Local Government Bill, 1945—Committee (Resumed).

Question proposed: "That Section 38 stand part of the Bill."

Perhaps we could finish the discussion on this section very shortly if the Minister, instead of quoting the Constitution, would tell us what he has in mind about "special circumstances." We had examples from him yesterday of special circumstances which would enable a person to appoint a substitute to act for him during absence necessitated by membership of the Oireachtas. Senator O'Dea mentioned yesterday the case of an officer of a local body who was pursuing a course to get better qualifications for himself. I agree with that. I know, for example, that a national teacher can get leave from the Department of Education to appoint a substitute in his school while he is attending a university course. He cannot get it always, but the possibility is there of his getting it and I know from personal contacts that some of them do. It costs a teacher money, of course, but the Department is prepared to grant leave in certain circumstances for a teacher who wants to go to a day course to get an honours degree. I do not agree with Senator Sir John Keane that the section should be amended so as to provide that the office holder should have nothing to say to the selection of a substitute. I agree with Senator Ryan that "substitute" is a better word than "deputy" because otherwise we are likely to get a bit mixed. I think that provision should be preserved as it exists in the Bill. The Minister, of course, should have power to determine whether the substitute's qualifications are sufficient for the purposes of the post. Neither am I quite sure that we should make an absolutely statutory bar that the person who appoints the substitute should not in any way get some pecuniary benefit from the post. That is a general proposal to which there might be objections. I should like to leave the circumstances of each particular case to the Department involved.

A great deal of extraneous matter was drawn into the discussion yesterday. Nobody is questioning—I am not going to discuss it—whether local officers should be eligible for membership of the Oireachtas and, as long as they are, obviously they must be allowed to appoint substitutes. I mention no names, but supposing a man is a member of the Oireachtas and is living in Dublin and his wife is an officer of a local body in Kerry, Cork or Donegal. Are these "special circumstances" which should enable her to get leave of absence for a prolonged period? Personally, I do not think they are, although I think a member of the Government has quite a sound case. If the Minister would tell us that, we could get over this business quickly. I am tempted to quote the Constitution but I think the Minister's constitutional point is absolutely childish and expressed with all the impudence that ignorance so frequently carries.

Must not the section be interpreted for all time by different people? Why should the Minister be asked to say what his interpretation of the Act is? He may give one interpretation and the Senator may give another and both may be wrong. We are making the law and it has to be interpreted as it stands for all time and there is no use in asking a particular Minister what is his interpretation.

That is surely a misunderstanding altogether of the process of law-making.

It is the right view.

Surely not. It is an impossible view. Under this section, the Minister is getting power to do certain things in special circumstances.

On a point of correction —not the Minister alone, but also all succeeding Ministers, for all time.

The Minister for Local Government at the particular moment, whoever he is. In spite of the talk in the country, there is a certain continuity of government. We had an example of that here to-day at the beginning of business. Ministers resemble one another in that every Minister has a Bill which is urgent and wants it passed immediately. There is great continuity in that. There is an endeavour to have continuity. As a matter of fact, the Minister for Finance indicated to us on the Superannuation Bill to-day that representations were made to him that a promise was made about 1923, recognised in 1933, recognised again in 1940 and recognised now in 1946. That shows a certain amount of continuity in the Ministerial attitude towards citizens.

Senator O'Dea is wrong in saying that the Minister may interpret "special circumstances" and be wrong. The Minister cannot be wrong; he has the power and will exercise it. It may be my opinion or Senator O'Dea's opinion that, in a particular case, the Minister was wrong. The Minister is getting the power and his successor will have it. It is and always has been possible to set out by way of principle —and sometimes by way of a speech on general principles—what the general administrative practice is going to be. That is done quite commonly. Senator O'Dea must have heard Ministers over and over again say that they are doing now what was done in 1928 or some other years. That is quite a common line of argument. When we are asked to give special powers to the Minister, it is quite legitimate to ask him to indicate what he thinks about types of cases and what kind of administration he is going to give. Otherwise, we would have to put into the Bill a whole series of cases; and, in this particular instance, I believe that is not practicable. There are certain cases we all agree about and the Minister could indicate what the other special circumstances are which he has in mind.

One may as well ask the meaning of the word "absence" in the 1941 Act, where the Minister has power to appoint a deputy in the case of absence or illness. Does that mean enforced absence or some other kind of absence?

I think Senators have been talking around this section and amendment pretty well. I would like to acquire some further clarification of the section. Sub-section (1) says that "where the appropriate Minister"—which is not necessarily the Minister for Local Government—"is of opinion" that the duties of a certain person should not be performed during a particular period. That indicates to me that the initiation comes from the Minister. I feel that that does not cover ordinary cases of sick leave, annual leave or any other leave of absence. Ordinarily, a local official does not have a deputy employed while on annual or sick leave but someone else has to make up the duties for him. If he is more than six months on sick leave, he is told to get out on pension; and on that, as an aside, I might say that the officials of local authorities have nothing like the satisfactory terms of the pensionable employees in the Civil Service whom we discussed to-day.

The direction in this case seems to come from above downwards, as it indicates that "the Minister is of opinion". It does not indicate at all that the application is coming from an individual official, through his local authority, to the Minister. I would be glad if that were the interpretation, as I have an interesting experience to relate. Almost 20 years ago, I applied for one month's special leave for the purpose of sitting for an examination— which I was fortunate in getting through, without the leave—and I offered to get a man to take my place, and to pay him to perform my duties. My application was refused and if I could have appealed to the Minister at the time I might have done so. I give that as an example to show that this section does not seem to apply at all. If it does, the discussion seems to be in order. If it cannot be applied, all these points about an officer recommending an official to take his place seem to be out of order.

On the point Senator Keane raised, if the authority had to look for someone, they would have to advertise. When I looked for a month's leave for a specific purpose—a commendable purpose—I said I would get someone to take my place. Having suggested and recommended such a person, it would rest with the local authority to be satisfied and I presume that would be sanctioned by the central authority. I fancy the onus would be placed on me to suggest alocum tenens. On the other hand, the local authority would have to publish an announcement and select a person, which would be very difficult. I have been rather confused as to the interpretation of the section and the debate that has taken place upon it.

There is a great difference between asking the holder, who seeks to have his duties done by a deputy, whom he suggests might be suitable and giving him a statutory right of nomination.

The statutory right of nomination does give a certain vested interest to the holder in regard to his deputy. Only one consideration should govern the appointment of a deputy, that is, the public interest, but the public interest does not get full play under any system which allows nomination to the holder. Unless the Minister gives some very convincing reason, I propose on Report Stage—for what it is worth; it is not worth very much, I know—to put down an amendment to delete that right of nomination.

Would the Minister give some information with regard to the question of emoluments? Has he in mind that in no circumstances shall the holder retain emoluments for the office? It seems most undesirable that he should retain any. Will the local authority be told, or will the public know, if emoluments are retained, to what extent they are retained? There is very considerable public uneasiness in resect of this question of retaining emoluments when deputies are functioning. I feel the Minister, if he does sanction retention of emoluments, should let it be known what the arrangements are, or, better still, he should accept a statutory provision that no emoluments are to be retained.

Lastly, I think the Minister should give the House some indication as to how he will exercise his discretion in considering special circumstances. I know he cannot in a reply cover the whole ground, but I will put a special case. Would he sanction a deputy in the case where a local official, a lady, wanted to appoint a deputy in order to join her husband, who is a civil servant, living in a distant area? That is a definite case. So-and-so is a civil servant employed in Dublin. His wife is a local authority employee in a place some distance away. Would he, in that case, consider the appointment of a deputy would fall within the category of "special circumstances?" I hope the Minister will answer that. I am entitled to ask him to answer it. It may be hypothetical, but it will be some indication of what he has in mind in the exercise of discretion in regard to "special circumstances."

There is nothing more remarkable than the inclination which we have, when difficult matters are under discussion, to try to cut or shape our cloak to suit our friends and, perhaps, on occasions, to suit ourselves. I gather it is all very well that I should have this power to authorise the appointment of a deputy if by any chance the public officer involved happens to be engaged in politics. Then, those who are pretty critical about the scheme say it is quite a proper thing, in these circumstances, that the Minister should have power to appoint a deputy.

Does the Minister mean politics or membership of the Oireachtas?

Membership of the Oireachtas in this case, yes. On that point it may not be perhaps without certain historical interest to disclose to the House that there was actually, in the year 1922, a Statute which forbade officers of public authorities to be Members of Parliament. We were not the Administration at that time. We did not initiate the practice, but it suited some people to ignore that particular Statute and, the precedent having been created, it has been ignored ever since. I have not heard any person suggest that that was done from a wrong or political motive or for any purpose but the highest regard for the best public interest.

I was saying, Sir, that it is extraordinary how we all like in matters of this sort, to make sure that our friends will be on the right side of the line. I am not concerned about political circumstances. I do not mind whether there would be a vacancy created in this or that other constituency if a prominent member of mine or any other Party were to be precluded from sitting in the Oireachtas so long as he holds a public office. I am concerned by this section to ensure that if a reasonable case is put up to me for the appointment of a deputy, I will have the authority of the Oireachtas to permit me to authorise the person who makes that application to appoint a deputy in circumstances which appear to me to justify an appointment.

I will not, by giving any outline as to how I should deal with some hypothetical circumstances, bind myself in any way or, perhaps, arouse in the mind of some unfortunate public officer the hope or expectation that, if he comes along to me with a case that suits him exactly, he is going to be permitted to appoint a deputy, when I may find, on looking into the case, that the circumstances do not warrant me in issuing that authorisation. I should then perhaps be charged with a breach of public faith. For that reason, I am not going to detail any of the circumstances which I would regard as special circumstances. Whether there are special circumstances or not will emerge when any particular case is brought to my notice and I will then become the judge of what I consider to be the special circumstances which would justify the appointment of a deputy.

There is a multitude of cases that have emerged in the past in which it would have been, I think, right and proper that this power might be exercised—cases of people who were not ill themselves, but who had a near relative ill, cases of people who were faced with sudden family calamity which would necessitate, perhaps, their absence from duty for a certain period. There has been a number of cases with which I was unable to deal because of the fact that I did not feel at all certain as to what my powers were. I feel that in matters of this sort we shall have to rely, as is customary in matters of general administration, upon the desire of the Minister to exercise his functions with strict regard to his responsibility to the Dáil but also with some regard to human considerations. That is all that we are asking for in this section. I may be ignorant, perhaps, of certain circumstances. I do not know whether I am speaking with the impudence of ignorance but Senator Hayes has professed a great deal of ignorance on this matter.

I am sorry I said that. I apologise. I was quite wrong.

We will bury the hatchet publicly.

I want to get this Bill through.

In these circumstances, I do not think I can give any further assistance to the House in this matter than I have already given.

Would the Minister answer one question on the point raised by Senator O'Donovan? The point he raised is one which I have a particular interest in. It is not a particular case; it is a general case. I do not know what the circumstances of Senator O'Donovan's case were but anyhow that does not matter. I think a professional man who wanted a month's leave at his own expense in order to get a better qualification should certainly get it unless the public service for the particular moment prevents him. That is a general case on which the Minister will surely give a view.

I should like to say, in relation to that matter, that it has been given, but I am not satisfied that, if the Statute were to be strictly interpreted, we were justified by the Statutes.

But it could be done under this, of course?

And the Minister thinks it ought to be done, in a general way?

In a general way, yes, with due regard, remember, to the interests of the public service. When I say that I do not want it to be taken that, if some person feels like taking a trip to America, this would be an excuse to get permission, or that I would be quite justified in letting him go. I want to make it quite clear that it will not be given unless a proper case is made to justify the authorisation. With regard to the point Senator O'Donovan made, I think he was really concerned to ensure that the initiative in a matter of this sort would not always have to come from the Minister. I think the Senator can rest assured that if some person brings to the attention of the Minister facts which render it desirable that sub-section (1) of the section should be given effect to, the Minister will then proceed to act on that basis.

Mr. O'Donovan

It was the word "should" I was drawing attention to. It seems to indicate the Minister as the initiating party.

It is there to cover the case in which the Minister is satisfied that during a certain period there might be a conflict between private and public interest, so far as an officer was concerned, a conflict which, if it existed, might make it perhaps desirable that the officer should cease to function altogether for a certain period —something which the officer perhaps could not do unless he got special authority to appoint a deputy.

Mr. O'Donovan

That is the point on which I wanted to be clear—that the section indicated that, and not the other. If the other aspect definitely comes within the section, I am quite satisfied.

One would imagine that the wording should be "need not be performed." Senator O'Donovan's point is rather a good point—that the office "should not be performed" rather indicates that the Minister has come to the conclusion that the particular person should not be there. I do not think that is the position. It is that the Minister has come to the conclusion that, for a certain time, he need not be there and that his duties can be performed by a substitute.

Am I to understand from what the Minister says that, in the event of an officer of a local authority requiring this permission, he can make representations to the Minister,via the county manager?

That is right.

I am not quite sure that the Minister should not be left with the power to initiate it himself. I know of a case where the mental health of an official would possibly warrant the Minister, and if the power of initiation is taken from him and given entirely to the official concerned, a very difficult position may arise.

Mr. O'Donovan

I did not suggest that.

I can understand the Minister's reluctance to answer the hypothetical case I put to him, although it was a perfectly straightforward case and one of a kind which might normally happen, but I do not quite appreciate his reluctance to answer my questions about the nomination. I take it that he is adamant on the matter of the right to nominate and also on a refusal to have statutory provisions against the retention of emoluments. Both of these matters, I am afraid, I shall have to bring up again on the Report Stage.

There is one feature in connection with this measure which, to me, has been rather encouraging. There has been a good deal of research into practices on the other side, where they have, of course, a long record of legislation in local government, but I am rather disappointed that in this matter we have not had the assistance of Senator Ryan, who is very diligent in his researches with regard to the publication of local government inspector's reports, but who has not been of similar assistance to us in this matter. We have no right to claim it, of course, but we hoped that we might have had his assistance with regard to the appointment of deputies. Experience of that kind would be a help to us. I can see a deputy with very few years' service, the holder of an office with five years' service, being allowed, in circumstances like those I have indicated, to join her husband who is a civil servant, and being 20 years away from duty, during which period the deputy is acting. Is that a desirable state of affairs? There is no time limit in the section and I feel that there should be some attempt to impose a time limit on the period during which deputies should be allowed to function. I hope the matter may again be considered on Report.

Am I to understand that this section is in addition to the provisions of the 1941 Act in regard to illness? I note in the Schedule that Section 19 of the 1941 Act has not been repealed, and I therefore presume that it is still extant. If so, will the Minister tell us whether, under the 1941 Act, in the case of certified illness, the Minister has power to continue the approval of the nomination of a deputy for as long as the holder of an office may be ill, or is there any restriction in time in respect of it? There is a restriction in the initial stages, but can it be renewed again and again? The Minister in his Second Reading speech indicated that, as well as illness, there are some other cases which were covered by the 1941 Act, and I should like to be a little clearer as to what, in his view, is covered by that Act. We had an indication of what it is intended to cover in this Bill, but perhaps the Minister would indicate what he intended to cover under the old regulations as against what is being covered in this measure.

If the Senator looks at the Local Government Officers' Regulations, 1943, he will see what the Minister for Local Government thinks was covered by the 1941 Act. There is, however, a much more precise reference in these regulations to medical officers of hospital or dispensary districts than there is to any other type of officer, whereas Section 38 is a general section giving authority to deal with all officers. With regard to sick leave and so on, paragraph 20 of the regulations sets out that the manager may grant sick leave to any officer incapable of performing his duties owing to illness or physical injury and may pay salary during sick leave. Then follows a long statement of the circumstances which runs to almost two pages. I do not suppose the Senator wishes me to read them.

No; I merely wanted an indication of where they were. We tried for them in the Library but failed.

These cover what might be described as the ordinary routine type of cases and do not cover any cases in which special circumstances may arise. On the question of emoluments, I think it would be quite impossible to lay down a rule that all the emoluments would be payable to a deputy, because in, say, the case of a dispensary doctor, he not only appoints his deputy to carry out his duties as dispensary doctor but also appoints him to look after his private practice. We would simply get into a state of the utmost confusion and certainly one which would clog the administration unduly, if we put in a general statement that all emoluments are to be reserved to the deputy. I think it would be quite impossible for us to keep publishing these arrangements from day to day. One may be perfectly certain that, where the deputy satisfies the requirements of the Minister, which are that he is fully qualified, and, by ability and experience, a proper person to fill the post, the terms he will make with regard to emoluments with his principal will be sufficiently exacting to leave that principal very little profit out of the farming out of the office, which is what the Senator appears to fear.

Will he acknowledge the financial arrangement between the holder of the office and his deputy?

No, and I am not so certain that it is desirable that we should do so.

Sub-section (4) states that the appropriate Minister may withdraw an approval given under sub-section (2), and that the nomination, which was the subject of the approval, terminates. What would happen if a deputy was still performing the duty? Would there be power to nominate another person?

I could not say what would happen in hypothetical circumstances. We could only consider extreme cases, in which a deputy was found to be unsatisfactory. Another person might be nominated to act as deputy and, if acceptable and competent, we might allow this second deputy to be appointed. On the other hand, we might say that our experience of the first deputy was so unsatisfactory, that we would simply require the holder of the office to resume duty.

I think the idea that Senator Mrs. Concannon had in mind was that the power would be spent after one deputy was appointed, and that there should be a provision, after sub-section (4), stating that in the event of an officer not being able to resume duty a second deputy should be appointed.

Earlier in the debate it was suggested to the Minister that where he gives approval to the appointment of a substitute for a period that he ought at stated intervals of a year or six months review such cases. Apart from its legality, it is also a matter of public decency. In a case of that kind what is of public interest is of more importance than the legality of the position. What I mean is, that where a person is appointed to a position, and temporarily appoints a substitute—where that goes on for a period of years—I think the holder of the office should be given the choice of adopting one or other of the two careers he is trying to follow. Where people enter political life and leave behind them positions under local authorities, it is not unreasonable to suggest that special circumstances should be reviewed and these persons asked to choose one career or the other.

I should like to give notice that on the Report Stage I will bring in a small amendment to deal with the point raised by Senator O'Donovan.

That is with regard to "should" or "need".

Question put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 22:—

In line 4, page 19, to delete the word "time" and substitute therefor the words "hours of duty".

I have a later amendment which proposes to delete the section. That is what appeals to me, but I suppose I must deal with this amendment first, or I would be out of order.

Not necessarily; you can deal with the matter on the section.

I hope the Minister will accept this amendment. It is actually in accordance with views he expressed on the Second Reading, when he stated that the section does not imply that an officer must devote all his hours to his official duties. It appals me to think that we should pass the sub-section as it is. It reads:—

"(k) requiring holders to devote the whole of their time to the duties of their offices."

That means, as far as words convey anything, that it is not alone waking hours or sleeping hours, but all hours must be devoted to the duties of their offices, even on Sundays and holidays. The words cannot mean anything else. I shall mention to the House a case where the Oireachtas, when passing certain legislation, considered that such and such was the interpretation to be given it, or that such would be the interpretation of a Minister in charge of a Bill when it was going through the Oireachtas. But if it goes to court—it is just possible that some day the interpretation of this section would be discussed in court—I can picture no other interpretation being given to it by a judge, but that sleeping hours, waking hours and all hours are to be devoted to the services of local authorities. I know that is not what is meant.

On the Second Reading the Minister stated that it was not intended that all waking hours should be devoted to the duties. What I suggest is that the officers should devote the total hours of duty to the office. I think the Minister should accept the amendment, as it seems to be his interpretation of what is meant. If the wording of the section is to remain I violently disagree with it.

When the Milk and Dairies Act of 1935 passed through the Oireachtas I am quite satisfied that Section 60 was interpreted by every member of the Oireachtas as it was interpreted by local authorities. That section reads:

"(1) It shall not be lawful for any person by himself or his servant to sell or deliver to a purchaser in any highway or public place milk from a vehicle or from a can or other receptacle unless there is conspicuously inscribed on such vehicle, can or receptacle his name and address and (as the case may be) the words ‘Bainne ar díol', ‘Uachtar ar díol' or ‘Bláthach ar díol'."

That is why you see the words "Bainne ar díol" on milk cars. The intention of the Oireachtas unquestionably was, that anyone delivering milk on the public street should have the words "Bainne ar díol" on the cars. When the matter was brought to court and a case made before the district justice, it was pointed out that a person who delivers milk at a door-step or in a garden is not standing on a public highway; that the only person to whom the section could apply was one selling milk in College Green, and having a bugle, the same as for the sale of ice cream.

I am speaking from actual experience. It means that no case can be brought, because, although the milk is being delivered through the thoroughfare, it is not being sold on the thoroughfare. That is an example. No matter what the interpretation of the Oireachtas may be and no matter what the Minister says his interpretation is of the words in the Bill, if it happens to go before a justice or a judge he will say that the person must devote the whole of his time, and that is every hour of the day. That is not so preposterous, because I can say that I can be called on at any hour of the day or night and must answer that call. I have answered it on numerous occasions. Therefore, if this thing is interpreted generally, it will apply to every official, whether he is a junior clerk or any type of inspector. I think the Minister should seriously consider not having such words enacted in this Bill. He did mention that the term "whole-time" has been defined in numerous previous Acts. I do not know what these are.

Always unsuccessfully defining it.

Anyway, it was in connection with superannuation. I know that the terms "whole-time" and "part-time" have often caused difficulty. So far as I am concerned, I am a whole-time official of a local authority. I have certain defined hours at which to attend and to leave off. The important thing is that I have to be there at the start. Knocking-off time does not apply to me. I have to do the work while it is there to be done. I have to do the work at any hour of the day or night, even on Sundays and holidays. I have no objection to that. But, as it was discussed, I can certainly say that if this Bill is passed as it is I would undoubtedly be debarred from being a member of the Oireachtas by that section. I have never spent an hour of my official time performing my duties in the Seanad. I am here in my own time, namely, during my annual leave. I have never come here otherwise than on my annual leave. It may be a hardship, but I accepted the position. I was free to come here because I could come here in what I regarded as my own time. If this were passed, I would not be entitled to come here, because the whole of my time must be devoted to the duties of my office.

I think it is very reasonable that we should put into this that he shall devote the whole of his hours of duty to the duties of his office, from such a time in the morning until such a time in the evening. Unquestionably, the officer should devote the whole of that time. If he is not doing it, apart from breaking any regulations, in many cases his own professional organisation will see that he will do it.

There must be some intention at the back of this section to restrict whole-time professional men from doing outside practice. If that be so, surely their own professional organisations are there to restrict them. I certainly never have, and I would be very quickly rapped on the knuckles by my professional organisation if I tried to practise outside of my official hours, or to do anything else than give my services to the local authority. If that would apply to engineers, architects or anybody else, surely they have their own organisations to prevent whole-time local authority officials from doing these things. Whatever is at the back of the introduction of this as an additional section, I think it is too farreaching and more restricting on any local official than ever has been the case before. In the Act of 1941, Section 19 (1) (c) gives the Minister the power of determining the hours of duty. He has the power to make regulations determining the hours of duty. I think that paragraph should be deleted if we are to insert now an additional paragraph (k) saying that holders shall devote the whole of their time to the duties of their offices. There is no sense in paragraph (c) indicating that the Minister can make regulations to determine hours of duty, because the hours are all hours of the day or night. I ask the Minister to consider this reasonable proposition seriously. He has stated that he is a reasonable man when he has a case made to him, and I think I have made a very strong case and that he should consider it.

I am afraid that in the circumstances in which Senator O'Donovan finds himself, to adopt his amendment would merely intensify his disabilities, because he has told us that he is on duty at all hours; that he may be on duty for the 24 hours around. Therefore, if I am to substitute for the word "time" the words "hours of duty", requiring holders to devote the whole of their hours of duty, the whole of the 24 hours of the day, to their office, I think that Senator O'Donovan's plight would be even worse than it is at present. For that reason alone, I suggest that we should not consider his amendment.

Senator O'Donovan has referred to Section 19 of the Act of 1941 and called attention to the fact that under sub-section (1) of that section the Minister is empowered to determine hours of duty. But there is nothing in the section which gives the Minister power to require people to devote the whole of their time within their dutiable hours to the functions of their office. That is a flaw in the section as originally drafted which we are now endeavouring to remedy, for that reason and for other reasons. I have a whole list of things which I may prescribe, covering remuneration, payment of travelling expenses, hours of duty and providing for records of attendance, but I have not the power, which is essential, to ensure that these things are fulfilled or that the conditions which regulate the grant of remuneration are complied with. I have no power to require an officer appointed by a public authority to come to his office at the time he is supposed to.

Is it not implied?

It may be implied, but we want to make it explicit. I think that that is very desirable. If a person is appointed to a public office and paid out of public funds and somebody comes along and says: "This man is not attending to his job," although the Minister has power to fix hours and all sorts of conditions relating to remuneration, travelling expenses, etc., the Minister has not power to attach to the conditions of this man's appointment the fundamental condition that during the hours that he is supposed to be in attendance he will in fact be giving the attention to his duties which the post requires. That is one aspect of this matter.

The next aspect is that there has been continuous difficulty arising out of the Superannuation Acts of dealing with the question of pensionability. The law in that regard has been very unsatisfactory. The Union Officers' Superannuation Act of 1865 prescribes that that Act applies to any officers whose whole time has been devoted to the service of the union. There have been attempts made to clarify that condition by substituting the words "entire time to the service of the union," but we have all through the Superannuation Acts, up to 1925, the phrase that "pensionable officer means any officer who devotes the whole of his time to the service of one or more local bodies." If that phrase were to be interpreted in the same unreasonable way as Senator O'Donovan suggested, nobody would get superannuation. But we have interpreted it in a reasonable way. We want to get rid of the question which now frequently arises when an officer retires, as to whether he was appointed to a whole-time post or not, and we can do that by specifying in the conditions of appointment that the post is a whole-time one.

How are you to define a whole-time post unless in the terms indicated here —a post which requires its holder to devote the whole of his time to the duties of the office? We have to deal with this in a reasonable and rational way. It is not proposed to ask any person to give the whole of his attention to a post during the 24 hours of the day. Senator O'Donovan has suggested an amendment and I have pointed out that his particular case would be worsened rather than improved by the amendment.

But there are posts which are regarded as whole-time posts and which in future would be described as whole-time posts where it is not possible to fix hours of duty, and perhaps it is not desirable. Take the case of a rate collector. He may be a whole-time man and yet you cannot say that he will collect rates only between the hours of 10 o'clock and 5 o'clock and, if anybody wants to give him rates before the hour of 10 o'clock in the morning or after 5 o'clock in the evening or wants to pay them on Sunday at the Church door, that he cannot take them and that he will not be regarded as doing his work properly unless he has fixed hours of duty and collects the rates during that period.

I stated in the Dáil and here that it is not intended to alter, to their detriment, the positions of any existing officers. It is not proposed to require officers to give the whole of their time unreasonably to the duties of their posts, but it is desirable that the Minister should be in a position to say: "I require you to devote the whole of your time to the duties of your post," and if any question arises in relation to that matter I am perfectly certain, just as in the case cited by Senator O'Donovan, that the courts will interpret these conditions as reasonable, and if there is any doubt it will be to the benefit of the individual rather than to the benefit of the State.

I presume this section is to apply only to future employments, not to existing employments. If that is so, why could not the position, when advertised, prescribe whether it is a whole-time or a part-time employment? Would not that get over the difficulty?

It might apply to existing employments, but it would not apply to their detriment.

I can see a difficulty. If a person had a contract which provided he was to be only a whole-time employee, there may be a difficulty in compelling him to adopt a different contract with the council. It would worsen his position. It might better it for the purpose of superannuation, but he may not wish that; he may prefer to be left as he is, a freelance rather than be tied down at certain times.

Mr. O'Donovan

There is no freelance.

That is one of the difficulties I see. If it were to refer only to future employments, when the appointments are to be made it could be indicated whether they were whole or part-time. The Minister mentioned the position of rate collector. I wish he would make some attempt to clarify that position. At the moment it is most difficult. I know a man who had a very big collection district and it was held he was not a whole-time officer because he did other work. Another man who had not half the amount of his collection to make resigned and it was held that he was a whole-time officer because he had not another appointment. Something should be done to clarify that position.

The Minister stated that there was a flaw in Section 19 of the Local Government Act, 1941, and that this section has been brought in to remedy that flaw. I think there is a flaw in the section which the Minister is introducing, because, as it reads, it would empower him to make an Order requiring a person who is employed as a part-time officer to devote the whole of his time to the duties of his office. I suggest that on the Report Stage the Minister should bring in an amendment inserting before the words "requiring holders" the words "in the case of whole-time offices"; that would require holders to devote the whole of their time to the duties of their offices. That applies only to a whole-time office. As the section stands, in the case of a dispensary doctor the Minister could make an Order requiring him to devote the whole of his time to the work of the dispensary.

The first line of Section 19 (1) of the Act of 1941 says: "The appropriate Minister may, for all or any of the following purposes..." Could not the Minister leave it out if he was a part-time officer?

This is amending Section 19 (1) and it can only apply to whole-time officers. I suggest, and I think it is only right and proper, that any Order made by the Minister under this should apply to whole-time officers.

Only. He should have power to apply it only to whole-time officers. The intention is that if a man is appointed to a position as a whole-time officer, he should devote the whole of his time to the duties of his office. If he is part-time the Minister ought not have power to make an Order, as he would have under this section, requiring that part-time officer to devote the whole of his time to the duties of his office. I think it is a reasonable amendment.

As regards the point raised by Senator O'Donovan, it would require the repeal of a whole code of superannuation Acts to make his amendment fit in with his idea as to what a whole-time officer should be—that is that he should devote the whole of his hours of duty to the office. I think Senator O'Donovan is quite safe in saying that the Minister will not require a whole-time officer to devote all his waking and sleeping hours to his office. Of course, the definition of whole-time officer has been very unsatisfactory especially when it is a question as to whether such an officer of a local authority is or is not entitled to a pension or whether he is entitled to a pension under the superannuation Acts. Therefore, if the Minister takes power to require holders of offices to devote the whole of their time to the duties of their offices he should only have power to make such an Order for whole-time officers and, therefore, I suggest the section should be amended on Report.

I propose to consider on the Report Stage the points raised by Senator Ryan. It is not quite so easy to deal with the matter in the way he suggests because it is contemplated that at some time or other a number of amalgamations may take place. We might amalgamate two or three part-time officers and, by reason of an aggregation of duties, they might in fact become whole-time officers. If I were to accept the amendment precisely in the form suggested by Senator Ryan it might subsequently be difficult for me to convert, say, three part-time offices into a whole-time office. I would, however, like to emphasise this particular aspect of the amendment of the section—that is, it will make it clear beyond doubt that if we are able to do this, whether the person has a pensionable office or not, that would be of particular importance in relation to another measure which is now being drafted and which I have been pressed to introduce in connection with superannuation of officers employed by local authorities. I may say straightway that, unless we are able to solve this problem of pensionability by some simple declaration such as I have proposed here, it might not be possible to introduce that Bill.

I would suggest to the Minister that he cannot make any Order requiring the holder of an office to devote the whole of his time to the duties of that office unless and until the status of that officer has thus been determined. There must be some determination that the officer is a whole-time officer. The Minister must determine that first. Not until then, can the Minister make an Order requiring the holder of such an office to devote the whole of his time to the duties of that office. That is what I suggest and it is a condition precedent that the status should be determined before any Order is made.

First of all, I want to congratulate the Minister on the tremendous progress he has made in the last half-hour. On this section, he explained to the House with great clarity his intentions as to how he was going to operate this executive power. If he had dealt with Section 38 in the same manner we might have got a bit further by now.

I would like to ask the Minister if the addition of the proposed paragraph will interfere in any way with a midwife who is a whole-time pensionable officer; will it prevent her taking any private practice at all?

That is provided for in another Act. A midwife is part-time and pensionable.

Before I withdraw, I would like to say that I have not received much enlightenment in the debate that has just taken place. Senator Ryan has pointed out that the question of a whole-time officer is very indefinite. At the same time he wants to amend this still further by putting in a whole-time officer shall devote the whole of his time. I am strenuously opposed to "the whole of his time." Words can only mean one thing. I fear that no matter what the Minister may say, or what the Act may mean, a still further interpretation may be put upon this matter by the legal fraternity. I may say now that I have a deep distrust of legal people. In the debates in this House one legal representative will emphatically assert that so-and-so is the correct interpretation and a colleague of his will equally emphatically declare that such-and-such is correct. When the matter comes before a judge on the bench he may say that both these gentlemen are wrong and that his interpretation is the correct one. The point I wish to emphasise is during his "sleeping and waking hours". I think some definition is absolutely essential as far as hours of duty are concerned. The position here is definitely unsatisfactory in my opinion. However, the Minister has said that he will look into the matter between this and the Report Stage. In those circumstances I somewhat reluctantly withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question—"That Section 39 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 23:—

Before Section 40, to insert the following new section:—

Section 21 of the Act of 1941 is hereby amended by the addition at the end of the section of the following sub-section:—

(11) Where the appropriate Minister declares under this section qualifications for a specified office in relation to which he is the appropriate Minister, no additional qualifications for that office shall be fixed by the relevant local authority without the consent of the appropriate Minister.

What has been the position previously in regard to this?

The position has been that the Minister has power to declare the qualifications of officers. He declares them after consultation, under sub-section (3) of Section 20, with the Local Appointments Commissioners. Having declared them, after consultation, it is necessary to make the position watertight by prescribing that no other additional qualification will be added by the local authority for the purpose of defeating the original intention of having a public competition. As the law stands at the moment, a public authority—this is perhaps an extreme example—might decide that all the candidates should have red hair in addition to the other qualifications.

But there will be only the one declaration on qualifications?

Amendment agreed to.
Question—"That Section 40 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 41 stand part of the Bill."

I would like to move the deletion of Section 41. I am surprised at the Minister for Local Government and Public Health introducing such a pernicious section into any Bill. In that section he wants to pin down the employees of a local authority. I have been a member of a local authority for 26 years. During all that time I and my brother councillors have advocated a living wage for the workers. Some time ago in the other House the Minister for Local Government and Public Health said that those workers were a privileged class. These workers work an eight-hour day from Monday morning to Saturday night for a miserable 39/- a week. Their only sustenance during that day is a drop of tea and a bit of bread without butter, sitting on the side of the road. Every day is for them a black fast day. If the Minister regards this class of workers as privileged then I am afraid that he has fallen into a very grave error. We have been asking our council to increase the wages and they took from last January to April to get an increase of 3/- — that is, from 39/- to 42/-. To my amazement I discovered at the last meeting of the council that that 42/- a week had not been paid. The position is that if these workers are employed on work which previously came under the board of health they only receive 6/6. If they work on the roads they get 7/-. They have not yet received that increase of 3/-. The Minister wants to pin down the road workers still further now by the introduction of this section. I think it is very unfair to a local authority that they have no power to give their employees a decent living wage under present conditions. The workers to-day, with even 42/- a week, are living under the most miserable conditions and trying to eke out a miserable existence for themselves and their families. I know families to-day who cannot attend divine worship because they have no clothes.

A suit of clothes costs £9 or £10. How could a man with 42/- a week be expected to pay that for a suit of clothes, and at the same time educate his children and provide them with the necessaries of life? I appeal to the Minister to withdraw the section. I am sure that he is a kind-hearted man, and that if he came down to the rural areas with me and saw the condition of some of these unfortunate road workers, how they are trying to eke out an existence, he would not ask the local authorities to pin them down to the 1942 rate. The road workers and the agricultural labourers, on whom this nation depended for its food supplies during the war, are deserving of some better recompense from a Christian and a Catholic country than that which they are getting in the way of wages. They are entitled to be provided with a decent standard of living.

The position in regard to this matter is that the Minister has already power to control the remuneration paid to officers. It is proposed in this section, within limits, to take power to control the remuneration paid to all the employees of local authorities. If it is right that the Minister should control the remuneration of one section, then surely a democrat like Senator Hayden cannot deny that there should be equality. It is not proposed that there should be a privileged class in the employment of local authorities whose remuneration is not subject to control. As to the adequacy of the remuneration, I do not propose to enter into a controversy on that. The point at issue here is whether there should be some controlling authority in the interests of the community.

I pointed out on the Second Stage of this Bill that the State is, by far, the largest contributor to the funds of local authorities and that, in many cases, it is the largest single ratepayer: that it pays the agricultural grant and other subventions which go to local authorities. Therefore, the State is very largely responsible for maintaining and carrying on these services. If public moneys are voted by the Dáil for the purpose of providing certain services, surely the Minister who represents the Oireachtas in a matter of this sort should have the power to see that these moneys are properly devoted to the purpose for which they were intended— that is the purpose of providing the services—and that an undue proportion of them is not diverted under political or local pressure, to the payment of undue remuneration.

Now, the standard which the Government has taken since 1942 by which to determine the adequacy of the remuneration is a very simple one. It is the remuneration which has been agreed upon as that which might, in present circumstances, be reasonably offered to agricultural labourers. The agricultural labourer is a person who resides in the same district as the road worker and the general mass of county council employees. He has to work a 54-hour week. He has not such security as the great majority of employees of local authorities have. He has, perhaps, a rather more exacting taskmaster in a way, and most agricultural labourers have to give very good value for their wage. I am not so certain that, in all the circumstances, the road worker is so laboriously occupied as the agricultural labourer. In all these circumstances it seems to me that we have not been unfair to county council employees and road workers. We have said that for a 48-hour week they will be allowed to get as much as the agricultural worker gets for a 54-hour week.

There are other circumstances to be taken into consideration too. If we can manage to get over the difficulties about part-time and whole-time officers and the question of pensionability relating to the tenure of a post, there will be, in due course, a Superannuation Bill coming along here, and under it local authorities will be empowered to provide pensions for their workers. These pensions will be paid anyhow on what would be reasonably favourable terms to the road workers concerned. The agricultural labourers have no such prospect, at the moment at any rate, of getting a pension in the same way, and I think that, taking it all in all, we have a just right to try to exercise some general control over the remuneration paid to this section of workers. I think we have exercised that right fairly reasonably.

The section in the Bill, it should be noted, provides that road workers can get, without the sanction of the Minister, the rate of wages which they were in receipt of in 1942. If their remuneration is to be increased above that level the sanction of the Minister is required, and the sanction of the Minister, I think, has been given with reasonable fairness in most cases.

Possibly Senator Hayden would be satisfied if the words in the section, "not greater", were changed to "at the same rate". On the question of pension rights for workers in certain areas of most counties, it is to be remembered that road workers are employed only for an alternate week or a fortnight. Their employment is of an intermittent nature. There is a great danger, therefore, that unless special provision is made for them they will not be entitled to a pension. I do not know whether it is the intention of the Minister to make provision for pensions for them, especially in view of the nature of their employment.

I am not quite clear about the Senator's point. We contemplate that the Superannuation Bill will apply only to those who are in the regular employment of county councils, that is, in whole-time employment. There are, of course, due to the general operation of employment schemes, a number of workers who are employed intermittently. The Superannuation Act would not apply to them.

That is what I thought.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 42 and 43 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 24:—

To insert at the end of the section the following new sub-section:—

(5) A harbour authority, within the meaning of the Harbours Act, 1946 (No. 9 of 1946), shall be deemed, for the purposes of this section, to be a road authority.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 44, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Section 45 agreed to.
Amendment No. 25 not moved.
Sections 46 and 47 agreed to.

On behalf of Senator Duffy I move amendment No. 26:

To delete sub-sections (2) and (3).

Section 45 enables the Minister to direct the road authority which made the application for the bridge order or any other road authority to prepare and furnish to him a preliminary report. The Minister will not direct the preparation of such a preliminary report unless he is satisfied that there is substance in the application for the bridge order. If an authority proposed to build a bridge which would be so costly that its commercial and social value would be entirely offset by the very high costs to the ratepayers and the State, the Minister might say: "We shall no longer proceed with this matter" and the preliminary report might show that there were physical difficulties which could not be overcome. It would be very unreasonable, in these circumstances, to require the road authority, responsible under the direction of the Minister for preparing these plans and enabling the Minister to make his decision, to meet the full cost of the preparation of the plans. In these circumstances, all the local authorities who might have benefited by the bridge, if its construction had been deemed desirable, should bear the cost. It is not possible to accept the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 48 to 54 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 27:

In sub-section (1), paragraph (a), page 25, line 18, to delete the figures, and word "57 and 59" and substitute the figures and word "57, 59 and 60."

Amendment agreed to.
Section 55, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Sections 56 to 58 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 59 stand part of the Bill."

I should very much like to know the exact meaning of the words "a road authority shall not construct or reconstruct a bridge or viaduct over or a tunnel under a railway or navigable water (including a canal) unless they do so either under this part of this Act or with the consent of the Minister for Industry and Commerce." It would appear to me that would mean that, if a bridge fell, it could not be reconstructed without the consent of the Minister for Industry and Commerce. That may, cause a certain amount of delay. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary, to consider the advisability of leaving out the word "reconstruct."

The purpose of this section is to enable the Minister for Industry and Commerce to be consulted in all matters where either the construction or reconstruction of a bridge relates to a railway, for the reason that there are a number of old statutes, as Senator O'Dea probably knows better than I do, under which railways have certain responsibilities in respect of bridges. The provision simply means that the Minister must be consulted. It is not suggested that there should be any delay in the reconstruction of a bridge. It is merely a matter of public policy to ensure that there be co-ordination between the two Ministers concerned.

I understand the purpose now. I know one bridge which is not very high and under which it is difficult to bring loads. If it were to be reconstructed, it should be reconstructed properly. At present, there seems to be no power to compel the railway company to act in this regard because they contend that they complied with the specification in the original scheme.

The Senator will be interested to hear that there are interesting decisions in that regard whereby it is declared that, if a railway company had an obligation to maintain a bridge, it had only to maintain it in such state as was required for traffic at the time the statute was passed.

There is also a difficulty about making approaches to a railway bridge—whether the railway company is bound to steamroll the roadway if the rest of the road is steamrolled.

That is the subject of another section in this Bill.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 60 agreed to.

On a point of order, I have to submit that the Parliamentary Secretary has no right of audience in this House under the Constitution. Article 28, sub-article 8 states:—

"Every member of the Government shall have the right to attend and be heard in each House of the Oireachtas."

The Parliamentary Secretary is not a member of the Government.

The Minister for Local Government is now present.

This is an important point. Under the Constitution, Seanad Eireann is composed of 60 members and these are the only persons who are entitled to attend and be heard at meetings of the Seanad. Article 28, sub-article 8, provides that every member of the Government shall have the right to attend and be heard in each House of the Oireachtas. The members of the Government are appointed by the President under Article 13 of the Constitution, on the nomination of the Taoiseach, with the previous approval of Dáil Eireann. These are the ordinary members of the Government except the Taoiseach.

May I draw the attention of the Senator to the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act?

I shall develop that. InIris Oifigiúil of June 13, 1944, page 349, the following announcement appears:—

"The Taoiseach, Eamon de Valera, having, with the approval of Dáil Eireann, duly nominated the following Deputies to be members of the Government:—Seán T. O'Kelly, Seán F. Lemass, Seán MacEntee, James Ryan, Frank Aiken, Thomas Derrig, Gerald Boland, Oscar Traynor, Patrick J. Little, Seán Moylan, the President has appointed them to be members of, and with the Taoiseach, to constitute the Government."

In the same issue ofIris Oifigiúil, 13th June, 1944, the following announcement appears:—

"The Government, on the nomination of the Taoiseach, have appointed the following persons to be Parliamentary Secretaries pursuant to Section 7 (1) of the Ministers and Secretaries Act, 1924, with effect from the 9th June, 1944:—

Eamon Kissane, T.D., to be Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach and to the Minister for Defence;

Patrick Smith, T.D., to be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance;

Seán O'Grady, T.D., to be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Commerce;

Doctor Francis C. Ward, T.D., to be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Local Government and Public Health;

Erskine H. Childers, T.D., to be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Local Government and Public Health"

The only members of the Government are those stated to have been appointed by the President on the nomination of the Taoiseach, as set out inIris Oifigiúil of June 13th, 1944. The Constitution expressly provides that every member of the Government shall have the right to attend and be heard in each House of the Oireachtas but a Parliamentary Secretary is in the position only of an ordinary Deputy and an ordinary Deputy would have no right to attend and be heard here. It has been the practice for some time to hear Parliamentary Secretaries in this House, but that is not in accordance with the Constitution.

May I call the attention of the Senator to Section 8 of the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act, 1939:

"A Parliamentary Secretary who is a member of Dáil Éireann shall have the right to attend and be heard in Seanad Eireann."

That is not in accordance with the Constitution.

The Constitution does not forbid it, surely?

Standing Order 42 of the Seanad also provides:—

"A Parliamentary Secretary who is not a member of the Seanad may, by leave of the Cathaoirleach, attend and be heard during the different stages of any Bill..."

That is only a Standing Order. The other is a statutory right.

Surely we have the right, if we so decide, to hear Paddy Murphy, whether he be a Deputy, a Senator, a Minister, a Parliamentary Secretary or a mere layman?

That is not the question but whether a Parliamentary Secretary can attend here and be heard without seeking permission.

He has that right, of course. The Standing Order would be sufficient even without the Statute. The Standing Orders apply, not only to Parliamentary Secretaries, but to any other named class of persons. There is no prohibition in the Constitution.

I think the practice in the old days was that the Cathaoirleach asked the permission of the Seanad to hear the Parliamentary Secretary.

There is no necessity for that now.

That was before the present Constitution was passed.

Sections 61 and 62 agreed to.

I mentioned amendment 28, which stands in my name, on Section 6 and the Minister said he would look into it.

I am bringing in an amendment on Report Stage to deal with the point.

Amendment No. 28 not moved.
Sections 63, 64 and 65 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 29:

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

(8) If, on an application to the, High Court under Section 12 of the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1871, by a person aggrieved by a surcharge made under the said Section 12 or a charge made under Section 20 of the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1902, the High Court confirms the surcharge or charge, such person may apply to the Minister within the prescribed time to remit the surcharge or charge, and, if on such application the Minister is of opinion that the circumstances of the case make it fair and equitable that the surcharge or charge should be remitted, he may direct that the same shall be remitted upon payment of the costs incurred by the auditor or other competent authority in resisting such application and otherwise enforcing the surcharge or charge.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 66, as amended, agreed to.

I move amendment No. 30:

In sub-section (1) to insert after the word "means" in line 35, the words and brackets "(other than an advertisement for any hotel, guest house, shop or other place of business)".

This is the section which prohibits traffic signs on roads except when those signs are in accordance with the regulations which the Minister shall make prescribing the size, shape and colour and character of such signs. Let me state at once that, perhaps, the making of regulations prescribing the size, shape, colour and character of the signs is an executive act but suppose we leave that for the moment. The difficulty that I am in is that I want to ensure that this section will be operated so that it will not be an undue hardship on ordinary traders, advertising their establishments. I understand of course that the signs which the local authorities are to put up will be standardised.

It would be entirely wrong, as I agreed with the Minister on a previous occasion, that these signs should in any way advertise any private person's business, but it appears to me unfair that existing private signs should be interfered with. I know one particular sign on the Naas Road which says "So-and-so's garage, 200 yards." Under the wording of this section as it stands at present, that advertisement would be a breach of the law. Clearly the Minister could not permit the ordinary local authority's signs to be the same size as that. There is another sign on the same road which, I think, at least one other Senator on the other side of the House knows, perhaps, as well as I do. It reminds you that a certain hotel is within 300 yards and, when you have passed that hotel, you see another sign which asks you whether you called to that hotel which is 300 yards back. I fail to see why the proprietor of that hotel should not be entitled to entice you to go back and sample his wares. As long as you permit without question an advertisement for, say, Bile Beans to be set up without regard to the scenery of the locality, I fail to see why you should prohibit or restrict in any way a person from putting up an advertisement on private property which may be 30 feet from the road, advertising the fact that he has an hotel or a garage three or four miles ahead or that such-and-such a hotel or an establishment can be reached by the next right turn, or some direction to that effect. I do not think the section when it was being drawn by the Minister originally was meant to restrict such advertisements and I hope therefore the Minister will accept the amendment.

There is quite a lot in what Senator Sweetman has said and I think the Minister, on looking into the matter, will agree that something should be done to safeguard signs already in existence. In some cases, of which I am aware, the person concerned had actually bought an interest in the particular site on which the sign is standing. I have no intention of delaying the House by going into details beyond stressing the point raised by Senator Sweetman. I think it is something which the Minister might consider between now and the Report Stage.

The position is that Senator Sweetman's case is already fully covered by the section. The section does not say that no road sign except an official road sign shall be erected. It merely prescribes under sub-section (10) that a person other than a road authority shall not provide a traffic sign visible from a road without the consent of the Commissioner. That immediately rules out signs such as "Did you call to ...?"

But look at the definition of "traffic sign"—a sign, notice, or instrument. Clearly, a notice that Sweetman's Hotel was "the next turn right" or "three miles ahead" is a notice indicating a place to which the road leads.

There is a famous one on the road to Howth, saying such-and-such an hotel is 300 yards further on. It is on the roadside.

I would draw the Minister's attention to the last words of sub-section (2), that "no traffic sign shall be provided which is not in accordance with any relevant regulations." Quite clearly, the regulations which the Minister is going to make are regulations standardising the yellow and black signs on the finger-posts all over the country. It is quite proper that there should not be a different type of finger-post in Kildare from the type in County Carlow. If the Minister will express his intention on this section, I take it that that is the type of regulation he intends to make.

The whole thing arises in the definition of "traffic sign." If the definition were restricted to mean purely a finger-sign, directional or official local authority sign, we could get somewhere. I appreciate that the Minister very properly does not want to have private people, in the city, say, for their own purposes, putting up a "No parking" sign outside their premises. All sorts of private individuals have decided that, by so doing, they could prevent anybody leaving a car outside their premises for a 20 minutes' waiting period. That, of course, is entirely erroneous and those signs should not be permitted. On the other hand, people should be given a proper chance to advertise their wares and, if the advertisement happens to indicate something of assistance to the user of the road, saying the distance or that such-and-such a place is just off the road in a certain direction, they should not be prohibited from doing so.

There is no absolute prohibition at all in this section. Sub-section (10) merely prescribes that "a person other than a road authority shall not provide a traffic sign visible from a road without the consent of the Commissioner." Some of the signs which have been described here do not appear to me to come within the definition of "traffic sign." I do not want that to be taken as an authoritative decision on the section. Some of them —possibly the one which states that a garage is 300 yards further down the road—might be taken as a traffic sign. If such a sign were erected without the consent of the Commissioner, the court might take a very lenient view of it, provided it was not a sign which simulated an official traffic sign.

One must not forget that there may be a real possibility, not merely of causing certain inconvenience to road users but of creating a positive danger for them, in allowing signs to go up without any regulation or control whatever. The real difficulty about the Senator's amendment seems to me to be that it would permit precisely that. It would give any person who wanted to advertise a hotel, a guest-house, shop or other place of business complete liberty to put up any sign he wanted. I was talking about inconvenience. It is quite a favourite advertising device to put up in large red letters the word "Stop". That might be inconvenient, as a person on a journey might slow down. If he were going fast and, being followed by a vehicle going at equal speed and dangerously close, were to stop suddenly on seeing what seemed to him to be a most minatory danger sign, he might create an accident. That sign may be an occasion of danger to himself and to those following him. It is precisely for that reason that we think, in the interests of road users, some control should be exercised by some authority on the type of sign that may be erected close to our main traffic ways. I think you cannot find a better authority to determine the type of signs it is permissible to erect as advertising signs than the authority which is generally charged with ensuring that the roads are used safely, that is, the Commissioner of the Gárda Síochána.

In all these circumstances, I think the Senator will realise that this has not been put in merely with the desire to impose undue restrictions on those wishing to erect signs, but to ensure that those signs, when erected, will not be misleading, that they will not be a source of inconvenience and a possible danger to road users.

I would like to ask the Minister whether the traffic signs, the amber and black signs, put up throughout the city and country at present were not put up by the Automobile Association? I understand the Automobile Association erected some of them. If they did so, having got the permission of the local authority, they would be prohibited now, as the sub-section says:

"A person other than a road authority shall not provide a traffic sign visible from a road without the consent of the Commissioner."

If I am correct in saying that the Automobile Association put up some of those signs, which convenience everybody, they would be precluded from doing it now by that sub-section (10).

I entirely agree with the limiting of power to people to put up signs, posters or hoardings at cross-roads or other places throughout the country. They are a positive danger. Apart from the case instanced by the Minister, where the word "stop" might be taken to mean there was danger and be the cause of an accident, there is the danger of a motorist driving along and reading these various notices—I have done it myself and I appreciate there is a danger in it.

Are you not just as likely to read "Bile Beans are Best?"

Mr. O'Donovan

Quite so.

But that is not prohibited.

Mr. O'Donovan

If it is not, it would be a very good thing if it were.

It might be prohibited under the Town Planning Acts.

Mr. O'Donovan

There may be power under other Acts. These advertisements are not advisable from the aesthetic point of view and they are a danger also. If they are not prohibited by this section, it would be advisable to prohibit them.

The Minister has only adverted to sub-section (10) but my difficulty is in the joint construction of sub-sections (2) and (10). I am quite satisfied to accept the point of view that a person who is going to put up a sign of the type I have indicated should obtain the consent of the Commissioner of the Gárda that the sign is not going to be a danger to the public using the road. But the difficulty that I see is that the Minister is going to make regulations that will prescribe the size of traffic signs. I do not think there is any doubt whatever—that is very dogmatic but I think it is true—that the type of sign I have indicated is covered by the Minister's definition in the beginning of the section and if the Minister would deal with sub-section (2) in such a way that his regulations, while covering what I might call the local authority signs that he wants standardised all over the country, would nevertheless leave private persons free to erect signs in such dimensions as they may consider suitable, subject to the overriding power of the Commissioner of the Gárda, I would be quite satisfied as to danger.

On the point raised by Senator O'Donovan, I think he is not strictly accurate. The erection of these traffic signs, directional signs, throughout the country, is the joint work of the Automobile Association and the local authorities. The Automobile Association provide the materials; the local authorities do the work. Therefore, I think he may rest assured that no difficulty will arise in relation to them. I cannot see how we can get over the point which has been raised by Senator Sweetman except to put the onus on those who wish to erect advertising signs to ensure that their signs will not fall within the definition of "traffic sign." If they desire to have a sign of such a nature that it would be covered by the de-definition "traffic sign," then it would have to conform to the general regulations prescribed for traffic signs. I am afraid there is no way out of that.

We are under many obligations to people who use the roads. They pay for them—do not let us forget that— particularly those who travel long distances in motor vehicles. They have not merely built the roads but, in fact, I think, they very largely maintain them. I do not want to enter into a controversy as to how the burden falls precisely, but they very largely maintain the roads of this country and it is our job to make them safe and convenient; first of all, for them. If, within the limits that safety and convenience require, people want to advertise their goods or their places of resort, they are quite at liberty to do so. But people can see at once that if there is any directional element in the sign, that sign must conform to the regulations to ensure the safety and convenience of the people.

Surely the Minister would be more correct in saying that, if there is any directional feature in the sign, it would be much more satisfactory for it to meet with the approval of the Commissioner rather than conform to regulations as regards size. I understand the purpose of this section, as introduced by the Minister, is to ensure standardisation in regard to the signs which are going to be erected all over the country by local authorities. I do not know whether I am correct in regard to that or not. I think that, so far as sub-section (2) is concerned, that is what was in the mind of the Minister, that he wished to ensure that every local authority would erect the same type of sign. I suggest that the Minister would be perfectly protected in his anxiety to keep the roads safe if, instead of accepting the amendment in my name, that under sub-section (2) he should make regulations prescribing the size, shape, colour and character of traffic signs to be erected by local authorities, and that all traffic signs, whether they were going to be erected by local authorities or not, would have to be erected with the consent of the Commissioner of the Gárda. If he was prepared to meet me on sub-section (2) in that manner, I would be quite satisfied that any person who wants to erect an advertisement containing some directional feature would have to go to the Commissioner for the consent given under sub-section (10).

All I want to ensure is that, if the Commissioner is satisfied, the size of the sign will not be regulated by something that was not intended to regulate it. The Minister is going to make regulations saying that the signs shall be approximately I foot by about 2 feet 6—that is the ordinary sign that there is at present. As long as an advertisement containing a directional feature is not a danger to the public using the road, why should not it be of any size that the advertiser wishes, if the Commissioner of the Gárda is satisfied? I think it could be met quite easily on sub-section (2) rather than in the definition way that I have raised it because the definition way is wider. I would ask the Minister to look into that between now and Report.

I will do that. We did not desire that this section should be unduly restrictive at any time and I shall look into it to see if we can find some way of meeting the points made by Senator Sweetman.

I cannot accept the general attitude of the Minister that advertisers have a right to advertise in any way they like. I think there is an aesthetic obligation to protect the community against outrages.

I think Senator Sir John Keane ought to take Senator Sweetman out and argue that point with him.

I object to the Bile Bean type of advertisement, but why should not a decent hotel advertise?

Each of us is entitled to his own view. Senator Sweetman has views and I have views. I am stating mine and they are that there ought to be some control over advertising, from the aesthetic viewpoint. I do not know whether it arises on this Bill or not, but it is long overdue. I hope the Minister, who I know is interested in the arts, will ponder sympathetically upon that matter.

The difficulty seems to be this: a person could put up a notice, "Murphy's Hotel, Naas," about 15 yards square. That would not be a notice within the Act because it merely states a fact. If he put up a small notice of a decorous kind, "Murphy's Hotel, Naas, ¼ mile," then he would come within the provision.


The difficulty is in reconciling the two.

I would be in favour of the decorous notice rather than the 15 yards square notice, but the real trouble and difficulty is that Senator Sir John Keane ascribed to me a position approximate to that of Senator Sweetman.

I repudiate that entirely.

I am endeavouring to impose some restrictions on the nature of signs which may be erected but Senator Sweetman——

No, Sir, that is not my point. My objection is that I do not see why there should be a restriction on one class of person and not on another when it is the other class that is objectionable.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 31:

In sub-section (6) to delete the word "occupier" in line 11 and substitute instead the words "rated occupier and other occupier, if any".

The only point I am on here is that I am not quite clear whether "occupier" would not be taken to be a man who had the land, say, for 11 months' grazing. I think it should be the "rated and other occupier." Supposing land was taken merely for the 11 months, it would be undesirable to serve the grazing tenant alone without serving the owner, that is, the rated occupier. The local authority will always have the information in their rate books.

I am in rather a difficulty. "Rated occupier" would not cover, say, a conacre man or it might not cover a person who had the temporary use of a field for amusement purposes or something like that. If any amendment is to be made, it should be an amendment to insert the word "rated" before the word "occupier" and leave all other considerations of occupation out.

What is the objection to "rated occupier and other occupier, if any"?

It might be a little difficult of ascertainment, but I can consider the point and I may accept the amendment on Report.

I think "rated occupier" would cover the lot. You bring in a certain element of doubt if you put in "and other occupier." If you say "rated occupier," you are bound to get the right one.

The Minister has said he will consider it and I do not propose to go into Senator Quirke's point. We could talk about it for a week.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 67 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 68 stand part of the Bill."

Rinne mé tagairt don Alt seo cheana féin, agus, ar an uair sin, d'admhaigh an Rúnaí Párlaiminte nach raibh an dlí socruithe ar an gceist seo. Mar is eol do gach ball sa tSeanad, is iomó droichead atá thar an mbóthar poiblí agus tá dualgas ar an gcomhlucht bothair iarainn, Córas Iompair Éireann anois, na droichid sin a dhéanamh agus a dheasú, agus an chuid bóthair atá ar gach taobh den droichead a dhéanamh agus a dheasú ar an slí céanna. Níl a fhios agam an bhfuil cumhacht ag an Aire an dualgas sin a chur ar Chóras Iompair Éireann. B'fhéidir go bhfuil an chumhacht sin ann faoi fhóalt (10) agus má tá, tá, mise sásta. B'fhéidir go bhfeiceadh an tAire isteach sa cheist sin.

I think there is no doubt whatever about the purpose of the section. It is to require the railway authority to maintain not merely the surface of the bridge, but the approaches to it.

In the same manner as the rest of the road?

Yes. It requires the authority to carry out the work and, if it does not do so, the road authority may carry it out itself.

Question put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 32:—

Before sub-section (6) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

(6) Section 57 of this Act shall apply to the expenses incurred by a road authority under this section as if such expenses were expenses incurred by such road authority under Part IV of this Act.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Section 69, as amended, agreed to.
Section 70 agreed to.

I move, on behalf of Senator Duffy, amendment No. 33:—

Before Section 71 in page 31 to insert the following new section:—

71. (1) It shall be lawful for a local authority with the sanction of the Minister to prescribe scales of allowances in relation to the attendances of its members at any of its meetings or at meetings of any committee or subsidiary body of such local authority.

(2) Scales of allowances prescribed under the next preceding sub-section of this section may provide for the payment to members of the local authority of such sums as may appear reasonable to recoup such members for expenditure by them on the purchase of meals and for loss of wages or other similar income arising out of their attendance at such meetings as are mentioned in the next preceding section of this section.

(3) It shall be lawful for a local authority to pay out of the funds under the control of such authority any allowance claimed by any of its members in accordance with the scale of allowances prescribed under sub-section (1) of this section.

I often think that the Minister for Local Government must regard members of local authorities as millionaires because he remains so adamant in his refusal to make some little provision for members of local authorities who give so much of their time to the service of the country. I have known councillors on many occasions to do three days a week at public meetings, leaving their work during the emergency when their services were so much required at home for the production of food and going to council meetings to look after their public business. About two years ago, we had a discussion on an agriculture Bill, and I understood the Minister for Agriculture to say that he would get in touch with the Minister for Local Government, with a view to having some provision made whereby out-of-pocket expenses would be paid to local representatives. I think that is only reasonable.

All sections of the community are paid for their services, and I do not see any reason why local representatives should be public benefactors. I met a councillor in my own town some time ago who said to me, as I told the Minister some time ago, that he had travelled 24 miles for 3/- travelling expenses, and that, on going into a café to get his dinner, he was told that his dinner would cost 3/6, when he was allowed only 3/-. It is only reasonable that the Minister should be a little generous to local representatives who are doing good work and who have done it for years without any remuneration. It is time something was done to repay them for their services. We are not asking anything big in this amendment; we are merely asking that they be allowed out-of-pocket expenses, which would not amount to a considerable sum.

I might mention a particular case which is entirely relevant to the amendment. There is a mental hospital, as the Minister is aware, for the combined counties of Carlow and Kildare which is some distance outside the town of Carlow. For many years, it was the custom, when members of the committee of the mental hospital met, as it was impossible for them during any adjournment of their meeting to go back into Carlow to get their meals, to provide them with lunch in the mental hospital. The Minister will agree that that was an entirely proper arrangement which facilitated the members of the committee in carrying out their duties. When the county manager came into existence in 1942, the first thing he did was to decree that the members of the committee should not get their lunch in the mental hospital any more, which means that these members have to spend a considerable time going back to Carlow to get their meal and a considerable time returning to the committee. It came to our notice in the county council only last week because the members of the committee were apparently long suffering, and I understand that the matter has been submitted to the Minister, but it does appear to me that, when members of a local authority are giving up their time to public business of that kind, they should be facilitated in this respect.

I do not altogether agree with the amendment in regard to payment for their services—payment for loss of wages being, in effect, payment for their services. I think it is only reasonable that either the local authority itself should provide the meal for the members when it is necessary for them to be away from home, or, alternatively, should provide in cash a sufficient sum to enable the members to get a meal when they are away from home. My own view is that, particularly in the case of a mental hospital committee, it is highly desirable that the members should—if I may use the word—fraternise together over their food.

I think I remember Senator Hayden making a similar plea some years ago, and, if I remember rightly, I agreed with him on that occasion. I agree with him now. Some better provision should be made for the members of local authorities—county councillors and such people. I do not believe it is possible to deal with it in this Bill, but I am glad we have the appropriate Minister here to whom to put the matter. I am sure he will deal with it sympathetically, if not now, at some later stage. It is a well-known fact that these men travelled 20 miles on bicycles to attend meetings. They are not necessarily men who can always afford to go into the best hotels for a meal.

Senator Hayden said that they should not be regarded as public benefactors. I regard the majority of these men as public benefactors. They are a most unselfish type of people, inasmuch as they give their time to attendance at meetings in all weathers. If we are to continue to get the best type of people for these councils, some better provision will have to be made for them in future than was the case in the past. While I do not think the Minister can provide for them in this Bill, I appeal to him to look into the matter sympathetically to see what can be done. I know that he will do that.

Is not this the proper Bill to deal with the matter?

Times are marching on. I remember when I was a member of a county council, a good many years ago, one of the representatives who is now a T.D., cycled from Castletownbere to meetings in Cork. There were other difficulties to be faced apart from the cycling, at that time—1919. I agree that provision should be made for local representatives somewhat comparable to the provision that is made for representatives of both Houses of the Oireachtas. From my personal knowledge, I am aware that public representatives have to incur considerable expense in the discharge of their duties. I refer to the position of members of Dublin Corporation. We have often heard of the amount of correspondence that Deputies have to deal with. I am quite satisfied that members of Dublin Corporation have to deal with an equal amount of correspondence, inasmuch as they are fair game for everybody with a grievance, persons looking for houses, etcetera. In order to give members of the corporation facilities for carrying on their work properly, they require some allowance to meet expenditure they have to incur. It is not so much a question of providing a scale of allowances as out-of-pocket expenses. It is, probably, difficult to provide such a scheme, but control by the officials, such as the city manager or the county manager, might be arranged.

I realise the difficulty which many members of local bodies experience in discharging their duties in the way they would like to discharge them. In connection with all this, however, we ought to remember that members of local authorities are not conscripted to the public service. They come along as volunteers, they offer themselves for election in competition with other people, and I can scarcely think that we would be justified in regarding them either as martyrs or heroes——

Do not all public representatives do the same?

——when they secure the prize for which they have been competing. Where, particularly in the case of county councils and committees of management of mental hospitals, and such like institutions, members have to travel long distances, and have to spend the greater part of a day on public business, I concede this, that the ordinary obligations of hospitality might be honoured in their case. I will, probably, see to what extent I might be able to give effect to that idea between now and the Report Stage. I should like to say, however, that it is a major issue, and it is not one that a Minister will determine on his own authority. It may require considerable consideration before giving effect to it. Therefore, I do not promise to bring in an amendment on the Report Stage. But I may do so, not to allow the payment of members, but to allow them to be catered for during the period they would be in attendance.

That was the general idea, that they would be provided with lunch. Nobody seems to be pushing the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 71 and 72 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 34:—

In page 31, line 46, to insert after the word "such" the word "council".

Amendment agreed to.
Section 73, as amended, agreed to.

I move amendment No. 35:—

In sub-section (2) (a), line 53, to delete the word "four-sevenths" and substitute the word "two-thirds".

There are several points about this section that I am not quite clear about. In the first place, I should say that I feel that there is need in many cases for changing a name, but that change of name should not be easily effected. When you change a name place it is very difficult to ascertain what the correct Irish name is. There is one section for having that properly explored before the new name is officially adopted. The Bill, as originally introduced, provided that two-thirds of the ratepayers in a district or two-thirds of the people in a street should consent before there was a change of name. In the Dáil, the Minister was urged to make it a simple majority. I urge that it should be restored to two-thirds. People who want to make a change of that kind should have as big a majority as possible, because I feel that it is one of the easy, facile tokens of nationalism to proceed to change a particular name that has been there for a long time, into another name which may seem to be more patriotic but which, in fact, may not be very sound at all from historical and other reasons. For example, the change from Donegal to Tír Conaill is not historical, and the change from Queen's County to Leix or King's County to Offaly does not in fact correspond with the ancient divisions of the country.

If the matter is given mature consideration, Senators will realise that the older counties did not correspond with previous divisions of the country. I give that as an example to show how difficult the position is. I feel that two-thirds majority is better than simple majority, and better than four-sevenths. If that was the Minister's original idea he should stick to it. Has the Minister any power to determine what the new name is? He has in Section 75, I know, but has he under Section 74?

Then perhaps we could hear what particular type of change is contemplated in this case. It is not intended, for example, that the name of an urban district should be changed to what purports to be its original Irish name. I am not quite clear on that.

I beg the Senator's pardon. I have been misreading the section myself. The provision is exactly the same in Sections 74 and 75. I had in mind Section 76—the name of a street.

Yes—it is 7 (a). I think it is a perfectly sound idea. On other occasions I have objected to powers being conferred on the Government but in this case I am rather in favour of it. This is a very difficult matter and one which requires a considerable amount of research, scholarship, and consultation with more than one person to determine what the proper name should be. I am, therefore, fully in agreement with the idea of not allowing the people or the urban district council to decide as to the name which should be given to the town. I would like to hear the Minister on the question of two-thirds and four-sevenths. I am in favour of the former myself because I feel that the change over should be made difficult rather than easy. Too hasty action in a matter like this is apt to be somewhat misguided and people sometimes regret subsequently a too rapid success.

Ba mhaith liom go bhfaighfí tuairim ón Aire, sul a ndéanaimíd aon leasú, cad é an sainmhíniú atá beartaithe aige maidir leis na focail "new name" agus leis an abairt "change of name". Tá an-chuid ag brath air sin, dar liomsa. Nílimse ró-chinnte conas atá an dlí faoi láthair maidir le ceist athraithe áit-ainmneacha. Nílim cinnte cad é an chumhacht atá ag údarás logánta chun athrú a dhéanamh ar ainmneacha áiteanna, ainmneacha bailte fearann, sráideanna nó ainmneacha eile. Nílim ró-chinnte go bhfuil cumhacht mar sin ann faoi láthair, go raibh cumhacht dáiríribh acu go dtí seo, aon ainm a athrú. Má bhí, cad é nó cad as an chumhacht sin? Gheobhfaí a luadh go ndearnadh é leis an ainm Kingstown a bheith athraithe go dtí an ainm Dún Laoghaire. Is sompla é sin ar rud a deineadh. Ní léir dom anois conas a bheidh an scéal tar éis an Bille seo, ná conas a bheidh an dlí ina thaobh—sé sin cad é an míniú a bainfar as "new name" i leith ainme Gaeilge.

Tá an cheist sin agam le fiafraí den Aire. Cad é dáiríribh atá beartaithe nó atá ar aigne ag an Rialtas nó ag an Aire faoin teideal "new name". Bhfuil sé i gceist gur "new name", cuir i gcás, Cluain Meala in ionad Clonmel, nó an bhfuil sé ceadmhach don údarás logánta san áit sin glacadh leis an ainm Cluain Meala gan dul ag lorg vótaí, ceithre seachtmhaithe a bheadh i gceist de lucht díolta rátaí, chun an t-údarás a bheith acu "Cluain Meala" d'úsáid.

Ní fhéadfainnse a shamhlú gur "new name" Cluain Meala. Sé Clonmel an ainm nua, má tá aon nuachas i gceist.

Má tá an leagan Gaeilge do áit-ainm i gceist in Altanna 74 agus 75 sa Bhille seo—pé acu ainmneacha a bhfuil iarracht foghraíochta ina litrú ina bhfuirm Béarla, ar nós Clonmel ar Chluain Meala, Dunquin ar Dhún Chaoin, Fethard ar Fíodh Árd agus an rud gránna Offaly ar Uí Failghe; nó más ainm go bhfuil iarracht ar aistriú-chán air, cuir i gcás, Mounteagle ar Shléibh an Fhiolair, Flemingstown ar Bhaile an Phléimeannaigh, Barley-mount ar Chnoc na hEorna, Rockfield ar Ghort na Chloiche; nó a saghas eile arís, ná fuil aon ghaol idir an ainm Ghallda agus an ainm dúchais, .i. West-port ar Chathair na Mart, Waterford ar Phortláirge, Burnham ar Bhaile a Ghoilín, Waterville ar an gCoireán—an measfar, i bhfeidhmiú na nAlt so, gur "new name" na leaganacha Gaeilge agus an measfar gur "change of name" na fíor-ainmneacha Gaeilge sin á chur in úsáid, má thogrann údarás áitiúil sa Ghaeltacht—nó sa bhreac-Ghaeltacht —glacadh leo agus iad d'úsáid go h-Oifigiúil.

Nuair do cuireadh na hainmneacha Gallda san ar na háiteanna agus nuair a deineadh milleadh agus mí-chumadh ar na foirmeacha, fíreannacha, níor hiarraidh cead aon duine chuige. Cad cuige anois sinn a bheith chomh cairéiseach san, ag cosaint na n-iarsmaí gallda san, do fágadh againn ó uachtaránacht sliochta Cromaill agus Eilíse, a dhein an milleadh d'aon-ghnó chun a rian féin do chur ar Eirinn? Is mór an urraim atá againn d'iarsmaí gabhála agus smachta Ghall.

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