Exported Live Stock (Insurance) Bill, 1950—Second Stage.

Question proposed: That the Bill be now read a Second Time.

The Exported Live Stock (Insurance) Bill is a Bill to amend the original Acts which were passed in 1940 and 1943. These Acts together with the present Bill, if it is passed, constitute the framework of a mutual insurance system operated by the live stock exporters in this country to indemnify themselves against the ordinary hazards of that trade by way of injury to the live stock in transit and by way of compensation for carcases or parts of carcases which are condemend at slaughter as a result of some defect which is revealed subsequent to slaughter and which has not been perceptible until the carcase is dressed. In view of the character of this legislation I thought it proper, and I am sure the Seanad will agree with me, to consult constantly and exhaustively with the Live Stock Exporters' Organisation and as a result of protracted discussions in which every conceivable contingency was carefully envisaged a draft was arrived at for submission to the Government in respect of which the National Executive of the Irish Live-stock Trade addressed the following letter to me on the 9th February:—

"In reference to your letter of the 7th inst. in regard to the revised draft of the Exported Live Stock (Insurance) Bill, 1950, I am to inform you that at a special meeting of the National Executive held on the 8th February the Bill has been approved and I have been asked to impress upon you that this Bill should be passed with all possible speed."

The Seanad will naturally wonder why the last paragraph appeared in the letter, but I think will readily understand the difficulty when they realise that the infirmities from which the previous Acts suffered made it impossible to compensate cattle exporters for certain losses for which quite manifestly it was intended that they should be covered but which had not been foreseen at the time of the drafting of the original legislation.

In addition to that, since the original legislation was passed a new liability has arisen of which I wish to tell the Seanad. At the time of the Trade Agreement in 1948 a new price scale for fact cattle was agreed between ourselves and the British Government. In connection with that agreement a new basis of delivery was at the same time arranged. Prior to 1948 in respect of fat cattle delivered for slaughter at Birkenhead the consignor was liable for defects of any kind only up to the point where the beast was finally examined on the hoof by an inspector on behalf of the Ministry of Food in Birkenhead. That was an arrangement arrived at during the war. Under the new agreement it was provided that any defect which became manifest in the carcase after it had been dressed was the liability of the consignor and therefore a beast which appeared on the hoof to be perfectly all right but which on being dressed revealed a bruise of serious dimensions or disease would suffer condemnation in proportion to the defect and the price payable for the carcase would be abated by that amount. That was a new liability on the consignor.

I am glad to tell the Seanad that over a period of six months, from June to December, 1949, out of exports of fat cattle to the value of £4,513,265 the total liability for all forms of loss through disease, bruising or otherwise has amounted to no more than .62 of 1 per cent. Nevertheless .62 of 1 per cent. appeared to me to be a matter for consideration and I therefore stipulated with the British Government that in consideration of the Irish consignor undertaking that liability there should be a corresponding concession from them. Heretofore—and I apologise to the Seanad for inflicting on them such technicalities of the dead meat trade— the kidneys of a beast were deemed to be offal and therefore were not paid for by the consignee. Subsequent to this agreement it was determined that these kidneys should be weighed with the carcase with their attendant fat and paid for at the price of the carcase. The average receipt on a beast works out in the order of 5/- and the average liability undertaken works out at something in our judgment— although this is a figure about which we cannot be precise—between 5/- and 5/9. But in that figure of 5/9 there is provision for a new hazard which did not exist prior to the agreement of 1948 but for which it is thought expedient to make provision now.

Inasmuch as this new liability with corresponding measures to meet it arises out of the agreement of 1948 it is perhaps appropriate to give the Seanad a short sketch of the other relevant consequences of that agreement on the trade. Prior to the agreement there were three grades of cattle: A, B and what was called "manufactured". Subsequent to the agreement there were four grades: "special", A, B, and "manufactured." In the six months to which I have already referred, from June to December, 1949, of all the steers and heifers, fat, going to Great Britain for immediate slaughter, 99.1 were graded "special", or A; .8 of 1 per cent. were graded B and .1 per cent. were graded "manufactured." This, on the whole, I think the Seanad will agree, indicates an informed appreciation by the British Ministry of Food of the quality of Irish cattle. The price for A grade cattle prior to the agreement was 1/1½d., falling to 1/- according to the season. The price of special quality to-day is 1/8¾d. and of A quality 1s. 8¼d. per lb., falling to 1s. 5¾d. and 1s. 5¼d. respectively according to the season. The number of fat cattle exported in 1947 was 110,000; in 1948, 66,000; and in 1949, 134,000. The rates of levy made under this insurance code began in 1940 at 2 per cent., declined to ½ per cent. on 19th October, 1942, and have remained at that level since then.

There are certain minor matters to which I should like to draw the attention of the Seanad and which are provided for in this Bill. Section 6 enables travelling expenses to be paid to authorised officers of the insurance board who, for the purposes and business of the fund, are directed by the executive to undertake travelling in Ireland or Great Britain. Section 7 allows a differentiation between the rate of levy for different types of cattle, but that, of course, would only be operated after careful consideration and where it was deemed by the trade and by the Minister to be a proper and prudent course to pursue.

Section 8 removes an anomaly. Under the existing law, if the board wanted to reinvestigate one item in a large claim, they had no power to do so but were constrained to reopen a reinvestigation of the whole claim. Now if an award calls for re-examination, or if an investigation calls for reexamination, and the two parties to the claim are agreed as to 95 per cent. of it, the board can confine its attention to the remaining 5 per cent., without reopening the merits of the rest.

I think that covers the substance and purpose of the Bill. Before I conclude, I ask a favour of the Seanad. Senators will remember that the last paragraph of the letter I read spoke of the urgency which the live stock trade attach to the passing of this Bill. The reason for that is that a number of men in a modest way of business have what are, for them, substantial claims against the fund which cannot be paid unless and until this amending Bill is passed into law. They, therefore, naturally hope that it can be passed into law at the earliest possible date, so that their claims may be passed upon and, if found justified, liquidated. If, on reflection, the Seanad feels free to facilitate me in that, I shall be much obliged. I am at the service of the Seanad to give Senators any further information they may require and which I may have overlooked providing at this stage.

Is dócha go dteastaíonn ón Senadóir Ó Cuanacháin a anáil a thairringt. Bhí mé a cheapadh gurb é a thosódh an díospóireacht ar an mBille, dá mbeadh díospóireacht ar bith le bheith ann. Támuid buíoch don Aire as ucht an méid cuntais a thug sé dúinn ar an scéal seo ach tá tuille eolais ba mhaith liom a cuirfí ar fáil, más féidir. Mar shampla, ba mhaith liom go gcuirfí in iúl don tSeanad, ionas go mbeadh sé ar tuairiscí an Tí, céard é stair an scéil seo ar fad. Cén chaoi ar tháining an chéad Acht isteach? Céard iad na deacrachtaí a bhí ann do na ceannaithe ins an am a tugadh an Acht isteach? An bhfuarthas amach go raibh sé lochtach ann féin; is é sin le rá, chomh fada agus is eol dom, ceapadh an tAcht sin tar éis comhairle a glacadh le ionmhuirithe stoic go Sasana. Deir an tAire go raibh lochta ar an Acht sin. Ar tharla na lochta sin san Acht de bhrí go rabhthas míchúramach nuair a bhí an tAcht á cheapadh nó ar tháinig na lochta ar aghaidh de bharr an tsocruithe a rinneadh le Sasana sa bhliain 1948? Sílim nach mbeadh ann ach cothrom na féinne a chur in iúl dúinn an mar gheall ar, mar dúurt mé, an tAcht buan a bheith lochtach ann féin nó an mar gheall air an "new liability" seo ar thagair an tAire dhó a tháinig ar aghaidh de bharr socruithe 1948.

Ba mhaith liom freisin beagán eolais a fháil, más féidir é chur ar fáil, ar cé mhéad airgid a bailíod le haghaidh an chiste árachais. Deir an tAire gur bailíodh a dó faoin gcéad no 2 per cent. Céard a chiallaíos an dó faoin gcéad— dó faoin gcéad de luach na mbeithíoch a cuireadh thar sáile amach? D'fhéidfimis an t-eolas a fháil ach bhreathnú siar ar an "Abstract," ach ba mhaith dá n-innseodh an tAire dúinn, má tá na figiúirí aige, cé mhéad a bailíodh ó bhliain go blian agus ansin cé mhéad a caitheadh as an gciste ó bhlian go blian.

Is maith liom go ndúirt an tAire gur comhartha an réiteach a rinneadh i 1948 ar an meas atá ag na Sasanaigh ar stoc na hÉireann. Tugann sé sin pleisiúr dom mar gheall ar díospóireacht a bhí againn sa Seanad cupla bliain ó shoin nuair a cuireadh i leith stoic na hÉireann go raibh sé lofa le eitinn. San am, níor chreideamar é. San am, dúramar gur chaint é sin a rinneadh le misc d'aonturas le dochar a dhéanamh do thrádáil stoic na tíre seo le Sasana. Is maith liom gur cruthú an socrú sin nach raibh mórán brí sa gcaint sin agus gur cruthú é go raibh muinín ag na Sasanaigh as stoc na hÉireann.

Thairis sin, tá na hargointí céanna ann inniu i bhfábhar an Bille seo agus a bhí ann an chéad lá a tugadh an Bille buan isteach. Argóintí láidre a bhí ann agus ar an ábhar sin, ní fheicim go mbeadh aon locht againn ar an mBille a thabhairt don Aire agus é a thabhairt dó chomh luath agus is féidir dúinn é.

This Bill is not a Government Bill and it is not the Minister's Bill. It is solely and entirely a cattle trade Bill, for the protection of the cattle trade and—a feature with which the Government will be pleased— we are asking for no money or contribution from anybody to protect ourselves. The Minister has very lucidly explained the object of the Bill, which is to legalise the payment by the Exported Livestock Insurance Company to exporters of fat cattle to the Ministry of Food in respect of any losses they may have sustained. As the Minister said, under previous agreements, the system was that cattle were graded on the hoof and some were subsequently graded as manufactured, which grade commanded a very small price. Since the new agreement which came into operation in 1948, we have exported 111,814 fat cattle to the Ministry of Food for slaughter up to 31st December, 1949, a period of approximately one and a half years. Under the previous agreement, the consignor was liable for any losses, but as against that, the kidneys were cut out of the carcase and the cutting out of the kidney, a little over three lbs., involved taking another lb. off the carcase with it, which meant four lbs. extra weight for the cattle exported. Taking that weight at 1/6½d. a lb., it amounted to 6/2d., and, in respect of the entire 111,814 fat cattle exported, the total loss through condemnation, down-grading and bruising, was £38,413-5-0, which meant a loss to the exporter of 6/10d., so that the total loss to the exporter on the basis of what he gained from the cutting and what he lost through down-grading was 8d. for every beast exported. Putting that loss against what the exporter got, it is certainly a very small amount.

The 1948 agreement increased the price for top-grade cattle by 1½d. per lb., and for lowest grade cattle by 3/4d. per lb. To put it another way, it increased the price which the exporter got for the first quality bullock by over £4 and for lowest grade animals by £2. Under that trade agreement, the producer is protected. A very big number of the producers are exporting to the Ministry of Food themselves and are not going through any middlemen. When the exporter has no protection and suffers any serious loss, it will come back eventually on the producer.

I intended to put in some amendments to ensure that that provision will be carried out. The Minister thinks it would hold up the Bill if the amendments were put in. In that case, it would be better to put the Bill through, even if we have to bring in an amending Bill, if this one does not work satisfactorily, so I will not force the amendments to-day, as it is important to get all stages of the Bill carried through.

Every Senator knows that members of the cattle trade have been attacked by all sections. We are not paying the people the compensation they are entitled to receive, as we cannot do it, we are advised, until this Bill is passed. I could discuss the form of amendment on the Committee Stage, if we got it to-day. If I get an assurance from the Minister that what he has stated to the national executive of the live stock trade is correct, that we could make an Order, we would be quite satisfied to let the Bill go through all stages and pay the people the money which is due to them.

I welcome the introduction of a Bill of this nature. It is in keeping with the idea of establishing a vocational Seanad here that we should from time to time introduce Bills to deal with a particular vocation. I regret very much that the Minister was not as helpful as he might have been in his opening speech. I regret much more that Senator Counihan was not as outspoken and as fair to the House as he should have been on this Bill. When the original Bill was before the House, it was welcomed from all sides. It was acclaimed as a very good idea that the cattle trade should carry their own insurance, that where there are losses in the export of cattle or other live stock from time to time the consignors of such animals should not be at a loss.

Neither the Minister not Senator Counihan have given us information as to the urgency of this Bill or what brought about its introduction. Is it as a result of a flaw in the original Bill or does it arise from the Articles of Agreement made with the Ministry of Food of another country in 1948? We are not quite clear on that. Was the original Bill faulty, making it impossible to give compensation to those who should get it, or since the Articles of Agreement were entered into has the whole face been changed? If so, we should have a clear exposition of what brought about the change.

Senator Counihan let the cat out of the bag in his opening statement when he said this Bill was necessary as a result of the 1948 agreement. The last thing I would like to do is misquote him. I assume he agrees with me that he did make that statement.

Was Senator Hawkins present when I was opening?

No one is disputing that point.

It would be a good idea, a Chathaoirligh, even at this late stage, if the Minister and Senator Counihan have any disagreement, that they should settle it outside and try to come in with an agreed measure. Senator Counihan agrees that he made the statement that the present Bill is necessary and arises out of an agreement entered into by an Irish Minister in 1948 with a British Minister. If the Minister is not in agreement with that and can give us sufficient proof that that is not so, I suppose the House will accept his explanation.

Senator Counihan, as a nominee of the Live Stock Breeders' Association in this House, has thought it fit to think out certain amendments to this Bill. They have been circulated, not to every member but to those whom the association thought would be interested in their welfare. I entirely disagree with Senator Counihan's approach to this Bill. I cannot understand that he, as their elected representative here, should put before the members of the Agricultural Panel certain proposals which he and they as an organisation think would be very beneficial to have incorporated in this Bill and then, because the Minister is not prepared to accept the principles enshrined in these amendments, Senator Counihan immediately retires.

Is the Senator in order in discussing alleged amendments which have not been circulated to members of the House?

They were referred to by Senator Counihan.

The Senator is in order.

The intention in establishing this House was that it should be, as far as possible, a vocational institution. Senator Counihan is a nominee of a particular organisation and when he puts forward views, we must accept—as we do in the case of other Senators—that he is representing that particular interest. He nods consent. He has circulated——

The National Executive has circulated, not I.

If we are to avoid technicalities, we must agree that he is a nominee of a particular body and he or that body has put up particular views. I have here in my hand two amendments which this body suggests should be made.

I submit that Senator Hawkins is discussing something which is not before the House—amendments of some kind.

He is not discussing amendments. He is referring to amendments which Senator Counihan wanted to introduce and apparently has decided not to introduce.

He is speaking of amendments. I have not received any copy and do not know who else may have.

I am afraid the Senator is a little jealous of Senator Counihan as representative of agricultural interests. I have suggested once before that when we are discussing agricultural problems, we should divide into two categories—those interested in agriculture and those interested in land. If I were ever appointed Taoiseach, I would appoint Senator Counihan to one Ministry and Senator Baxter to the other.

Would the Senator deal with the Bill now?

Senator Baxter suggested that I was dealing with amendments not before the House. I have not even mentioned the amendments.

There could be no amendments before the House at this stage.

Senator Counihan has made known that he was deputed to put down certain amendments which the live-stock trade thought should be incorporated in the Bill. He admitted still further that because the Minister was not prepared to accept them he, in his modesty, not having consulted that body which nominated him—and I am sure did its best to have him elected— and not having got their authority to withdraw the amendments, has decided not to put them forward.

This Bill would be better considered in Committee and while we agree with the general principle of the Bill, we are not prepared to give all stages to-day. When an interested body has authorised its representatives here to put forward certain amendments, we feel we would not be doing our duty if all stages were taken to-day.

I listened with great interest to this debate, which has had a useful side as well as a deplorable side. Many thousands of pounds are due to several individuals. That is the root cause of the Bill. The Bill, as it stands, removes that grievance. Any additions relate only to difficulties that may arise in future. Therefore, I would implore Senator Hawkins to let the Bill go through. We can always put it right in future. This Bill does remove a grievance that affects the past. It is vital in the interests of many hardworking exporters of live stock. It is essential to get them paid the money which is held up pending the passing of this Bill. The amendments will not help that. They will possibly help events in future. That is all. I would implore the Opposition to let the Bill go through all stages so that we could get it passed before Monday next and put these unhappy people in a position of solvency.

I would like to add my voice to Senator McGee's in asking Senator Hawkins to allow this Bill to go through. I am interested in some very small men in the exporting trade who have been for a considerable time waiting for compensation for their stock and who have been awaiting the introduction of this Bill. This Bill meets all the difficulties that confronted them. I do not think any of us would be in order in discussing amendments which were never moved and which most of us know nothing about. What does concern us is that this Bill removes the difficulties of most of the men that we know in the exporting trade. I, for one, thank the Minister for bringing it forward and for his anxiety to get it through as quickly as possible so that these men may be paid. I would appeal to the Opposition to let the Bill go through.

I would not like that there would be any misunderstanding about this Bill. There is no question of appealing to the Opposition to let this Bill go through. There is no opposition to this Bill as far as I know, except the Minister himself. The Minister tries to wield the big stick, which he has often done before, and tries to tell us that if this Bill does not go through to-day it will not go through until the Lord knows when.

He did not say that.

The Senator is quite mistaken. I never said any such thing.

I am the judge as to what the Minister said.

Oh no, you are not.

And I am the judge as to what I said.

You are not the judge of what I said.

I will take no dictation on this or any other matter. The Minister will not try the tactics here that he tried in the Dáil. If he does, we will see what will happen. I yield to no man, including Senator Counihan, Senator McGee or Senator George Bennett, in my interest in the cattle traders in this country.

We know that.

As a member of the Cattle Traders' Association and as one who has been a cattle trader in the past, I know what their needs are and I am quite prepared to make practically any sacrifice on their behalf. Neither do I yield to any man in my interest in the plain, ordinary, honest-to-God farmers of this country. It is because I realise that anything we do for the cattle traders in this Bill is incidentally an act in favour of the working farmers of this country that I am so much interested.

I am not saying that this is the only Minister who tells us that a particular Bill that he is piloting through the House must be passed before a certain date. Governments may come and Governments may go but every Minister who comes to the House has some reason why a Bill must be passed next week, or the week after, as if the end of the world was coming. My attitude on that is that if amendments have been suggested by the people directly interested, by the people who are in a position to know, those amendments should at least be discussed by this House before they are turned down peremptorily by this or any other Minister. I suggest that the end of the world will not come next week. It may. Some people say it will. Others say it will come the week after. Others say it will be thousands of years before it comes. I believe there is no such rush. I know that cattle dealers have been held up for their money and I sympathise with those people. They have been held up, not alone for the last week or two weeks but for the past two years. I would say that another fortnight will not destroy the Cattle Traders' Association or the cattle traders concerned. What we should do is postpone the remaining stages, discuss the amendments and, if they have not the support of the House, then they do not go into the Bill. I do not think that is unreasonable. To suggest that the so-called Opposition in this House —if there are any political Parties in this House—are against this measure is complete misrepresentation of facts. We just will not stand for it. That is all.

I think Senator Quirke was right when he described it as the "so-called" Opposition. It is very difficult to know what exactly the Opposition means. We have had Senator Ó Buachalla leading off for the Opposition indication that they were ready to give all stages of the Bill.

I am at the same disadvantage as Senator Baxter. I do not understand the Irish language, I am sorry to say, and I apologise for having to say it. I compliment whoever told Senator Baxter that.

Nobody had to tell me.

May I explain, for the benefit of the Senator?

By way of explanation.

I said that we would give this Bill "comh luath agus is féidir linn"—as soon as possible.

Perhaps it is becoming even more difficult to understand.

No more difficult.

At any rate, I do not know that the Minister is particularly concerned whether the House agrees to give this Bill to-day, or this day month, if he does his best. What is of importance is that this money, apparently, is due to these people for a very long time. We have heard this matter raised and discussed. If they do not get it until this day month and it is held up by this House let it be clear that it is Senator Quirke, Senator Hawkins and his colleagues who are doing this. Let there be no misunderstanding. There is definitely necessity to have justice done. There are people—I know none of them——

On a point of order. I would like it to go one the records of this House that it is not because of Senator Hawkins or Senator Quirke but because the live stock traders themeselves have given a mandate to Senator Counihan to put down certain amendments to this Bill that we are opposing the passage of this Bill in all its stages to-day.

A Senator

How do we know that?

The amendments are not before the House at all.

They are here.

They could not be before the House. They have not been circulated. Any Senator is entitled to withdraw amendments before they are circulated. Furthermore, we are not discussing when the next stage is to be taken. We are discussing the Second Stage of the Bill. I hope we will come to that and deal with it.

What is of concern to the House is the principle embodied in the Bill and whether the House will accept that principle or not. The principle is a very simple one. It is a debt that is overdue to be paid. There is no authority to pay that debt to a number of people until this Bill is passed. The live stock trade are the people principally interested but it is the Minister who has to provide the machinery that enables this compensation to be paid to these people. I felt that on all sides of the House the Minister would be acclaimed for his readiness to facilitate the live stock industry in paying these people what is their just due. If there are some people who have a different point of view, one cannot help it. I take it the position is that we are all in agreement that this Bill should get a Second Reading. I think perhaps this question of amendments was something that need not have been brought across the discussion of the principle of the Bill. Perhaps one should leave it at that. I hope that the Opposition are prepared to give a Second Reading to the Bill and then let us discuss what we will do next.

There was never any question about the Second Reading.

There was never any question about the Second Reading. We are 100 per cent. keener than Senator Baxter.

"Comh luath agus is féidir linn." The Irish language has been used for many inglorious purposes, but to elevate ambiguity into the broadstone of honour is about the basest purpose for which I have ever yet heard it used.

May I ask the Minister, does he imply that I used the words "all stages of the Bill" or that in anything that I said might be implied all stages of the Bill?

The Senator said: "Comh luath agus is féidir linn." I misunderstood. He has now translated the phrase. Then we have the bumptious impudence of Senator Quirke. Fortunately, I am in a position to refer to a copious note.

When a Minister is accorded the privilege of addressing this House, he should not address any Senator in the manner of the Minister.

I have not addressed any Senator.

The Minister has used the expression "bumptious impudence".

In view of what has happened, I move the adjournment of the House.

We want order now. I want to protect every Senator in the House from any statements.

The Chair did not suggest that the Chair was going to protect me against the Minister and his reference to "bumptious impudence". What are the words that I used that can be referred to as "bumptious impudence"?

The Senator said that I sought to use the big stick and to threaten the Seanad.

Here are the words I used:—

"I ask a favour of the Seanad. Senators will remember the last paragraph of the letter I read. It spoke of the urgency which the live stock trade attach to the passing of the Bill."

This is not the phrase that the Minister used in his statement regarding Senator Quirke.

Please sit down.

The words that the Minister used were: "The bumptious impudence of Senator Quirke."

The Minister did use this expression, "the bumptious impudence of Senator Quirke." I think the Minister might be milder in his language.

Does the Chair desire me to withdraw that expression?

Very gladly. I withdraw. Here are the words which Senator Quirke described as threatening the Seanad and as holding the big stick over their heads:—

"Before I conclude, I ask a favour of the Seanad. Senators will remember that the last paragraph of the letter I read spoke of the urgency which the live stock trade attach to the passing of this Bill. The reason for that is that a number of men in a modest way of business have what are for them substantial claims against the fund which cannot be paid unless and until this amending Bill is passed into law. They, therefore, naturally, hope that it can be passed into law at the earliest possible date so that their claims may be based and, if found justified, liquidated. If, on reflection, the Seanad feels free to facilitate me in that, I shall be profoundly obliged."

If any reasonable member of this House can discern in any word or paragraph of what I have read out a suspicion of any sentiment but one of respectful courtesy to Seanad Éireann, I would be glad to have that paragraph indicated to me. Senators are solicitous that they should be treated with respect. Anyone who is a Senator of this country is entitled to be treated with respect, but so have Ministers a similar right, deriving from the same source, and not to their own persons, but to the office bestowed upon them. I think those words, characterised by every standard, are words of propriety and respect. They have been described by Senator Quirke as threatening, dictatorial and highly offensive. If my words merit any such adjective, then, in my submission, Sir, it becomes impossible for any rational man to approach the Seanad at all. I know of no form of words at my command which can in more suitable language make known to Seanad Éireann a facility which I have a perfect right to ask for, if contemporaneously I make it clear that I fully recognise the absolute discretion of the Seanad to grant or withhold the Bill.

Senator Ó Buachalla inquired whether the cattle exporters were consulted as to the terms of the 1948 negotiations. To the best of my recollection, they were not consulted by me prior to those negotiations. I cannot vouch for whether there was any discussion between the association and officers of my Department. Senator Ó Buachalla and Senator Hawkins wish to know if this Bill was necessary as a result of some infirmity in the earlier Acts or as a result of an ailment in the 1948 Trade Agreement. Fortunately, I caused my observations in opening to be taken in shorthand. Accordingly, I am able to remind the Seanad that within the last half an hour I spoke as follows:—

"The Seanad would naturally wonder why the last paragraph appeared in the letter but I think will readily understand the difficulty when they realise that the infirmities from which the previous Acts suffered made it impossible to compensate cattle exporters for certain losses for which quite manifestly it was intended that they should be covered but which were not foreseen at the time of the drafting of the original legislation."

I here should interpolate that not one Act but two Acts are now amended:

"In addition to that since the original legislation was passed a new liability has arisen of which I wish to tell the Seanad. At the time of the Trade agreement of 1948 a new price scale for fat cattle was agreed between ourselves and the British Government. In connection with that agreement a new basis of delivery was at the same time arranged. Prior to 1948 in respect of fat cattle delivered for slaughter at Birkenhead the consignor was liable for the defects of any kind only up to the point where the beast was finally examined on the hoof by an inspector on behalf of the Ministry of Food in Birkenhead. That was an arrangement arrived at during the war. Under the new agreement it was provided that any defect which became manifest in the carcase after it had been dressed was the liability of the consignor and therefore a beast which appeared on the hoof to be perfectly all right but which on being dressed revealed a bruise of serious dimensions or disease would suffer condemnation in proportion to the defect and the price paid for the carcase would be abated by that amount. That was a new liability on the consignor."

Then I proceeded to give the Seanad certain statistical material for which I must apologise for having to inflict on them technicalities of the dead meat trade:—

"the kidneys of the beast were deemed to be offal, and therefore were not paid for by the consignee. Subsequent to this agreement it was determined that these kidneys should be weighed with the carcase with their attendant fat and paid for at the price of the carcase. The average receipt on a beast works out in the order of 5/- and the average liability undertaken works out at something in our judgement—although this is a figure about which we cannot be precise—between 5/- and 5/9. But in that figure of 5/9 there is provision for a new hazard which did not exist prior to the Agreement of 1948 but for which it is thought expedient to make provision now. Inasmuch as this new liability with corresponding measures to meet it arises out of the Agreement of 1948, it is perhaps appropriate to give the Seanad a short sketch of the other relevant consequences of that agreement on the trade."

What I have just read out has been described by two prominent Senators of the Oppostion Party as rank failure to furnish the Seanad with adequate information as to the size of the liabilities to be provided for and as to the nature of the contingencies envisaged in the preparation of this Bill. I told the Seanad that my application to them for a favour arose out of my, I think, understandable solicitude for the smaller cattle men who ship a few beasts and who depend for their living on their ability to go to the fair or market and pay for the beasts they ship with the cash they carry and I asked a favour. To have one's request received with the victorian politesse which the Opposition has shown me on this occasion is a most inspiring experience.”

Senator Counihan may rest assured that the two points which interested him had been carefully examined and. I am advised by the Attornery General, are amply provided for under the two Acts read in conjunction with this Bill if and when this Bill becomes law. I do not give a fiddle-de-dee what the Seanad does with this Bill; I do not give a fiddle-de-dee how long they choose to delay it. If I were ever imprudent enough to ask a favour of the Seanad, I apologise for that folly. I shall not fall into the same mistake again.

Mr. Quirke rose.

Must not the question that the Bill be read a Second Time be put and have all this discussion on the next day?

A Chathaoirligh——

No further speeches are to be made.

Might I ask if the Minister has to hand the answers to the questions I raised, the amounts that have been levied for this fund and the amounts that have been disbursed in connection with insurance?

I have a note of that. The total amounts levied and the total amounts disbursed are not immediately to hand from the accounts of the fund, but they will be procured and furnished to the Senator. I am in a position to tell him, however, that the total disbursements since 1940 were in the order of £1,000,000 sterling and that at the present rate of disbursement, the levies, plus the incomes from certain investments which the fund hold, have about equalled their outgoings. It is anticipated, however, that as the number of cattle shipped grows it may well be that the present percentage of levies will prove equal to any claim made upon the fund but if that should not transpire, there is power under legislation in consultation with the Minister, to make such adjustments as may be necessary to make the fund solvent from time to time.

There is another question which I should like to ask. It has been put to me this morning that persons receiving compensation from the fund are liable for income-tax while a person who sells cattle in the ordinary way may not be. That is, a person who suffered loss and gets compensation has to pay income-tax

Surely it is not suggested that a person who sells cattle and makes a profit is not subject to income-tax. I have great faith in the Revenue Commissioners.

That is a question for the Minister for Finance, not for the Minister for Agriculture.

The Senator's query will be addressed to the Revenue Commissioners.

Question put and agreed to.

With regard to the next stage, the net point at issue is the drafting of a particular section. All stages might be taken to-morrow.

I am quite indifferent. It may be taken this day week or a fortnight or after Easter.

As it is a question of drafting, of a difference between legal people, we all know the attitude of Ministers not only in this Government but in any Government. They will stick to the draft of the Attorney-General. I make a present of that to Senator Counihan and everybody else. That is well known. As that is all that is at issue, we could go on now or to-morrow and we would be no better off this day week. Perhaps the Minister could have some other examination, however.

I should like to make it quite clear that we have no objection to the principle of the Bill but we have an objection to the principle of passing all stages of a Bill in one session. We are prepared to give all stages to-morrow.

I would appeal to the Minister to take the Bill this afternoon. We have made sacrifices of days, weeks, months and years. There is nothing in the amendment which is essential.

I take it that the Minister is agreeable to take them to-morrow.

Nothing that can be put into it by the Committee is essential. It is merely to prevent subterfuges by people who will stoop so low as to try to throw responsibility on their colleagues.

If objection is taken on the other side or anywhere else, we should not do all stages on the one day. If to-morrow is suggested, it will be quite satisfactory.

The Seanad may allow the matter to be examined and passed by the Attorney General. I have great sympathy with Senator Hawkins as it is not a good principle to ask the Seanad to take all stages in one day; I am quite prepared to come back to-morrow.

Ordered that the remaining stages be taken on Thursday, 23rd March.