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Seanad Éireann debate -
Thursday, 1 Feb 1934

Vol. 18 No. 4

Horse Breeding Bill, 1933—Report and Final Stages.


Government amendment 1:—

Section 2. To delete in lines 23-24 the words and figures "not earlier than the 1st day of January, 1934."

Amendment agreed to.


Government amendment 2:—

Section 4. To delete the section and to substitute therefor six new sections as follows:—

4.—(1) The Minister shall cause to be kept a list to be called and known as "the list of exempted stallions" (in this Act referred to as "the list").

(2) The list shall be in the prescribed form and there shall be entered therein and removed therefrom the matters respectively required by this Act to be entered therein and removed therefrom.

(3) Any person may inspect the list on payment of such fee, not exceeding one shilling for each inspection, as may be prescribed.

5.—(1) The owner of any stallion (in this Act referred to as an exemptible stallion), which is entered in a prescribed recognised stud book and which—

(a) is used for the service of no mares other than mares which are either

(i) entered in a prescribed recognised stud book, or

(ii) approved by the Minister, or

(b) is used exclusively for racing, or

(c) is in training for racing

may make application to the Minister requesting him to enter such stallion in the list as the property of such owner.

(2) Every application made under this section shall be made in the prescribed form and manner, shall contain the prescribed particulars, and shall be accompanied by such fee, not exceeding two shillings and sixpence, as may be prescribed.

6.—(1) On receipt of any application made under and in accordance with this Act for the entry of a stallion in the list, the Minister shall, if he is satisfied that such stallion is an exemptible stallion, enter such stallion and the prescribed particulars relating to such stallion in the list.

(2) Every stallion for the time being entered in the list shall, save as otherwise provided by this Act, be an exempted stallion within the meaning of and for the purposes of this Act.

7.—The Minister shall remove from the list any stallion entered therein which has ceased to be an exempted stallion on the Minister becoming aware of such cesser.

8.—(1) Any stallion entered in the list shall cease to be an exempted stallion on the happening of any of the following events, that is to say:—

(a) the expiration of six months from the death of the owner of such stallion where the personal representative of such owner has not during those six months transferred (whether by sale, assent to a bequest or otherwise) the ownership of such stallion, or

(b) the expiration of a period of thirty days from the date of any transfer of the right to the ownership of such stallion, unless the person to whom the right to the ownership of such stallion is transferred applies within such period, under this Act, for the entry of such stallion in the list as the property for such person, or

(c) such stallion ceasing to be an exemptible stallion.

(2) It shall be the duty of the owner of any stallion entered in the list and of the personal representative of any deceased owner of any such stallion to notify the Minister of the happenings of any event by reason of which such stallion ceases to be an exempted stallion.

(3) If any person fails to comply with the obligation imposed on him by the immediately preceding sub-section, such person shall be guilty of an offence under this section, and shall on summary conviction thereof be liable to a fine not exceeding forty shillings.

9.—(1) The list shall be—

(a) deemed to be in proper custody when in the custody of the Minister or any officer of the Minister authorised in that behalf by the Minister, and

(b) admissible in evidence without further proof on production from the proper custody.

(2) Prima facie evidence of any entry in the list may be given in any court or any legal proceedings by the production of a copy of such entry purporting to be certified to be a true copy by any officer of the Minister authorised in that behalf, and it shall not be necessary to prove the signature of such officer, or that he was in fact such officer, or was in fact so authorised.

(3) A certificate purporting to be under the hand of an officer of the Minister, authorised in that behalf by the Minister, that any stallion specified in such certificate is not entered in the list shall be conclusive evidence of the matter so certified, and it shall not be necessary to prove the signature of such officer, or that he was in fact such officer, or was in fact so authorised.

(4) Any person may—

(a) obtain a copy certified in the manner hereinbefore mentioned to be a true copy of any entry in the list on payment of such fee as may be prescribed;

(b) obtain such certificate as is hereinbefore mentioned that a stallion is not entered in the list on payment of such fee as may be prescribed.

Amendment agreed to.


Government amendment No. 3:—

Section 25. To delete in line 18 the words "certificate of exemption."

Amendment agreed to.
Question—"That the Bill be received for final consideration"—put and agreed to.
Fifth Stage to be taken to-day.
Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."

Before we pass the Final Stage of this Bill there is a matter which I would like to call the attention of the Minister to as he is now taking over complete charge of each section of the horse-breeding industry, that is the thoroughbred stallions and the half-breds. The matter that I want to call his attention to is one of very serious import, particularly to the thoroughbred industry. With the permission of the Chair I will read Article 73 of the Constitution:

"Subject to this Constitution and to the extent to which they are not inconsistent therewith, the laws in force in the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) at the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution shall continue to be of full force and effect until the same or any of them shall have been repealed or amended by enactment of the Oireachtas."

This is a revenue matter that I want to draw attention to. For the last 15 years in England it has been the custom of the revenue authorities there to assess a stallion on his net earnings as distinct from the farm or racing stables or anything else that he is connected with. For several years Lord Glanely has been fighting in the courts in England a case in connection with his stallion Grand Parade, which was assessed for income-tax purposes. Finally, he got a decision in the House of Lords last June reversing the various rulings which the lower courts had made in this matter so that now in England a stallion is either assessed under Schedule B or Schedule D, as the owner likes. That ruling, I submit, should be applied to our business here as it is in England until the law has either been amended or changed by an Act of the Oireachtas. It ought to be the same here as in England, but the revenue people here are not taking that view. They are insisting on carrying on as the revenue people carried on in England and as the revenue people carried on in Ireland since the taking over. We are not getting the benefit of this decision, which was given in favour of Lord Glanely.

I submit that the Minister, who I am sure takes a very deep interest in such a vital business as the horse-breeding industry, ought to take up this particular question with the Minister for Finance and, if possible, get it adjusted. I would also like at this stage to thank the Minister for the very kind way in which he has met the people with whom I am associated in this matter: for his action in adjusting the Bill so that it meets with the wishes of both the thoroughbred and the half-bred breeders. I would also like to mention that not only has the Minister now taken on himself to look after the horse-breeding industry, but on a very recent occasion, when a very difficult question arose between a foreign Government and Ireland in connection with a very large annual deal for 1,500 horses, he took on himself to get the matter straightened out, so that I am glad the people in his constituency will now have a chance of selling their troopers as they sold them before.

I would like to support Senator Parkinson in the observations which he has made in reference to this question of the assessment of stallions for income-tax purposes. I am aware of the decision of the House of Lords which places the owners of thoroughbred stallions in Great Britain in a very favourable position, as compared with the owners of stallions in this country. Our courts do not now recognise the decision of the House of Lords as binding, and I think no objection can be taken to the revenue officers for abiding by that rule. But its effect is this—and I say it subject to the opinion of people of greater knowledge than I have, Senators Parkinson and Moore— that the direct effect of this difference between the system of assessment in Ireland and Great Britain will be that the best stallions will leave this country. For that reason I think it will be well if the Minister will take the matter in hands and get a decision as soon as possible and as early as possible this season. I think his doing so would be of great advantage to the country. I am sure every member of this Seanad agrees with what Senator Parkinson has said in relation to the manner in which the Minister for Agriculture has met the Seanad in reference to this Bill. He has shown that his object, and his only object, was to improve horse-breeding in this country. He has met us in a very reasonable way, and I was very glad to hear Senator Parkinson acknowledge that in so handsome a manner as he did.

I am not altogether satisfied with the arrangements made, but, of course, as it is settled I do not intend to go any further in opposition. I merely said that I think the owners of thoroughbred horses ought to be quite independent of State control. However, as to the way in which the matter has been settled now I have nothing further to say at the moment.

In connection with the matter dealt with by Senator Parkinson I do know that in many cases the Revenue Commissioners can exercise discretion in various ways. If discretion lies with them in this matter I would press that that discretion should be exercised in favour of the Irish stallion owner because anything that would put the Irish owner at a disadvantage as against his English competitor is to the detriment of a very important industry in this country. I would go further and say that if no discretion does lie with the Revenue Commissioners the Minister should be pressed to bring in a Bill as early as possible, a Bill which will do what Senator Parkinson has pointed out.


I should like to be allowed to say that on one or two occasions during the passage of this Bill, when I knew there was a great difference between the Minister and a very important section of the Seanad with regard to the Bill, I approached the Minister, and he met us with complete courtesy, sympathy and understanding. The Minister went out of his way to assist the views of others and possibly to stifle some of his own particularly strong points. I think the Bill has been improved, and I am sure the Seanad will agree in according a meed of praise to the Minister for his action with regard to the matter of the income-tax and the administration of the finance section. I am sure we will have his sympathy and support in putting that matter before the Minister for Finance.

I am very grateful to you, Sir, and to the other Senators for their kind words. I agree with the Cathaoirleach that the assistance I have got from the Seanad has been helpful towards improving the Bill. With regard to the income-tax question which has been raised, I can, as Senators realise, do nothing more than approach the Minister for Finance and try to get his sympathy in the matter. I will press this question on him as strongly as I can. Senator Dowdall has raised the point that the Revenue Commissioners have not discretion on this point. I think, on the whole, that they have not got discretion, but at least we will make an attempt to see if they can reconsider their opinion, and if it is found then that they have no discretion in this matter, then it will be for the Minister for Finance to consider whether it is possible to go farther or not. I can promise the Seanad that I will do everything possible I can to meet their views.

Question—"That the Bill do now pass"—put and agreed to.