. Consequently we are providing in this amendment that that particular sub-section shall not be repealed.

Cathaoirleach

I rule that the amendment is in order. Does Senator Toal desire to give any further explanation of his amendment?

I do not think it is necessary to have any further explanation after what we have heard from the Minister for Agriculture.

Amendment agreed to. New section ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Sections 47, 48 and 49, First, Second, Third and Fourth Schedules and Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments. Fourth Stage fixed for Wednesday, 25th March.