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Seanad Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 20 Mar 1934

Vol. 18 No. 11

Workmen's Compensation Bill, 1933. - Control of Imports Bill, 1934—Committee Stage.

Section 1 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

I move amendment No. 1:—

Section 2, sub-section (4). To add at the end of the sub-section a new paragraph as follows:—

(d) a person born in Ireland in the area not now comprised in Saorstát Eireann who at the relevant time is and for not less than one month immediately preceding that time has been ordinarily resident in Saorstát Eireann.

At this late hour I shall not debate this subject at any great length. The House knows that this amendment does not go as far as I should like to see it in regard to the definition of nationality, but the reason I have put it in this form is that I have tried to meet some of the arguments raised against me on previous occasions. I tried to make it cover the case of persons who had either the misfortune or the good fortune to be born in the Six Counties, but who, nevertheless, reside and carry on business here. It seems absurd that a person who was born anywhere in the Twenty-Six Counties, but who has resided since he was the age of one or two months outside Ireland can come in here and claim his full rights under the Bill, while people born in the Six Counties and who are actually residing here are penalised. A person who happened to be born in the Six Counties, but who is ordinarily resident here and has a bona fide business here should be treated as a national. If such persons are resident here, then I think for the purpose of this Bill they should be treated as nationals. I am proposing a definite residential qualification.

Perhaps the Senator would wait to argue the matter on the Nationality Bill, which is likely to appear before the Oireachtas at an early date. The definition of "national," which is embodied in this Bill, was taken from the Unemployment Assistance Act, which was considered satisfactory. I would be loth to alter it, particularly to the extent of giving rights under the Bill to a person who had been residing here for one month only. The full implications of that would have to be considered before the change could be made. In so far as the whole law in relation to nationality is likely to be under review shortly, I think the change should be left over for discussion until that occasion arises.

I have been waiting for that Bill for a considerable time. I admit that the amendment would involve some change in the definition of nationality but I can produce at least four different definitions in other Bills. Therefore, it would not be very much harm to alter it again. If the Minister, however, will promise me that he will do his best to consider the bona fide case of the person born in the Six Counties, to make it easy for him to carry on business here instead of making it exceptionally difficult, I shall withdraw the amendment. I do not think the Government has yet realised that that is a case which requires careful consideration.

Anybody coming from the Six Counties can qualify irrespective of this Bill by registering as a company here.

To my mind that is not at all satisfactory. I know the idea was started by Gilbert and Sullivan and that it has been carried on by some worthy person since but a one-man company might not fill the bill at all in this particular case, in the case of carrying on a business. I do not think it would be a solution. However, I shall withdraw the amendment.

Amendment by leave withdrawn.

I beg to move amendment No. 2:

Section 3. To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—

"(6) A quota order shall not be made for the importation of any goods into Saorstát Eireann from any country for a greater amount than 75 per cent. of the value of the goods produced or manufactured and exported from Saorstát Eireann to such country."

On the Second Reading of the Bill in this House the Minister stated that it had no connection whatever with the economic war or with the financial dispute with England. That being so, I think that the Minister ought to accept the amendment as it will strengthen his hands in bargaining with other countries with which we may have to trade. In looking over the trade returns for the year 1933, I find that we are still exporting 95 per cent. of our exports to Great Britain while we import from other countries nearly half the value of our imports. I do not think that it is quite right that we should be taking from different countries thousands and, in some cases, millions of pounds worth of stuff for which we practically get no return. I shall quote for the House a few instances of the trade which we do with these countries. In 1933 our total exports were £19,069,000 and our total imports were £35,789,000. Of that amount we imported £25,000,000 from Great Britain and £10,756,000 from other countries. Our exports to Great Britain were about £18,000,000 and our exports to other countries about £1,429,000. That is, about 95 per cent. of our total exports went to Great Britain. That is an extraordinary fact after all we have heard from the Government and the supporters of the Government about the new markets which they were going to find for our exports. We are still looking for the markets and the markets are no better than they were in 1931.

Let me take the case of other countries from which we import goods and to which we send goods. In 1933 we imported from Australia goods to the value of £1,541,000. They only bought in return from us goods to the value of £11,000. From the Argentine, in the same year, we bought goods to the value of £858,822, and they bought from us goods to the value of £14,000. From Germany we bought £1,752,269 worth of goods, and in return their purchases from us were only value for £170,000. From the United States our purchases were value for £1,051,000. Their purchases from us amounted to £153,000. From Russia we purchased goods to the value of £235,000, but they did not buy as much as one shilling's worth from us. I think the Minister should take power to see that countries from which we make very large purchases should buy something in return from us. The object of my amendment is to strengthen the Minister's hands.

Senator Counihan suggests in his amendment that the Minister will be able to get countries from which we make purchases to buy four articles from us for every three that we sell to them. It seems to me that the Senator has greater faith in the ability of the Government than I thought he had if he thinks that they can manage that. I think the Government would be doing extremely well, particularly in view of the figures that have been given, if they succeeded in getting countries from which we make purchases to take goods to an equal amount from us. The amendment is, I think, unworkable. The object of these quota Bills is that they may be used for bargaining purposes, and if under this measure the Government were able to do as well as I have just indicated then I think they would be doing extremely well.

I would like to know from Senator Counihan what he proposes to do with regard to the wheat that is imported into this country. Countries that we have been importing wheat from for a very long time have bought nothing in return from us. Does the Senator propose that we should grow all our own wheat?

We will soon have all our own wheat.

I am glad to get that admission from Senator Counihan because on another occasion he said that it would be impossible to grow wheat here. I intend to vote for the Senator's amendment because the effect of it, if passed, will be to compel us to grow all the wheat we require. The amendment means that we cannot deal with the wheat-producing countries because they are not in need of anything from us.

The meaning of the amendment is this: that for every £75 worth that we allow to come in from outside countries they must take £100 worth of goods from us. I think that is impossible and I would ask Senator Counihan to re-cast his amendment. The most that we can expect from any country is: if they buy £100 worth of our goods we will take £100 worth from them.

The amendment says: "75 per cent. of the value of the goods produced or manufactured and exported from Saorstát Eireann to such country."

What the amendment means is this: that Saorstát Eireann must produce and export £100 worth of goods, and get sale for them in a foreign country, before the Minister can allow £75 worth of goods in from that country. Trade could not be carried on under such conditions. What the Senator means, of course, is the reverse. Therefore I suggest to him that he should withdraw his amendment.

Would the Minister tell us whether it is proposed that quota orders shall be issued in respect of values or of quantities?

In case the Senator might have any intention of introducing his amendment again on the Report Stage I want to point out to him that what he is proposing is entirely outside the scope of this Bill. A quota order can only be issued in respect to a specified article or articles. We cannot quota a whole trade. We can make a quota order in respect to a particular article. The effect of the order will be to limit the quantities of that article that will come into this country. The quota order need not specify the country from which goods must be imported. In ordinary circumstances a quota order will be designed to limit imports only, and within the quota it will be free to any person to import from any country he chooses. It is only where a special quota is made inside the main quota that there is an obligation to import from a particular country.

It is clear, therefore, that the amendment contemplates something that is entirely outside the scope of the Bill. The acceptance of it would necessitate not merely a restriction of imports of particular goods but a restriction on the total value of goods of all kinds that might be sent from a particular country into the Saorstát. That is a power that we have not asked for. It may be necessary to ask for it at some particular date. I am glad to know that, should we think it well to come to the Seanad for such power, we already have the assurance of Senator Counihan's support for it.

Will the Minister accept the principle of my amendment, and draft an amendment himself to meet my point?

That would involve the drafting of another Bill.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 3 agreed to.
(2) Every quota order made by the Executive Council under this Act and every order similarly made amending a quota order shall cease to have effect at the expiration of six months from the making thereof unless it is approved of by Dáil Eireann by resolution passed before the expiration of the said six months.

I move amendment No. 3:—

Section 4, sub-section (2). After the word "Eireann" in line 27, to insert the words "with or without amendment."

I think it is desirable, even from the point of view of the Government, that when a resolution comes before the Dáil it should be possible to amend it. I know there are certain types of resolutions which have to be passed. Some of them, by the nature of the case, and others because of specific provisions. cannot be amended. This is a case where it seems to me that, at the end of the period, the Government might either want or might be persuaded in debate to agree that a certain amount of amendment was desirable in an order. Of course, if the order is not going to be continued beyond the period of six months there will be no need to amend it, but if it is proposed to continue it for a considerable time, then I think it is highly desirable that the Dáil should have an opportunity to discuss it and put down amendments for consideration.

I think the Senator misunderstands the nature of the Order that will go before the Dáil for approval. The Order that is submitted for approval is an Order made under sub-section (1) of Section 3. It will merely contain a description of the goods, the importation of which is prohibited under that Order. There will be no amendment possible to that Order except an amendment as regards the description of the goods.

That is the whole point.

There could not be an amendment of the Order having regard to the fact that it will have been in operation for some time before the Dáil comes to consider it. Most Senators are aware, I think, that the preparation of descriptions of goods, either for the purpose of finance resolutions or other enactments, is a most delicate matter, and has to be very carefully considered, and quite frequently the draftsman and the advisers of the Government have themselves made mistakes in that connection. It would be undesirable that the description of goods should be liable to amendment in that manner after an Order has been made and after it has been in operation for some time.

There is, of course, power in the Bill enabling the Executive Council to make an amending Order if such should be necessary, but I think it would be undesirable and contrary, in a sense, to the scheme of the Bill, to have the power of amendment here proposed given. The scheme of the Bill is to provide power to the Executive Council to make these prohibition orders and to introduce, in relation to particular classes of goods, this quota system. The purpose of the section which the Senator wishes to amend is to ensure that within a reasonable time after the making of such Order and the bringing of such system into operation the Executive Council must go to the Dáil and get approval for what it has done. The Dáil is not given power to determine the duration of the quota period or the goods to be admitted in any such period. It is only asked to approve or not approve of the decision to apply the quota system to a particular description of goods. I think it should be confined to expressing an opinion one way or the other, having regard to the consequences of an opinion that would be adverse to the action of the Executive Council. The detailed operation of the system, therefore, is left to the Executive Council. I think it is preferable that that should be so rather than give the Dáil power to amend, when it is probable that in large measure such a power would be of no practical importance so long as the Executive Council must command a majority in the Dáil. In addition, it would be introducing a principle contrary to the main purpose of the Bill, which is to enable these powers to be exercised by the Executive Council within a scheme to be brought into operation by Executive action, subject to formal approval by the Dáil at a later stage.

I have a little more in my mind than the point that has been made by the Minister. I think the general principle of giving power to the Executive to make orders should only be given where there is no other satisfactory way of doing it; and where it is done it should be at the best only as a short cut to legislation. I think that as a general principle in legislation of this kind, and the giving of powers to the Executive, when these powers are to be submitted to the Oireachtas that, as near as possible, they should be in a similar position to a Bill. I am perfectly well aware that most Bills introduced into the Dáil are not amended: that at the present time, and largely in the past, they are never amended without the consent of the particular Minister. In a matter of this kind, I am definitely of the opinion that members who are in touch with trade ought to be able to give their opinions by putting down specific amendments.

I think most members will agree with me—it has been our experience here— that you get a better debate, and that you are far more likely to get the Government to see difficulties that have arisen on specific amendments dealing with specific points than if you are simply faced with the position that you must either approve or reject a particular scheme. I do not see why it should not be correct to move an amendment, having agreed that the Government of the day will have control in the Dáil, proposing that the period should be shorter or longer. I agree with the Minister that the description must be technical matter for experts, but I do not agree, having got the expert description, that people like ourselves who are not experts, do not often find flaws. I have no experience of quota orders, but I have of tariffs, and I think it is often found that things get "caught" that it was not the intention to include. We hear a good deal about dictatorships, and while I am not suggesting there is any intended, some people would argue that the tendency is in that direction, and if not in dictatorship by the State, of more control through the Executive Council, so that I think it is well to amend this Bill. I suggest that this amendment might be postponed until a later one is dealt with, when there is a possibility that the House might make some suggestion in which case my amendment would be essential. I am arguing on the general merits of the case, that some Government might, at the last minute, find that some slight alteration should be made in a Bill.

I take it that Senator Douglas is prepared to withdraw the amendment for the present, or that it might be altered to read "such amendment as the Minister approves". A case might be presented to the Minister which might lead him to agree to such amendment.


Perhaps the House would agree to let the amendment stand over until the other ones have been debated.

The proposal in the amendment fits in, or must be considered in relation to a good deal of the legislation which gives authority to the Minister to make orders or regulations. I argued the case before, and I think it is desirable that this House should take a much more interest in these orders and regulations than has been the case. In this proposal the order made must come before the Dáil. I leave out the question of the Seanad until later. It is peculiarly a technical problem. The essential matter is the description of the goods. As I read it, the order is made and acted upon for a time, even if only for a week, before it is brought up for approval. To amend it after it is made and is in operation seems to present a difficulty. They can either disapprove, with an intimation to the Ministry that it might be approved if it were couched in different language, or amend. This seems to be a case where the order ought to be passed as it stands or not at all, because it is dealing with a technical matter and it is presumed that it has been in operation before it came before the House. Therefore to amend it probably means to affect detrimentally the whole proceedings that have gone before.

I have been assuming that if it will only last for six months it will not come before the Dáil at all, or only in a formal way, and that it will only come really when tried and when the Government decides it is to be continued. That was the object of my amendment.

Amendment by leave withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 4:—

Section 4, sub-section (2). After the word "Eireann" in line 27 to insert the words "and Seanad Eireann."

My principal object in moving this amendment is to safeguard the rights and privileges of this House; and not allow the Ministry by a sidewind to do away with any of its rights or powers. It is no justification for the Minister to say that this is a Money Bill. Let the Minister effect his object in another way, without establishing the precedent of passing a resolution in the Dáil making legislation effective, without coming to the Seanad. Every Party should support the amendment for the simple reason that it is our duty to safeguard the privileges of this House and to hand them down to our successors unimpaired. Article XII of the Constitution says ...

"The sole and exclusive power of making laws for the peace, order and good government of the Irish Free State is vested in the Oireachtas."

The only exception made is in Article 35 which says:

"Dáil Eireann shall in relation to the subject matter of Money Bills as hereinafter defined have legislative authority exclusive of Seanad Eireann."

The clause in this Bill dealing with quotas is establishing the precedent of having legislation by resolution of the Dáil without considering the Seanad. That is a proceeding to which Senators should strongly object, and the only way to do so is by supporting my amendment.

I had a somewhat different amendment down but I do not propose to move it, because the attitude taken up by the Minister towards the other amendment, as a way out of the difficulty, clearly makes that impracticable. For that reason I am prepared to support Senator Counihan's amendment, although the exact form usually says "both Houses of the Oireachtas", but that is not vital. It seems to me that this is not a Money Bill, and not a matter upon which the Government need have any fears from this House. It will not be suggested that in matters of trade this House, at any period, seriously attempted to interfere with the recognised policy of the Executive. There are many reasons why it should not do so. This is the kind of thing in which a revising chamber, whether constituted as it is now, or as a consultative council, which apparently the President would like, closely allied to trade and commerce, in which there would be members whose opinions would be valuable to the Minister, should be given an opportunity to bring forward a resolution of this kind. On the whole, I do not think the Minister will be disposed to deny that there have been a good number of matters, even since this Government came into office, in which a certain amount of friendly assistance has been given from all sides of the House. My contention is that this is not a money matter. It is really legislation by means of orders instead of Acts of the Oireachtas. We agree to legislation by means of order over matters of finance and to the need of haste and secrecy beforehand. I know that the Minister could not do that effectively if he had to bring in a Bill. We know that there must be secrecy and that time is the essence of the matter. I am sure no one wishes to give up the power of revision which should be ours and which we have not abused. Senator Counihan's amendment is reasonable while this is a bi-cameral legislature. We are not seeking powers that we have not got. If we let this go we will really be giving up what is virtually legislation.

I called attention to this matter before and further consideration confirms my view that this amendment or some such amendment is necessary for a number of reasons. The main reason is a constitutional one. The making of the order, as in the section, is undoubtedly going to have a legislative or statutory effect. The growing practice here, and in other countries, of legislating by order may be defended on certain grounds. If it is defended on the ground that it is going to eliminate one of the chambers of a bi-cameral legislature, then it is going to effect a revolution indeed. So long as we have two chambers, with the power the Constitution imposes and requires this Chamber to exercise, it is essential that any legislation which is done by order should have the sanction of this House, equally with that of Dáil Eireann. The House should support this amendment, or one in such a form as would bring it into conformity with the usage of legislation.

I stated during the discussion on the Second Reading the considerations which resulted in the Bill being drafted in the form in which it appears. At the present time there is complete power to restrict imports of any goods by means of customs duties. In fact that power is being exercised in respect of many classes of goods. Under different Emergency Orders and Finance Resolutions high customs duties were imposed upon certain goods, and powers of licensing were also taken and are being exercised by the Department of Industry and Commerce and by the Department of Finance, in the manner in which it is contemplated the powers provided in this Bill will be exercised. The main purpose of this Bill is to substitute for that system the quota system contemplated in the Bill. This Bill is not legally a finance measure, but the effect of any orders made under it is precisely similar to the effect of prohibitive customs duties.

It is not a finance measure strictly.

It is not strictly a finance measure. The position is that the Executive Council, desiring to restrict the imports of any classes of goods can, if the Bill is passed, proceed by one of two methods: either to operate under this Bill, or to operate under finance proposals by imposing prohibitive customs duties in the licensing clauses. On the one hand, if it operates under this Bill it will be subject to the restrictions imposed by it and will be compelled to issue licences in accordance with the provisions set out in the different sections, and generally to confine its discretion in the manner in which the Bill provides. If it proceeds by the other method of customs duty and open licensing clause, which we have been using heretofore, the Executive Council will be subject to none of these restrictions whatever. Under these Emergency Orders and Finance Resolutions containing licensing clauses passed by the Dáil it is given to one Minister, or one Minister in consultation with another, to exercise an absolute discretion as to the issue of licences in respect of quantity or time or in any other way. Under this Bill, when a quota order is made, every person eligible to be registered on the register of importers is entitled to apply for a licence and to get a licence for a quantity of the goods subject to the quota order. Under the finance procedure now in operation, there is absolute discretion in the Minister, if he so thinks fit, to refuse one person a licence and to give it to another or to give one person a licence for all he applies for and to give another person a licence for only half what he applies for. That is undesirable. It is largely because we felt it was so undesirable that this measure was introduced. I do not want to be taken as saying that that is the manner in which these powers are being exercised. On the contrary, the powers are being exercised in a manner similar to that which is set out in the various provisions of this Bill. It is, however, clear that occasions will arise on which an Executive Council—it does not matter what Executive Council or what Party is in power—will be tempted to proceed by way of finance measure rather than under this Bill if it anticipates any difficulty in operating the different sections of this Bill. That is one consideration and it is a consideration which I think is not without weight.

I referred to another consideration on Second Reading. There are many industrial projects in course of formulation, all of which are dependent for fulfilment on the adoption of some measure for the regulation of imports of certain classes of goods during the initial and development stages of these projects. A certain firm may con template engaging in the manufacture of a particular article here. It would, probably, be necessary during the construction of the works or factory that the imports of these articles should be kept down to normal level, so that there would be no forestalling of protective measures or stocking of imported goods in anticipation of restricted supplies from abroad. During the initial stages, after construction of the factory or works, it may be necessary to limit imports in quantity to the amount required to supplement the output of the factory until that output has been brought to the point at which it corresponds with the requirements of the country. It is proposed to use the powers under this Bill to achieve that regulation of imports, in the first instance, and regular reduction of imports, in the second instance. The prospect of these projects being proceeded with depends very largely on these powers being acquired. It is true we might proceed by Finance Resolution, but the making of an order under this Bill carries with it a certain amount of security which other measures may not offer, and the persons concerned in these projects may be dubious about going ahead until it is quite clear that the position will be safeguarded for them. They can get assurance on the question of Government policy. They know that if Government policy is subject, in this connection, to ratification in the Dail only, the Government commands a majority in the Dáil. It is, as I said, always going to be a matter of chance whether any Government is in a position to command a majority here. That is in no sense a reflection on this House. On the contrary, it might be regarded as a compliment to the House, because it was always intended that ordinary Party divisions would not operate here. But the fact that that Order would cease to be operative, and that an industry, brought into existence, might be stripped of protection following an adverse vote here, would make those who are expected to invest their money here doubtful about proceeding until all reasonable causes of apprehension as to difficulties of that kind arising had been removed. Considerations of that kind will almost inevitably force a Government, when such issues arise, to proceed by way of Finance Resolution rather than under a Bill of this kind, if the element of doubt is maintained. It was to prevent that element of doubt operating that the section was drafted so as to require that the Order should be submitted for review in the Dáil only. The Dáil is given power to hold up an Order or to refuse to pass it. In the event of such refusal, power is given the Executive Council to make a similar Order again. If similar power is to be given to the Seanad, I do not say it will destroy the utility of the measure, but it will lessen its utility and, in various ways, necessitate proceeding by Finance Resolution rather than under this measure. I think that that is undesirable, having regard to the various factors arising in that connection.

I am afraid that the Minister has gone far beyond Constitutional principle and theory. He should really have argued in favour of removing sub-section (2). On his argument, there is no reason why the quota order should be submitted to the Dáil. The Government is empowered to make an order and there must not be any risks of that order being revoked or refused. One never knows what may happen in the Dáil. There might even be a mutiny of the Government Party. It is a dangerous thing to suggest that people should make arrangements for starting industries here if the Dáil may, perchance, refuse to obey the Government's Whip. But this is the Seanad and, if the Dáil has thought it well to provide that an order must have its approval, I think that every argument in favour of that course applies with equal force to the Seanad. I am afraid that the Minister has stated a case for legislation in matters of trade and commerce by order of the Executive Council. Unless he means to stand by that, I think he should withdraw all he stated in the last few minutes.

I am rather sorry the Minister made the speech that he did because it may be taken to have implications far beyond what he intended. It seems to me that the whole question of good faith in this country depends on the acceptance by responsible leaders of all parties that actions taken by the Government of the day which induce persons to invest money or to enter into employment on any substantial scale cannot be suddenly stopped by another Government or thoughtlessly ended by this or the other House. If there was any doubt in people's minds that that was the recognised policy of all Parties here, then I do not think that anything the Minister said would be of much use in inducing people to put money into enterprise. Any time I have been consulted I have stated that there was no Party here likely, by hasty legislation, to take away any protection which had been given in good faith by a previous Executive. I am very sorry that the implication from the Minister's speech should be that there was any danger of tariffs, on the strength of which industries had been started or developed, being removed by the Government or some other Government tomorrow. We know there is not. The Minister is not going to do it. I am satisfied that no other Party is going to do it. If any other Government did it, it would not last long. The serious aspect of a good many tariffs is that they cannot be withdrawn. A great deal of care should, therefore, be taken before they are made permanent.

The Minister raised what, to me, was an extremely interesting point. Nobody here has seriously opposed any of the licensing provisions attached to finance measures. Consequently, we have not had the interesting experience of a challenge as to whether these measures were or were not Money Bills. That could have been challenged and, in my opinion—it may not be worth much—a number of the wide licensing provisions in these measures could not be included in a Money Bill because a Money Bill could not make it practicable for a Minister to do for one person what he would not do for another. I believe that before a tribunal with a legal chairman we could prove that these were not Money Bills. This matter has been discussed but we did not challenge the decision. I should be very glad to have such an issue decided if we were not, by so doing, to hold up any important Bill. That is one of the reasons it has not been challenged. I am not questioning the decision of the Ceann Comhairle but it is arguable whether some of the Bills described as Money Bills are Money Bills. There is a Constitutional method of settling that question. The Minister is wrong if he assumes that what we are proposing now is fundamentally different. I hope it will not go out that there is any Party in this House—it does not apply to the small Party I belong to, at any rate—prepared wantonly to take away what has been given in good faith for the protection of some industry.

I did not suggest that. In no part of my remarks did I indicate that the doubt that might arise in the minds of prospective industrialists would be created by the prospect of a change of Government. No doubt, that consideration is present to the mind of anybody about to invest money. In this particular case, it is not necessary to have a change of Government to have the fears that might be entertained realised. An order is made. Under that order, imports are restricted and industrialists avail of the opportunity created by the restriction. The next stage is to get for the order approval from the Dáil or, if this amendment is passed, from the Dáil and Seanad. This is an essential part of the procedure in the making of an order. It is at that stage that any dissent from the action of the Executive Council in making the order would be expressed in the Dáil or Seanad. If that dissent is expressed in the form of a resolution of disapproval of the making of the order, there is no question of bad faith. Each House is doing exactly what it is entitled to do without any question of bad faith, because, on the first occasion on which it had been consulted about the matter, it has given its opinion. Anybody who is interested in the matter can have regard to that expressed opinion.

The other question raised by Senator Johnson is, of course, one which arises out of the possibility of a change of Government. In this country, and in every other country, the possibility of a change of Government involving substantial changes in policy has the effect of deterring people from engaging in industrial, commercial or economic enterprise of one kind or another. The fact that people acted on the policy of this Government or took advantage of the opportunities created by that policy to invest their money in industry is due to the fact either that they assumed this Government was going to remain in office for a long period, or else that any successive Government will act in the manner suggested by Senator Douglas; that is, proceed to honour any undertakings given and preserve the position in which people have risked their resources. I do not fear any upset in connection with that. What I do fear is that the whole period of six months, or whatever period is necessary, before the resolution can be brought for approval, will have to pass before people will take a chance of acting in the position created by the order. That may be desirable, but it might force the Executive to seek approval at an earlier date than otherwise would be done. That is a matter that can be taken into account. The main reason why Dáil Eireann, rather than both Houses, was inserted in the Bill was that, although this Bill was not really a Money Bill, orders made under it are, in effect, finance orders, and, therefore, so far as it was designed for protective purposes, it was analogous to a Finance Act of that kind. With reference to the licensing powers I mentioned, and that Senator Douglas mentioned, I am not sure that we are talking about the same thing. I am talking of the licensing provisions inserted in the schedule of the ordinary Finance Act, which provide that exemption from duties may be granted in certain circumstances. I do not know whether it can be held that these Acts are otherwise than Finance Acts.

I think it could. I did not challenge it, but I think it could.

My particular consideration on this amendment is not the effect it will have upon this Bill but that it is the thin end of the wedge to take away the powers of the Seanad. All Governments seem to want to do something about the powers of the Seanad, because they think it may hamper them in legislation that they desire to get through. Many people believe that the Seanad is the only real body that will safeguard the rights of the citizens. This Government may be glad, some time or other, to have the Seanad here. They are a Government to-day, but they may be in opposition to-morrow, and then they will be glad to have the Seanad to stand up for them.

Amendment put and declared carried.
Amendment No. 5 not moved.

I move amendment No. 6:—

Section 4, sub-section (3). To delete all after the word "effect" in line 32 down to the end of the sub-section and to substitute therefor the words "no quota order made by the Executive Council in respect of the same or substantially the same descriptions of goods shall have effect until such order has been submitted to Seanad Eireann for its consideration and has been approved by Dáil Eireann with or without amendment."

This amendment is moved entirely to meet what seems to me a flaw in the drafting of the Bill. It seems to me that the Government ought to be in the position that if they rescinded an order and then, perhaps, find a new factory coming in, they could make an order and immediately submit to Dáil Eireann. If the Minister has not seen this and made arrangements to meet it, perhaps the further consideration of the matter might be left over to the Report Stage. I think there is a flaw in the section to which my attention was drawn by Senator Johnson, who has, also, an amendment on the paper in regard to this matter.

I do not think that there is a flaw in the drafting of the section, but if the Senator leaves it over to the Report Stage I have no objection.

I think that would be the best thing to do. It is provided in the section that it shall not be lawful for the Government to make an order. I cannot find in the Bill any provision that the Dáil might pass an order by resolution which was not first made by the Government. There does not seem to be any provision for the Dáil to make an order. An order might be made by the Executive Council and submitted to the Dáil. You have that section here which says it shall not be lawful for the Executive Council to make an order in certain circumstances.

What is provided for in the sub-section is that if the Executive Council makes an order and then revokes it they first seek approval from the Dáil or the Seanad. If the Executive fails to get the approval, then no order of the same kind could be made by the Executive Council. If it is desired to make such an order new legislation would be necessary.

My point is that it could occur that the Executive Council might make an order and rescind it and that possibly new circumstances, or in view of new negotiations that might arise, they would want to make that order again. To do so would require a new Bill. Where they rescind such an order I agree that they should come to the Dáil but I want to make it easy for them.

If the Executive Council makes an order and rescinds it without coming to the Dáil, I think they should be deprived of the right to make that order again. If they make an order even though it operates for a week they should get the approval of the Oireachtas. If they get approval they can then rescind the order and they can make a similar order at a later stage.

My case deals with where they have made an order and not rescinded it. How would the Minister proceed in the event of an order made by the Executive Council and rescinded by them before it was received by the Dáil? In the event of their making a similar Older what would they have to do?

They would have to introduce a new Bill. If they make an order they must get approval even though they realise the next day that they made a mistake. If they make an order and rescind it, without that approval, they should be debarred from making a similar order until new legislation is introduced.

If that is what the Government desire I have nothing more to say. But to put them in the position in regard to an order that they made and rescinded that they must first ask the Dáil to rescind it seems to me to be Gilbertian.

I do not see why the Minister is so anxious to restrict the powers of the Executive. A case may arise where the Executive may make an order and they may think to-day that that order is wrong. They may think, in six months time, that the order is right. They have the power to make that order. What is the necessity for restricting them?

As my amendment No. 7, which is to add at the end of the sub-section the words "until a resolution approving such order has been passed by Dáil Eireann", is substantially on the same lines, I would like to say that the view I take is that the making of an order and the approval of an order by the Oireachtas is in effect legislation. If we leave in a provision such as sub-section (3) we are legislating to prevent ourselves from legislating.

From doing it in that way.

We are precluding ourselves from legislating except by going through the normal process of enactments. I conceive of circumstances where the whole position may change between the original formulation of the order, let us say, and the end of that Parliament or its successors. The whole position as between this country and another may alter: the whole position of the difficulties between this country and another may alter. By this section it is not possible to take an account of that and to make a new order. While it is self-abnegatory of the Minister and of the Ministry to deprive itself of power, it seems to me that they are not only depriving themselves of power but that they are depriving the Dáil and the Seanad of power. The Dáil may pass a resolution leaving the Government to make an order in respect of a certain thing, and the Minister will say "I cannot do it, for you have by statute deprived us of the power to make that order."

Perhaps it will be better that consideration of this matter remained over for the Report Stage.

As my amendment would not be a suitable one, I ask leave to withdraw it, and perhaps the Minister will bring the matter up again on Report.

Amendment No. 6, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 7, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 4 agreed to.
Section 5 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 6 stand part of the Bill."

I want to state that as I understand it there is no definition of the very important word "quota," and there is no definition of another word "rationalisation," which has been bandied about in the course of the discussion. So far as I can see, it is impossible to get a definition of either of these words.

The definition is in Section 3.

No definition appears. I take it what is meant is volume of goods. The Executive Council takes power under this Bill to limit the volume of any particular goods that may be introduced into this country. I take it that is what is meant by "quota." If I am wrong the Minister will correct me. Coming to a particular clause we find that the register is to be prepared by the Ministry. People will be allowed to bring in whatever goods may come in under the schedule. That might mean that a person trading and dealing in motor cars, if motor cars were subject to the quota order, would have to come to the Ministry for permission to import cars and that that permission might not be given to him. Paragraph (c) says that people or bodies or corporations who come within this definition may obtain permission, shall I call it, from the Minister to import the goods they require, but paragraph (c) requires that the company shall be registered in Saorstát Eireann.


That is Section 7 which says in paragraph (c) a company registered in Saorstát Eireann under the Companies Acts, 1908 to 1924, or——

The inference from that is that if a company is not registered in this country it will not get a permit for the importation of goods.

I have an amendment dealing with that.

In that case I shall have to postpone my remarks. I did not receive a copy of the amendments, so I will be pardoned for touching on the matter here.

Section put and agreed to.
The following amendments appeared in the name of Senator Douglas:—
8. New section. Before Section 7 to insert a new section as follows:—
7. Whenever the Executive Council has made a quota order under this Act, the Minister shall issue to any person who applies in the prescribed manner therefor a licence expressed to authorise such person to import into Saorstát Eireann during the said preliminary period any quantity of the goods to which the said quota order applies, not in excess of his normal trading requirements, which have been consigned to him and were actually in the custody of a carrying company before the time of the making of such order.
9. Section 7, sub-section (2). Before paragraph (d) to insert a new paragraph as follows:—
"(d) an individual who is the manager or responsible head of a branch of a company not registered in Saorstát Eireann which has carried on business in Saorstát Eireann for not less than five consecutive years immediately preceding the date of the passing of this Act."

I gather from the Minister, in regard to the first amendment to Section 7, that he is prepared to see whether he can introduce an amendment on the Report Stage which will fit in with the remarks he made on Second Reading.

The same applies to both amendments.

In the case of the second amendment, I should like to be a little more clear as the Minister's remarks on Second Reading were not quite definite. I want to get a person who had been trading here for a considerable time, as a branch of a company outside, put in as good a position as a person who has been trading here as an individual. I have no personal interest in this but my attention has been drawn by some people to it. I do not know the persons affected personally but I am satisfied the facts are correct. My attention has been drawn to cases where Northern companies have had branches operating in the Saorstát for ten or 20 years, some even longer. It is reasonable enough when these people have been operating here that they should get the same chance as an English company can to import goods under a permit. If the Minister is prepared to bring in an amendment to meet the case that is all I want.

Will the Minister see that the point raised by Senator Guinness is also met, because that seems to me, after hearing Senator Guinness speak, to be very important?

I think it is the same point as that referred to by Senator Douglas. The one thing I want to provide is that the licence will be issued to the company and not to the individual who is manager. I am prepared to introduce an amendment providing for the issue of a licence to a company registered and incorporated outside the Saorstát but whose place of business is in the Saorstát and which has been engaged in the business of importing such goods for a period of five years. I suggest that even under the existing definition the manager of a company, even though he is not a national, could qualify for a licence.

He might qualify for a licence but he would not be able to prove his business.

If he had been importing the same goods for five years previously, or corresponding goods, which might in the course of industrial development be needed by his company, they should not be hampered.

The point I raised was that under clause (c) if the company is not registered in Ireland it is being penalised in so far as the importation of goods is concerned. It would really mean that a company that was not registered here would have to be registered here in order to come within that portion of the clause.

We are having an amendment on the Report Stage to remedy that.

Sections 7, 8, 9, 10 ordered to stand part of the Bill.


The following amendment stood in the name of Senator Counihan:—

10. Section 11. To add at the end of the section the words "but such order shall be of no effect unless and until the same has been approved by resolutions passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas."

The Minister has been in such an accommodating mood that I would ask him to reconsider this last amendment of mine. He might be able to do something with it on the Report Stage. Meanwhile, I beg leave to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 11, 12, 13, 14, and the Title ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Bill reported with amendments.

I would suggest that the Report Stage be taken on Thursday.

This is a very important Bill, and I think there should be a longer interval.

Might I point out that with the exception of one amendment, which has been carried against my opposition, I have agreed in principle with all the others, and have promised to introduce amendments to meet them?


And next week will be Holy Week.

In that case I am agreeable to taking the Report Stage on Thursday.

When shall we have the Minister's amendments?

I hope to have them circulated this evening, if the office is in a position to deal with them.