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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 27 Jan 1943

Vol. 27 No. 10

Intoxicating Liquor Bill, 1942—Committee Stage.

As I am about to make a suggestion with regard to the amendments to this Bill, I should be glad if Senators would have a copy of the amendments before them.

In connection with the amendments I should say that the amendments are, as Senators will appreciate, in some cases involved, and particularly is this so in the cases of those to Section 4 dealing with opening and closing hours and split hours on Sundays in the Dublin area and in the county boroughs. A study of the amendments which I have made seems to show that it would be desirable to have the several points raised by the amendments to this section segregated in some way for the purposes of decision, if not of discussion.

Five questions appear to be raised in amendments Nos. 3, 4, 6, 8, 9 and 10. These questions are:—

(1) The hour of opening in Dublin in the morning on weekdays.

(2) The hour of closing in the evening on weekdays.

Neither of those two matters should occasion any difficulty as straight questions can be put on amendments Nos. 3 and 4.

The principal difficulty from the point of view of procedure arises in the case of the opening and closing hours and the split hour in the County Borough of Dublin and in the Dublin metropolitan area on Sundays, i.e., amendments Nos. 6, 8, 9 and 10 offered to paragraph (b) of Section 4.

The following questions appear to emerge in those cases:—

(3) the opening hour on Sundays;

(4) the question of the split hour; whether there should be a split period at all, and if there is, what should be its duration;

(5) the hour of closing in the evening.

At this point I should say that the amendments which were sent in in the names of Senators Foran and Campbell and those also in the names of Senators Conlon and Quirke provided self-contained proposals; Senator Foran's and Senator Campbell's proposal being that the hours on Sunday should be from 2 to 6, with no split hour, and Senator Conlon's and Senator Quirke's proposal an opening from 2 to 3, a split period of two hours' duration between 3 and 5, and a closing hour of seven in the evening. It was thought better to divide these amendments so that clear-cut decisions, if these were desired, could be obtained on the separate points. I might suggest at this point that it might be for the convenience of the Committee if the discussion on these proposals in the case of Dublin could take place on one amendment, say, on the first, No. 3. If after that discussion decisions on specific points were required, I suggest that they could be taken by means of appropriate questions on selected amendments.

For example, the matter of the opening hour on weekdays can be decided on a straight question on No. 3: That the words ‘half-past ten' in line 33, page 2, stand part of the section"; the hour of closing on weekdays on a question on No. 4: "That the words ‘half-past ten' in line 34, page 2, stand part of the section."

Coming to Sundays:

(a) The hour of opening could be tested on a question on amendment No. 6: "That the words ‘two o'clock in the afternoon', in line 41, page 2, stand part of the section."

(b) The matter of the split hour could be similarly tested on amendment No. 8 on a question: "That the words ‘between the hours of three o'clock and four o'clock in the afternoon' in lines 41 and 42, page 2, stand part of the section"; and

(c) The matter of the closing hour on amendment No. 10 on a question: "That the words ‘seven o'clock' in line 43, page 2, stand part of the section."

These are only suggestions, however, and the Chair is in the hands of the Committee as regards the procedure to be followed. If the Committee desires that separate discussions should take place on the different aspects of the matter, then there will be no objection from the point of view of the Chair, but I still think that discussion covering the whole question of hours might be the more satisfactory way.

The remaining amendments to the Bill are not so involved and I think can be dealt with in the ordinary course as some overlap, but the questions they raise can be segregated as we progress. Possibly one decision on the question of an opening on St. Patrick's Day, which is dealt with separately in the case of the boroughs from that of the rest of the country, will suffice on this stage. I should add that when we have disposed of the questions of hours in the case of the boroughs on weekdays and in the case of Dublin on Sundays I will call the amendments in regard to Limerick and in regard to Bray, No. 5 and No. 7, in the names of Senators Colbert and O'Dwyer, and Senator C.M. Byrne, respectively.

I think we should agree to what you have proposed, or at any rate that we should proceed on those lines. If we find in practice later on that it has to be modified, that modification can be suggested.


Section 1 put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 1:—

Before Section 2, but in Part I of the Bill, to insert the following new section:—

2.—This Act shall come into operation on such day as shall be fixed for that purpose by an Order made by the Minister either generally or with reference to any particular Part or provision and different days may be so fixed for different Parts and different provisions of this Act.

I think the Minister should accept this amendment. I do not think there is any need to elaborate on it; in view of the abnormal conditions prevailing throughout the country I think it is desirable that this provision should be in the Bill. He has himself admitted that he may have to appeal to the Minister for Industry and Commerce in regard to the arranging of hours, and so on, which proves that he himself is not convinced that the Bill in its present form is satisfactory. Therefore, I think he ought to arm himself with the power which I have proposed, in order to do away with the undesirable practice of legislation by Order. I submit that the insertion of this provision will prevent trouble in the near future. If this Bill comes into operation immediately it is signed, it will at once give rise to trouble which nobody wants to encourage. The time is certainly not opportune for the bringing in of all those changes. This power will strengthen the Minister's hand, and give him an opportunity of bringing into operation the sections which will be welcomed by the community at large. Other sections, which would give rise to a good deal of trouble if put into operation at once, can then be deferred to a more opportune time. I suggest that the Minister should accept this amendment.

I desire to second this amendment, but I have not very much to add to what has already been said by Senator Foran. During the debate last week, the Minister told us that, in view of the emergency conditions in regard to light and transport, this Bill might have to be held up, and that the Minister for Industry and Commerce would make some Emergency Powers Orders to deal with those matters. I think the matter could be better dealt with by the Minister for Justice himself. There is no use in discussing points which might be more appropriately raised when the question of closing hours comes to be considered. I will only say that, having regard to the fact that there is now no transport after 10 o'clock and that transport will in all probability be further curtailed in the near future owing to the shortage of petrol, the case which has been made for the extension of the hours of opening to 10.30 p.m. altogether disappears. There is no chance of people being able to avail of bona fide facilities outside the city. However, that will arise more appropriately on another amendment, but I would seriously suggest to the Minister that he should take power to hold up this Bill until the emergency passes. If there are any clauses of it which it is essential to put into operation during the emergency, this provision gives him power to do so.

I do not think this amendment is necessary. The only case I can see for postponing the putting into operation of any part of the Bill is based on the transport and lighting restrictions, and the Minister for Industry and Commerce might very well take note of that. I think it is much better that the Bill should be carried into effect in the ordinary way, and the Minister for Industry and Commerce then has power, if he does not want to allow any extra consumption of light or if he considers that transport difficulties necessitate it, to make an Order, as he has done in the case of other premises, closing them down perhaps at ten o'clock. I do not see any case for this amendment at all; I do not see any reason why the Bill should not be put into force. Some portions of it, the bona fide provisions, for instance, I think should come into force immediately. There are other minor provisions, some of which are of benefit to the trade generally and others of which benefit individuals, and I do not see any reason why they should not come into force. I do not think there is any necessity for the amendment.

I am inclined to think there is a good deal in the Minister's argument. We ought to endeavour, as far as we can, to pass legislation which will be permanent, and there are certain parts of this Bill which, when it becomes an Act, will undoubtedly do good. With regard to other portions of it, there may be circumstances arising out of the emergency which would prevent any provisions we insert about hours from being immediately put into operation. I take it the power of the Minister for Industry and Commerce extends only to hours? Does it extend to any other part of this Bill?

He has no powers under this Bill that he has not got generally for restricting the consumption of electricity and oil.

Under the Emergency Powers Act he can do anything.

He can take powers, of course, if he has not got them.

Mr. Hayes

I think what Senators Foran and Campbell have in their minds is the question of hours. While I myself had at one time the idea of putting down this kind of amendment, it seems clear from the Minister's explanation that, if we express our opinion as to what the hours ought to be as a permanent measure, then during the emergency there is already power in the Minister for Industry and Commerce to adjust those hours to emergency conditions. That would seem satisfactory enough without going the distance of giving the Minister for Justice power under this amendment to suspend not only the opening and closing hours, but also any other provision of the Act. I think the amendment goes a good deal further than either Senator Foran or Senator Campbell intends.

Perhaps the Minister would tell us the reason why he objects to accepting these powers himself. It seems to me the powers would be better exercised by the Minister for Justice rather than by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. The Minister for Justice would be more familiar with what is in the Bill and, in our opinion, would be far more capable of dealing with the various aspects of the Bill. Furthermore, it is unusual to hear of a Minister refusing powers and leaving them to some other Minister to exercise them for him. Perhaps he would tell us why he refuses these powers now.

This Bill is the Intoxicating Liquor Bill and it is hoped that it will be fairly permanent. I do not know how permanent it will be. It may be changed when any other Minister or the Government may see fit to change it. The only point there is for holding it up arises out of the emergency. I am not suggesting that any powers dealing with intoxicating liquor should be given to any other Minister but that whatever proposal we have should be in the Bill. The only point is that that Minister for Industry and Commerce is the Minister who has power under the Emergency Powers Act to restrict the use of light, transport and things of that kind because of the emergency conditions and all I meant to convey— I hope I was clear—was that he has that power, and if he thinks there ought not to be an extension of lighting in public houses he can exercise that power. It would not be necessary for me to draw his attention to that; he would see it himself. The fact that it has been raised here would be sufficient for me to say to him that it was pointed out in the Seanad that extra time is being allowed for the consumption of drink, with consequent using of light, whereas in other shops you are restricting the use of light. I am not refusing to accept any powers, but I do not see what necessity there would be for them. If I wanted to put all the provisions of the Bill into effect the day after the Bill was signed, I could do it under this amendment, if it was passed. There would be nothing to stop me.

Except, perhaps, the Minister for Industry and Commerce.

Yes, he could do it. Even if the amendment were passed, he could do that. As far as I am concerned, under this amendment, I could give effect to it, say, in a week's time. There is not much point in it.

We think it is very important to have it in and we hope, through the discussion of certain other amendments, to convince the Minister that there are difficulties that it would be very hard to get over in the Bill and, consequently, we think he ought to have these powers. We are well aware that the Government can do anything by Emergency Powers Orders and we know very well the effect of these Orders. We have felt it more than any other section in the community.

It was all for the general good.

Consequently, we are aware of the enormous power the Government have under the Emergency Powers Act. We do not like it. We think it is wrong to have legislation by Order. Consequently, we think that this ought to be put into the Bill. Difficulties, as I said, will be shown more clearly to the Minister as the debate proceeds, on certain other amendments. We are convinced that it is essential that the Minister should have these powers. No doubt, there are sections in the Bill that the entire community will be glad to have in operation at the earliest possible opportunity, but there are human factors that have to be taken into account in this matter. Therefore, we believe it is the right thing to defer the difficult or more serious sections of the Bill until a more favourable opportunity presents itself.

It seems to me that we ought not to spend much time at this stage on this amendment and I would suggest that, in this form or possibly some other form, it should stand over until Report Stage. It is quite possible that in the course of debate an opportunity will be given to make a case and it would be rather a waste of time now. I would like to say at the same time that I have a good deal of sympathy with Senator Foran and I do not think light and transport are the only possible reasons. As the Minister said, if, when this Bill is passed, he wants to bring it into effect at once, there is nothing to prevent him. The amendment is a compliment to him. It is trusting him and whereas I do not like to criticise any Minister who refuses powers under present conditions — I have some sympathy with him—I cannot help feeling that his Department knows a great deal more about the operation of this Bill than the Department of Industry and Commerce. Therefore, I would suggest that the Minister should not absolutely bind himself at the moment but should leave it until Report Stage. He will then have heard what arises during the Committee Stage.

I think that is a very good point. Senator Foran has hinted that we will hear something during the debate. It will not do any harm to leave it over.

Is the amendment being pressed?

We would agree to leave it over until Report Stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 2 and 3 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 2:—

In page 2 to delete line 30 and substitute therefor the following:—

(A) by the deletion of paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d) of sub-section.

This is a drafting amendment which was put down in order to bring amendment No. 13 into line with the Bill, and I would suggest, with the permission of the House, that it should be discussed in conjunction with amendment No. 13.

I take it that it is agreed that amendment No. 2 should be discussed in conjunction with amendment No. 13?


On amendment No. 3, in the names of Senator Foran and Senator Campbell, I take it the whole question of hours may be discussed, as outlined in the preliminary note, and, possibly, its ramifications or repercussions on the bona fide question?

The following amendments appeared on the Order Paper:—

3. In page 2, line 33, to delete the words "half-past ten" and insert instead thereof the word "ten".— Senator Thomas Foran, Senator Seán P. Campbell.

4. In page 2, line 34, to delete the words "half-past ten" and insert instead thereof the word "ten".— Senator James G. Douglas, Senator Thomas Foran, Senator Seán P. Campbell.

I move amendment No. 3.

The section with which this amendment deals fixes the opening hour at 10.30 instead of the present 10 o'clock. I do not think any case has been made for the extension of the hour of opening to 10.30, and I think we would prefer to see the hours as at present existing. The Minister, I think, stated that no case had been made by any representative body for the alteration in the hours of opening and closing on weekdays. I know, of course, that what he desires to achieve is to lessen the gap between the closing hour in the city and the closing hour in the bona fide areas from three hours, I think, to one and a half hours. I do not think there is any great case for the extension of the opening hour to 10.30 in the morning. I think it ought to remain as it is at present. Of course, this amendment is joined with the amendment that follows, and one cannot say very much in regard to opening at 10.30 in the morning; it is really a case for the closing at 10.30, which will arise on the next amendment. I content myself with formally moving the amendment.

I second the amendment.

I think on this amendment we should discuss closing hours. The whole question hinges on the closing hour and not on the opening hour. If we fix the closing hour, there would be no trouble in fixing the opening hour.

I wonder if it would help the Seanad if I were to state my views on the closing hour? When I introduced the Bill I did not propose to change the existing closing hour at all on weekdays. I intended that it should remain at 10 o'clock. When I went to the Dáil I found that Deputies would not accept these hours and a very strong demand was made to change the hours. Senator Campbell is in error in stating that no representative body had asked me to change the hours because the Dáil itself, which I think is the most representative body in Ireland, insisted on a change being made. I was compelled by the Dáil, by members of my own Party and of other Parties, to agree to this change. It was put to me that if I insisted on a 10 o'clock closing I would be going in the face of the expressed opinion of the Dáil. I should point out that Deputies were fighting, not for a 10.30 closing but for an 11 o'clock closing. I was very much against it myself but as the debate progressed and as nobody in the Dáil got up to support a 10 o'clock closing at all—I actually appealed for some one to come and help me but nobody did——

Try it again.

I felt that I was in touch with the most representative body of opinion in Ireland. If somebody suggests that they had their eye on the general election and that that must have influenced their minds, then the answer, it seems to me, is that this must be a popular thing in the country. That is how it appears to me. I was hoping that there would be no attempt to extend the closing hour, but I was foolish to expect that. The 10.30 closing was then agreed upon as a compromise. All types of Deputies—and we all know there are different types, temperance advocates and others— insisted that the present hours are all wrong. As far as I am personally concerned, I should naturally like to have the closing hour left as it is, but I do not think that Senators will lightly turn down an opinion which was expressed on all sides of the House in the Dáil. My own attitude is naturally that, if I had not been forced, I would not have granted any extension. If the Seanad insists on retaining the present closing hour, I shall have to say to the Dáil when I return with the proposal, that the Seanad took this action without any undue pressure from me. If Senator Campbell thinks that there was no great demand for this change I think he is labouring under a misapprehension. I think probably the Labour Party may have been in favour of a 10 o'clock closing, but very few of them spoke and the overwhelming majority of the Dáil were in favour of an 11 o'clock closing and not a 10.30 closing.

We are now discussing the hours of opening and closing on weekdays.

The two hang together. I think what the Minister has said has made his position perfectly clear. If the Seanad, as I personally hope it will, should revert to a 10 o'clock closing, I think we can assure the Minister that we shall endorse any certificate he requires to the effect that he has not brought any undue pressure to bear upon us. Therefore, so far as this discussion is concerned, I think he may be perfectly happy. He has, perhaps naturally, emphasised the importance of the Dáil as a representative Assembly, but I should like to counter that by pointing out that the function of the Seanad is to revise what has been done by the Dáil in the light of what is its honest opinion. While I am not going to argue the question of whether we are representative in the same sense as the Dáil, I think the Minister, and certainly the Taoiseach, would claim that this House is, in another sense, a fairly representative Assembly.

What I like about the present Minister is that he says frankly and bluntly what influenced him, and we know exactly where we are. It may be that the looming general election has something to do with the decision of the Dáil. I do not know whether or not there is to be a general election. That the probability of such an election may have influenced the Deputies who want to be re-elected is perfectly possible, but I am not at all prepared to agree, looking back over the 20 years that the State has been in existence, that the members of the Dáil are the best judges of what would happen at a general election. Surprises at an election have occurred before, and they may even occur again. While I myself had a good idea of the strength of the Pioneer movement in this country, I was surprised to hear from Pioneers in this House that the membership is over 500,000. Half a million is not a negligible proportion of a population of a little over 3,000,000.

If the views expressed by Pioneers in this House represent anything like the genuine views of Pioneers in the country, and if Senator Kehoe is able to carry out his promises that the Pioneers would stand behind the Minister, it seems to me that they could quite easily use their power in the general election, not perhaps to come behind the Minister, but even to upset him if he allowed himself to be completely overruled by other influences.

They have no votes; they are too young.

Senators in this House who are Pioneers are not too young. I shall not say anything more about them other than that they do not suffer from that particular disability. I am not at all convinced that the majority of Pioneers are simply young people. There are a very large number who have been Pioneers all their lives. I do not want to over-emphasise the importance of the Pioneers; I do not believe that anybody here can say with absolute certainty what the opinion of the country is on the question of whether the closing hour should or should not be extended. Therefore, it seems to me, we should not discuss this amendment on the basis of what is public opinion but on the basis of what we believe ourselves is the right and wise course to take.

I should say first of all that the Minister does not want to increase drunkenness. He stands for sobriety and he wants to get the law administered more easily. He wants to make matters easier for the police and he certainly does not want to increase drinking. I doubt very much if a case can be made, however, to show that there is not a danger that an extra half hour may not increase the volume of drinking. I do not really believe there is a need—I will not say there is no demand—for this extra half hour, but looking at the matter from a rational point of view and ignoring altogether the total abstinence point of view, I cannot say that any speech in the Dáil made it clear to me that, from the point of view of sobriety or from the point of view of having the law more easily administered, there is a case for this extra half hour. That being so, I think that the Seanad should adopt this amendment. We know perfectly well that we have no special power to insist on it, but I should be sorry if we did not pass it and send it to the Dáil. If you go back to a 10 o'clock closing it seems to me logical that you should leave the opening hour also 10 o'clock. I do not think a half hour in the morning is of very much importance. If it were proposed that we should have the opening hour at 8 o'clock in the morning it would be another matter, but the difference between 10 and 10.30 in the morning is not very vital.

As far as the question of extending the hour of closing to 10.30 is concerned, I think the argument made in support of it in the Dáil was mainly put forward in connection with rural districts. It was pointed out that agricultural workers, especially in the summer months, worked as long as they had daylight. In the country, they are usually one and a half hours behind the legal hour for closing, so that when they go into town after their work they have no chance of getting refreshments. So far as I am aware, the members of the trade in the rural districts are indifferent about the half-hour extension. Some of them to whom I spoke were quite satisfied that the hour for closing should be as at present—10 o'clock. Others pointed out the difficulty which I have mentioned—that some of their customers who work late in the summer find themselves looked out of the shops when they come into town. So far as the opening hour is concerned, I think that the people would prefer to go back to 10 o'clock. If the hours were left as at present—10 o'clock to 10 o'clock—I do not think that many people would object. Of course, somebody will object no matter what you do. People will point out, as was pointed out, I think, in the Lower House, that, in the rural districts, a public house is not only a public house but oftentimes a place of general trading. They will explain that people who come in to do business after licensed hours—people who want goods other than intoxicating liquor—find they are not entitled to enter the premises at all. The argument is put up that, if the closing hour were 10.30, it would give these people a chance of doing business. In some of the smaller towns, the people are, more or less, indifferent about the half-hour extra but in some towns there is a demand for a 10.30 closing. I myself am indifferent on the matter.


May I point out that the House is now dealing with amendments Nos. 3 and 4, which refer to the boroughs? The rural areas are covered by amendment No. 14. It is a matter for the House, but it might be desirable to keep the two questions separate.

In the Dáil, the question arose only incidentally as regards the cities. The case made was really for country areas. I did not think that there would be any point in having the city closing hour half an hour earlier than that in the country. So far as possible, I should like to see the hours, generally, the same.


I mentioned the matter so as to avoid another long discussion when we come to the amendment dealing with rural areas.

Níl acht cúpla focal le rá again ar an gceist seo. I am dealing with paragraph (a) of sub-section (A) of Section 4. That paragraph deals with the opening of the shops in the city at 10.30 instead of 10 and their closing at 10.30 at night instead of 10 o'clock. In my opinion, that would be a retrograde step. Other businesses in the city are closing earlier now than they formerly did. Dairy and other shops in the city are closing much earlier than they used to close and I do not hear anybody finding fault with the present hours. In my opinion—the Minister, judging by his opening remarks, probably, shares the same opinion—it would be better for the shops to open at 10 o'clock in the morning and close at 10 o'clock at night. Most of the assistants live in suburban areas and it would be very awkward for them if they had to remain at work until 10.30 and then have to walk or cycle long journeys.

These two amendments deal with the boroughs. With regard to the first amendment, there will be general agreement that 10.30 is a much more reasonable opening hour than 10 o'clock. So far as I am concerned, whatever may be done with regard to the closing hour, I think that 10.30 is quite early enough for opening. We are not legislating for the publicans or their assistants. What we are trying to do is to suit the needs of the general public. We ought to endeavour to find out what suits the general public. Everybody at business has commenced work by 10 o'clock. As Senator Douglas pointed out, if the hour were to be put back to 9 o'clock or 8 o'clock, it would make a difference. I do not see any necessity for having public houses open at 10 o'clock. The hour might be made 11 o'clock and it would not make much difference.

With regard to the important item— the second amendment—which deals with the closing of the houses in Dublin at 10 o'clock, I should like to point out that, in the old days, the public houses remained open until 11 o'clock. At that time we had not any summer time. Now, the position is different. Ten-thirty is only 9 o'clock, solar time, and, in a city like Dublin, with a population similar to other cities where they have very late closing hours, 10.30 is not too late to have licensed premises open for the supply of refreshments to those requiring them. I think that that proposition is a very reasonable one. The same thing applies all over the country, but that question will be argued on other sections. I presume that it will be agreed that 10.30 is a reasonable hour in the country. I submit that it is quite as reasonable that, in a city like Dublin, licensed premises should be left open until the same hour. On these grounds, I am opposed to the amendment.

There is, of course, a case to be made for the assistants with regard to their hours but, when people seek employment in an occupation which caters for the recreation of the public, they must expect to have to put up with what the public demands. The assistants in restaurants continue working till 12 or 1 o'clock—perhaps longer. People connected with the theatre work very late hours and publicans' assistants, who cater for the recreation of the public, must expect to have late hours, too. Senator Douglas used the word "sobriety" in connection with the extension of hours by half an hour. I wonder what he really means. Is there a title of evidence that, because a public house stays open half an hour later, people will get more drunk? We have never had this half hour and we know nothing about it. I do not believe it will mean more drunkenness. Those who say it will should produce some evidence to prove their assertion—that because people have half an hour extra in a public house they will get more drunk. There is a tendency for publicans to improve their premises. Some of their premises have become really magnificent—very large rooms, with seats and comfortable chairs and tables, so that people are able to sit down in groups and drink quietly and comfortably. These groups may be family groups or groups of men talking about football. The old idea of having to fix yourself up against a corner of the bar and drink like mad, lest somebody push you out and get your spot, has gradually disappeared.

Senator Miss Pearse dissents, but I think I probably know more about bars than the Senator does. In my opinion, if you have good, comfortable, clean and bright conditions in a bar people are far less likely to over-drink. I believe that the average man who goes into a public house goes there with a certain amount of money in his pocket. He probably has made an assignation with other people to meet them there. If, say, there are four of them he knows that they will probably have four drinks—a round each. Those four drinks will be extended over the period that the bar remains open. Even if it remains open until midnight there will still be only the four drinks consumed. That is the practice. A man going there knows that is going to happen unless, of course, he is a chancer and enters the bar for the purpose of picking up a spare drink here and there.

I do not think there is any evidence whatever that, if Irishmen are given this extra half hour in public houses, they are going to debauch themselves. I am very glad that it is being proposed to extend the time. My own view is that if there were no licensing hours, that if a person could enter a licensed bar at any time as people can do everywhere on the Continent, you would have even less drunkenness than there is. I do not believe that, within a year or two, anybody will be able to come back and say that this extra half hour has made the slightest difference in the matter of drunkenness amongst the people. The police statistics can be watched to see whether this extra half hour has led to any increase in crime or to an increase in drinking.

I do not know anything about public houses, and I rise for the purpose of asking the Senator a question. He spoke of four men ordering a round. Does he mean that each man had four drinks or that each man ordered four rounds, making it 16 drinks each?

If the Senator will come around with me sometime I shall demonstrate the practice to him.

Does it not depend on the amount of football that they want to talk about?

As I said on the Second Reading, it is very difficult to follow the meaning of the Bill and still more difficult now to follow the meaning of the amendments. I want to deal first of all with the opening hour in the mornings. It seems to me that there must be some existing Act which necessitates this 12-hour opening. If the suggestion to open for half an hour longer at night necessitates opening a half hour later in the morning, I must say that I cannot follow that at all. It seems to me ridiculous to have this 10.30 opening in the morning. That hour is very close to the middle of the day. With all due respect to that democratically elected body, the Dáil, I do not see why, if they wanted to extend the closing hour to 10.30, they should have put back the opening hour in the morning by half an hour. We all know that 10 o'clock has been the normal hour for opening. I do not think the Dáil should have fixed the opening hour at 10.30. I am definitely in favour of having it at 10 o'clock. The public houses are open for 12 hours every day, and I think that is long enough. I do not think this extra half hour at night is necessary, despite what Senator Robinson has said. In my opinion, if we open at 10 o'clock, as we have been doing, and close at 10 o'clock we are doing very well. In saying that, I want to express the opinion that the members of this House are probably in a much better position to judge the point of view of the average citizen than, possibly, the members of the Dáil who are more approachable than we are.


We are irreproachable.

I must say that I have been subjected to very little canvassing in regard to the other point of view in the ante-room or otherwise.

Perhaps the Senator is not approachable.

I may be, as Senator Douglas says, irreproachable. I think that, as a body, we are more competent to give the point of view of the average citizen, in both town and country, than, possibly, the members of the more democratically elected Assembly though, it is well to point out, we, also, are democratically elected. I want to say, again, that I think 10 o'clock has been the normal closing hour in both town and country. So far as Saturday night is concerned, the proposal in the Bill means an extension of an hour as compared to the present position.

What I mean is this. The present closing hour on Saturday nights is 9.30. If we agree to 10 o'clock it gives an extra half hour on Saturday nights. I think that is quite right, because we all know that Saturday is a busy evening in both town and country, and it is no harm, I think, to have an extension to 10 o'clock. That brings me to a point that I emphasised on the Second Reading that we should aim at uniformity, as far as possible, between the different boroughs as well as between town and country. When we come to deal with the question of Sunday opening, I will object to have such uniformity applied. So far as the opening and closing hours on weekdays are concerned, I think it would be all to the good that the times fixed for town and country should coincide. The hours for the country will be discussed on another amendment. As Senator Goulding has pointed out, the country people had not made the case, until this amending Bill was introduced, that the present hours imposed any hardship on them. On the whole, I think that if the hours were left as they are we would be doing satisfactorily. I agree that the Saturday night closing hour should be extended to 10 o'clock. That would give an extra half hour as compared with the present arrangement, and would be appreciated by people who have business to do in the cities and towns on Saturday nights. My suggestion is that the opening hour in the mornings should be ten o'clock, and the closing hour on week nights 10 o'clock.

I rise to endorse what the last speaker has said. I sympathise with the Minister in the dilemma in which he finds himself. It is not very pleasant to have to decide on which horn you are going to be impaled. I think that the views of the Seanad ought to have some weight with the Minister. After all, as Senator Douglas has pointed out, we are not a negligible quantity. We, at least, have powers of revision, and, I understand, powers of delay. Even if our powers of delay, in the case of a Bill such as this, are insignificant, they might possibly lead the Dáil into an impasse some time or other. Personally, I pride myself on having a certain amount of savoir faire, and the irony of the present situation is that I do not know where the demand for a change of the present hours came from. It may have come, as the Minister has pointed out, from the Dáil. The majority of the people do not give a twopenny ticket about it. They do not want hours changed. There is no universal demand, no large meetings, and no pressure brought to bear, individually or collectively, on any body of men; in other words, it is a case of “Let sleeping dogs lie”. From that point of view, it would be very admirable to allow the present state of affairs to continue.

On my travels up and down the country, I have heard no demand for a change of hours. One publican—an excellent individual—stated he would make more money in the last half hour, this added half hour, than in all the hours previous, thereby showing that there is a good deal to be said for the extra half hour from the publican's point of view, though there is no expression of desire for it by the bulk of the people. The Gárdaí and other authorities charged with the maintenance of law and order have enough to do at the present day, in clearing the streets in cities and country towns, and this extra burden should not be placed on them.

With reference to what has been said about the Pioneers, I think they would do their best to implement any promises they make. Some of them are approaching the sere and yellow and others are guilty of the atrocious crime of being young men. Let us remember that it was the young men who laid the foundations of this State, it was young men who were the nucleus of the powers to be in this country in those days and who are now the powers that are. Without trespassing further on the Minister's time or the time of the Seanad, I would say definitely that there is no vociferous demand for this extension of hours and that they should be left as they are.

Many Senators seem to assume that, by passing this Bill, they will make this nation free from drunkenness of any description. I have heard it said that there is no demand for this extra half hour but, as one who goes up and down the country and often visits a public house, I can say that one rarely finds a man who wanted a drink after hours and could not get it. We should be a little more practical. There is an idea that the suggestion made in the Dáil to extend the opening hours, even for half an hour, was to try to eliminate this sneaking in after hours. Some Senators stated they did not know why this was inserted in the Bill at all. I have asked myself that same question. The only reasonable answer seems to be that if you close public houses in the city even at 8 o'clock— which some Senators would think desirable—people can go by bus, taxi or bicycle—some may be able to cycle out, whatever about coming back—to some country public houses, where they would be bona fide travellers up to 12 o'clock. If there is an extension to 10.30, it means giving these people an hour and a half to do that journey, whereas by closing at 10 they have two hours. Before we rush hastily in to make any alteration in the Bill as it passed the Dáil, we should consider the effect in this respect. We would be well advised to pass this section of the Bill as it has come from the Dáil.

The Minister ought to take note that the impression has gone out that this Bill increases the hours for drinking. That is what the ordinary public see in the extra half hour at night, as they do not take cognisance of the half hour cut off in the morning. To my mind, the real regret is that there is extra time on Saturday nights. The hour from 9.30 to 10.30 on Saturday nights is the most dangerous hour, when people have money; and very often in that hour they spend the week's wages. From a woman's point of view, it is most desirable that the public houses should be closed at 9.30 on Saturday nights.

I cannot see of what advantage it is to change the hours on ordinary week days—at present 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.—to 10.30 a.m. to 10.30 p.m. There is nothing very much to be said for it, and it looks bad. It has given point to the criticism that we are increasing the hours for drinking. Of course, there is not much drinking in the morning, except in the case of the man who goes to take a hair of the tail of the dog that bit him. There is not much danger in the morning, but there is real danger in the hour at night from 9.30 to 10.30. I would like to see the present hours continued in force.

I wish to support everything that Senator Mrs. Concannon has said. Senator Robinson says that I know very little about the inside or outside of a public house. I do not know very much about the inside, but I do know a good deal about the outside, and I think I am accustomed to mix with the ordinary people much more than Senator Robinson is. The scenes when people are going home in the buses on Saturday nights may seem very funny, though they are really tragic. You have to see the funny side and try to make the best of it, but between the jokes and the things that are anything but jokes, made by the unfortunate men going home to their unfortunate wives and children, it is very tragic. The extra hour would be the cause of further deterioration. A half hour might not be so bad, but as the position has been very serious up to the present at 9.30, what will it be at 10.30? We will just have to avoid those buses.

Senator Robinson said a lot about the beautiful rooms in the public houses. I think that makes for all the more danger. There is a different type of drinking going on. It is not that of the ordinary decent working man who takes a drink or two. It is the young people, and it is very sad to see it. I know it and I have seen them; I can see them through half-closed doors and in hotels. It is the young people who are in those beautiful lounges and who are being ruined in soul and body. I hope the Seanad will do its best to help the Minister in his good work. He has one great thing to his credit in this Bill, and that is that the all-night business is being ended. That was a great tragedy in the country and if, in his term of office, he had nothing else to his credit, he has that. I do not wish to detain the House any further, as so many Senators wish to speak.

As to whether the closing hour should be 10 or 10.30, as far as I know, neither the publican nor the public have demanded this extra half hour. It makes very little difference. It would not make for more drinking or less drinking. If I were in the Minister's position, when the Bill was going through the Dáil, I would not have given way to the pressure. There was really no demand for the extra half hour and all the drinking one wants to do can be well done before 10 o'clock.

I wonder if the Seanad would consider the closing of public houses at 10.30 p.m. in the summer time and going back to 10 p.m. in the winter? Would that meet with the wishes of the House? Whatever may be said here, I can assure Senators that it was with the greatest reluctance I gave way on this point in the Dáil. I did not give way easily. There was great pressure brought to bear upon me in this connection. It was in the Dáil I first heard what public opinion was on this matter. After all, 10.30 in the summer time is really only 9 o'clock, according to the sun. If the Seanad will agree to the suggestion I have made, I think it will also be agreed to in the other House.

Possibly that will meet the situation. The demand was originally made on behalf of agricultural workers.

I think it is most unreasonable for anyone to say that there was no demand for the extra half hour. It is most unfair to the Minister to say that there was no demand. Anybody who reads the Dáil debates will find that practically every section in the Dáil spoke in favour of the extension. I do not want to take sides as between Senator Robinson and Senator Miss Pearse, but I am not prepared to believe that the extra half hour will lead to any further drunkenness. I have some experience of public houses and hotels, and I think that if a man makes up his mind that he is going to get drunk, he will be drunk at 7.30 in the evening. With the scarcity of intoxicating liquor, and the high prices, I think that the extra half hour will not lead to anything such as is anticipated by certain Senators.

I think Senator Hawkins also favours the extension of half an hour. I agree with him that, so far as the country districts go, it is desirable that the people there who want a drink should be able to get one. Of course, a lot depends on the time of the day when a man starts work. It is quite understandable that the bulk of the people would desire the opening hours to be from 10.30 in the morning until 10.30 in the evening. The reason for that is that most people do not want a drink before 10.30 a.m. There may be a few who might want a drink earlier than that, but I think the number would be negligible.

I cannot agree that the men of this country will have to be driven home when the public houses close. I do not profess to know half or quarter as much about Dublin as Senator Miss Pearse or other Senators, but I do know a good deal about the country districts—perhaps as much as anybody else—and I should hate to think the situation is such that the only way to get men to go to their homes would be by closing the public houses. I doubt very much if that is the situation—at any rate, I sincerely hope it is not. Some Senators would like to have things both ways, to have the opening hour extended to 10.30 in the morning and to have the closing hour fixed at 10 o'clock at night. I think that would be unreasonable and there is no reason why Senators should try to have it both ways.

I agree with the Senator who said that you cannot make a nation of tee-totallers through legislation. Neither do I believe that it is within the power of the present Minister or any other Minister to make saints of people by introducing new legislation or amendments to existing legislation here.

I should like to refer to the suggestion that has been made by the Minister. I think if he suggested that the closing hour should be 10.30 in the winter and 10 in the summer it might be more reasonable. That is my view. So far as Dublin is concerned, it is a fairly big city. There are many places of amusement and people may be inclined to stay out longer in the winter months than in the summer months. In the summer they may be out walking through the country, taking fresh air. So far as I am concerned, I think 10.30 as a closing hour is very early, even in the winter time.

There are two standpoints from which we should approach the consideration of this section of the Bill. The first has relation to the convenience of the public, and the second is a far more important standpoint, because it has relation to the prevention of excessive drinking. Let me deal with the question of the morning opening hour. There is very little drinking in the early morning and I think it does not matter whether public houses open at 10 o'clock or 10.30. So far as I can see, there will not be any great objection in that connection.

It is quite different when we come to deal with the closing hour at night. We all know that at night every minute counts. It is at night that all the abuse takes place in the matter of excessive drinking. It is no use saying that the extra half hour does not matter. Everyone knows that the extra half-hour will count for a lot. At present the closing hour on weekdays is 10 o'clock—9.30 on Saturday nights. I have never heard any point raised by way of objection to those hours. A question has been raised with regard to summer time as affecting the people living in the cities. Old time does not matter in the cities at all; it is in the country where old time is recognised and new time is not observed at all. In the summer time 10 or 10.30 simply means about 9 o'clock; the closing hour actually has been 9 o'clock in the country districts and, as far as I am aware, there has never been any objection raised; everybody seems to be quite satisfied with that closing hour. There are many reasons why we should not extend the closing hour on weekdays beyond 10 o'clock, with a 9.30 closing on Saturday.

It is said that we cannot make people sober by an Act of Parliament. If that is the way we are going to look at it, where is the need for licensing laws at all? Why not repeal all the Acts on the Statute Book and let everyone drink as much as he or she wishes and let the public houses remain open the same as grocers' shops? I regard that as a policy of despair. I think it was Senator Kehoe who mentioned in a previous debate that you cannot make people honest by passing legislation.

The Senator must remember that grocers' shops are not allowed to remain open all night.

You cannot prevent excessive drinking by passing Acts of Parliament. If you allow the public houses to remain open until a late hour, such as is contemplated by the extension of hours, I believe there will be excessive drinking. I say that the Legislature is bound to control what, within recent years, has become a public scandal. I cannot see any solid argument why public houses should be allowed to remain open until 10.30. The view of the great bulk of the people is that 10 p.m. is the proper hour to insert in the Bill, and I ask the Minister to accept that.

The suggested extension from 10 o'clock until 10.30, to my mind, will not make the slightest difference, except that it will give the man in the country a little more freedom. These men generally go by old time—some of them are an hour and a half back and others an hour back— and it will give them half an hour longer to work. If they care for a drink, or have business to do in the town, they can go in half an hour later. Closing the public houses at 10 o'clock may have the effect in some places of sending people looking for drink in other places, and such people can always manage to get drink. If they can stay in the public house until 10.30, they will be so much nearer their bed time and they will be inclined to go home. They are not going to spend any more money, even if the hours are extended to 11 or 12 o'clock. They generally spend the same amount of money, and the extension will simply mean that people who go into public houses will go there half an hour or a quarter of an hour later and will spend about the same time there. In my view, there is very little difference between closing at 10 p.m. and at 10.30 p.m.

The debate so far as it has gone reveals clearly the difficulties with which the Minister is confronted. I have a great deal of sympathy with him and I think he can only decide what his own judgment and a consideration of the various opinions vouchsafed on the subject lead him to believe is best in the interests of the nation. Like many of the people who have spoken, I cannot talk with the knowledge of the individual who has stood at a bar to the advantage of the man in the spirit trade and I approach this question without any enthusiasm at all. I did not take part in the Second Reading debate and I cannot be worked up to any great feeling of hope or confidence that this Bill will change the character of our people.

Having listened to Senator Miss Pearse, Senator Mrs. Concannon and my colleague, Senator O'Dwyer, I am convinced that, in this legislation or any legislation of the kind, we are merely scratching the surface, and while I am prepared to concede to Senator Miss Pearse and other Senators that there are great social evils here, accentuated perhaps in recent times by the entry into the ranks of liquid consumers of quite a number of people who were not to be found there in the past, nevertheless if we intend radically to alter things and to make them better, we must do something other than studying in this microscopic fashion a Bill such as this.

It is not the licensing laws which are at fault; it is not the weakness of our licensing laws which is bringing quite a number of new people into the bars of the City of Dublin to-day. It is a great evil. It is, I think, a national evil, and it is a problem which we will not solve by a Bill of this kind. At the same time, it is a problem which has to be tackled because it threatens the life of the nation of the future. I heard a speech by Senator Campbell on the Second Reading which was a revelation to me. I should not be prepared to let a situation such as described there develop. I should not be content to let such a situation continue, much less to develop. I wonder what we fought for and what use we intended to make of our liberty if we permit such developments as these to take place?

I feel that whether the faults which demand this restrictive legislation be in our educational system or in the character of our people, they are faults which we will not solve by a Bill like this, and I beg those people who think that by restrictive legislation we are going to make, as somebody, perhaps rather jocosely, said, saints of us all, to look deeper. I think that all of us will spend the nation's time to much greater advantage by trying to look under the surface to discover what are the causes which are creating the situation which we seek to remedy by this legislation. I believe in liberty. I know that the liberty to take drink has never been the cause of creating a condition of intoxication for my colleague, Senator O'Dwyer, but it was not the restrictions which demanded the closing of the public houses at certain hours on weekdays and keeping them closed on Sundays which kept him a sober man all his life, nor was it they did it for me. It was not the restrictions which were the cause of keeping others of my colleagues here from going into a public house night after night for their bottle of stout. On the other hand, I cannot see why it is not possible for us to develop an outlook by which we can be more temperate in every way.


Would the Senator not relate his speech to the actual wording of the amendment?

The argument made is that this extension to 10.30 will be disastrous. I feel that it may be in the City of Dublin. It may have the effect of causing more money to be spent on drink in some homes than those homes can afford, or than would have been spent if the hours were shorter, but at present the truth is that, in existing conditions, much more money is being spent on intoxicating drink out of these homes than is good for those homes or for the people who take that drink. These are the conditions to-day, and I should like people to address themselves to these conditions and to see what would be the effect of closing the public houses an hour earlier. I do not know to what extent less money would be spent out of these homes by these people and nobody can tell us. So far as the figures give us any information, we do not seem to be taking as much drink now as in the past.

What was the result in those countries in which the public houses were closed altogether? Would that not be some guide?

They rushed into an experiment in America and created an appalling illicit traffic. To a certain extent, there is an illicit traffic in the use and consumption of alcohol here. In rural districts, we know some of the abuses which exist. There is that grave danger. You can have such fear in respect of abuse of liberty that you feel impelled to restrict the liberty of other people to such an extent that you create an evil even greater than that from which you tried to save the people.

I confess quite frankly that I am impressed by the attitude and the approach of Senator Robinson to this matter. The people on the Continent can sit and sip their wines, drinking temperately and moderately. I do not know what we can do, or what anybody is trying to do, to educate our people to a realisation that it is a much better thing to drink temperately and moderately than intemperately. As between the different groups—those who, like myself, Senator O'Dwyer and a number of others, do not take intoxicating drink, the people who take an occasional drink and the people on the outer fringe who take too much—there is no real coming together to see what can be done towards finding a solution of the evil which exists.

I feel that, so far as the country districts are concerned, the concession made was a sensible concession. In the summer season men in the hay-field are accustomed to have a drink when they get paid, and I believe that it has a cheerful and health-giving effect. I know men who can take a drink in moderation and for that reason I believe that in the country districts the concession of a change of time was the sensible one. Whether you are going to interfere with people in the cities, because there are certain restrictions in the country, is a matter on which city people will be more competent to express an opinion. If we leave the position as it is, social conditions being what they are, it may be that the effort to improve legislation of this kind may not be achieved.

I honestly believe that some of us were discomfited by what was put before the House on the Second Reading. We must approach this whole problem in a reasonable way. I do not think that an extension of the hours in the country districts is going to make for more temperance. I do not know if things will be much worse in the cities than they are now, no matter what liberty is given. Apparently numbers of people are spending up to the maximum of their incomes. What the Minister decided to do in the Dáil probably fairly represents the position. I remember that the argument when the original Act was passed was that it was an experimental proposal. We may go on experimenting, but a great many people will continue to take more drink than is good for them. We will have to look elsewhere for a solution of this problem. That is what we should tackle rather than thinking that we are going to make everything right by the passage of this Bill.

The outstanding feature of this Bill appears to be an extension of the facilities for obtaining intoxicating liquor and it will be very hard, in face of that, to convince the public that this Bill is an improvement. The most remarkable thing was the statement that this Bill would appeal to the bulk of the people. One Senator stated that the public should get what it demands. I have not heard any insistent demand from any quarter for an extension of the hours. The prevailing laws should be sufficient to deal with those whose only object is to obtain intoxicating liquor outside the regular hours. That being their only purpose, the existing laws should be sufficient to deal with them. There is a reason for making a distinction between the hours in the country and in towns. By extending the hours until 10.30 on Saturday night hardship will be inflicted on the bulk of the owners, and also on their assistants, of whom there are very large numbers. There has been no demand for that change and if the public gets what it demands it means inflicting hardship on other sections of the community. Transport at the present time is not available after 10 o'clock, except where a few trams are available. That means that assistants in many cases will not be able to leave the business premises until midnight. It is often after midnight when such cleaning is completed, and very difficult cleaning it is. Many of the assistants are married, and have families, so that they may not reach their homes until Sunday morning. That is wrong. A difficulty may also be created for employers in connection with the terms of service of their employees. Such a difficulty is bound to arise. It would certainly arise about other clauses, if they are enforced, and might lead to dislocation that would not be at all desirable. As to the Sunday opening hours——


We are dealing only with the morning and evening hours now.

These hours mean a very long day. The tendency in all modern industries in civilised countries is to do away altogether with night work, and for that reason the Seanad should consider carefully before extending the hours in the towns beyond 10 o'clock.

I have not made any close study of this question, but generally my view is that it is a matter of education and of proper standards of life. If people drink when they are together it seems to be the commonly accepted term that they are good company, but if they do not drink they are said to be unsociable. That is an entirely wrong outlook on the value of life. I should like to hear the Minister explain why the Dáil pressed him to give way on the 10 o'clock closing. He said that he had to give way. I have no doubt that both Parties pressed him. I should like to know if it was a case of force majeure. If people sit up until 12 o'clock at night that cuts into the next day and to my mind affects their efficiency.

I should like to know what point Senator Sir John Keane is raising.

I am asking the Minister to specify the argument which prevailed upon those who evidently had to give way in favour of extending the closing hours in the country from 11 to 12 p.m.


We are not discussing that now. That is another point. The House is now discussing amendments Nos. 3 and 4 which deal with opening and closing hours on weekdays in the boroughs.

I should like to say one more word. I do not believe you will get this matter into a proper light until you make the public house a real workingman's club which supplies all kinds of refreshments.

Mr. Johnston

I agree with some Senators who have stated that we cannot legislate people into sobriety. At the same time, I must say that when any question of the licensing laws came up, from the time of the Irish Party in the British House of Commons down to the present day in our own national Assembly, there were always two Parties concerned in it, those on behalf of the licensed vintners and those on behalf of the people who wanted if possible to make the country temperate. We have the same influences and the same persuasions at work at the present time on members of the Dáil and Seanad so as to get the views of these people to prevail. I suppose other members of the Seanad as well as myself have got circulars from different classes of people in connection with this matter. I think it is a shame that outsiders should be endeavouring to influence people here to do what they might consider was not right in the interests of the people for whom they are supposed to legislate.


I hope the Senator is not forgetting that we are dealing with amendments Nos. 3 and 4. We are not dealing with the general question, but with the question of opening and closing hours on weekdays in the boroughs.

Mr. Johnston

I want to deal with it so far as the country is concerned. I come from a rural district which is within half a mile of a rural public house, and I can say definitely that that particular publican would be delighted to have the closing hour made earlier, instead of keeping himself and his family up until midnight and afterwards. If it is right to allow public houses to keep open until 11 o'clock, what is wrong with keeping them open until 12 or 1 o'clock? Why not leave them open all night? We are told that the same amount of money will be spent on drink, anyhow. In the county which I come from, in the last few years there have unfortunately been a number of deaths due directly to excessive drinking. Some of these people who left a public house in a town at 11.30 or 12 o'clock were found dead on the road. Why should we pass legislation to extend the hours to facilitate such people? Even if they represent only one in a million, it is too many.

Another point has been referred to here, namely, giving an opportunity to the workingman, especially the rural workingman, after he does his day's work, to go to the local publichouse, whether in a town or a rural district, and have a bottle or two of stout. Is there any workingman working later than 7 o'clock at present? If he wants to get a drink, has he not plenty of time to get it up to 10 or 11 o'clock without extending it to midnight? Are we not to consider any other people except publicans and those who want to get drink? How many times have we heard of the hardship inflicted on little children whose mother is unable to provide them with the proper necessaries of life owing to the fact that the father, even if he is not actually a drunkard, is spending money on drink which should be going to the support of his children? Are Senators prepared to extend the facilities so as to encourage such things as that? Certainly I for one am not. I put it to Senators that when they are legislating for an extension of hours they are legislating for something which, possibly, little children who are only toddling about at present will be, in the future, if not cursing them for, at least dissatisfied with.

Not so many years ago one of the popular slogans in this country was, "Ireland sober, Ireland free". We are supposed to be free— at least we are, up to a certain degree —but some people apparently have it in their heads that, having accomplished that, we have no need to be sober any longer, and consequently ought to provide greater facilities for drinking. It has also been argued here that you cannot make people sober by legislation. If you cannot do that, you can at least prevent them from getting drunk. Will anyone contend that the new licensing laws have not very materially helped sobriety and done away with drunkenness in this country? I remember a time when public houses remained open until 11 o'clock and reopened at 7 o'clock in the morning, and had clients all the time. I remember seeing men, when they were going to work at 7 o'clock in the morning, going into a public house to get a "curer", as it was called, before going to work. Do we want to go back to that?

It has been argued that 10.30 is a reasonable hour. With equal force it will be argued that 11 o'clock is a reasonable hour, and, having got that, it will still further be argued that 12 o'clock is a reasonable hour. I submit that 10 o'clock has been tried and has given satisfaction generally, and that there is no justification for changing that hour, notwithstanding what has occurred in the Dáil and the reference here to a general election. It would appear as if temperance people in the country were becoming of no consequence when their opinion can be ignored by public representatives. I do not think there is any serious opposition to this amendment for an earlier closing hour. The matter has been very well discussed, and I think nine-tenths of the speakers are in favour of the amendment. Therefore, I think it is not necessary for me to offer any further argument in support of the amendment, and that we should take a division on the matter.

Might I say, so as not to cause embarrassment and possibly misunderstanding, that I do not mind if the sentiments of my namesake are attributed to me?

Before a decision is come to, as my name is down to one of the amendments, there are two other aspects to which I did not refer before that I should like to mention. In the first place, I am rather surprised and somewhat disappointed at my friend, Senator Baxter, who thinks this is an experiment and that it is to be viewed simply as an experiment. I want strongly to support what Senator Foran said. I was about to get up and point out, though not in such a witty speech, that any study of the question of the licensing laws or of legislation of this kind over Europe will show that, whereas you cannot make one individual sober by Act of Parliament, you can, by wise and well-thought-out legislation, do a great deal to increase the sobriety of the nation as a whole. You have only to look at the Scandinavian countries, to which I referred before, to legislation elsewhere, or to look at our own country.

It is not very long since the late Kevin O'Higgins introduced a Bill that met with far greater opposition than any opposition that has been put forward on any side to this particular Bill, and I do not at all agree with Senator Johnston when he thinks that this is a matter of the licensed trade versus the temperance movement. We have listened to Senator Honan, who has had wide experience, and he thinks that 10 o'clock is reasonable, and he will certainly not be accused of representing the temperance interests here. There are a number of publicans, who are anxious to run their businesses and to run them satisfactorily, who do not want an increase in the hours, and I think it would be a mistake to imagine that this is simply a matter for the trade. To my mind, the onus is on those who want to increase the number of hours to prove that it will be in the interests of the nation to do so. No such case has been made, and the onus is not on those of us who are defending the present legislation which has been in force for a very considerable time.

The principal other point that I wanted to make is this. I have been —and I think members of the House who have been members as long as I have will bear out that this is so—an advocate of shorter hours for trading, generally. I did my best to get shorter hours in my own trade, and I am not, therefore, advocating something for another trade which I did not try to do when it affected myself, but one of the obstacles I found, and which would exist now but for the emergency, was that people in other trades, particularly on Saturday nights, are unwilling to close earlier so long as licensed traders are allowed to remain open. That does not mean that they are opposed to the licensed trade, as such, or that they are accusing publicans of being immoral persons or persons who are not conducting their business properly. It means that amongst a very large section of the population, whose wages are small, there is considerable competition on Saturday nights as to what proportion of those wages will be spent on the purchase of groceries or other reasonable needs of the family and what proportion will be spent on liquor, which may be all right but not a necessity. So far as a great number of people in the cities, at any rate, are concerned, Saturday is pay day, and, therefore, an extension of the hours on that night is a serious matter, and in some places may be a very serious matter. I do not know about the half hour extension, but as a young man I lived in a part of the city where there were public houses on the opposite side of the street. They were perfectly well conducted public houses, but on Saturday nights the conditions were often disgraceful, and the owners said that they would give anything to get rid of the Saturday night drunkenness. I know, therefore, that the movement towards an earlier closing was a distinct gain. That did not mean that, by an Act of Parliament, everything was made all right, but it certainly made for a great improvement, and to go back now a half hour is a retrograde step. I suggest that if an extension of a half hour is passed, it will mean that the next time the Minister has to bring in a small amending Bill— perhaps because some flaws are found in this Bill—it will be said: "Oh! we have already extended the hours by a half hour, and therefore we might as well extend them by another half hour." In my opinion, the Seanad should disagree with what seems to be a retrograde step.

On this matter of the hours I should like to ask the Minister if my interpretation is correct: that, assuming the House would accept this amendment, we still have an extension of half an hour on Saturday night. I should like to know whether it is made a flat rate of 10 o'clock all round. Personally, I object to these half hours in any case. I do not like the question of the half hour at any time, but I should like if the Minister or some Senator would tell me that my contention is correct: that it means that the public houses open at 10 o'clock in the morning and close at 10 o'clock in the evening. That would mean that the matter is left as it was before this legislation was introduced, except that there is a difference of half an hour on Saturday night.

That is right.

It is right, so far as this amendment is concerned.

Personally, I object to the half hour for two reasons: first, because I object to this business of half hours generally, and, secondly, because in the country the extension of a half hour on a Saturday night would be a help to people who travel into the towns to do their business. I do not want to make the argument that we should go back to 9.30 in the city, but I am in favour of having the 10 o'clock closing in the rural areas, and I would be satisfied to have that extra half hour on Saturday night both for country and city.


Is the amendment being pressed?

Would it be in order to take amendment No. 4 first? After all, it is the vital matter. If it is in order to do so, I move it so as to put it before the House.


Senator Douglas is right, I think, in suggesting that amendment No. 4 should be taken first. That amendment simply deals with the closing hour in the boroughs, which is the main matter.

Why not take the two amendments together?


We cannot do that, as they are separate amendments, and will require separate decisions. In order to avoid misunderstanding, perhaps I had better state that we are taking amendment No. 4 before amendment No. 3, and that the effect of the carrying of that amendment will be to insert the word "ten" instead of the words "half-past ten" in page 2, line 34. It relates to the evening closing hour in the boroughs. I hope that is clear.

Amendment No. 4 put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 24; Níl, 12.

  • Baxter, Patrick F.
  • Campbell, Seán P.
  • Concannon, Helena.
  • Counihan, John J.
  • Cummins, William.
  • Douglas, James G.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Foran, Thomas.
  • Goulding, Seán.
  • Hayes, Michael.
  • Hogan, Patrick.
  • Honan, Thomas V.
  • Johnston, James.
  • Johnston, Joseph.
  • Kehoe, Patrick.
  • Kennedy, Margaret L.
  • Lynch, Eamonn.
  • McGillycuddy of the Reeks, The.
  • O Buachalla, Liam.
  • O'Donovan, Seán.
  • O'Dwyer, Martin.
  • O'Neill, Laurence.
  • Nic Phiarais, Maighréad M.
  • Stafford, Matthew.


  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Colbert, Michael.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • Corkery, Daniel.
  • Crosbie, James.
  • Doyle, Patrick.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • MacCabe, Dominick.
  • McGee, James T.
  • O Máille, Pádraic.
  • Quirke, William.
  • Robinson, David L.
Tellers:—Tá, Senators Foran and Hogan; Níl, Senators Crosbie and Doyle.
Amendment declared carried.
Amendment No. 3 put and declared carried.


We now come to amendment No. 6. This deals with the opening and closing hours on Sundays in the boroughs, and also with the split hours. Along with amendment No. 6, I think should go amendments Nos. 8, 9 and 10, as far as the debate is concerned.

I move amendment No. 6:—

In page 2, to delete paragraph (b) (i) and to insert in lieu thereof a new paragraph as follows:—

(i) in the case of the County Borough of Dublin or the Dublin metropolitan area before the hour of 1 o'clock in the afternoon or after between the hours of 3 o'clock and 5 o'clock in the afternoon or after the hour of 7 o'clock in the evening.

The first point, of course, is the opening at 1 o'clock instead of at 2 o'clock as provided in the Bill. So far as Dublin is concerned, clubs, restaurants, hotels, and all other places which are licensed for the sale of intoxicating liquors, open at 1 o'clock, and I think there is no reason why the public houses should not be allowed to open at the same hour. I know that the assistants who play Gaelic football and hurling object to the 1 o'clock opening, but I do not know why that is so. I was a hurler myself years ago, and I know that we had to be in the Phoenix Park at 10 o'clock in the morning.

Between 10 and 12 there is plenty of time for exercise and plenty of time to get back to work. I have sympathy with the assistants, but at the same time I do not see any great point in their objection to the hour. The other places that I have mentioned are open at 1 o'clock, and I think it right that the licensed houses should be allowed to be open also. Some time ago I happened to be waiting for a bus at just about 1 o'clock in the City of Dublin, and I saw a large number of men entering what I thought was a private house. I discovered that it was a club. Since then, I have been told that there are 80 or 90 of these clubs.

Eighty or 90?

In the City of Dublin. I cannot verify that but I have been told it is so. Men go into these places and become members of clubs. They get to know one another and there is more danger of their taking extra drink in these places than in an ordinary open licensed premises.

The split hour is the next question. The amendment proposes that the split hour period should be between the hours of 3 o'clock and 5 o'clock. The split hour suggested in the Bill is from 3 to 4 o'clock. The argument put up by a number of people here—I think it is a very proper one—is that a 3 to 4 o'clock closing is of very little use to anybody. It takes a certain amount of time to get premises cleared and to get them in order again. It gives very little rest to the assistants or those working in the premises, whereas if there was a split period of two hours it would give a certain amount of time to those working in the business. If you make the split hour 3 to 5, the period 5 to 6 would be a very short period and would create a tremendous rush. It would be very difficult for the attendants to supply the customers. I think the period between 5 and 7 would be reasonable. I have considered this matter and I think the more reasonable hours, from the point of view of the public and of those working in the business, are the hours I suggest, namely, 1 to 3 o'clock and 5 to 7 o'clock. I do not want to go into a Second Reading Debate as I am afraid most of the speakers on other amendments have, but I do want to refer to some statements that have been made. For instance, I have suggested an opening period from 5 to 7 in the evening and a statement has been made that nobody demands it, that it has not been demanded by the G.A.A. It has been pointed out that, on the occasion of a big match, crowds of people are in town and cannot get refreshments. But there is still no demand made. I think no demand will be made. You will never get people to publicly pronounce themselves to be in favour of having public houses open even though they may desire that they should be open.

For instance, the G.A.A. has not applied for it, but at a match in Croke Park there would be 30 players on the field. I am not thinking so much of them, but I am thinking of the 40,000 spectators. The match is over about 4.45 and there is a rush of people to the doors of all the refreshment places. People who have come from all parts of the country are denied the refreshment, which, I think, they are entitled to receive in the capital city. I have referred to this matter because the Minister has stated that this is to be a permanent Bill so far as he is concerned and we are legislating for conditions after the emergency. That being so, I think the hour I suggest, namely, 7 in the evening, is very reasonable and is the least time that should be given to people who come from all parts of the country to have a reasonable amount of refreshment. I hope nobody will think I am suggesting that there should be more intemperance or more facilities to allow people to get drunk. I am opposed to that. I do not think the suggestions that are being made in this Bill for an extension of the hours of opening, even if it were carried to 10.30, would result in any increase in the amount of drink taken. There is, unfortunately, in the community, as in every other community, a certain number of people who will take too much drink, no matter what hours are fixed. I think that those who do not indulge too much and who like a reasonable amount of refreshment at certain times should not be punished because of these individuals.


Will Senator Campbell move amendment No. 8?

I move amendment No. 8 and I think amendment No. 10 is complementary.



Amendment No. 8 is:—

In page 2, lines 41 and 42, to delete the words "or between the hours of three o'clock and four o'clock in the afternoon".

Amendment No. 10 is:—

In page 2, line 43, to delete the word "seven" and insert instead thereof the word "six".

The effect of the amendment would be to fix the Sunday hours for the trade between 2 and 6 o'clock and I would suggest that that is a reasonable hour and sufficient time for public houses to be open. The case has been made that people attending sporting functions were unable to procure necessary sustenance by reason of the fact that public houses were closing at 5 o'clock. We suggest that if the time was extended to 6, instead of 7, it would amply fulfil the requirements of people attending these functions. We suggest that the hours of Sunday opening should be from 2 to 6 and that there should be no split hour.

I was not very keen on the abolition of the split hour, but I do not think the period of four hours would increase the temptation to what is called the "long-sitter", in view of the fact that restrictions in cooking arrangements necessitate people being home for dinner at 1.30, which means that they would not use the public house until 2 o'clock or 2.30, so that the hours —in so far as the "long-sitter" is concerned—would not extend over the entire four hours. I think that is a reasonable compromise in regard to the opening hours on Sunday. The Minister referred particularly to the fact that the G.A.A. did not want the public houses open. Sporting functions are over at 4.45, and I think one and a quarter hours would be ample for any visitors to the city to procure that liquid refreshment which they seem to think is necessary to carry them home. The effect of the amendment would be that the opening on Sunday would be 2 to 6, without a split hour.

Mr. Cummins rose.


Perhaps it would be as well to get Senator Goulding to propose amendment No. 9, standing in the name of Senator Quirke, first. I am not preventing Senator Cummins from speaking.

In the temporary absence of Senator Quirke I formally move amendment No. 9 which stands in his name:—

In page 2, paragraph (b) (i), to delete the word "four" in line 42 and substitute therefor the word "five".

I think that if the hours of opening proposed in the Bill for the Dublin City area, 2 to 3 and 4 to 7, are adopted it will really mean that there will be a spread over of five hours within which drink will be available. I pointed out on the last occasion the difficulty of clearing licensed premises after a short opening of an hour, as will be necessary if the split hour arrangement is adopted. In my opinion it will lead to chaos in the trade and to a rather demoralising state of affairs because the man with the flowing bowl, in other words a pint of porter, is not going to leave it behind him if he has not quite finished it. Some men are slow drinkers and some are rather rapid drinkers, but the man who gets a pint of porter at 2.45 will see that he gets the full value of that pint before he leaves the premises. He is not going to choke himself or to commit hari-kari by swallowing the pint too quickly.

The extension of drinking facilities proposed in the Bill would, as I say, give a spread-over of five hours, while the proposal of Senator Conlon would give a spread-over of six hours. A man goes into a licensed premises at 2 o'clock and then after an hour goes home to his dinner, coming back an hour later ready for a fresh bout. I say that within each of these two periods a man will drink as much as he would drink if there were only one continuous session. We, therefore, propose that there should be one continuous opening from 2 to 6.

They would have to be carried out then.

I do not think so. I think the Minister will recollect that there is a very long session proposed for Saturday, from 3 to 10, and it seems that very few will be carried out after that very long session. I say that a break between two sessions is definitely calculated to renew a man's thirst. After the first session men will go home for dinner or lunch and come back again for the second session with a renewed thirst. I speak from observation and perhaps from experience. That is my principal objection, but I would also say that the hours 2 to 6 would be a relief to everybody and would be welcomed by the trade. That arrangement would meet the wishes of the G.A.A. and of the 40,000 people who sometimes attend football matches in the city. It would give them a full hour after the last match, which would be quite ample. I speak from the temperance point of view in saying that to open at 1 o'clock would be an incentive to drinking. Many of these public houses are situated beside places of worship. There is a temptation when one meets a friend coming from these places of worship to bid him the top of the morning and then to adjourn to some convenient hostelry if it be open. That is before dinner. There is probably a delay in going home to dinner with consequent complaints in the domestic circle and the man is also possibly late for the football match at which he had intended to be present. I think, therefore, from every point of view the arrangement for a continuous session from 4 to 6 would be the most desirable. It would meet the convenience of the public and of the workers engaged in the trade.

Senator Quirke's amendment would have the effect of giving a split period, if taken in conjunction with amendment No. 12, of two hours. I do not entirely agree with Senator Cummins that a long sitting of four hours would be more desirable than to have a split period between two openings. I think it would be more effective if one had time to get a drink or two in the initial opening period of one hour and then go home to a substantial meal. When he comes back he may not be inclined to drink so much, or it is possible that he may change his mind and not come back at all.

He may fall asleep.

Quite so. If the amendments we submit were accepted, they would curtail the proposed drinking hours by one, and would allow only three drinking hours in all. There is another argument against the hours proposed by the Labour Party. I agree that from the assistants' point of view the amendments suggested by the Labour Party might be desirable, but under the amendments which we suggest there would be a shortening of their hours and there would also be a two-hour interval. We think that would be better for the assistants also. The argument against a 6 o'clock closing is that it gives the man whom we all want to check two hours to enable him to get to outlying districts. In that period of two hours he would have ample time to consume a considerable amount of drink, and perhaps the very scenes which the Minister is anxious to avoid and which were created by these people would be just as bad as before. That is a possibility we are all anxious to check.

Speaking on the Second Reading, I said that it was a pity that we had to penalise decent people on account of people who drink to excess. Unfortunately we have to do that. If we were to accept the amendment to have the opening hours from 2 to 6, we would be giving these people a further opportunity of going to drink in outlying places after finishing a bout in the city. The interval between the closing hour in the city and the closing hour in outlying districts should be cut down to a minimum so that these people would have no chance of engaging in the discreditable scenes which this Bill was introduced to check.

I am not quite sure whether Senator Goulding has formally moved the amendment in my name.



In case Senator Goulding may have misrepresented me, I want to make it quite clear that this is not a Government amendment. The amendment was put down after a discussion between a few members of the House. The lines of argument in that discussion were rather varied and I must say that even the few Senators who were present there did not agree to any great extent on the matter.

In my opinion, the break of two hours is desirable for many reasons and ought to meet the views of many Senators who have spoken on this amendment and on other amendments. Some people believe that the more time a man has in a public house the more drunk he will get. I do not believe that. This amendment ought to meet the view of the people who believe that and should also meet the requirements of those who say that the employees would need more than an hour to go home for lunch. It would be scarcely possible for anybody to go any distance and have lunch within the break of an hour because there are always a few minutes of a hang-over from the official hour, when the premises are being closed, and the employees have to be back a short time before the opening hour. It is desirable, therefore, that there should be a two-hour break. There are numerous reasons why an unbroken four-hour opening is not desirable. This amendment should, I think, be seriously considered by the House.

I disagree with Senator Quirke in the statement that, when we were discussing this proposal, we did not agree. He will, I think, admit that we were practically unanimous in making these recommendations. We desired to have uniformity in all the county boroughs. The provisions of the Bill for the County Borough of Dublin are different from those for the other county boroughs. It is proposed in the Bill that, in Cork, the opening hours be 1 to 3 and, in Dublin, 2 to 3. I am now discussing the second amendment by Senator Quirke—amendment No. 12.


I do not think that that is really necessary now. We are dealing with the Dublin hours and amendment No. 12 refers to the other boroughs.

The aim is to get uniformity.


I shall not prevent the Senator from discussing amendment No. 12.

Our desire was to have the same hours of openings on Sundays in all the county boroughs. The hours proposed in the Bill for Cork are from 1 to 3 and from 5 to 7. The hours proposed for Dublin are from 2 to 3 and from 4 to 7. The amendment by Senator Quirke proposes to change the first period in Cork to from 2 to 3, leaving the second period as proposed in the Bill—from 5 to 7. Senator Quirke also proposes to leave the first period in Dublin as it is in the Bill—from 2 to 3—and to change the second period from 4 to 7 to from 5 to 7. That would mean a uniform break of two hours and it would mean that there would be the same period of opening in all the boroughs. That is very desirable. There is no reason why Dublin should have different hours from Cork or why Cork should have different hours from Dublin. The two-hour break is very important. It is important to the person who owns the licensed premises that he should have a two-hour recess and it is important to the assistant in Dublin that he should have two hours in the evening to himself instead of, as at present suggested, only one hour. To close at 3 o'clock and open at 4 o'clock would be, to my mind, ridiculous. I am satisfied that one hour is sufficient for the first opening. That is what is proposed in the Bill for Dublin—from 2 to 3 o'clock. I do not think that two hours are necessary, as is proposed in the case of Cork. It was to try to get uniform opening hours in all the county boroughs that we proposed to change the first period in Cork and the second period in Dublin, leaving a two-hour recess in both cases.

What is the position now?

The hours proposed in the Bill for Dublin are 2 to 3 and 4 to 7 and in Cork 1 to 3 and 5 to 7. We propose to make these hours 2 to 3 and 5 to 7.

Yes. I think that the standardisation of the hours is, in itself, a sufficient argument for the 2 amendment. The argument for the 2 to 3 opening in Dublin was that it would give an opportunity to the assistants to play matches in the forenoon and the immediate afternoon. The people in Cork could put up the same argument and, if they had been nearer here, so that they could get the ear of the Minister, they would, probably, have advanced that argument. When closing at 3 and opening at 5, the assistants have a chance of playing a match in the afternoon and they also have a chance of seeing an All-Ireland final. The owner of the licensed premises would, probably, also like to see the final, instead of listening in, as at present, and trying to serve drinks at the same time. I think that the standardisation of the hours throughout the county boroughs and the provision of a two-hour recess would facilitate those of the public who frequent these premises, the owners of the premises and the assistants.

I should like to explain how I came to differentiate as between the boroughs. The original proposals were that, in the four county boroughs, there should be opening periods of from 1 to 2 and from 4 to 7 on Sundays. So far as I recollect, the reasons for fixing 1 o'clock as the opening hour were those given by Senator Conlon. One o'clock is the opening hour on Sundays for bona fide houses. It is also the time when clubs and hotels may commence to serve drink. I understand that many people like to have a drink before dinner. It appeared to me to be in the general interest that those people should be enabled to have a drink or two drinks before their dinner. As I explained so frequently, I had the further object—to prevent the rush from the city which occurred between 5 o'clock and 8 o'clock when the city public houses were closed. Everybody knows what happened during that period. The scenes were simply disgraceful. I aimed at narrowing the gap as much as possible. There was also the consideration regarding the crowds from outside who come to these matches and also the city people who attend them. Many local people go to the big soccer matches, which are lately becoming very popular in all the county boroughs.

There was always Sunday soccer in Dublin but, so far as I remember, the big matches used to be played on Saturdays. That has changed and people who go to these matches are entitled to get a drink if they want one. I do not see why there should not be an extension of facilities to enable them to get a drink if they want it. I am not a bit ashamed to say that. If they want facilities to get a drink in those circumstances, then I think the facilities ought to be provided. As Senators know, it is the abuses in connection with Sunday drinking that I have been trying to get after in this Bill. Most of those people, obviously, would not be drinking while they were looking at a football match. If they want to get a drink when the match is over they ought to be allowed reasonable time to get it, and not beobliged to rush in madly to get it before the closing hour. My view is that a reasonable time ought to be given them to have their drink and to discuss the match. That time may or may not suit the grocers' assistants or the publicans.

I said, previously, that I was not concerned with that. The publicans are carrying on a catering business and know what is expected of them. The assistants are guaranteed a 48-hour week, so that the hours to be worked in that business are a matter for arrangement between the publicans and their assistants. In my view, the public convenience ought to be the first consideration in this matter. On the question of an opening hour from 1 to 2, the Cork people came to see me. I do not mean to be disrespectful to the Seanad when I say that separate areas are better represented in the Dáil than they are in this House. I understand that there is no area representation here. Senators represent the whole country, and in that respect are, perhaps, capable of giving a better view of the country as a whole. In the county boroughs outside of Dublin—Cork, Limerick and Waterford—there was unanimity amongst the public representatives that the hours 1 to 3 and 5 to 7 would suit them better. In the case of a Bill of this kind I, naturally, was anxious to get as much agreement as possible, because I believe that if such agreement represents the public point of view, the law will be more easily enforced. Some people have said that I was weak in agreeing to different hours for these three county boroughs outside of Dublin. My own view is that it was a sensible thing to do, since there was public support for the demand made. As I have said, where you have that public support there is a far better chance of having the law observed. Since, therefore, there was unanimity amongst the representatives of the county boroughs outside of Dublin on the hours they wanted, I undertook to bring in an amendment to meet their wishes, so that now the hours for the county boroughs outside of Dublin are 1 to 3 and 5 to 7.

I do not think Senator O'Donovan was right when he said that the same demand for a later opening than 1 o'clock was made in the case of Cork as well as Dublin. If the demand was there, I am sure I would have heard of it, because Cork people, even those in Dublin, are able to make themselves heard. If the Cork assistants had made the same demand as the assistants in Dublin in regard to being able to play matches on Sundays, I believe I would have heard of it. I did meet a deputation of Dublin assistants connected with the G.A.A. on the question of the Sunday hours. They indicated that they entirely agreed with my proposal in regard to hours for the bona fide traffic, but that they did not like the opening until 7 o'clock. They asked that the hours should be from 2 to 6 or, preferably, to leave them as they were in the Bill originally. I would not agree to either suggestion. They made the case that the G.A.A. in Dublin, from the playing point of view, depended largely on the support it got from the grocers' assistants. I knew that to be so. They indicated that they would be greatly handicapped, from the point of view of taking part as playing members in the games, if they had to turn in at 1 o'clock for a Sunday opening. I may not have been right in acceding to the wishes of any particular section of the community, but at the same time I felt I was justified in taking the action I did, and in agreeing to the hours now set out in the Bill. The matter was discussed at great length in the Dáil. I would much prefer to have the same hours for the four county boroughs, but, eventually, I agreed, in the case of Dublin, that the Sunday opening should not be before 2 o'clock. In doing so, I was aware, of course, of the position in regard to clubs which can open on Sundays at 1 o'clock. I may say, in passing, that the clubs are not nearly as numerous as Deputy Dillon, in the Dáil, said they were. Senator Conlon has said, in connection with clubs, that people can continue drinking in them for longer hours than they can in public houses which are more easily supervised. I see that difficulty, but in view of the amount of pressure that was brought to bear on me, and of the fact, which I admit, that I was favourable myself to the G.A.A. point of view, I agreed to change the hours for Dublin to those set out in the Bill.

The question of the split hour was debated at great length in the Dáil. I stuck out, for all I was worth, for the split hour, and got great support from all sides in the Dáil for my point of view. I am satisfied that, if you had not the split hour on Sundays, continuous drinking would take place, more so even than on a Saturday, so that I am definitely opposed to any change that would do away with the split hour on Sundays. I got very valuable support in the Dáil from, as I have said, all sides for the split hour on Sundays, and the proposal is one that, I think, should not be departed from. In the Dáil, on the Recommittal Stage of the Bill, I brought in an amendment providing for a break of one and a half hours for the reason that I saw the difficulty of having a gap of only one hour. After a good deal of debate I was prevailed upon to drop it. Deputy Norton was very keen on the abandonment of that proposal. He spoke of the bargaining power which the extra half hour—four hours instead of three and a half hours— would give the assistants, indicating that it would mean an extra half day during the week for them. He would prefer to have three hours on a Sunday to three and a half hours. Eventually I agreed on the hours set out in the Bill for Dublin on Sundays, namely, 2 to 3 and 4 to 7. Personally, I do not mind what hours the Seanad may fix so long as the principle of the split hour is maintained, and that the closing hour is 7 o'clock. I am strongly opposed, however, to a continuous opening from 2 to 6. Senators may say that the Bill looks bad from the point of view that there are different opening hours on Sundays for Dublin and the other county boroughs. I would like to have avoided that if it were possible, but, as I have already indicated, my desire was to meet the views of the representatives of the different areas.

Will the Minister say if the figures given by Senator Conlon are correct, that there are 80 or 90 clubs in Dublin licensed to sell intoxicating liquor?

There are 89 clubs, including sports clubs, in Dublin and the surrounding areas. Thirty-two of them are ordinary clubs. I would not say that they would be altogether drinking clubs. In the Dáil Deputy Dillon said that there were 200 licensed clubs in Dublin. That is not so.

I said on the Second Reading of the Bill that I felt great diffidence in speaking on it at all, and would keep my mind open until I had heard the arguments. I confess that I am seldom convinced by anything Senator O'Donovan says, but I am very glad to find myself convinced this evening by what he has said. What I have heard from the Minister has convinced me still more. I agree entirely that when assistants, or working people of any kind, have been enjoying a certain privilege for a considerable length of time it should not be withdrawn from them unless in very grave circumstances. While I am not familiar with the inside of public houses myself, I know a very considerable number of people who reasonably frequent them, and since this Bill was introduced I have made the best endeavours possible to get from those people, and particularly from the ordinary person who does not drink to excess, some view about the Sunday hours. I have found agreement amongst them that there should be a split hour. They agree with the Minister and, apparently, with the majority of the Dáil and with, what I hope will be, the majority here.

It seems to me very clear that the 2 to 6 opening, without a break, is a bad suggestion. I was rather inclined to think myself that it was a good compromise as between the claims of the assistants and the claims of the Minister until, as I have said, I consulted a number of people who are quite familiar with public houses as customers. All of them have said to me that they are entirely in favour of the split hour on Sundays. The Minister's point about the 7 o'clock closing and the so-called bona fide traffic is, I think, also coercive.

I find myself, therefore, rather in favour of the suggestion of 2 to 3 and 5 to 7, as far as the summer months are concerned. Senator O'Donovan did make a case for the 2-hour break, in so far as it would be of great assistance to those interested in games, whether employers or employees. I do not know how we could get unaminity in all the county boroughs. The hours 1.30 to 3 and 5 to 7 may be suitable. If there is a division, I certainly will vote for a split period and I prefer two hours to one hour, both from the point of view of the public and that of the assistants. Whether 1.30 to 3 and 5 to 7 would work or not I do not know, but I suppose we would find that out only by practice. I think it is bad not to have a break.

The hours 2 to 3 and 5 to 7 seem to make a good scheme, but if it is true that there are 89 places in Dublin City and surroundings where one can get a drink at 1 o'clock, then I think the Minister had a lot in his favour when he recommended that the ordinary public houses should open at 1 o'clock. I have exactly the same sympathy, and practically the same history, as the Minister in regard to the G.A.A. and the grocers' assistants who play games. As a public representative, I think it is much more desirable that men who want a drink should be able to go into the ordinary licensed premises, conducted in a particular way and under supervision, than that they should turn into a club at 1 o'clock on a Sunday. I will vote for the split hour, and on that basis I would let the hours be continued to 7 o'clock, in order to see whether that would compete with the bona fide traffic. There seems to be a case for opening before 2 o'clock, or else a case—which could not be dealt with in this Bill—for preventing clubs from selling drink before the ordinary licensed premises are open.

The majority of the clubs mentioned are golf clubs with licences. You can play golf up to 2 o'clock and have a drink then.

I am a member of a golf club and see very little drinking between 1 and 2. I do not think that the particular golf club to which I belong would be at any loss if there were no drinking before 2 o'clock, unless you were taking a meal. The abuse takes place in a different type of club, and I do not see why a club member should have an advantage over an ordinary citizen.

Why not apply that to the Kildare Street Club?

My sympathies in regard to the Kildare Street Club are identical with those of Senator Foran. Such a change would involve no extension in the hours of drinking. I know it would cause inconvenience to some people, but I do not see how that can be remedied.

All these arguments are so good and so sensible that it is extremely hard to know with which to agree. I would like to reinforce Senator Cummins' remarks about the single hour. I never liked it and I think in the end it will mean, as it meant in England when it was tried there, that you have to close down and refuse to serve people a quarter of an hour before closing time. You have two types of people to deal with—the man who rushes and drinks quickly and the other who is always a little late and is often difficult to get out. The latter type may be the cause of scenes, which would not occur if there were two periods of two hours each, as the Minister suggested originally.

As there are various amendments, I am not quite sure how the question will be put on which we are to vote. I stand for the split hour, and preferably for a split two hours. It is not desirable that an advantage should be given to clubs as against public houses. Further, there should not be sufficient time to make it worth a man's while to rush out to the bona fide area after the public houses close in town. I would like to vote for the hours 1 to 3 and 5 to 7. As far as opening is concerned, that would put the public houses in the same position as the clubs.

Yes, as far as opening is concerned.

Again, I would vote against any proposal that has no break. These hours would give a four hours run—two periods of two hours each, with a two-hour break. If a man is settled down in a public house and then is put out at 7 o'clock, he will not find it worth his while trying to get to, say, Lucan, where they would close at 8 o'clock. I would like to vote for the hours 1 to 3 and 5 to 7.

Those are the hours for Cork, Limerick and Waterford.


Those are the hours in Senator Conlon's amendment, and it is open to Senator Fitzgerald to vote for it. A question to test the opening hour of 1 o'clock will be put first on that amendment.

I would suggest that all amendments relating to Sunday closing be withdrawn and that time be given, before they are withdrawn, for all the members of the House to express their preferences. Then we should endeavour to put down one or two amendments on the Report Stage which would give a clear view of what is proposed. That would save any waste of time. I think there is enough agreement amongst us to do that.

I do not think there is need for any increase in the total number of hours on Sundays. Secondly, I am definitely in favour of a split hour. The best advice I can get is that there is a clear case for it and that a two-hour split is better than a one-hour one. If there is to be a split, it is better to give drinking facilities before a meal or with a meal, as that would do less harm, than when the drink is not followed by a meal.

I do not see why the Minister could not deal with clubs in this Bill, as some of the sections in the 1927 Act affect clubs. I am a member of two clubs in Dublin, but am not in favour of clubs being used for drinking purposes in order to take away the legitimate business of the licensed trade. If we are to deal with illicit drinking and the breaking of rules in a club or public house, we must change the method of penalty and put it on the person who breaks the law, not solely on the club or licensed trader.

Business suspended at 6 p.m. and resumed at 7 p.m.

There is no desire on the part of Senator Campbell or myself to press our amendment in view of the suggestion made by Senator Douglas, that all the amendments should be withdrawn for the time being in order to see if a reasonable compromise could be reached between the parties who have amendments down. I have reason to believe that if such a course were adopted we might be able to reach an agreement. I do not want to take up the time of the House arguing the merits of any particular amendment in which I might be interested and, therefore, I say that all the parties concerned should agree to the suggestion made by Senator Douglas, that these amendments should be suspended in order that we will have a chance of coming together and arriving at some compromise. So far as our people are concerned, we believe we could go some distance to meet the arguments advanced in favour of other amendments.

In my opinion, it is scarcely necessary to do what Senator Douglas and Senator Foran suggest. In so far as we could get any indication from the House, I think most people here are agreed that the hours suggested in Senator Conlon's amendment are all right; that is, from 1 to 3 and 5 to 7, and that we should have those hours spread over all the cities. During the tea adjournment I discussed this matter with other people. Some were inclined to think the hours should be 1 to 2 and 5 to 7, so as to give a break of three hours; but if my information is correct, that would not be desirable, from several points of view. In the first place, it would be against the interests of the employees to cut the time so as to have it under four hours, and, in the second place, I believe a two hours' break is quite sufficient anyhow and that there is no necessity for a break of three hours.

We have not argued the merits of our case, I should like to point out. I want to know if there is any reasonable hope, should these amendments be withdrawn, that the parties concerned will consult in order to see how far it is possible to put down an agreed amendment for the Report Stage. Surely that is a reasonable suggestion.

That is quite reasonable.

If some decision could be arrived at with regard to these amendments, it will enable us to get through the business more quickly. I have a feeling that some arrangement could be arrived at on the subject of the split hours. I think the majority of the House are in favour of having split hours. If that point is decided, we could then deal with what hours would be most suitable. Senator O'Donovan and others seem to be in favour of having uniformity. If we could reach agreement on those points we could get on with the other business. I think the matter has been fairly well discussed.

I think it should be possible to reach agreement in relation to some of these amendments. It seems to me that most Senators are inclined to agree we should have a split hour and that we should shorten the time between the hours of closing public houses here and in the country districts.

During the tea interval I had conversations with other Senators, who put forward suggestions with regard to this matter. I think we are making a mistake if we assume that this will not come up in some other form on the Report Stage. I believe, however, that there will be a large measure of agreement, so that you will have only one or two issues to deal with. At the same time, if Senators are anxious to press their amendments we cannot force them to withdraw.

If the amendments are withdrawn now they could be reintroduced on the Report Stage, if necessary; that is, if agreed hours do not emerge.

If all the amendments relating to this matter are withdrawn there will remain only three on which there will be a clear issue and on which we could have a division. If we were to divide on all the amendments we might adopt ideas actually contrary to each other.

If these amendments are withdrawn now and no agreement is reached, on the next stage we shall find ourselves confined to one speech. Could they not be recommitted—would that not be feasible? If we cannot do something like that, the debate will be exceedingly limited.

That will be purely a matter for the Seanad.

I think Senators should know where they stand in this matter, what they are being committed to. I should like to feel that the Seanad is not irrevocably against recommittal, if that point should arise.

On a matter of procedure, I should like to know what arrangements there are for holding meetings of the different groups in order to reach some agreement on this matter. So far as I understand, there is fairly general agreement on the amendment moved by Senator Conlon, and if we could get that matter settled it would be very advisable, because there is no use going over this ground again and again. If we were to settle that point we might be able to reach agreement on the remaining questions. I think it would be better to put Senator Conlon's amendment to the House.

I am quite agreeable to withdraw my amendment in favour of Senator Conlon's and I agree with Senator O Máille that that will help to put things more in order. Not alone is there a possibility, but there is a great probability that we will find it difficult to reach agreement on all the amendments.

The one thing I do not like in this amendment is the reference to 1 o'clock. I have in view the G.A.A.——

I suggest that the merits of this matter should not be discussed just now, and that the House should consider Senator Douglas's suggestion to postpone consideration of these particular amendments with the object of having a substitute amendment or substitute amendments introduced on the Report Stage.

My point is that there will be one or two clear amendments upon which we can decide.

The matters at issue have been very well discussed all day and if they are to come up again it will mean a new discussion, with various interests watching, and a lot of time will be occupied before the matter can be decided.

As I understand it, there are only three amendments before the House and one is now being withdrawn.

I am quite prepared to withdraw amendment No. 10, provided that the other Senators are prepared to withdraw theirs, but I should like to make it clear that I reserve the right to propose an alternative on Report Stage, even though it would upset the amendment carried.

If the Seanad decides to proceed with the discussion of these amendments, three separate questions will be put to elucidate the matter: one on the opening hour; another on the split hour, and a third on the closing hour.

What are we discussing now?

We are discussing the three aspects of the matter, but there will be separate decisions if they are called for.

The Minister told us that he had agreed to 2 o'clock because the assistants interested in the national games had asked for it. I personally am quite satisfied to have the split period of two hours, but I would oppose an opening at 1 o'clock under these considerations.

I was about to make a somewhat similar suggestion. If we could agree to a 1.30 opening, it would give the G.A.A. men more time for their forenoon games. I have been given to understand that if we accept this proposal of a 1 o'clock opening, it will practically kill the G.A.A. in Dublin, and that is something which I should be very sorry to see happen. These men would find it impossible to fit in their forenoon games with a 1 o'clock opening, and, however anxious we are to consider the interests of the general public, we have to consider the question of the national games, which is very important.

Of course, Senator, you are now dealing with the merits.

The point raised by Senator Goulding is very important from the national standpoint. These men who play G.A.A. games play them in the morning and they will find it very difficult to finish before 1 o'clock. It would mean rushing through their games and I suggest that Senator Douglas's proposal be supported and a joint conference can then be held before Report Stage.

There is apparently no agreement in respect of Senator Douglas's suggestion.

We had a somewhat similar debate in the other House and it was hard to confine it to a particular amendment, as there were several proposals. The procedure there was that when everyone expressed agreement, I undertook to bring in an amendment providing for what had been agreed to. I suggest that that might meet the case here. If there was a general acceptance of an opening from 1.30 to 3 o'clock and from 5 to 7 o'clock, we could avoid a lot of trouble and shorten the debate considerably. I throw that suggestion out for the consideration of the House.

What the Minister has said is exactly what was in my mind. I know it is being canvassed outside and it was in the hope that that might be proposed and the amendment withdrawn that I made my suggestion. If, however, Senator Conlon wishes to press the matter, he is entitled to do so. Those against it for any reason will then be free on the next stage.

Exactly what the Minister said, with a slight alteration, would meet the views of our people here, that is, an opening from 1.30 to 3 o'clock and from 4.30 to 7 o'clock. It was with that in mind that I agreed to Senator Douglas's suggestion and if the Minister is undertaking to bring in an amendment on these lines, it was perhaps worth while raising the matter.

My position is that if I hear general acceptance of something not on the Order Paper, of something in the nature of a compromise, I say that I will bring in an amendment to meet that object. The principal points I have been aiming at are the split hours and the 7 o'clock closing.

There is not much difference between the Minister's suggestion and Senator Foran's proposal.

That would operate all round? We could not agree to that.

All amendments would be withdrawn and I could bring in an amendment to meet the point if there was agreement, but it would apply to Dublin only.

For the whole lot.

I would hesitate to agree to that. I made a definite agreement with representatives from different constituencies who spoke for the Cork trade and I will not willingly go back on it. I agreed to vary the arrangement in Dublin only because of the special circumstances obtaining here. So far as I know, the people in Cork and Limerick are hurlers, while in Dublin they are more soccer players. It is only the rare Dublin man who is a hurler. They are nearly all boys from the country, but, in Cork and Limerick, they all play hurling and I think I would be letting down the representatives in the Dáil very badly if I undertook to introduce an amendment which would apply all round. I ask the Seanad to do it for Dublin only and to let the other three boroughs stand.

Would it not be possible for the Minister to introduce an amendment as suggested, providing for an opening from 4.30 to 7 or from 5 to 7, which would leave, so far as Dublin is concerned, one simple issue which could be decided without any further debate? Then, on the question of the country, Senators who feel strongly on the matter could put down one amendment disagreeing with the proposal on which we could vote, and settle the matter.

On that basis, am I to understand that the amendments are being withdrawn?

I do not want to go against the wishes of the House and particularly those of the Minister, but I should like to point out that a 1.30 opening will not get over the point of clubs being open for an hour before that.

I think that too much stress is being laid on the question of the clubs.

We cannot have a discussion on the merits at this point.

Do I understand that the Minister is undertaking to bring in an amendment on these lines?

Let me be sure about what I am undertaking to do. I am undertaking to bring in an amendment —Senators can do what they please about it, but there is general agreement on these lines, apart from what Senator Conlon may do—providing for an opening from 1.30 to 3 o'clock and from 4.30 to 7 o'clock. If any Senator wishes to put down an amendment he is free to do so. The amendment will be in respect of Dublin only and will not interfere with the other boroughs.

That undertaking refers to amendments Nos. 6, 8, 9 and 10.

Amendments Nos. 6, 8, 9 and 10, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 5:—

In page 2, Section 4, paragraph (a), after the word and bracket "mentioned)" in line 36, to insert the words "except in the case of the county borough of Limerick".

The object of the amendment is to abolish the weekday closing hour in Limerick City. The original intention of the inclusion of that closing hour in the 1927 Act was to eliminate certain evils which were supposed to exist in connection with the licensed trade as a whole. The principal evil was perhaps the evil of what is known as the "long sitter". It was also intended to facilitate the managements of the big places here in Dublin and their assistants in respect of providing them with a break in the day's work. While it could be said that the arrangement has achieved its purpose here in Dublin and, to a lesser extent, in Cork City, it has certainly outlived its usefulness so far as Limerick is concerned. I am sure the same applies to Waterford, although no step, so far, has been taken by Waterford to abolish this closing hour.

Licensed houses in Limerick are in almost every case grocery premises as well. There are something like 230 licensed houses in Limerick, and 90 per cent. of them are grocery shops as well. The weekday closing hour gives the unlicensed grocer an unfair advantage over the licensed grocer, who is required to close his premises during that hour, while the others, including all the chain shops, are open to do business. This hour is the busiest hour in Limerick City. It is the hour during which many people are preparing to leave the city by bus or train, and although the concession has been made of allowing bona fide trade to be carried on, at the same time, there is a large number of people within the three-mile limit who have to be accommodated. As the law stands, these people cannot enter a licensed premises to get groceries or to do ordinary business, and, in normal times, they go to the non-licensed grocer.

It can be argued that at present, under the rationing system, people have their ration cards in certain shops and are compelled to go to these shops. Then again the customer is precluded from going to the shop where his ration card is because of this closing hour. Furthermore, the publican is required to keep a man on the door if he has to admit bona fide travellers so as to distinguish between the bona fide and the non-bona fide. That leaves him open to prosecution, because it is quite impossible in a rush hour like that to distinguish between the person who is a bona fide traveller and the person who is not.

So far as the principal evil which it was sought to eliminate by the imposition of this hour is concerned, that is the evil of the "long sitter," I think it will be agreed that in a city like Limerick you have not the element in the population which provides that type of gentleman or lady, as the case may be. We have not so many gentlemen of leisure there.

The business carried on in Limerick is mainly done with people from the outlying agricultural districts and in that respect there is no analogy between Limerick and Dublin. Dublin is predominantly an industrial city with an industrial and professional population and the evils that are supposed to exist in Dublin I am quite satisfied do not exist in Limerick. But I think the greatest objection to the continuance of this closing hour in a city like Limerick is the fact that although bona fide traffic is permitted, I am informed that, as the law stands, even a bona fide traveller, if he is permitted to enter a licensed premises, is not allowed to purchase anything in the line of groceries and the licensed grocer is not allowed to sell groceries, so that he might as well close down his premises completely. If I am wrong in that I should like to be corrected. These are the chief points which I wish to make in support of this amendment. I claim that, so far as Limerick is concerned, this closing hour has been found to be very difficult, that it has been the cause of disruption in trade, and that it gives an unfair advantage to the non-licensed grocer as against the licensed grocer. Therefore, I ask the Minister to accept the amendment which, I think, is a very fair one so far as Limerick is concerned.

I second the amendment. I may say that I would not do so if I thought for a moment that the abolition of the midday closing hour would lead to more drinking. I am satisfied that it would not. I feel quite sure that in Limerick City and in rural districts generally there is no excessive drinking. Senator Colbert has stated very fairly the reasons for this amendment and the peculiar position in Limerick, which is the centre of a large agricultural district and is unlike Dublin in that respect. I am sure, from what I have seen of the working of this midday closing hour, that it does no good from the point of view of temperance or sobriety, but rather that it is vexatious and, to a large extent, unworkable, and I think everybody would be better pleased if we abolished it.

I mentioned this particular point about Limerick on the Second Stage and I should, therefore, like to support the amendment. Like the proposer and the seconder, if I thought it would lead to any excessive drinking or anything of that kind, I would not support it. The worst feature of this partial closing and partial opening is that it may encourage the breaking of the law. It is very hard to differentiate at that hour of the day between the bona fide traveller and the person who is not a bona fide traveller. The people of Limerick, I think, would prefer to have it one way or the other, either a complete closing down or a complete opening. Limerick, situated as it is in the midst of a great agricultural area and living mostly on farmers and others who come from country districts, is quite different from the City of Dublin. I think no harm would be done to the cause of temperance if the Minister accepted the amendment.

A similar amendment to this was moved in the Dáil. I resisted it there, and I propose to do the same here. If the Bill had remained as first introduced in the Dáil, undoubtedly the people of Limerick, Cork and Waterford would have had a grievance —principally the people of Limerick and Waterford—because the custom there is for people outside the city to buy their groceries as well as getting drink in these houses in the city. That has been the custom, as I say, and even bona fide travellers were entitled to do that. Under the Bill as introduced, the bona fide trade was done away with altogether except on Sundays and, consequently, I am satisfied a serious hardship would have been inflicted on people from outside these cities. I met a deputation representative of the licensed trade of the whole country and they raised that point. They pointed out what the effect of it would be, and I promised that on the Committee Stage in the Dáil I would take care that the status quo would be maintained.

I am not prepared to depart from the principle of the split hour in respect of the boroughs. I am greatly surprised at Senator Colbert and Senator O'Dwyer referring to Limerick as a country town. My idea is that in the very near future Limerick will be one of the finest cities in the country. With the airport so near it, I believe that it has a very big future, and I would not like to have the inferiority complex in respect of one of our principal cities that these Senators have. I believe that in the future it will be a very big city. I believe that this principle of the split hour is a very good one, and if it had been in general operation throughout the country I would not have interfered with it.

I am not bringing in anything new so far as the split hour is concerned; I am merely leaving it as it is. I would not be prepared to depart from that principle, because wherever it has been in existence I certainly think it has had very good results. I do not know if I heard the Senator aright, but if he thinks that bona fide travellers cannot buy groceries as well as drink, I can tell him that that is not so. There is no restriction on their buying groceries or provisions of any kind during the bona fide hours. I should like to be as agreeable as I could, but I am not going to break through that principle if I can help it. Therefore I cannot accept the amendment.

There is one point to which I should like to refer. The Minister says that he believes that Limerick will be a very big city in the future. I think, however, that that will be a long way off, and would it not be time enough to have this matter of the closing hour as regards Limerick decided when Limerick does become a bigger city? So far as the conditions in Limerick at the moment are concerned, my information, from the licensed trade, from the assistants and from the general public, is that this closing hour there is a severe hardship, and a greater hardship, I think, so far as concerns the agricultural community who use Limerick as a shopping centre. I think that it is unnecessary in the case of Limerick and, as Senator O'Dwyer has pointed out, it will not advance the cause of temperance. The object of the amendment is simply to facilitate the people in their ordinary trading, and if I thought for a moment that the acceptance of this amendment would lead to excessive drinking, I certainly would not propose it.

Is the amendment being withdrawn?

Well, then, I shall put the question, which is: "That the words proposed to be inserted in the section be therein inserted."

Amendment put.

I think the amendment is lost.

A Senator


Will Senators desiring a division please rise in their places?

Senators Colbert and Honan rose.

The amendment is lost. The names of Senators Colbert and Honan will be recorded as dissenting.

I move amendment No. 7:—

In page 2, Section 4, paragraph (b) (i), after the word "area" in line 40 to insert the words and brackets "(in which for the purpose of this section the urban district of Bray shall be deemed to form part)".

I thoroughly endorse the Minister's attitude on the Second Reading which was to the effect that we should only concern ourselves with the general public—the ordinary man in the street —and not with any particular section of the licensed trade or any other section that may have a particular interest in this matter. In bringing forward this amendment I believe that I am acting in the interests, not alone of the man in the street, but of temperance also. What I want to emphasise is that, so far as Bray is concerned, there should be no bona fide traffic at all. Anybody conversant with the area will know that even with the present restricted transport very large numbers of people, not only from Dublin, but from neighbouring places, such as Dun Laoghaire, Dalkey, Killiney, and so on, have very little difficulty in getting into Bray after the ordinary closing hours there, and when we do come back to normal times and the present transport restrictions are removed after the emergency, I suggest that Bray is very peculiarly situated so far as its close connection with Dublin is concerned. There are about three routes of buses running all the time from Dublin to Bray and there is also the service of the railways.

Not on Sundays.

Not at the present time, as a result of the emergency, but even with the present restricted traffic, there are plenty of facilities for travelling to Bray, especially from Dun Laoghaire, Dalkey, Killiney and other such neighbouring places. In the course of the discussion about Limerick, it was pointed out that it was hard to distinguish between one person and another, but it must be remembered that the normal population of Bray is well over 10,000, and during the summer season its population is almost doubled. The result is that it is almost impossible for a publican in Bray to find out who is a bona fide traveller and who is not.

People may say that the Gárdaí will not be too strict, but I think that that is a very bad principle, so far as the Gárdaí, the Minister, or other people are concerned. The Minister may say that I am arguing for special legislation for Bray, but I would remind him that when butter was rationed, certain places were specially included, and one of these places was Bray. I am moving this amendment simply for the reason that I think it would be better for everybody concerned—both from the temperance point of view as well as that of the licensed trade in Bray—and that it would be quite fair from the point of view of the general public.

This seems to me to raise an interesting point, because I take it that the object would be to allow the public houses in Bray to remain open from 1 to 3 and 5 to 7 on Sundays, and have no bona fide traffic at all.

Yes, that is my intention.

Well, what I should like the Minister to concede would be to make that applicable to the whole country instead of to Bray alone. I am not, for a moment, committing myself, but I do not see how you could make it applicable to Bray alone.

That is the point.

With regard to this particular amendment, I do not see how it would work. I want to get rid altogether of the bona fide traffic which, I believe, is a curse to the trade itself, and is not in the interest either of the temperance movement or of the whole moral standard of the country. I personally would be tempted to concede something in the matter of an extension of the hours if it would mean a complete abolition of the bona fide trade.

Are we going to discuss amendments Nos. 15 and 16?

I think it would be better. I think we could deal with the question of Bray separately.

My point is that, even with the present restricted transport, you can get to Bray from Dublin, Dun Laoghaire, and other adjacent places, quite easily, and that when we get back to normal times it will be much easier to get to Bray from these districts. Certainly, at present conditions in Bray are a disgrace so far as the bona fide traffic is concerned, and I suggest that since Bray is so near Dublin it is in many ways part of Dublin.

My objection to including Bray is that there would be no case whatever for excluding other towns, such as Dundalk, Drogheda, Sligo, and so on, and, of course, if I were to include Bray I would be asked why I excluded these other towns. This very point was debated very much in the Dáil in connection with one part of the Bill, and I was adamant on it. I refused to make any change, and I do not think I would be justified in dealing with Bray as a special case. I shall have to discuss the question of a general opening, but I could not see how I could justify agreeing to include Bray unless it was incorporated in the Borough of Dublin in the way that Howth has been incorporated. If that were the case, it would be a different matter, but it is not so, and I do not see how we can differentiate in the case of Bray and leave out these other towns. On the face of it, it would be very difficult for me, logically, to defend not opening in other towns, but that is the code at present and it has been in actual effect for a great number of years. I do not know for how many years, but it has been the code, and I certainly would not be prepared to stand over a Bill that would lead to greater facilities. The extra facilities that we have granted—one of which has been taken off already by the Seanad—have been very adversely criticised here and in certain quarters of the country, but they have been taken away by the Seanad, and if we were to have general opening in the principal towns, I do not see how you can have an exception made in the case of a smaller town. In the Dáil, a very good case was made for opening in the country places, and there were also some very good arguments against it. Logically, however, I think it would be very hard to make a case against opening in the country, but there must have been some very good reason for it. At any rate, I found it there, and I am not prepared to take the responsibility for changing it. This matter is more or less on a par with the increased facilities for betting, which I mentioned before.

I remember years ago, before that Betting Act was passed, there was a lot of illegal betting going on, but I am quite convinced that at least 30 or 40 people bet now for every one that used to bet at that time. It was not everybody that was prepared to run down a laneway to place a bet. The vast majority of people who now have no hesitation in walking into a betting shop and placing a bet would never dream of taking the chance of being caught in one of those occasional raids that used to be made on the illegal "bookie" in the laneway. There may be a certain amount of illegal drinking going on now. There may be; I daresay there is. But I am perfectly satisfied that, if we were to have general opening, there would be an enormous increase in drinking all through the country. I firmly believe that. The cost of drink in 1924 was very much the same as it is now; one of the big reasons why there has been a decrease in consumption since then is that the facilities have not been as great. The licensing laws brought in by my predecessor, Mr. Kevin O'Higgins, were very largely responsible for reducing the consumption of drink. If we had a general opening, I have no doubt whatever that there would be an enormous increase in the amount of drinking. Even illegal drinking would go on when the public houses closed. I am quite certain that, when the closing hour came, the people who are drinking illegally now would do the same. That is a very serious aspect of the matter.

I would remind Senator Byrne, and other Senators who have those amendments down in regard to the other towns, of the matter that was raised in the first instance by Deputy Allen, and taken up by Deputy Dillon and others. Most of the country public houses—I do not know if this applies so much to Bray—are general stores as well. The case made by one Deputy—he was quite genuine about it—was that people come in on a Sunday who want to buy groceries, clothes or boots or something of that kind, and who, perhaps, do not want a drink at all. Deputy Allen pointed out that, if that were allowed to any great extent, the people who sell only those goods— drapery shops and hardware shops— would say: "Are we to remain closed on Sundays while other people are selling goods that might otherwise be bought from us?"

Eventually the observance of the Sabbath would disappear altogether. That was a good point. Deputy O'Higgins insisted on putting the onus on me. He said: "You are going to discriminate against the country, and it is up to you as Minister to justify it." As I said, I am not going to accept that onus at all. Since the Oireachtas was set up, two Licensing Bills were passed. This provision was there even in the British time, and on the whole, I believe it has worked fairly well. I am quite satisfied that, if it were departed from, we would have a big increase in the consumption of drink. I know what Senator Byrne's point is; I know that Bray is very near Dublin, but I do not think it would be possible to make that exception. If Bray were treated in that way, there certainly would be an unanswerable case from Dundalk and other towns. Then again, there would be the line ball. Other places would be coming near to the 10,000 mark, and eventually you would have this demand from the whole country. There was a very strong demand in the Dáil to have an opening for a limited number of hours. I resisted that very strongly, and I said so here when last we discussed this matter. I do not know if I have made a good case, but I have given the reasons as far as I could. It may be hard to make a case on ordinary grounds of fair play, but precedent and the practice that has grown up I think justify me in refusing to agree to those amendments. Consequently, I will resist as far as I can the amendments which suggest opening outside the county boroughs.

I did not mention general opening. I am altogether in agreement with the Minister's references to betting. It has spread throughout the country amongst people who would hardly know a Clydesdale from any other kind of horse. But there is no analogy here. I am not trying to increase the hours. Under the present system, Bray would be entitled to a bona fide trade from 1 o'clock to 8 o'clock, and they have thousands of people coming in there in the summer time. I am proposing that they only be allowed to trade during whatever are the hours in Dublin. I might say that I have every sympathy with what Senator Douglas has said. I would go very far in agreement with any system to do away with the bona fide trade as existing at present.

Amendment No. 7, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 11:—

In page 2, Section 4, paragraph (b) (ii), after the word "Borough" in line 44 to insert the following words:—"or any town the population of which according to the census which is for the time being the last census exceeds 10,000".

This amendment suggests that towns with over 10,000 inhabitants should be treated in the same way as county boroughs. It is not usual, perhaps, to make sacrifices on behalf of the publicans, but that is what I am doing. They are willing to sacrifice the bona fide hours completely in order to have the split hours of 1 to 3 o'clock and 5 to 7 o'clock, as provided in the Bill in regard to county boroughs. In some towns in my own county, particularly in Dundalk, which has a population of not far short of 25,000 if you go out a couple of miles, on practically every Sunday in the year we have an influx of from 5,000 to 8,000 people. We want to bring in the split hours there so that those people will go out and patronise the sports which are provided in the locality. In many instances, the assistants in those premises are interested in the different forms of sport, and, if the Minister accepts the amendment which I have moved, the assistants in those towns and in the other towns which I have in mind will have an opportunity of contributing to them. In addition, the various visitors will attend them. Not all of those people who come from Belfast are strangers; they are our own, with very close associations with us, and with many friends in the area. If my amendment is accepted it will mean that we are showing some encouragement to our citizens in the North to come back and spend a couple of hours in association with their friends, as well as attending the various sports which are provided locally.

In this instance I suggest that there is an unanswerable case on behalf of the assistants in the premises, on behalf of the residents of Dundalk, and on behalf of visitors who come to us each week, whom we are glad to see and whom I, personally, would go a long way to encourage to keep up their association with us. I think the case is a very strong one and we put it to the Minister for acceptance.

I have no interest in this amendment other than the interest of the ordinary citizen looking at a very peculiar problem which, I believe, exists in Dundalk and exists nowhere else in the country. The difficulty I see about the amendment is that the Minister has been asked to apply it to the whole country. I believe there is a very difficult problem in the town of Dundalk as far as the licensing laws are concerned. There is a difficulty for the authorities and for the district justice whose function it is to administer the law in that particular area. While I have no suggestions as to how it ought to be dealt with, I definitely feel that it is an ugly sort of problem. Thousands of people come across the Border Sunday after Sunday. They have quite a lot of money. They come in there. They are bona fide travellers and can stay. They have rights. It is not good for them. It is not good from the point of view of the impression they get of conditions here. It is not good for our own citizens. I believe that Drogheda is quite different. I think the conditions in Dundalk are of such a nature, and have been for some years and, obviously, will be for some time to come, as to demand particular and special legislation to deal with them. I feel the Minister would be quite justified in dealing with Dundalk in this measure in a way that would not be justified in regard to any other town of its size or even of twice its size. I think the conditions require something different from what has been the custom up to the present because our laws, as they exist and as they are administered, are not satisfactory. Senator McGee knows the conditions much better than I do, but I know enough about them to realise that we ought to do something about it, that it is not to our credit as the law exists and as it is possible to administer it. The Minister, I am quite certain, in his own Department, must have taken notice of the conditions that exist there.

It is a smuggling centre and there are elements that require special treatment. I am not supporting the amendment as it stands, to apply these conditions to the country as a whole, but I think if Senator McGee asked to have it applied to Dundalk, because there is a particular problem there, he would be getting nearer to the root of the trouble in that part of Louth, which does not exist to the same extent anywhere else and does not call for the same kind of treatment anywhere else.

I have a great deal of sympathy with the attitude taken by the Minister and I confess quite frankly that if I were in his position I would probably take the same view. He has knowledge from police reports which I have not got and if he has evidence that the drinking as a result of bona fide traffic, and the evasion of the law in various towns all over the place, is not more than it would probably be during the hours of 1 and 3 and 5 and 7, then I think he is bound to take the line he has taken. At the same time I have to confess that if that is not so, I would be terribly tempted to provide some reasonable hours—I shall not pledge myself to the exact hours—for Sunday opening and abolish bona fide trade everywhere and every time and get rid of what I regard as a curse.

I am not prepared to put down an amendment because I think the Minister, in his position, has information and I quite recognise that there is a definite risk with regard to any change. But, from what I hear from people who live in the neighbourhood of certain country towns—I am not going to quote any towns and I do not want to be accused of specifically referring to any towns—I have got the impression that it is not only in the case of Dundalk but that there are certain other places where drinking between the hours of 1 and 7, or 1 and 8 is more or less continuous and that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the police to enforce the law. If the bona fide laws can be enforced by the police, and if that is the Minister's opinion, I would certainly not be one to press it because I do not want to have any substantial increase in Sunday drinking. I want to be honest about it and to say that I have often seriously wondered whether it would not be better for everyone concerned to fix a reasonable hour, abolish bona fide traffic and ask the trade, the public and the police to combine to see it was carried out and, if necessary, to take drastic action to see it was carried out.

The Minister, in connection with the case put to him in regard to Bray, said he could not deal with one particular area. This amendment proposes to deal with all areas outside the boroughs that have a population of 10,000 or over. I have not looked it up to see what areas would have a population of 10,000 or over. I presume the Minister would know. There is one area, namely, Galway and I think the amendment would be welcome there. There are a great many hotels in Galway and it is not very difficult to get drink in Galway at any particular hour. I would like to support the amendment and I would ask the Minister to consider accepting it.

I would like to support the amendment. I do not agree with the Minister. I do not think he is getting anywhere by adopting the attitude he has adopted. Towns of over 10,000 population are not in the same category as an ordinary country village. I have every sympathy with the Minister in not having widespread opening. I believe that he would get rid of the biggest evil of the bona fide trade by giving these towns what Senator McGee's amendment proposes to give them. I think, instead of having any ill effect, it would mean less drinking.

The moment you start on this figure of 10,000—which is an entirely arbitrary figure—you will have the case of the town with a population of 9,999 and there is no end to it. It seems to me far better to have something on the lines of Senator Douglas's suggestion.

I have made the best case I can against this proposal. I think what Senator The McGillycuddy says is right: you cannot draw the line. It is a case of having general opening or leaving things as they are. I would not agree to the general opening and I do not see any half-way house.

As far as I can ascertain the towns that would be affected by this amendment would be Galway, Dundalk, Drogheda, Sligo, Wexford, Tralee, Kilkenny and Bray. These are towns with a population of 10,000 or over. I shall just repeat that I believe if illegal drinking is carried on at present in these places, there would be no diminution in such drinking if the arrangements proposed in this amendment were carried into effect.

Does the Minister not really believe that one of the greatest barriers against the enforcement of the closing hours is the existence of the bona fide traffic? If you want to get rid of abuses, I suggest that the only way to do so is to get rid of the bona fide traveller. It would then be possible to enforce the law. At the same time, I would not vote for this amendment because it only partially gets rid of that problem. If we could get rid of the bona fide traffic all over Ireland, we would be doing something of real value.

There is one objection to the abolition of the bona fide traffic, and it is this. There are two classes of traveller, the genuine traveller and the bogus traveller. We must remember that quite a considerable number of people have to travel through the country, the vast majority of them legitimate travellers. It would be distinctly unfair to rule these out altogether and prevent their getting refreshment for the sake of getting at the man who is not a genuine traveller. For that reason, I would be slow to rule out the bona fide traffic altogether because, especially in the neighbourhood of tourist resorts throughout the country, there are a very considerable number of genuine travellers every Sunday during the summer. I think we should not penalise a very respectable class in the community in order to curtail the abuses of an objectionable class.

I think the Senator pointed out earlier in the debate that he was prepared to do that.

I did not suppose that I would have to put all my arguments into one bottle nor did I think that in order to get this amendment accepted it would be necessary to do away with the bona fide traffic. Some people find it necessary to travel on legitimate business over all parts of the country on Sundays and we know that many places in the West of Ireland are attractive resorts for tourists from other parts of the country. I myself have crossed from Sligo and Galway at various times, leaving these towns at times which made it absolutely necessary for me to get some refreshment on the way. If there are in various parts of Ireland citizens whose minds are warped through improper teaching, or probably from the lack of proper preaching, that is no reason why law-abiding citizens should be hampered or hindered. Have we not all free consciences? I submit that the whole approach to this problem is wrong. I think everybody should be taught the essentials of good citizenship, but if a man's conscience cannot guide him I do not believe that the rest of the community should be put into a straitjacket. Common sense is common law. I submit to the Minister that I have put up a case which needs a better answer than that provided by Senator The McGillycuddy, who suggests that because a town with a population of 10,000 gets these facilities, towns with populations under this figure will have a grievance. Are shop assistants in towns such as I have described never to see a football match or a cycle race or are they to be prevented from enjoying, on a Sunday afternoon, the amenities provided at bathing resorts in the vicinity of towns in which they are employed? I submit I have made an unanswerable case. I have submitted good reasons for giving special consideration to towns such as Dun-dalk. If the bugbear of the North is to be introduced, it will provide just another excuse for people in the North who wish to act similarly.

On a point of explanation, I think the Senator did not give quite an accurate interpretation of what I said. I said that if you give this concession to towns with a population of 10,000 or over why should it not be given to the whole country?

Might I point out to Senator McGee that travellers on Sunday can get refreshment? That refreshment need not necessarily be alcoholic. There are other refreshments.

Amendment put and declared negatived.

Amendment No. 12 not moved.

I move amendment No. 13:—

In page 2, immediately after line 48 to insert the following paragraph:—

(c) On Saint Patrick's Day—

(i) in the case of the County Borough of Dublin or the Dublin Metropolitan area, before the hour of five o'clock in the afternoon or after the hour of eight o'clock in the evening, and

(ii) in the case of any other county borough before the hour of five o'clock in the afternoon or after the hour of eight o'clock in the evening, or

(iii) at any time on Christmas Day or Good Friday.

I have submitted this amendment for two reasons. The first reason is that a very considerable number of people have queried why there should not be facilities on St. Patrick's Day such as are allowed on Sundays. Whether these people are sufficiently numerous to justify one in describing the demand as a popular demand I am not in a position to say. As far as that aspect of the case is concerned, I have myself a very open mind and no very fixed convictions as to whether or not there should be such facilities on Patrick's Day. The real reason I have tabled the amendment is to try to induce the Minister between now and the Report Stage to rationalise the position on Patrick's Day.

I would suggest to him there are two logical courses open to him. Firstly, if he feels so inclined, and if the House is of the same opinion, he could allow the same opening hours as on Sunday on that day. Secondly, if the House and the Minister feel that there should be no opening on St. Patrick's Day, then the Minister should take steps to put that into effect and to abolish the rather absurd position that exists at the moment. At the moment, as far as St. Patrick's Day is concerned, the 1927 Act might very definitely be described as class legislation. The position is that on that day no drink may be sold in any public house nor in any non-sports club, but drink may be sold nearly everywhere else. In hotels and restaurants, for instance, drink can be sold from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., admittedly with meals. It can be sold, with or without meals, in sports clubs from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. It can be sold at race meetings, at dog shows, at theatres and at dances with or without meals. I submit to the Minister that that is a type of legislation that is unfair. While it does not tend exactly to cause social unrest, it certainly gives ground for gross social irritation on the part of members of the public who are debarred for one reason or another from enjoying the same facilities that the favoured few are enabled to enjoy on that day.

I am quite prepared to abide by the decision of this House and the views of the Minister on this matter, but I suggest to him that, between now and the Report Stage, he should make up his mind as to what he is going to do about St. Patrick's Day—whether he is going to have the public houses open or shut. If he is going to have them shut, then licensed establishments should be shut for all and sundry and there should be no differentiation as between sections or classes.

This amendment seems to me to make things much worse than they were before. St. Patrick's Day, Christmas Day and Good Friday are mentioned and I understand that sub-section (3) of the amendment means that licensed premises can be kept open all day on Christmas Day and Good Friday.

Oh, no. There is apparently a typographical error in the amendment which I had not noticed. Sub-paragraph (iii) should be a fresh paragraph lettered (d.).

It means, then, that the public houses can be open only from 5 o'clock to 8 o'clock?

My amendment does not propose that drink be sold at any time on Christmas Day or Good Friday. The position on Christmas Day and Good Friday remains as it is.

Then, it was not necessary to include them.

They had to be included for purposes of amendment of the 1927 Act.

In these circumstances, we are discussing only St. Patrick's Day. I think that the same position would obtain if this amendment were accepted that would obtain if Senator McGee's amendment had been accepted; you would have general trading on St. Patrick's Day. St. Patrick's Day, as our national holiday, should be observed as a closed day for trading, including trading in drink.

If Senator Crosbie had put forward an amendment on the lines he suggested in the latter portion of his speech, I should be prepared to consider it but I could not give any consideration to the amendment as it is on the Order Paper. Some of the things he read out are, certainly, anomalies and, if an amendment to remedy those defects had been introduced by him, we could have discussed it and, perhaps, supported it. One of the items mentioned was the supply of drink at meal hours in hotels and restaurants. I think that that is reasonable. A person who is unfortunate enough to have to take a meal on St. Patrick's Day, which is like Christmas Day, outside his own home is entitled to a drink or other refreshment with it. Refreshment, alcoholic or otherwise, with meals, is never as objectionable as drinking on an empty stomach.

The Senator referred to drinking at dog shows and such places. I think that it is necessary to have licences specially granted for the supply of drink at these places. I am open to correction on that. I would be opposed to anything in the nature of increased facilities for drinking on St. Patrick's Day, such as would be provided by opening the public houses at any time on that day. However, the principal argument against the proposal is the same as against the last amendment, that you would facilitate general trading. I do not want to see general trading on St. Patrick's Day, nor do I want to see trading in intoxicating liquor.

Before proceeding further, may I point out that the amendment refers to St. Patrick's Day only? There has, apparently, been an error as I have stated.

Is there a typographical error?

Yes; there should be two paragraphs (c) and (d).

Whether there is a typographical error or not, I am not in a position positively to say, as I have not a copy of the Act before me, but it certainly was never at any time my intention to suggest that there should be any opening on Christmas Day or Good Friday.

The proposal is that there should be opening on St. Patrick's Day from 5 o'clock to 8 o'clock.

In amendment No. 16, the intention is made very clear.

This is a matter of history. St. Patrick's Day has been treated in a strange way by the Oireachtas in respect of the different Bills brought before it—one in 1924, another in 1927, and an ill-fated one in 1931. The Government was afraid to go on with the 1931 Bill. The law has its roots in the sentiment of the early Sinn Féin days, when we were, perhaps, more enthusiastic than wise. We tried to stop the sale of drink on St. Patrick's Day. That was because there used to be a great deal of drunkenness on that day. Drink was then cheap. In 1924, the then Minister for Justice brought in a Bill in which he proposed that there should be complete closing on St. Patrick's Day and that bona fide trading should be prohibited. The Dáil would not have that. When the Bill came to the Seanad, the Seanad reinserted the provision for closing but placed no restriction on the bona fide trade. After considerable discussion, the Dáil accepted the Seanad amendment. The Intoxicating Liquor Commission recommended that St. Patrick's Day be treated as Sunday. The Minister included that recommendation in his 1927 Bill.

The Dáil accepted the proposal, but the Seanad introduced an amendment providing for complete closing and prohibition of bona fide trading on St. Patrick's Day. The idea was to make St. Patrick's Day a completely dry day. A few loopholes were, however, left. Hotels and restaurants were allowed to supply drink with meals between 1 o'clock and 3 o'clock, and 6 o'clock and 9 o'clock. Sports clubs were allowed, as Senator Crosbie pointed out, to supply drink, with or without meals, between 1 o'clock and 8 o'clock. No provision was made for granting for St. Patrick's Day occasional licences or special exemption Orders under Section 5 of the 1927 Act. The Intoxicating Liquor Commission was reconstituted and it recommended again that St. Patrick's Day be placed on the same footing as Sunday. The Government of the day brought in a Bill which included this recommendation. Our Party was very much against it. There must have been a great deal of division in the Government Party, too, because the Bill was hung up.

I confess that I have learned from the experience of my predecessor and I have not touched St. Patrick's Day except to a very small extent. I had not the necessary courage so far as St. Patrick's Day was concerned. I cannot see why it should not be treated the same as Sunday, but I was not prepared to run counter to the views which are held. I do not want to be unfair to the Seanad, but I had the feeling that, if I agreed to such a proposition in the Dáil, a number of Senators would object and the decision would be reversed. The position seems to me to be a bit ridiculous and I confess to moral cowardice in respect of it. The little concession given, to allow wine to be supplied with meals, created a furore all over the country. I got more protests about that than I got about anything else, and I felt that it was a good job I had not tackled the bigger question. Nobody knows what would have happened if I had. The situation is a survival of our younger and more enthusiastic days. The reason I have given is not an adequate reason and it may not be a proper reason to come from a Minister. However, I must have regard to opinion and sentiment. Consequently, I did not touch St. Patrick's Day, nor do I propose to do so.

I was a member of the Seanad at the time the Minister speaks of. I have a very clear recollection of what occurred, and have very great sympathy with the Minister. I like his method of approach to this. I do not believe that he, any more than any of the rest of us, is afraid to admit that he has shed some of the sentiment that all of us had in our more youthful and enthusiastic days. It is very doubtful if we can decide these things on a purely logical basis. I think that until we know what the attitude of the Dáil is we would be well advised to follow the Minister and leave this alone.

I felt that the anomalies that existed should be ventilated. Having done that, I am prepared to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 14:—

In page 3, line 5, to delete the word "half-past".

Is not this really a necessary amendment following the action of the Seanad in adopting amendment No. 10?

Is it also the Senator's idea to make the morning opening 10 o'clock?

My original amendment only dealt with the evening. I was leaving the morning opening to be dealt with afterwards. I think it is necessary to make the hour here 10 o'clock, and to make the morning 10 o'clock. I think the proper thing to do would be to ask the Minister to put in what is necessary.

Although I do not like a difference in the hours as between the city and country, I think that, in the Dáil, a good case was made by the rural representatives for allowing a 10.30 closing in the country. I think that if the Senator were to withdraw his amendment he would not be doing any harm. The country T.D.s did make an excellent case for the 10.30 closing so far as the country is concerned.

The Minister is aware that I have been a member of this House for a considerable time. His attitude on this Bill reminds one of the debates we used to have here in the old days when the Seanad was free to put in all the amendments which it thought wise. I have very little doubt that there is a great deal in what the Minister has said. I had hoped that this would go back to the Dáil. If the Minister were in a position to say that amendment No. 10 would be carried in the other House, I would withdraw this amendment at once.

I would feel greatly fortified if the Senator did that and I would stand over this in the Dáil. I think I would be able to get agreement on it because the country Deputies pressed the point very strongly.

If that is the case I am prepared to withdraw the amendment.

Why should we make this alteration? We have been discussing this question under the headings of town and country. The suggestion that we have adopted for the county boroughs is 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Are the hours for the country to be from 10.30 to 10.30? Why say 10.30 as the opening hour for the country?

In order to facilitate the assistants and the publicans in coming to an arrangement about a 48 hour week. If the Seanad cares to have the hours 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in official winter time, and 10.30 a.m. to 10.30 p.m. in official summer time as regards public houses in the country, I will bring in an amendment to deal with that.

That, I think, would be a better arrangement.

To my mind the opening of country public houses at 10.30 in the morning would not suit at all, especially on fair or market days. The result of it will be that applications will have to be made to the courts for exemption orders to open at a much earlier hour.

There is nothing to prevent them doing that.

If this were put forward as a Labour question I could understand it, but, as I said earlier, a 10.30 opening means practically opening in the middle of the day.

So far as fairs and markets are concerned, opening at 10 o'clock or 10.30 will not make much difference because, in any event, the people will be going to their dinner at that hour.

As I have already indicated, publicans can apply for exemtion orders to enable them to open at an earlier hour, if there is a necessity for it, on special occasions. So far as the country is concerned I am prepared to bring in an amendment making the opening hours 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. during official winter time, and 10.30 a.m. to 10.30 p.m. during official summer time, leaving the hours for the county boroughs 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 15:—

In page 3 to delete paragraph (b), lines 7 and 8, and substitute therefor the following paragraph:—

(b) on any Sunday before the hour of two o'clock in the afternoon or after the hour of five o'clock in the afternoon.

In moving this amendment I am in the fortunate position that the Minister has already replied to it. Senator Douglas has twice already, more or less, moved the amendment on my behalf. The object of it is to have a general opening on Sundays in the rural areas. I may say at the outset that I am not particularly enamoured of the hours I mention in this amendment. I am more concerned with the principle of having an opening of some kind in the country on Sunday. There should be equal treatment for all. The Minister has already made his case against this amendment, so I will not delay the House too long.

The Minister would have been doing a very good job of work for the licensing laws in general if he adopted Senator The McGillycuddy's amendment to abolish the bona fide traffic altogether and in return allow one or two hours' legitimate opening on Sunday in all the rural areas throughout the country. My objection to the bona fide traffic is that it is a direct invitation to members of the public— and occasionally to members of the licensed trade—to break the law. I would like the Minister to give his attention to one particular aspect of that law-breaking. When a member of the general public falsely represents himself as a traveller, he commits two breaches of the law: first of all, he breaks the moral law by telling a lie to the publican and, secondly, he breaks the law of the land by entering on licensed premises during prohibited hours. To my mind, any act that holds out an inducement to the general public to commit breaches of both the moral law and the law of the land is, in itself, bad and should be discouraged as having a tendency to promote very loose thinking indeed on the part of a large section of the public.

Where the licensing laws are concerned, virtue does not always bring its own reward. To illustrate that, I will mention a case—which is true, and being true, I will disguise the name of the place where it occurred—where there was a certain dance hall which was not licensed. Next door to it, there was a licensed premises, and it was customary for dancers to visit the licensed premises after 10 o'clock. In order to safeguard himself from prosecution, the publican was in the habit of asking those people, before admitting them, where they had slept the night before. It became customary to name a village ten or 12 miles distant. On this particular occasion, three men were engaged in breaking the law. The first man said that he slept in the village of X on the previous night, and he was admitted; the second man said he slept in the village of Y, and he was admitted; the third man—the only truthful member of the party—when asked where he had slept the night before, replied: "If you want to know, I did not sleep a wink," and he was thrown out on his neck. That is the kind of thing that results from this bona fide traffic. In the interests of truth and justice the Minister would be well advised to come to a compromise in the House and, in return for total abolition of the bona fide traffic, to permit a short general opening throughout the country on Sundays. The bona fide traffic always reminds me of what the cowboy said when he saw the giraffe: “There ain't no such animal”.

I would like to second Senator Crosbie's amendment. I am 100 per cent. with him on this subject, as I do not see how the Minister can stand over the differentiation between town and country and between man and man. With all due respect to him, this Bill is one mass of contradictions. The Minister started off by giving Dublin longer hours and he stopped the bona fide traffic for six hours in the day to make up for that.

He allows drinking on Sundays in one town and yet continues the situation which obtains in the country today. His arguments in the Dáil did not impress me at all. He started off by saying that he found the situation satisfactory as regards Sundays and did not want to change it, and he said he was quite determined not to give way on that point. Then, without giving any reasons, he said he was very much impressed by the arguments which several Deputies put up, that it would lead to general trade, as people would go into houses where there were groceries on one side and liquor on the other.

I think I said it would lead to more drinking, too, which is very important.

I accept that. I did not want to leave out the context. I will give an instance of what happened in our local town last Sunday. A man came down from the mountain with sheep. I went to meet him and bought them. When the deal, helped by another man, was over, we went off to have a drink. This man had to stand on the platform outside, as he was living in the town. He had no intention of getting a drink. In the same town there were, I suppose, 200 mountainy men—sheep men—walking into houses for sugar and tea, while this man could not go in. I suggest that the Minister should not let this situation continue, simply because he found it so. He should correct it, in fairness to the townsman and to the countryman.

I took the trouble to discuss this with some of the clergy—intelligent men who know the country people well— and with the Gárdaí. One and all, they would infinitely prefer a short opening after second Mass to this bona fide traffic which goes on from morning till night during the hours it is allowed and which is abused, as we all know, in every possible way.

I do not think the Minister has taken a sound stand on this Bill. He talked a great deal in the Dáil, though not so much here, of going down the slippery slope; but before he brought in this legislation he should have made sure that the ground on which he was standing was reasonably firm. Instead of bringing in legislation which he could not stand over, it would have been much better for him to have asked somebody's advice beforehand. Then he would not have to give way on everything before coming to this House, and give way again here, and then discuss the result with the Dáil. I hope the Minister will see that there is some sense in the suggestion that has been made.

Some Senators have remarked that I gave way with regard to certain sections of the Bill. I should like to mention that when I introduced this Bill it was my intention to deal only with certain abuses which really required to be dealt with and I was hopeful of being able to remedy the situation. I knew that an attempt would be made to force me to have what I might term a general amendment of the licensing laws, and that was the very thing I was anxious to avoid. That is what I really meant when I stated that I found myself slipping. I was not able to resist the pressure of various Parties in the Dáil, including supporters of my own Party, and I felt obliged to enlarge the scope of the Bill to an extent far greater than I had intended.

My main object when introducing the Bill was to put an end to the abuse of the bona fide traffic. I know now that every Government will have to think twice before introducing any legislation to deal with licensing evils, for the reason that they may not be able to confine the legislation to the point they desire to deal with. That is the position I found myself in. An attempt was made to keep me moving in a certain direction once the Licensing Bill was introduced in the Dáil. The Dáil is a very democratic Assembly, and I could not prevent Deputies carrying their proposals. If I were a dictator and could ignore the votes in the Dáil, I could do exactly as I wished; but I am not in that position, and I had to accept the views of the majority of Deputies. I think I have given very good reasons why there should not be a general opening. I am satisfied on that point.

Senator The McGillycuddy did not put forward any good argument for a general opening. The proposal is that from 2 to 5 should be the opening hours. He did not support Senator Crosbie, because he suggested the opening should be after second Mass, and the time for second Mass varies throughout the country.

I was merely trying to get at the principle. It is not worth splitting hairs over.

It is, because the sheep might be driven down from the mountains at different hours and the men driving them might like to have a drink and in those circumstances you might have difficulty in deciding on the hours. It would not be desirable to have the public houses open at all hours. Senator The McGillycuddy did not support Senator Crosbie's motion at all.

I trust the House will not entertain this proposal, because I believe it would be disastrous to insert it in the Bill. We have had an indication of the result of legalising betting. The evil has grown to be 40 times as bad as it was. The very same thing will occur if we grant additional facilities for drinking by extending the hours. So far as the bona fide traffic is concerned, if you decide to open the public houses for two hours in order to permit those people who would ordinarily become bona fide travellers to get the drink they require, is there any reason to suppose that there will be just the same amount of drinking? In my opinion such opening would only tend to increase the consumption of drink.

We must try to realise the position in the country. It is said that there is excessive drinking arising out of the bona fide traffic. There may be, but we must remember that the number of people who drink to excess in these circumstances represents a very small portion of the population. But if the public houses are allowed legally to open, I believe that many people will be tempted to go in for a drink, and once they get accustomed to going into the public houses there will be drinking far in excess of what is experienced at the moment and that would be a disastrous state of affairs. All over the rural areas, outside the large towns, there is a bona fide traffic carried on, but there are very few people taking advantage of it. There can be absolutely no case made for opening in the rural districts on Sundays.

I wonder if any Senators have asked themselves why Sunday closing was enforced in the rural areas. I knew quite a lot of people who lived during the period when Sunday opening was quite common, and they told me of the rows that used to take place on Sunday evenings when people were returning to their homes. It was because of these rows, and the unseemly behaviour on Sunday evenings in rural districts, that legislation was put in force compelling those places to close.

I know quite a lot about the licensed trade, and I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that if you allow the public houses to open again on Sundays you will once more have these unseemly scenes. There is, undoubtedly, a certain amount of dodging of the licensing laws on the part of bogus travellers, but the position is far less dangerous than it would be if you were to allow public houses to open on Sundays for any period. Senator O'Dwyer is quite right. If you allow public houses to open for three hours, five minutes after the closing time you will have men seeking to enter by the backdoor. We all know that that would be the position. The safest plan is to adhere to the present arrangement. With regard to the bona fide traffic, there are genuine travellers on Sundays, farmers engaged looking after cattle and sheep and men genuinely travelling on business, and you want to penalise these people because of the actions of a small number who try to get drink in spite of any law. I do not think that would be reasonable and the present arrangements, defective though they may be, are much better than what is now being proposed.

I am in the same frame of mind as the Minister with regard to this matter. I do not think the House should let pass without some comment the statement that Senator Goulding has made. So far as rural Ireland is concerned, I must repudiate the Senator's suggestion that if we open public houses for some hours on a Sunday unseemly scenes are likely to take place. I do not think so. Public houses are opened on fair days all over the country. Men who travel long distances, sometimes fasting, need to have a little nourishment when they reach their destination, and some may take a little more than is good for them, but there are no unseemly scenes. I suggest that Senator Goulding is misrepresenting the people in the country districts.

There is a great deal to be said for the case made by Senator The McGillycuddy and also by Senator Crosbie, but there are some of us who feel that certain preliminaries ought to be gone through before we decide on any general practice. I think, in our approach to this question of liquor consumption, it would be well to work in conjunction with the liquor trade, allowing those engaged in it to be as much the guardians of the law as the members of the Gárda Síochána. I do not know if we could urge the Minister to depart from the position he has taken up, but I would not like to think that he has taken up such a position for any reason such as Senator Goulding has put before the House.

At least three points arise out of the case put forward by the Senator Goulding.

Would the Senator permit me to remind him that it is now 9 o'clock, the hour at which the Seanad usually adjourns?

In that case I move to report progress.

Progress reported; the Committee to sit again to-morrow.
The Seanad adjourned at 9 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday, 28th January.