Finance Bill, 1931 (Certified Money Bill)—Committee Stage.

Question:—"That Section 1 stand part of the Bill"—agreed to.
Question proposed:—"That Section 2 stand part of the Bill."

I would ask the members of the Seanad to listen to this very short section, which reads:—

Sub-section (1) of Section 8 of the Finance Act, 1925 (No. 28 of 1925), shall be construed and have effect and be deemed always to have had effect as if after the figures 1918 now contained therein there were inserted the words and figures "or under Rule 18 of the General Rules applicable to Schedules A, B, C, D and E of the said Act."

That is not a reading of hieroglyphics. It is not an algebraic equation. It is intended to be the ordinary English in an Act of Parliament which people are supposed to understand. In order to understand what that sub-section means you have to tread your way first through the Act of 1925 passed in the Oireachtas, and then you have to go back to the English Finance Act of 1918, and after treading your way around that English Finance Act of 1918, you have to go through the rules and regulations passed under the 1918 Act, and then if you are a first-rate lawyer you will understand something of what is meant here. I do not pretend to be a first-rate lawyer, but this matter has come under the purview of some first-rate lawyers, and I now venture to tell the House what is really the meaning of that mysterious section. The point is this: the English Act of 1918 authorised assessments to be made, returns to be made, and inquiries to be made for a period of three years.

The Act of 1918 said nothing in relation to the case of a man who died within the three year period, but the rules and regulations passed under that Act authorised assessments to be made on the personal representatives of persons who were dead. That is done under Regulation 18. After that there came along the Act of 1925. The revenue officials, who I had occasion to say on one or two occasions in this House, are men of the very greatest ability, and the best of officials—that is my definite opinion—are very ruthless and hard-hearted, but thoroughly efficient. The three year period was not enough for them, and in 1925 you passed an Act here whereby you authorised an inquiry to be pursued over a period of six years. But in 1925 you forgot to provide, just as in the Act of 1918, they had forgotten to provide, that the inquiry should be made in the case of a man who was dead as against his personal representatives. That was forgotten. But though it was forgotten in the Act of Parliament the very efficient revenue men continued to make their assessments against the personal representatives of dead men. They have succeeded in getting £100,000 to which they were not entitled.

The dead hand of Finance.

The dead hand of Finance has been mentioned here to-night but this was a pretty lively living hand; it was a light hand and it got into the pockets of the executors and administrators to the extent of £100,000 and they are looking for more. Some executors in the case of a man named Hogan resisted the claim and it came before the Courts. The Revenue officials found that they had no law for it, and unless they passed anex post facto Act of the Oireachtas they could not succeed in their action in the Hogan case which is now before the Courts. Not alone that but they would have to give back £100,000 which they should pay back if they were going to be honest. They are absolutely honest when they are found out. I do not say now that they may not have thought that they were right I should withdraw what I said about being found out, because I do believe that in their enthusiasm and in their natural desire to get money for public purposes, they, of course, looked at the Act of Parliament according to their own way. There is a plausible way of looking at it.

I do not say exactly that they were wrong. What I do say is that they could not legally sustain their point of view. The balance was against them, and they could not legally sustain their point of view. Their present position is that under the law as it stands they have £100,000, and probably more, to which they are not entitled. They have been resisted. In my judgment, and, I think, in the judgment of a judge of the Circuit Court, they will fail in their contention, but in order to obviate the consequences of failure they have come forward with Section 2 of this Bill, with thisex post facto legislation. The meaning of the section is that they shall be entitled to go into the accounts for six years in the case of a man who is dead—that is as against his executors. If the Minister needs money, if the Dáil, which is the financial authority, considers that it requires money and that this is a good way of getting it, I do not object to their saying that henceforth we shall be entitled to inquire for six years, to assess and collect in the case of men who are dead as against their personal representatives; but, as a member of the Seanad what I think I have reasonable grounds for objecting to is this: they say not alone shall it be the law henceforth but it shall be deemed to have been the law since 1925. I believe I have a right to object to that, and that the Seanad as a revising Chamber has the right to object to it—the Chamber that in an especial degree is the guardian of constitutional principle and constitutional liberty.

Here is a Bill whichex post facto creates an offence. Why do I say that? Because the section declares that it shall be deemed always to have been the law, that is from 1925, that the personal representative of a dead man must make a six-year return if called upon. Now, if he does not make that return, I say confidently that he exposes himself to a penalty. I have not the section before me at the moment, but it provides that a man shall make a return under a penalty. I know something about revenue law, and I challenge the Minister to say if that is not so—that under the section you are creating ex post facto a liability involving a penalty. If that is so, this is a little piece of revenue legislation that is a breach of constitutional principle. It is for that reason that I rise to object to it as strongly as I can.

We, as Senators, have really no interest, or, at least, very little interest, in matters of revenue. These are matters that are within the peculiar province of the Dáil, but we have an interest in seeing that legislation is just, that it is constitutional, and that the liberties of the people are preserved. You certainly can never have public liberty properly guarded if you have legislation introduced which can now declare that to have been an offence which yesterday was not an offence. That is my objection to this kind of legislation. The Minister, of course, may say that this money is needed for public purposes. He may say, "I have collected £100,000 on a certain reading of an Act of Parliament. I have been advised by the ablest officials in the service and no objection has been raised to it for the last seven or eight years. Now objection has been raised to it. The judges say that I have been wrong, that I have collected this money unlawfully. I do not want to give it back. An action has been brought against me in the case of Hogan for a declaration that I am not entitled to collect this money. I have no answer to that action, and I want to get the Dáil and the Seanad to pass a law which will afford me a good defence to that action which is now under trial." That really is what the Minister is going to do under this section. I do not wish to be hypercritical in these revenue matters, because it is not within my province, but I think some other way should have been found for dealing with a question of this kind. Speaking for myself, I would rather pay back the £100,000 than stand over legislation of this character. That is all I have to say in regard to this section.

Cathaoirleach

As a matter of interest would the Senator say if he was able to find the general rules that were mentioned?

I have found Rule 18.

Cathaoirleach

I tried but I could not find them.

I cannot say whether the rules are in the library here, but I found them in the library in the law courts. I have seen Rule 18 and it means what I have stated. I do not wish to state anything that is not absolutely and entirely fair. I have stated that the Minister's proposal is to create a penaltyex post facto. I have not found any legal authority for that. If I am contradicted I cannot produce the section at the moment, but in the revenue legislation such a section must exist. I ask the Seanad to express their disapproval of the section. As Senators we have no power to amend this Bill, but we have the power to make a recommendation. I think that members of the House ought not allow this to pass without at least calling attention to it. If my advice is taken, I think that we ought to express our disapproval of this kind of legislation.

There is no creation retrospectively of an offence, and there is no question whatever of any penalty involved in this. Even if it did propose to createex post facto an offence it would be unconstitutional and void. In fact nothing of the sort is proposed. What happened was this: that by the Act of 1918, so far as a person still living was concerned, the revenue could go back three years, and in respect of a person who is dead, under Rule 18, the revenue could go back three years. Rule 18 of the General Rules, Income Tax Act, 1918, is as follows:—

18. Where any person dies without having delivered a statement of all his profits or gains chargeable to tax, with a view to an assessment thereon in due course, an assessment in respect of the profits or gains which arose or accrued to him before his death may be made at any time within the year of assessment, or within three years after the expiration thereof, upon his executors or administrators, and the amount of the tax thereon shall be a debt due from and payable out of his estate.

In 1923 the British passed an Act extending the period to six years. In 1925 a section in our Act extended the period to six years, and that section was meant to cover both the liability of people who were living and the liability falling on the estates of those who had died. A Circuit Court Judge held that that was not so. We could appeal from that decision, but we were not prepared to endure all the expense, all the delay and loss to the revenue that would be involved by litigation, and we propose to make clear here what was undoubtedly the intention of the Oireachtas, and what has not been challenged in England since 1923. In England an estate has been held to be liable for six years. A case has actually come before us where a man returned an income of a few hundred pounds per annum, and when he died it was found that he had an estate worth £80,000. We are going back for six years for income tax. Remember there is no penalty there. If the person is alive he would have to pay a heavy penalty, but no penalty will be taken from the estate, merely the six years' income tax. Why should people who have paid income tax year by year have to find more money in order that the successors of a man who had £80,000 should get that money undiminished?

I will read the fourth sub-section of Section 8 of our Act of 1925; to show that the intention of the Oireachtas was that this six years' period should apply in the case of deceased people as well as in the case of people who are still alive. It reads:—

For the purposes of the charge of income tax or super tax on the executors or administrators of a deceased person in respect of the profits or gains or income which arose or accrued to him before his death, none of the several acts and things mentioned in the foregoing sub-sections of this section may be done later—

These foregoing sub-sections extended the period to six years.

—than the end of the third year after the year of assessment in which the deceased person died.

That is, when a person dies the Revenue Commissioners should make whatever claim they were going to make within three years. That was the old position. Whether it was carried out by the section or not the intention of the Oireachtas can be seen. I am advised that we have a very good chance of winning if we fought this matter in the courts. Remember that it has been only before a Circuit Court Judge, and that on the one side you had counsel—cases in the Circuit Court are heldin camera—and on the other side, merely a revenue officer.

Merely a Revenue Officer. We do not pay a terrible lot of attention, as determining the law, to Circuit Court decisions, because one cannot be sure that cases have been fully argued, apart from everything else. We could proceed with the litigation——

Is there not a High Court case?

— No case has been before the High Court; only in the Circuit Court. It would be ridiculous to have the position that would be there if this was not put right, and if the decision of the Circuit Court Judge was upheld. It would mean that if a man were alive to-day, who had concealed his income and had not paid the due tax, the revenue could claim six years back, and if they failed to make an assessment, and if the man died to-night, the Revenue authorities could only claim three years. That would be an utterly ridiculous position. It seems only fair and reasonable that the law should be what everybody believed it to be, and as the section shows it was intended it should be. It was intended to prevent people who hid their income from escaping while other people who had paid their full amount would have to pay again for them. It seems to me that this is not only justifiable, but is the only fair line to take. There is no question of any offence being created. There is no question of any penalty being taken from the man's estate. If a man is caught to-day, having concealed his income, he will have to pay for six years and a penalty as well. If he dies before the fraud is discovered all that will be taken is the six years' tax. I believe there is no injustice in that. There is no question of anything unconstitutional being done. In England, where the practice has been going on for two years longer than here, it has not been challenged.

This question has been discussed on the ground of principle, but I draw attention to an omission on the part of those who argued this on the ground of principle, that the principle was not brought into the argument when dealing with Sections 30 and 34, both of which make remissions, and deem them to have been in effect for some time. Dealing with the Corporation Profits Tax the sub-section says: "... it is hereby declared that the said sub-section shall be construed and have effect and be deemed always to have had effect accordingly." In respect of the Church Temporalities Fund it says: "this section shall be deemed to have come into force on and had effect as on and from the 1st day of April, 1930." I did not find very much earnestness on the part of those who argued this case on the question of principle that they were being given something——

The Senator could not, and if the Minister says that there is no penalty involved on the failure of an executor or an administrator to make the return, my argument on the constitutional point goes by the board.

There is no penalty. All that happens is that the revenue people will make their assessment.

I would like to point out that the action of the Minister in inserting this section in the Bill will have the effect of preventing people in future from contesting the claims of the income tax authorities, because they will see that even if they win the case the Minister can come along and promote legislation to reverse the verdict given in their favour by the court.

No. So far as the case that has been decided is concerned, the assessments have been discharged by the court, and as far as the three years affected by this section are concerned, these assessments will remain discharged. That is, the people who have had a case decided in court have won this point, and there is no more about it. There is another point involved that might be appealed, but on this particular point they have won and got their assessment discharged.

What about the man whose case has not been discharged and that is before the court?

He will be at no loss. We will pay reasonable costs.

Cathaoirleach

We have really no recommendation, and all this long debate is out of order. These matters should be raised on the Second Stage.

I thought Senator Comyn would move the deletion of the section, or recommend its deletion.

Cathaoirleach

The Senator gave no notice.

We can do that yet.

This Finance Bill is intended to be a guide to people as to how they will act in the payment of the taxes mentioned therein, and it is well that it should be clear to them what they should do, and what they should pay, because they are dealing with income tax officials who are very well posted in the law. We find, as has been already stated in the Dáil and also by Senator Comyn, that what would be an offence after the passing of this Bill was not an offence before that. I think it is very bad policy on the part of the Government not to encourage people to obey the law as it stands, and if they wish to make any change that the change should only be operative from the time of the passing of the Act. I have some little experience of the action of the Minister's officials. I daresay they are doing their duty, but I know that in several cases people have paid what has been demanded of them, and which I am sure was more than they should have paid, rather than incur the risk of having to come to Dublin and defend a case. I refer especially to widows who are not people who would contest cases of that kind where the amount is not too large.

It has been stated that a certain amount is being collected by the revenue authorities which they could not obtain if the cases had been contested. The amount has been stated to be £100,000. Even at that cost, I think it is a mistake to provide for this retrospective legislation, because it will deprive people of the confidence which they have in the law. It will prevent them from defending themselves from excessive charges because they will know from the precedent which will be established by the passing of this section that even if they succeed in their case it is possible that legislation may be brought forward to reverse the decision.

Section put and declared carried.
Sections 3, 4 and 5 agreed to.
SECTION 6.

This is the section which imposes an additional duty on sugar. I think the Seanad ought not to agree to any section which adds a charge of this nature upon the weekly expenditure of the poorest section of the population. On previous occasions, both here and in the Dáil, the Minister pointed out that the poorer sections of the community, the poorer farming section of the community, would not be mulcted very heavily by virtue of this additional sugar tax, because they were too poor to use many sweetmeats or to have more than sugar for their tea. Therefore, they would not be bearing a heavy tax. To the extent that they do use sugar, they are going to bear a tax which would not have been imposed on them but for the insertion of this section in the Bill. We have been told that sugar is much cheaper than it was and therefore there is not an additional outgoing from the weekly finances of the housekeeper. The Minister is trying to ensure that these poor housekeepers are not going to get the benefit of the reduction in prices, and he is imposing an additional tax upon these people, who are too poor to enjoy pleasures that the better-off sections of the community are able to enjoy. I have no doubt that the answer will come that you cannot discriminate between a tax of this kind borne by the poor and a similar tax borne by the rich. Undoubtedly that is true. But here is a commodity which is of universal use, and I think probably used to a much greater extent in the homes of the poor than the Minister will admit. The Minister is throwing this additional burden upon the consumers of that particular article. It is undoubtedly a tax which is going to be felt most by the poorest section of the community, whether in the towns or in the country districts, and certainly in the towns and I believe also in the country districts the consumption of sugar is larger than the Minister would have us believe. The figures which have been published indicate a consumption of 6¼ lbs. or 6½ lbs. per week on the average group of five persons. It may be said that the richer and better-off sections consume more than the average, because the poor consume less. But the number of people who are poor is greater than those who are rich, and I do not think one would be very far wrong in saying that the average consumption of sugar, even in the homes of the poor, is not much less than from 4 to 5 lbs. per week, and an additional duty of ½d. per lb. will be a very appreciable addition to the burden which falls upon that family budget. I ask the Seanad to join in protesting against this method of raising revenue, which is to be to a very large extent used for the purpose of relieving the better-off section of the community. On that account I think the House should vote against the section.

I am glad to have an opportunity of supporting Senator Johnson on this question of imposing an additional tax of a halfpenny per pound on the sugar of the poor. Senator Johnson spoke of the hardship this would be on the small farmer. It will be great hardship on the small farmer. It will mean a little over twopence on the quarter stone of sugar which the farmer's wife sends for to the local shopkeeper when getting her half-pound of tea. A half-pound of tea and a quarter-stone of sugar—that is the "go." That means 3d. more to the small farmer's wife. But I am not thinking particularly of the small farmer's wife, because she has something. She has eggs, butter, potatoes, turnips, and, perhaps, even a yearling. But what about the farm labourer's wife who has three or four children? Where will she get the price of the quarter-stone of sugar? Where will she get the additional 3d., with the present lack of employment? I do not like to say very severe things in this House, or elsewhere, but, in my opinion, in the circumstances of the times, and seeing that sugar, with tea, is one of the staple articles of food in the rural districts, I do think this is a barbarous tax.

This tax, together with the petrol tax, which is mentioned in another section of the Bill, is imposed for the purpose of providing a sum of £750,000 for the relief of rates on agricultural land. There was a general feeling throughout the country that agriculture required relief. There is a general view that agriculture is passing through a period of great depression, and that relief is required. Relief might be given in various ways. Some of these ways would be theoretically better than this method of relief, by reduction of rates. On the other hand, reduction of rates can be made to take effect this year and to reach every farmer. Despite theoretical disadvantages, we decided that we should proceed to assist agriculture by relief of rates. It is impossible to provide money for the relief of agriculture without imposing a tax, and I believe that it is impossible to impose a tax without casting, one way or another, some share of the burden upon the poor. Arguing on other sections of the Bill, members of the other House attempted to prove that the petrol tax was going to be a tremendous burden on the poor. That, however, was not urged so very far. If relief of agriculture is really going to encourage production and to enable the farmer to keep going, then the agricultural labourer will get some benefit out of it. His prospects of employment will be improved. At all events, if the assistance given the farmers enables them to keep going, the agricultural labourer will be prevented from having worse prospects of employment than he had.

In choosing sugar as one of the articles for tax, we were influenced by the fact that sugar is exceptionally cheap at the present time. In any case, we should have had to choose some article of general consumption. You cannot get large sums of revenue out of luxury taxes. People are always writing to me suggesting luxury taxes, but on examination, you find that twenty luxury taxes would hardly yield £20,000 in revenue. If revenue is to be obtained, it must be obtained from some article of general consumption. The only thing we can do in these circumstances is not to impose greater burdens on the people than it is possible for them to bear. It will be remembered that far larger sums than £750,000 were advocated in relief of agriculture. We felt that if we gave a larger sum than that it would mean imposing wider burdens and introducing many new taxes, with consequent disturbance of the economic balance and the infliction of hardship.

Question put: "That Section 6 stand part of the Bill."
The Seanad divided: Tá, 14; Níl, 6.

  • William Barrington.
  • Miss Kathleen Browne.
  • Mrs. Costello.
  • The Countess of Desart.
  • James G. Douglas.
  • Major-General Sir William Hickie.
  • P.J. Hooper.
  • The McGillycuddy of the Reeks.
  • James MacKean.
  • Joseph O'Connor.
  • M.F. O'Hanlon.
  • Siobhán Bean an Phaoraigh.
  • Michael Staines.
  • A.R. Vincent.

Níl

  • Michael Comyn, K.C.
  • Michael Duffy.
  • Thomas Farren.
  • Thomas Johnson.
  • Seán E. MacEllin.
  • Joseph O'Doherty.
Tellers:—Tá: Senators MacKean and O'Hanlon; Níl: Senators Farren and Johnson.
Question declared carried.
Sections 7, 8 and 9 agreed to.
SECTION 10 (4).
(4) The provisions of Section 8 of the Finance Act, 1919, shall apply to the duties continued by sub-section (1) of this section and the duty imposed by sub-section (2) of this section with the substitution of the expression "Saorstát Eireann" for the expression "Great Britain and Ireland."

I move:—

Section 10, sub-section (4). To insert before the sub-section a new sub-section as follows:—

"(4) Whenever it is shown to the satisfaction of the Revenue Commissioners that any cinematograph film imported into Saorstát Eireann has not been exhibited in public, a drawback equal to the duty paid shall be allowed on the exportation of such cinematograph film, provided such film is exported within ten clear days from the date on which it was imported."

I shall state the reasons for putting down this recommendation as briefly as possible. It was put down in the hope that some method might be found to achieve what I have in mind; and the Minister for Finance and his officials know quite well what I have in mind, quite apart from whether the method of carrying it out as proposed by me is the best one or not. Some time ago an effort was made by a number of persons in Dublin to form a society known as the Dublin Film Society in order to try and bring into this country a number of well-known international films which were not regarded by the ordinary picture-house owner as a commercial proposition. I shall not waste time by mentioning, at any great length, the names of these films, but I shall mention one or two of them: "The Battleship""The Mother,""The Vision of Joan of Arc," a French film, and several others. My interest in the matter is not that of a cinema-goer, because I have not been to a picture-house for the past five or six months, and, indeed, I very seldom go. My interest is international, because I believe it is a distinct loss to a small country like ours that it cannot get films that represent the best of the leading nations. I see no prospect of getting these films into the country while the position is as it is, unless some kind of concession is given by the Minister for Finance. The position is this: that if a society were formed it could not expect to have more than 500 members. The cost of the hiring of one of those films, sufficient to make one performance, would be approximately £20, and the duty upon the same films, assuming that they were not talking films, would be £46. It is quite obvious that for one performance only, such a rental would be impracticable. Members would not be prepared, and could not pay sufficiently high fees to have seven or eight performances in a year, which would be approximately what would be required by the society. I should say when an effort was made to form a society, counsel's opinion was taken, and I may say also that independently I submitted a statement to a leading lawyer, and his opinion was to the effect that if performances were confined wholly to members of the society, and if no money was taken at the door, the performance would be a private performance, and not regarded legally as a public performance.

My suggestion is that when films are brought in and not exhibited in public, and provided they are sent out again within ten days, the same kind of benefit of drawback should be accorded to them as is accorded to a motor car which is brought into the country, and sent out again, and upon which the duty paid is returned to the owner. That is my suggestion. Exactly how it is done I do not know. At the present, if you are a member of the film trade you are allowed to bring in a film and show it in private to the members of the trade in bond, and you are allowed, if you do not like it, and if it is not kept for the purpose of exhibition, to send it out again without paying any duty. But if you are a member of a private film society and want to bring in pictures of the widest international interest you cannot get that concession. My suggestion is that if a society is formed it should be given the same right as the trade, provided it pays the expenses of the officials of the Ministry of Finance who have to be present to see that matters are properly carried out in bond. That was the original suggestion of the society, but the Revenue Commissioners rightly, no doubt, thought they could not legally do that. My object in moving this recommendation is that the necessary legal powers might be given to that particular society, if formed, or that some concession might be made to the society if an effort is again made to exhibit these pictures. The suggestion I make is that even if the duty is paid by the society, and provided the film is not exhibited in public and is exported within ten days, the duty should be returned.

I believe there are certain difficulties. I cannot see that if a private film is not exhibited in public there would be any real danger. A public exhibition is public and if there was anything objectionable proceedings would be taken. I move the amendment for the reasons I have given. I promised some time ago on the part of people who were forming a private film society that the next time the Finance Bill was before the Seanad I would raise the matter and so I am only doing my duty.

I would be very sorry that anybody should be under the impression that what Senator Douglas has said is the unanimous opinion of the Seanad. I certainly wish to express my strong opposition to the nice little arrangement that has been suggested by Senator Douglas wherebyrecherché films should come in for nothing, to be seen by the best people. Let the best people who want recherché films pay for them as other people pay. I want, also, to say that it is very difficult to get past this Seanad with anything that is not fair and above board ordinarily. Recherché fare for the best people will not do for us, because some of us represent the ordinary people, and if there was nobody else to vote against this kind of thing I would vote against it. I want to state another objection I have to Senator Douglas's recommendation. It is this. If it were accepted it would enable gentlemen on the other side of the Irish Sea to send objectionable films over here, and to try them on our people, and in case they were not exhibited to the public to take them back——

They can do that at present.

They can under certain restrictions and with certain limitations. But this I submit to the Seanad is a most dangerous suggestion. What about these films? What kind of films are they? I call themrecherché films for the best people. The best people are to form themselves into a society, and when they form themselves into a society they are not to be the public. Are they to be private? I was tempted to use an expression that would not be exactly Parliamentary. If the poor formed themselves into a society of three or four hundred people they are to be public. But if the best people formed themselves into a society, no matter whether they be five or six hundred in number, they are not to be public. I ask the Seanad to consider this recommendation very carefully before they accept it.

The object of Senator Douglas as described, would, if accepted, require certainly very much more extended and complex legislation than is suggested here, if it were to be effected, and nothing more were to be effected. If this particular amendment were to become law the position would be this: We would cease to have any picture houses at all, and we would have nothing but picture house owners letting themselves out as private societies, because by labelling themselves as members of societies they would escape altogether the censorship and the tax. I do not care to mention any particular names, but say if a St. Stephen's Green Film Society and Picture House formed a society and put out a notice saying, "Join the St. Stephen's Green Film Society, and see what spicy films we will have next week," we would have film societies formed every day. I have examined the amendment moved by Senator Douglas in the last three or four days more closely than I examined it at first, and I am satisfied that by it both the censorship and the tax could be largely defeated. You could have a member of the committee of the society in the booking office. Anyone could hand in his name and could be given a membership card which would entitle him to admission for the next week. If we were to accept this it would be very difficult to carry it out, and it could not be carried out by a simple amendment at all.

I do not propose to press the recommendation. At the same time I am not at all surprised at the attitude of Senator Comyn, but I am rather surprised at the Minister's reference to spicy pictures, because I think he knows very much better the type of film to which I referred. Senator Comyn does not know. I would not expect that in his attempt to be humorous he would have paid much regard to the facts or to have much appreciation of the type of film I suggested. I expected to hear from some section of the House that the films were Bolshevik. I was surprised that we did not hear that. Some of them may be, but I am of opinion that it is a pity that no way can be found by which the type of films of international interest which I have in mind, and which do not easily reach people, could be made available for a society the majority of whose members are not nearly as rich as Senator Comyn. I say it is a pity, and I urge the Minister to consider whether it may not be possible to make some concession of the kind which I suggest. Otherwise you rule out everything that is not purely and simply a commercial proposition. I think it is obvious to any reasonable person, that while we have had very good films shown here, the general standard, in spite of the best efforts of the Censor, is not in many cases what we would like it to be.

I do not want Senator Douglas to be under the impression that I thought the society he represented wanted to bring in spicy pictures. I only want to point out that other societies could be formed that might want to do so.

Recommendation, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 10 agreed to.
Remaining sections agreed to.
Bill ordered to be reported without amendment.
The Seanad went out of Committee.
Report Stage ordered for Wednesday, 29th July.
Seanad adjourned at 11.20 p.m. to Wednesday, 29th July.