Transport Bill, 1949—Committee Stage (Resumed).

SECTION 15.

I move amendment No. 5:—

Before sub-section (2) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

In the course of the performance of the duties imposed on the board by the previous sub-section, the board shall, within a period of two years from the date of the commencement of this Act, restore the double line of railway tracks between the railway stations at Athlone and Liffey Junction.

The changing of the railway line from Liffey Junction to Athlone was the most foolish proposal that was ever carried out by any responsible railway management. When that proposal was made, I remember protesting against it in this House. I was backed by Senator J.T. O'Farrell at the time. It was stated by the then chairman, who was a member of this House, that the new system of single lines would be a great improvement on the double track with their new system of signalling. Of course, that may have deceived some members of the Seanad at the time, but it did not deceive Senator O'Farrell or myself. We know now the disastrous effect that that singling of the line had, and particularly on the livestock trade. We know the serious losses that have occurred to the cattle trade by reason of cattle specials being held up at railway sidings, by the bruising of beef cattle which are for shipment, and by the deterioration even of store cattle. All this loss has to come out of the farmer-producer's pocket.

At present, we are exporting beef. It is becoming more and more a sellers' market. I want to point out the great losses that are sustained by the holding up of cattle on these sidings as a result of not having a double track which would allow of a clear run through for cattle to be shipped. At present, cattle are bruised and possibly the smallest loss would be 1/2d a lb. on being downgraded from "special" to "A," which means 25/-. They may be down-graded to "B," which means a loss to the producer of £11 10s. 0d. per beast. These losses are excessive and the cattle trade cannot afford them. All this down-grading is also a national loss. The West of Ireland is a great cattle country, and is almost entirely dependent on the cattle trade for existence. The cattle trade can never be carried on successfully unless there is efficient and quick transport. Cheap rates would be another important factor. We cannot have efficient and quick transport unless the track is doubled from Liffey Junction to Athlone. It is nearly impossible to get efficient transport of cattle on a single line. I would not suggest that the whole line should be doubled right away, but I would ask the Minister to consider giving an instruction that the double line would start off, say, at Mullingar or at Enfield and then Mullingar, and that the process of doubling the track would be continued, so that it would all be doubled in a few years. Unless that is done, there will never be efficient or quick transport from the West of Ireland.

I would like to support the amendment by Senator Counihan, because this matter affects the cattle trade in the West of Ireland. Senator Counihan has given some arguments in favour of a double track. I want to give another argument. Because of delays that occur in order to facilitate passenger traffic on the main lines, cattle and other live stock that are marketed in the West of Ireland and sent on to Dublin suffer greatly. If those who owned the cattle, sheep or pigs before they were sold treated them as cruelly as they are being treated in transit, it is very doubtful if they would not be prosecuted for it by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Senator Counihan rightly referred to deterioration in the value of stock because of delays in transport. There is just a danger that cattle shippers purchasing cattle at West of Ireland fairs might be tempted—and it would be a serious temptation—to pay less for the stock than they would pay if they could guarantee that the stock would be delivered at their destination in the condition in which they were purchased.

The laying down of a double track would be a rather expensive matter, but the cattle trade is a very important branch of our industry, and the maintenance of the good name of Irish stock would be a matter of interest to the Government. For passenger transport the railway company may be able to substitute buses for trains, but the only satisfactory method of transporting live stock is by railway. Any help that could be given towards preventing serious loss in the value of stock because of delays arising from a singletrack system should be given. For that reason, I have great pleasure in supporting Senator Counihan's amendment.

I wish to support Senator Counihan's amendment, but I would suggest that it should be amended to read that the line from Galway to Liffey Junction be relaid. We remember the agitation that was carried on when the old Great Southern and Western Railway Board proposed the singling of the track. This is one of the matters that cannot be laid at the door of Córas Iompair Eireann or the late chairman of the board of the present organisation set up under the 1944 Act. This was carried out against the wishes and protests not only of the people of Western Ireland but of many interested parties in Dublin. The double line was taken up. The people were guaranteed that they would be provided with as efficient a service as that which was then in operation. One sometimes wonders how it is expected that people would ever be induced back to the railways from the roads. Previous speakers have referred to the importance of a double line in order to have a fast and efficient service for live stock, but while that is very important, if we are ever to induce people back to the railways we must have a quick and efficient passenger service. The Minister, I am sure, and members of the House will agree, that because of the delay of two hours or one and a half hours in the journey between Galway and Dublin as a result of taking up the double lines, people will not, if they can possibly avoid it, travel by rail.

I am glad that Senator Counihan put down this amendment because the Minister's reply will give us some idea of what the future policy of the new board is to be. If the Minister's attitude is that the board, which is already bankrupt, has to start over again and that it would be unfair to ask them to undertake the laying of a line between Galway and Dublin as they must seek to make the system pay, then I say that there is no future for Irish railways, particularly for that section of it operating in the West. If, however, the Minister accepts the amendment or, without incorporating its terms in the Bill, undertakes to put before the board that this line should be relaid, it would be a great help to people in the West, and if the railways of the country are ever to pay it would contribute greatly to that.

My sympathy in this case is more with the cattle than with the cattle dealers. In the course of my varied career I spent every Wednesday for two years at Liffey Junction unloading cattle, and even with a double or treble track the animals suffered considerably through delay. It will be a surprise, I am sure, to Senators to know that more harm and damage are done to live stock during waiting periods than when the train is travelling. When the train is travelling, whether it contains cattle or sheep, they are quiet enough in the wagon, but the minute the wagon stops they become restless and injure each other and considerable damage is caused. If the track has been raised— I have not been there recently—I cannot understand why. It may be because at one time it was thought that the cattle market was going to be shifted from Prussia Street to the North Wall. I know that on Wednesdays they were taken to the lairs in Cabra, and when the cattle trade was not so heavy as it is now I have often opened wagons and found sheep dead or dying. If they have to be shunted on to sidings, particularly in the summer, there will be great loss and hardship that could be avoided. We do not pay sufficient attention—we did not in the past, at least—to the suffering of animals in transit. Cattle can be a long time in transit to England and they get no food during that time, which is not so bad, but neither do they get anything to drink. Anything that would speed up the cattle trade and by speeding it up reduce the losses of the people engaged in that trade and the suffering of the animals should be recommended to the new board. I know that the Minister has no power to impose on the board that they should relay the tracks, but he should ask them to consider very sympathetically the question that something should be done to improve the transport of animals from one part of the country to another, speed it up and improve the type of cattle wagons. Some of the cattle wagons in this country are obsolete and the wagons are in need of improvement as well as the permanent way.

I have a good deal of sympathy with the amendment for obvious reasons, but I do not think that we would be justified in passing it and thus giving a direction to the new board without having a very much more scientific inquiry than we can possibly make here. This piece of economy was obviously an exceedingly bad one, and, as Senator Counihan pointed out, I personally was one of those who protested against it. At the same time one has to realise that when the line was singled it was in the early days of the economic war when the company was in dire distress. Some thousands of men had been dispensed with because of the falling off in traffic and the general depression that existed and they resorted to absolutely abnormal methods of trying to save money. They used the rails and sleepers and other fittings which they took up from this line to relay other portions of the line which were in an exceedingly dangerous condition and they were unable to buy materials. They were able to make a plausible case, but one has to admit that it was a deplorable necessity, if it were a necessity, and I am afraid it was. I know that an approach was made to the banks for credit, because it was impossible to raise capital, and the banks were quite unprepared to give any credit to buy new materials in the existing circumstances. We were told at the time that the new system of signalling would make the single track as efficient, if not more so, than the old double line. The new system did unquestionably effect a considerable improvement, but there is one obvious shortcoming that must be apparent to everybody. If there is an engine breakdown on any section of the line, when you have only a single line you hold up traffic in both directions, while with the double line you could switch off at the nearest station and use the up or down line as the case might be as an alternative by resorting to pilot work.

That all happened a long time ago and many things have happened since then. There have been various developments in railway transport and it would be unwise for the Oireachtas to give a specific direction to the board on one particular item of this kind. After all, they are charged under Section 15 and other sections to give efficient and economic service for both merchandise and passengers to the community. I think we should place on them the responsibility of carrying out these instructions to the best of their ability and with all the necessary knowledge at their disposal. It might be found to be quite unwise and perhaps unnecessary to do what the amendment suggests should be done. I know that in all probability the doubling of the line is the obvious thing to do, but I certainly, as one member of the Oireachtas, would not be prepared to say that I could prove it. There may be another alternative and in the circumstances I would suggest that Senator Counihan, having stated his case, which is a very strong one, should not press the amendment to a division.

Captain Orpen

On this amendment Senator Counihan has pointed out that the singling of the line has created delays and difficulties and Senator J. T. O'Farrell has pointed out why it was done. If I recollect aright the singling of the line was carried through for economy in order to use the lines to relay tracks elsewhere. New signalling was put in with a view to enabling single line work to be done efficiently but they never completed what was necessary when the single line was put in, that is, the provision of a sufficient number of pass sidings in conjunction with the signalling. The result was that on that line we still have unnecessarily long blocks so that once the volume of traffic increases beyond a certain limit delays are bound to occur. The full programme of resignalling and pass sidings was never completed.

While on this amendment are we at liberty to make a few observations on Section 15, sub-section (1), which seems to me to be one of the most important sections of the Bill?

Not at the moment.

Captain Orpen

We are now dealing with the amendment but will we be allowed to deal with it later?

Yes, on the section.

Captain Orpen

Referring merely to the amendment, it seems to me that it would be very unwise, as Senator J.T. O'Farrell said, to lay down to the board the specific remedy of doubling the line, but we are at liberty to point out that the existing mechanism is very unsatisfactory and that something should be done about it. Let us not say that we as non-technicians recommend that the line should be doubled or that there should be an alternative method of signalling or that pass sidings should be put down. That is not our business; our business is to point out the drawbacks of the existing system.

I should like to say at the outset that I appreciate the point made by Senator Counihan and other Senators regarding the effects of long delays in the transport of live stock. I would naturally be anxious that whatever steps can be taken to obviate those long delays should be taken. I cannot, however, agree to accept the amendment. I am prepared to represent to the new board that one of their first duties should be to investigate the position between Galway and Dublin and to see what better facilities can be provided to obviate delays. It is obviously undesirable, not merely from the point of view of the cattle owners and purchasers but from the national point of view, that cattle and other live stock should arrive on the market in a damaged condition. Therefore, we should all be anxious to take whatever steps are necessary to overcome that.

May I say also that one of the duties of the new board will be so to improve all their services as to attract to the new transport company the maximum amount of freight and traffic? But I think it will be admitted that it would be very wrong and undesirable, as Senator O'Farrell said, in the absence of detailed information to tie the board to doubling the line and to doing it within the short period of two years, leaving out altogether the cost of doing it. I could not, any more than the Senator, say what the cost would be, but I think I would not be far wrong in saying that it would cost some millions of pounds.

Particularly now.

The track is made and only sleepers and rails would be necessary.

I have got estimates in connection with other parts of rail operations, and it would not surprise me if I were not very far out in saying that it would run into millions of pounds. If we can get by other means improvements which will bring about what the Senator desires, without involving the company in this very heavy expenditure, which at the moment they are not in a position to undertake, I can and will readily give an assurance to the Seanad that I will ask the board as one of their first duties to undertake a special investigation of this matter, with a view to seeing what they can do as soon as possible to provide better facilities, particularly for the transport of live stock.

I feel that there is no use in pressing the amendment. If we propose to hand over the complete management of the undertaking to this board and instruct them at the same time to go in for the strictest economy in regard to the railways, I feel that there is no hope of this line being doubled. I have a fair experience of railway transport, particularly in the matter of live stock, and I am convinced that unless the railway there is doubled there is very little hope of getting any improvement. We have heard about all the gadgets and all the improvements that were to be brought about, but there is only one possible way of improving it, that is, the laying of a double track. I am not asking that it be laid as far as Athlone right away. Let it be done in small sections —even as far as Enfield. Even if it were doubled for a distance of ten miles it would be a great help.

Senator S. O'Farrell has spoken of his personal experience of the terrible losses inflicted on the live-stock trade, even when there was a double track. We can imagine what the losses are now. As I have said, they often run as high as £11 per head. The Minister says he will make representations to the board, but if the board do not do it, I think it is the duty of the Minister to instruct them to do it. If we are going to work strictly on a basis of economy and to say: "We have no money to do this," we can never hope for any improvement. There is money available for everything else, and if we are to neglect the most important industry we have merely for the sake of money, I think it is a very foolish economy.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 6:—

Before sub-section (2) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

The board shall, within one year from the establishment date, complete the central omnibus station at Store Street, Dublin, providing therein suitable accommodation, including waiting rooms, refreshment rooms and amenities for passengers.

In the very early days of road passenger transport, it became evident that proper facilities and accommodation would have to be provided for bus passengers. Many inquiries and investigations were carried out, and, after an examination of all the possible sites in the city, all the authorities concerned, the Dublin town planning authorities, the police and the transport authorities, agreed on a particular site. The site was accepted, and architects' plans and specifications were drawn up, and eventually a building was erected on it. It is not necessary to remind Senators of the appalling conditions under which bus passengers were compelled to queue up on Aston's Quay in the most unfavourable weather conditions. After long agitation, a shelter, which fell far short of what was adequate, was provided, in the form of galvanised roofing along the path beside the Liffey, which gave shelter on one side. The Minister has said on more than one occasion that he was quite aware of the conditions which bus passengers had to endure.

I do not wish to go into the whole history of the acquiring of the site and the building of the bus station at Store Street, except to say that the experts agreed that it was the most suitable site available. It is quite possible that there were other sites which, with the expenditure of more money and the acquisition of more property, might have provided more accommodation, but the fact is, that having examined every possible site in Dublin they agreed on Store Street, and a building was erected on that site. That building is partly completed. It would provide garaging space for the bus, waiting rooms and refreshment rooms for the passengers, and, I understand, a cinema for those passengers who might have to wait for long periods.

There are one or two questions in this connection to which I am sure the Minister will be able to give very satisfactory answers. Córas Iompair Éireann undertook the erection of this building. A change of Government took place, and Córas Iompair Éireann found themselves in some difficulty because of a certain set of circumstances over which they had absolutely no control. A decision was reached to abandon the completion of this building, or to abandon it for the purpose for which it was being erected. Was it the board of Córas Iompair Éireann which came to that decision? Were they consulted before the decision was come to? Was it the Minister himself who made the decision, and what is the present position with regard to the amount of money already expended on that building?

We are told that it is now proposed to hand this building over to a Department of State. The reason advanced by the Minister for the non-completion of the building is that the money is not available, but, in reply to a question in the Dáil, the Minister for Social Welfare said that arrangements would be made with the board of Córas Iompair Éireann to complete the building. The building will have to be completed, not for the purposes for which it was originally intended, but in accordance with new plans and specifications drawn up, so that it will be suitable for the purposes for which it is now required. The money must be found, and it is an extraordinary thing that, with all the interest we pretend we have in providing facilities for the travelling public, we must deprive them of what would be available for their accommodation at latest by the end of this year, and must search around for a new site.

In this connection also there are one or two questions on which I am sure the Minister will be able to give us very definite information. It is now suggested that a bus station be provided at Smithfield. I hold that the right approach to this matter would have been that no decision should have been come to and announced. The Oireachtas is asked to provide for the setting up of a new board, which is to be empowered to carry out the functions and duties of an Irish transport organisation. One of the principal functions of that board must be the provision of adequate facilities for the travelling public, and one would have thought that the proper way of handling it would have been to leave it for the consideration of the new board. That has not been done. Somebody has made a decision. Somebody has said there is going to be no bus station, and, as a matter of fact, the Minister has stated most emphatically that Store Street is out.

I did not say there was going to be no bus station.

That Store Street is out, and the same statement has been made in connection with many of the other proposed undertakings of the former board. If the Minister, in his wisdom, considered that Store Street should be out, one would have imagined again that the proper thing to do was to have left the matter of the proposed new site to the new board. We have seen that the present chairman of Córas Iompair Éireann has been instructed to go around the city, and has done so, for the purpose of having interviews with the city authorities, the town planning authorities, the city council and the police authorities. We have also seen one of the strangest things in connection with this business, that decisions made have been reconsidered and changes brought about. The police authorities refused to approve of the proposed site at Smithfield. We know that interviews and consultations took place and that the accommodation to be provided at Smithfield has been reduced to the barest minimum, and, by a strange coincidence, the police authorities, who first refused to approve the site, have now approved it. What is all this going to mean? It is going to mean that the travelling public are to be deprived of the facilities which would be theirs if the Store Street project was proceeded with and completed. If a bus station is to be provided at Smithfield, a bus station designed merely to accommodate the buses and where bus passengers will be enabled to board and alight from buses, it means that some 106 families are to be removed from their dwellings.

That is not true.

And it means that each of these families will be compensated. It means also that street widening to the extent of some £50,000 will have to be undertaken and the total cost on the Dublin Corporation, as estimated by their own engineers, will be in the region of £309,000. I submit that that is something which the ratepayers of Dublin should not be called on to bear.

And will not be.

If the Dublin ratepayers are not called upon to bear the cost it must be borne by Córas Iompair Éireann.

No, because it will not arise at all.

We shall see. I would like to have the reasons given for the decision not to proceed with Store Street. If we read the Milne Report we will find there a statement that:—

"The building will provide a terminus for long-distance omnibuses to be accommodated in 17 reception bays. Circulating space, lavatories, a refreshment bar, shops and a cinema will be available to passengers and the general public. The upper part of the building is designed to accommodate the whole of the company's headquarters staff, at present scattered in five separate buildings.

Wages and material costs have risen since the scheme was authorised and the ultimate total outlay may prove to be considerably more than the original estimate.

The centralisation of headquarters should facilitate the general administration of the company's business."

The Tánaiste also agrees that centralisation does fulfil the purpose stated in the Milne Report.

"If, in carrying out the scheme, there is surplus accommodation available, the additional revenue to be derived from the provision of a refreshment bar, cinema and shops may reasonably be expected to justify the additional expenditure involved in making use of the available space."

Will the Senator complete what Milne said about that?

If I do not, the Minister will.

I certainly will.

"These are the main objectives of the scheme, but it is doubtful whether they can be regarded as sufficiently important to have justified the company in embarking upon such an ambitious project when capital resources are limited and large expenditure is required for the rehabilitation and improvement of railway facilities."

The Minister informs us that the proposed station at Smithfield will be merely a bus station. I am sure we shall have reference to the expenditure involved in the proposed station at Store Street. It is very important that adequate facilities should be provided for long-distance passengers in particular and these facilities should be convenient to their point of embarkation or disembarkation. If this project were to be carried out by a private concern it would be called upon to provide such facilities, side by side with the facilities provided under this Bill. The revenue arising from such facilities would help to clear the initial cost of construction.

The Minister can give no good reason for the abandonment of Store Street. I have here a newspaper, the Irish Times of 15th April of this year, in which there is a map. With that map is the following statement:—

"In view of the current decision on the site of a central bus station for Dublin, this plan should be of interest to our readers. It was published in the Irish Builder and Engineer 13 years ago by the Traffic and Safety First Association, a nonpolitical body including people of eminent technical and civil standing, and indicates how early the suitability of the Store Street site was recognised.”

On the 28th October last there also appeared an article in the Irish Times in the column headed “London Letter”:—

"Modern Transport, a technical journal, which enjoys a high standing in the transport world, has recently had two members of its staff in Dublin to make an investigation on the spot into the question of the central bus station.

In an article in the current issue it is held that the decision to turn the Store Street building into Governnment offices and to put the bus station instead at Smithfield is mistaken. Smithfield, it is pointed out, is three-quarters of a mile from O'Connell Bridge, and if it were to be used a connecting bus service to Smithfield would be necessary. This would cause as much congestion as the provincial buses are said to be in danger of causing at O'Connell Bridge, particularly to passengers with luggage, and the advantages of a concentrated loading area would be wiped out.

The conversion of the building to Government offices, the article suggests, will probably involve much additional expense, while there will be no return, such as Córas Iompair Éireann would have received from rent of shops, catering, etc., at the station.

Whatever may be the final decision, Dublin's need for a bus station is urgent, and the hope may be earnestly expressed that in the wider public interest and, indeed, in the cost of national economy the Government will feel that there now seems to be every reason to use Store Street and the Store Street building for the purposes for which it was originally intended."

Do you know for whom that report was made?

It is taken from an article published in Modern Transport. I think I have covered in broad outline the case that can be made. I am not interested in any particular section. I am interested in the travelling public as a whole, particularly those from rural Ireland. If Smithfield is adopted very little consideration will be shown to the people coming from Galway, Cork, and Donegal. Store Street would leave them practically in the centre of the city and would provide them with the facilities they would require. I do not wish to enter into a discussion on the conversion of Store Street since we shall have an opportunity of debating that matter on another Bill. This is the last opportunity we have to vent our feelings on the decision to abandon Store Street. If the Minister and the Government were aware of the strong public feeling on this matter, even at this late hour they might reverse their decision and complete the project for the purpose for which it was intended.

I am sure that Smithfield will commence on very modest lines for the sake of economy. I am sure nothing will be done, at any rate immediately, to upset Senator Counihan and his friends, who have an interest in the market there. But year by year that will have to be enlarged in order to provide proper facilities for the travelling public. It may be said that they will not go into this project in an elaborate way, but developments must take place and further space will have to be acquired in time. Whether or not that acquisition will be done by means of compulsory powers I do not know. Those who are upset will have to be compensated and provided with accommodation elsewhere. The case cannot be made that, because the national health office in O'Connell Street or the Department of Social Welfare is too small to accommodate what will in time be one of the largest industries in this country, the Government must take over Store Street. What will be done with that portion of the premises originally intended to be used as a bus terminus to accommodate 17 tiers of buses, as is mentioned in the Milne Report, unless it is proposed to use that space to accommodate the applicants for social welfare? I think it is in the national interest that the Store Street project should be utilised for the purpose for which it was intended.

This discussion as to the relative merits of Store Street and Smithfield has become a modern saga. It reminds one of the war waged in the stories of Gulliver's travels between those who argued as to whether the big or the little end of an egg was the top. It has been saturated with personalities and history. The result is that very few people approach it merely from the point of view of the merits of the case. I do not profess to speak with very much expert knowledge of the merits of the case, but I say that it would appear to the average man that to cause the whole of the bus traffic from the East, South and West to converge on and radiate from a point down near the Custom House seems an extraordinary unbusinesslike proposal. It means that you have to swing all that body of traffic right across O'Connell Street, or, avoiding O'Connell Street, you must approach Store Street by narrow and thickly-populated streets. Anybody who has had occasion to use Butt Bridge in recent years will realise that it is becoming an impossible tangle of traffic, and if, in addition to that, you are going to bring in other buses with which the rest of the country is to be served by Córas Iompair Éireann, then I suggest that the position would become impossible altogether.

Every person conversant with Dublin traffic knows that the whole of the Great Northern buses, and all those that serve Fairview and Clontarf areas, pass through that district and it is already so congested that there have been numerous demands for the widening of the streets in that direction. As to the relative merits of Smithfield, I cannot speak with very much knowledge, because I do not know precisely what the expenditure might be. I understand, however, that it is only a fraction of what is suggested for Store Street, but, at all events, it has the merit that you do not have to drag the long-distance traffic right across all the main arteries of the city. Smithfield is more on the outskirts than Store Street, and to that extent it has definite merit as compared with Store Street. Senator Hawkins has referred to a map published many years ago regarding a central bus station for Dublin. He does not advert to the fact that there has been a considerable change in traffic conditions since then. Traffic, particularly in private motor cars and lorries, has developed enormously on a scale which was not thought of years ago, and what might be a tolerable site then has become quite impracticable at this particular date.

A great deal of play has been made as to the desirability of having the headquarters of the staffs in one building. I suggest that has never been done, and it is not practicable in the case of a transport service. No railway company of which I am aware has ever concentrated the whole of its headquarters staff in one building. For instance, the whole of the locomotive and chief mechanical engineer's section must naturally be stationed at Inchicore, where the shops are, and where thousands of men are employed, where all the rolling stock and locomotives are made, and where they are in touch with the men and with the engineering arrangements. They could not possibly operate at a distance. The same applies to the running staffs. They must be at their stations near the turntables and the sheds in order to be able to do their work. The general stores staff, which is a very large staff, have to be on the spot where the stores are, and it must be remembered that you have about 100,000 different items of railway stores and about 80,000 types of road vehicle stores, and the staff have to be on the spot where they are receiving and issuing those stores, and where the complete supervision, check and audit takes place, so they could not possibly be brought down to Store Street. You could not, of course, bring the goods staff, the parcels staff or the booking staff away from Kingsbridge. They have to be on the spot and the same applies to the very large staff which is maintained at the North Wall, and to the accountants' department. They, too, must be on the spot, and you must have Westland Row, Harcourt Street and the district superintendent's offices where they are required. To suggest that you could concentrate the whole of the staff in one office is not a practical proposition. Because of the number of old railway headquarters, you have splendid offices at Broadstone, where the accountant's department is stationed. Is it suggested that these offices can be given up? They are fine, solidly-built offices, much more roomy than anything that could be provided in the newer building. Are they to be vacated? You cannot very well set them to anybody else because there are sections of road transport working there which cannot be removed. If you brought the Kingsbridge staff to Store Street, what would you do with these fine suites of offices? You would not find it possible to bring in outsiders to tenant these offices because some of them would inevitably have to be occupied. You have a splendid new suite of offices on Bachelor's Walk in recent years. They are fitted out with the last word in appointment and with machinery of all kinds, and it is suggested that they should be given up although they are on the spot where the long-distance lorries are loaded, where the manifests are made out, and where the whole of the clerical and accountancy work is done, so that from the point of view of providing a headquarters for the staff the Store Street plan was unnecessary. Even if it were very large, the building could not be fully occupied unless you were prepared to disorganise the whole transport system. Railway organisation is like the organisation of an army. You must have various sections of headquarters at the points where they are most effective, so that from that point of view I suggest that there was no necessity at all to build a new headquarters building. Nothing would be saved for the reason I have stated, but the expenditure would take place and from that point of view I would suggest that the whole question of accommodation for staff should be left out of the discussion because it is not a relevant issue in the matter and should never have been brought in.

I suggest that so far as other accommodation is concerned, the geographical position of Store Street does not make it the best site that could be chosen. I do not know why a site outside the city should be regarded as impracticable for long-distance bus traffic. You could have regular city services to take passengers to and from every single site. We cannot dump every passenger where he wants to be dumped and I do not see much virtue in dragging him to Store Street when he really wants to go to the centre of the city. The same thing would apply to Smithfield so that on the whole an outside site with plenty of room for moving buses about would be much cheaper.

In view of the fact that the Minister has already stated that Store Street is out, there must be a good deal of unreality about the discussion on the amendment we are considering at the moment. I do not propose, therefore, to enter into a discussion on the lines of Senator O'Farrell, as to the relative merits of Store Street and Smithfield, beyond saying this that everyone who has given at least five minutes' thought to the problem must agree that there is, to say the least of it, as great a volume of support among traffic experts in favour of Store Street as there is in favour of Smithfield. There is one point I feel rather strongly about. It has not been mentioned in either House, and it is well that it should be mentioned now. A building has been designed by an architect who is well known and competent. An architect designs a building, on instruc- tions from his employers, for a specific purpose. The design of a cinema is entirely different from the design of a lecture hall. This building has been designed as a long-distance bus terminus. Provision has been made for the reception of these buses. Use has been made of a material that was not available before this century, a modern material, reinforced concrete. It is something that has been attempted, I think, on a similar scale only once before in this country. That was in the case of the building designed as an air terminus at Collinstown — designed again by an Irish architect who has been eminently successful in his design and whose name is not unknown in the public life of this country. Once a building is designed for a specific purpose and once the work has gone so far on that building that it would be a major operation to alter the building itself to any large extent, it is entirely wrong that such alteration should be permitted.

The only argument that might validly be advanced against my statement would be that the amount of money involved would be so great that the concern for whom the building was being erected would be unable to provide it or that it would be utterly economic. That may be in the present position of Córas Iompair Eireann a fairly valid argument, but in view of the fact that the development of road passenger traffic over the years, to the detriment of the railways as such, has led to a big reduction in the number of passengers travelling by train, it is absolutely essential that there should be a central bus station for all those passengers who, in the main, come in on the long-distance buses. I submit that a very bad day's work has been done for Irish architecture in preventing the completion of a building designed for a specific purpose, making use of modern materials—a building that, in my opinion, would become as well known and as widely appreciated as the airway terminus at Collinstown.

In the interests of accuracy, I should like to mention a few points. First of all, I should like to say that the opening remarks of Senator Hawkins were untrue. The site for the bus station was not decided upon, as he stated, with the agreement of the traffic and the town planning experts. The previous Government introduced the town planning legislation in this country. They thought fit to include in the Town Planning Act a provision giving the right to certain statutory bodies to remain exempt from the planning authority of whatever area they wished to plan or build in. That was the position of Córas Iompair Éireann in regard to the choice of a site in this case. The site was chosen by the directors of the board of Córas Iompair Éireann and was presented to the planning authority as a fait accompli. It was against the advice of the town planning consultant, Sir Patrick Abercrombie, who had already drawn up a plan for the City of Dublin. The town planning authority had no alternative, in fact they had no say in the choice of the site. So to say, in the first instance, that it was chosen with the agreement of the planning authority and of the traffic authority is just untrue or else the statement shows a lack of knowledge of the position. That is the first point.

Secondly, I should like to say that I have been interested in this project since I became a member of the planning committee of the Dublin Corporation. I have been interested from two points of view, firstly, from the point of view of town planning and the suitability of the site as a bus terminus; and, secondly, from the point of view of the beauty of a city such as Dublin, where every new building — and, goodness knows, few enough have been erected by us since we have had our own Government — should be considered with the greatest care and every step should be taken to protect and keep intact one of the most beautiful Georgian cities in the world. At the stage when I became a member of the town planning committee the site had been agreed to by the statutory body and the town planning authority had no say in it. They had still power to reject the buildings as such, and from an architectural and planning point of view I have fought against this building on a number of occasions. Senator J.T. O'Farrell has given some reasons as to why he considered it unsuitable. In a city, where most of the traffic comes from the South, the South-East or the South-West, it is absolutely ridiculous to place the terminus for all the incoming traffic almost at the extreme east on the edge of the sea, so that everything coming from the whole hinterland has to be brought right across the city. It is just plain stupid to begin with.

Senator O'Farrell has mentioned the fact that to reach this terminus the buses would have to cross the main traffic routes such as O'Connell Street. Anybody who knows the traffic problem that already exists at present, realises the shortage of bridges and the impossibility of placing bridges below the Custom House, has already complicated the situation without bringing all the traffic from the country to that point. Again practically all the heavy cross-Channel traffic comes in at the North Wall and has to be brought along the quays to the city. Imagine the confusion and congestion that would result if all the bus traffic were obliged to converge on the one point where the heavy traffic is conveyed from the cross-Channel steamers. The thing was wrong from the beginning. A wrong site was chosen and it was chosen against the advice of the consultants. I personally am opposed to the selection of Smithfield but I do not think that enters into the matter. The original site suggested was on the quays.

Somebody mentioned that the town planning consultant eventually agreed to the site. He did not eventually agree to the site but he eventually agreed to the building. As I say that was the only matter in which the corporation had any say — the question of the suitability of the building. I was a member of the town planning committee and my experience was that an average of five or six members out of a total membership of 18 attended the ordinary meetings. However, on the day that the design for this building was submitted every single member of the town planning committee attended and every one of those who had not been in the habit of attending regularly, voted for the new building. I personally pressed for sending to England for the town planning consultant. He came across to one of our meetings and three times I asked him in the presence of members of the committee:—

"Do you advise the City of Dublin to pass this building as a suitable building for a bus terminus for Dublin?"

Three times he evaded the question but finally, in the end, being pressed by the Lord Mayor, he said:—

"Since you have ruined my plan for Dublin and since you have no intention of carrying out my plan I suppose there is nothing to do but to pass the building which has been passed by the Córas Iompair Éireann authorities."

That is the way the town planning consultant was persuaded under pressure to say something which would enable the committee to pass it. As regards Senator Hearne's remarks as to the suitability of the building, it was designed with seven floors of offices and with a ground floor for buses. I see no difference between that and a proposal to use the ground floor for parking cars, and using the seven storeys of offices for the Department of Health instead of offices for Córas Iompair Eireann officials. The Senator had also something to say about the use of reinforced concrete as a modern material. There is nothing new about reinforced concrete. It was used even by the Romans, and is not only applicable to the uses of Córas Iompair Eireann.

Reinforced concrete?

I should like to hear you make that statement before the Institute of Architects.

To this day ancient reinforced concrete remains can be seen in Rome. In fact I have just come back from Rome and I have seen them there, so that the idea of using reinforced concrete is not so modern as the Senator suggests. So much for the argument of unsuitability of the building for the Department of Health — it was designed essentially as an office block. In fact it is doubtful if it could accommodate more than 18 buses which, in my opinion, would be utterly inadequate to accommodate all the buses required for the future needs of the City of Dublin.

There can be no argument at all about the suitability of the proposed bus station. I think if ever there was a monument built to the memory of people who have no concern for the beauty of the city, it is that Córas Iompair Eireann building. The unfortunate thing is that it has got so far. We are fortunate in having in Dublin very many important buildings. Amongst them we have the Custom House. The Custom House is illustrated in every architectural book in every language as the finest renaissance building in Europe. It was thought fit to erect beside it a monster building of seven storeys which not only is out of character but is completely out of scale. It spoils the whole view of the Custom House either from up or across the river. In the matter of suitability it is only equalled by the loop line bridge which runs along one side of the Custom House and the gasometer on the other side of the river.

I feel very strongly on this point. It is unfortunate that one can do nothing about this building at this stage; but at least one can do something about the traffic. One can find an alternative terminus for the bus traffic and stop all this madness. From every point of view, from the point of view of the convenience of the citizen, from the traffic point of view, and from the town planning point of view, this structure is most unsuitable.

I would like to add my voice to the protests made by Senator Miss Butler and Senator O'Farrell. I am satisfied that Senator Hearne and Senator Hawkins do not understand the position in Dublin or they would never have tabled such an amendment. I challenge either of those Senators to go down there to-morrow morning or afternoon, and I suggest that if they do they will be prepared to say the same thing as I am going to say. That is, that the people who are responsible for the erection of the central bus station on that site are getting away too lightly when they cannot be charged.

Shoot them.

They definitely should be charged. Take the people in the north-east of Dublin who have to cross to this side of the city — people from Coolock or Malahide, for instance. Will Senator Hearne or Senator Hawkins tell us how these people are to cross to the south side of the city? As some one has suggested, they would need to come by boat or aeroplane.

Senator Hawkins mentioned a private concern. If somebody was responsible for the erection and management of this building on behalf of any private concern I am sure that person would be charged, and the only thing that would prevent him from receiving severe punishment would be his mental deficiency or lunacy. I am astonished that any member of this House would put down an amendment for the reconsideration of this matter.

As Senator Miss Butler has stated, are you going to take the buses that come from Wexford right across the city in order to drop your passengers in Store Street, or the buses that come from Cork? It would be suitable enough for buses from the northern side. But what will you do with the existing traffic? It cannot go through there. Will you put it right across O'Connell Street? You could not pick on a more unsuitable site. If one were to suggest O'Connell Street it would not be even as unsuitable as this site.

Senator Hawkins mentioned that people were going to save a lot by this place entering into the catering business. If they could not make a better job of catering than they have made of the erection of this Córas Iompair Eireann building, then God help them as caterers.

I am glad the Minister has taken up such a strong attitude in connection with Store Street. With Senator Butler, I feel it is a tragedy that that building it there. The Minister who allowed it to be erected there definitely made a mistake. Someone suggested a name for that building. I suggest it should be called Fianna's Folly. We have many follies up and down the country and this would be another added to the list. That would be the most suitable title for it. I would even go so far as to suggest that the title should be Fianna's Fatal Folly.

There are many Fianna Fáil supporters in the city in full agreement with my view that that building should not have been erected there. In the recent general election it had an effect on many people in the city. They felt that any Government that would allow such a building to be constructed would not be fit to rule the country. Some people may laugh at me for saying that.

The Minister is laughing at you, too.

Senator Tunney can see only a few of those who are laughing.

I do not mind if every Senator in the House laughs at me. I say that this site should never have been chosen. It is not suitable as a site for offices. It would be unfair to persons in the Government service to have them put over there into that part of the city when you have such beautiful suburbs around Dublin which, from the health point of view, would be much more suitable. The only persons for whom Store Street would be suitable are the incoming travellers and the outgoing emigrants or holiday makers, but these are not the only people in the country.

It would not be big enough to contain them now.

Not at the time it was being erected but, thank God, the position is changed, though it is not as good as we would like to see it. These are the only people for whom it would be suitable. If there are people coming to our markets or to our hospitals or to do business in the city, I do not think Store Street would be a suitable terminus for them at all. It is not a central site. I do not believe in Smithfield as a good site either. My opinion is that you should have a site on the north side for the buses coming from the north and the north-west, and you should have an average-sized building on the south side for the buses coming from the east and the south.

I do not see that there was any reason for this big nonsensical building. If all the experts of this nation were to get together with the police authorities and the traffic inspectors, I do not believe any man could pick out a suitable site for a central bus station in Dublin in view of the existing condition of traffic in the city. Therefore, I suggest that there should be an average-sized bus station on the north side and another on the south side. I have sympathy for the Minister or for anybody trying to build up Córas Iompair Eireann, because I am satisfied that whatever Minister is here in two years' time, he will be bringing forward another Bill of this kind. You cannot have a sound industry where you have one section of it competing against another.

In view of the discussion which we had on the Second Reading on Store Street and the question which was put to me, to state definitely what was the intention regarding it and the very emphatic answer which I gave then, I was wondering why this amendment was put on the Order Paper. Senator Hawkins, however, was not speaking very long when I had the answer. It was to provide the opportunity to get across another piece of Fianna Fáil propaganda. Senator Hawkins repeated here statements which have been made by Fianna Fáil members of the Dublin Corporation and which are entirely untrue. These statements which have been refuted publicly by the responsible officers of Córas Iompair Eireann, are in opposition to the views expressed by Senator Hawkins and by certain members of his Party on the Dublin Corporation regarding the widening of streets, the demolition of houses, the eviction of families and compensation. There is not a shred of truth in any of those statements. They were officially denied when they were first made by certain members of the Dublin Corporation.

There were many conversations between the responsible officers of Córas Iompair Eireann and the responsible officers of the Dublin Corporation, and Córas Iompair Eireann stated quite clearly and specifically the position in relation to Smithfield and to the thoroughfares leading to it. Notwithstanding that, statements similar to those made by Senator Hawkins to-day were repeated in Dáil Eireann by Fianna Fáil spokesmen. In Dáil Eireann I again described those statements as false. I showed that they were false. I thought that would be enough, but we know the technique — go on repeating a falsehood over and over again in the knowledge that if you repeat it sufficiently often and say it sufficiently loudly, a number of people will be forced to believe it, particularly if you are in the happy position of having that false statement reported in full in a newspaper which is read by a considerable number of people, 95 per cent. of whom read no other newspaper. That was the purpose in putting this amendment on the Order Paper.

And the Irish Times.

The Irish Times and the Irish Press and this famous London journal, this journal whose owners are so interested in the architectural beauty of Dublin and who are so concerned about the convenience and comfort of rural passengers in this country that they go to the trouble and expense of sending two special representatives to Dublin to report on what this Government is guilty of and what the company is guilty of in forsaking Store Street station. Someone has said that, when the Irish Press and the Irish Times find themselves in entire agreement, it is time for someone to look out — which side I do not know.

And the journal of the Irish builders and engineers.

I notice that the Senator placed far more reliance on the London journal than he did on the Irish journal. Incidentally, one refrains from pointing out the inconsistency of the Senators opposite, who denounce in one breath the bringing in of experts from outside, while, in the next breath, they do so in order to support their case.

The Senator said that I could not give any good reason for leaving Store Street. I gave two excellent reasons. The first was that the company could not afford it — that is a very good reason — and, secondly, they did not need it. I am not going to argue, though I could argue, the suitability of location, but I did say this: that for a company in the financial position in which Córas Iompair Eireann was, to embark on a building which was to cost when finally finished and ready for use £1,000,000 was fantastic; but that they should rear on top of the bus station six storeys of offices which they did not require and which they could not fully occupy unless, as Senator O'Farrell said, they were to take their clerical staffs and their technical staffs away from where they should be if they were to get their work properly done, was, of course, absurd.

Córas Iompair Eireann are not staying in Store Street because they cannot afford to stay there. Every penny which has been spent or will be spent by Córas Iompair Eireann on this building will be repaid to them when the building is taken over by the Department of Social Welfare — every penny of it — and they will be very badly in need of it. Are they, merely for the sake of going into a luxurious suite of offices in Store Street, to leave empty and derelict the very fine suites of offices which they already have and which have been described by Senator O'Farrell? Are they to have empty rooms in Kingsbridge and pay money for office accommodation in Store Street, money which they have not got? Have I to remind Senators that less than three months ago I had to go to Dáil Eireann with the largest Supplementary Estimate that was ever introduced there since this State was founded, a Supplementary Estimate of over £4,000,000, in order to keep this concern going? I think I can retort to the Senator opposite by saying that not one good reason has been advanced as to why this building was ever contemplated. Not one good reason has been advanced as to why Store Street was selected as a location. Nobody has advanced to me, either inside or outside the House, any good reason why it was decided to put six storeys of offices on top of what was originally decided on.

We hear a lot of loose talk about abandoning the building and leaving it uncompleted. There is no intention of leaving the building uncompleted, and every inch of space within that building will be required, and will be used, by the Department of Social Welfare. The portion of it which was intended for the tiers of buses, to which reference has been made, will be used for the accommodation of the public who will require to visit the headquarters of the Social Security or Social Service Department. Deputy Hawkins, I think, wanted to make rather a cheap crack at that, as if that was something we ought to be ashamed of, that people would be going there to seek social service and social security. We have them already. We always had them, lining up, and queueing up at the labour exchanges and various other places, for widows' and orphans' pensions and so on. I do not see anything wrong in adapting the ground floor of this building, so that citizens of this city, who have to go there in connection with blind pensions, old age pensions, widows' and orphans' pensions, unemployment assistance, unemployment insurance, and national health insurance—I do not see why they should not go there, and have convenience there, and where the members of the staff of the Department, whose task will be to deal with the members of the public who go there, will be properly serviced, and properly equipped, to give a quick and fast service to the members of the public. The Senator said that Smithfield would be, of course, a mere bus station, and deplored the fact that we had not even sufficient thought for the convenience of rural travellers as to provide a meal for them. I can assure the Senator, that if and when he travels to the new bus station in Smithfield, he will get a very fine meal there, a very hot meal, and I hope at a very reasonable price; but, the difference is this, that it will cost, approximately, £150,000 to provide a bus station with reasonable and comfortable accommodation there for bus passengers, instead of providing it at Store Street at a cost of £1,000,000.

Now, we have heard an awful lot of talk about a central station. I think that there is too much talk about a central station, a lot too much of it. Mind you, passengers were a long way from the city, passengers from the south and south-west when they arrived at Kingsbridge in the old days. You can carry this question of a central station, and dropping people in the middle of O'Connell Street, a bit too far. If this goes on, the next thing will be, that somebody will be making a suggestion that we ought to turn St. Stephen's Green into an airport, so that, instead of dropping them at Collinstown, we can drop them in the middle of St. Stephen's Green. The fact of the matter is, of course, that for people coming from the south or the west or, indeed, from parts of the north, and the Midlands, they are in a position to get to the centre of the city more easily from Smithfield, than they would from Store Street. When you get off a bus at Store Street, and you want to get to O'Connell Street or Nelson Pillar, how do you get there? By walking, and carrying your luggage with you. I suggest that it will be found possible to have a service of buses circulating, city services circulating, to take passengers to Smithfield and bring them from Smithfield, so organised, that it can, instead of cutting across the traffic arteries, fit into the flow of traffic and, I suggest, that we can give the people a more convenient service than they have at the moment, and by the provision of a contact service, which would link with the long-distance buses at Smithfield, it would be possible to drop people at the various city bus stops. It will take them, if they want to, to the No. 9, No. 10, No. 3 or No. 15 bus stops, drop them at the particular bus stop they want with their luggage, and then all they will have to do will be to step off the bus at whichever stop they want, and step on to whatever bus they want. There would be no necessity for walking. I suggest it will cause the least possible increase in the existing heavy traffic, and the least possible dislocation. I want, again, to support what has been said by Senator O'Farrell and Senator Tunney. I do not claim to know the city nearly as well as most Senators here, but any of us who have occasion to go down around Amiens Street, Beresford Place, down to try to cross that bridge there, any part of that into Abbey Street and across to Talbot Street; do we not know that it is one of the busiest sections of the city? Do we not know that there is probably greater congestion of traffic there than in any other part of the city, that not alone have we the heaviest traffic there, but we also have the slowest moving traffic in the city? There is a bigger concentration of horse traffic around that particular area than in any other part of the city.

Senators know that as well as I do. I do not want to make any reference to the statement which was made by Senator Hawkins about the police. I could if I wished to. I do not propose to make any reference as to how Store Street was originally selected. I could, if I wished. Senator Miss Butler has given some account of what happened at the time, on one side of it. There are other sides, to which I could refer, but I do not propose to do so. I want to say, that as far as we are concerned, and I think it is only fair to the people who are concerned — there are people who are concerned in the location of this bus station; there are people who have vested interests and there is also, of course, the question of serving the people's convenience—to say, that so far as we are concerned, Store Street is out. May I make this appeal to those who are so concerned about the rural travellers, that the sooner we get the co-operation we are entitled to get in having the new bus station erected at Smithfield, the sooner we will be in a position to give bus travellers that service, convenience, protection, and shelter to which they are entitled? May I say, also, in connection with the amendment "the board shall within one year complete" that it cannot be done? I want to say, further, that if we had got the co-operation, which we should have got, in our efforts to start building a bus station at Smithfield, that station would by now be half-way towards completion. Well, I can only give the Seanad the advice and information which has come to me. I am assured that a bus station can be built within 12 months or at the very outside 18 months, a bus station that will make full provision for travellers at a cost not exceeding £150,000.

Where are you going to find that money, Minister?

Well, Senator, it will be much easier to find the £150,000 than £1,000,000.

Would it not be much better if you were to use Broadstone station that is lying derelict? I am surprised Senator O'Farrell did not mention that in his statement in connection with the palatial offices. There are offices at the Broadstone, also, and you would save the money.

If that had been thought of about three years ago we would have saved both £1,000,000 and £150,000, and we would have the bus station. The trouble is that the eyes of the people in those days were turned rather on Glengarriff than on Broadstone.

I am merely suggesting a way out since the Minister says a complete omnibus headquarters will not be built at Smithfield. It will certainly not be built in a year. Broadstone is lying derelict. There is an alternative there which would save £150,000. I suggest the Minister should consider that and save the town-planning and streets committee of the Dublin Corporation unnecessary expense while providing accommodation for rural visitors.

Let me nail that again. Save the Dublin Corporation unnecessary expense — will the Senator say whether the Dublin Corporation has been notified by Córas Iompair Eireann, or anybody else, that it will be involved in any expense?

It would not be fair. We had a confidential conference with Mr. Courtney and it would not be fair to say here and now what happened. I am suggesting certain things the Minister might consider to find a way out of his difficulties.

That is one of those statements that just goes on the record. The Senator says it would not be fair, they held a conference with Mr. Courtney, it was confidential, but the Minister might find a way out of the difficulty. He has said that in reply to my question as to whether Córas Iompair Eireann, or anybody else, told the Dublin Corporation they would be involved in any expense. Is he now insinuating that the Dublin Corporation, or any of its officials, were told that they would be involved in any expense?

No such thing, but in the course of the discussion ways and means were pointed out to Mr. Courtney in relation to an omnibus station and we felt he would come back to the Dublin Corporation Town Planning Committee and discuss the suggestions in connection with the Broadstone station.

Is this a duet or a solo?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Minister should be allowed to continue his speech.

It is very important that these matters should appear clearly on the record, if they are to appear on the record at all. If there is in the possession of the company a building, or buildings, which can be considered suitable as a bus station by them from the point of view of the company, the travelling public and the Dublin Corporation, we shall be very glad to use it, or them.

Is not that my point? I have suggested, and Senator O'Farrell is aware of the fact, that the Broadstone station is derelict.

At the moment it is. For the amount of omnibus traffic from the country to the city there is ample accommodation there, as I pointed out to Mr. Courtney at that interview.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Minister must be allowed to continue his speech without interruption.

Senator Clarkin, if I may say so, has been extremely helpful. I do not think I need say anything further beyond stating that, as far as we are concerned, Store Street will not be used as the headquarters of Córas Iompair Eireann.

It is a pity that Senator George O'Brien was not present for some of the later speeches on this matter. I think he would have appreciated, had he been present, why members of this House were put in a particular place on the scale indicated by the Minister in Section 7. As an old Dublin man I am very much concerned as to where the bus station is placed. The headquarters of the trade union to which I had the honour to belong at one time was situated in the Smithfield area. I know the area very well and I have always had a sneaking regard for it. Nothing that will ever be done for Smithfield will ever be half good enough for it in my opinion.

As to the location of a central omnibus terminus, we must look at realities. I am afraid realities were overlooked in this discussion so far. Let us try to reduce this whole matter to something like simplicity. The first question is, is it desirable that we should have a central omnibus station? Is it desirable that we should have centralisation of the headquarters administrative staff? Senator O'Farrell, and in due course the Minister echoed his views, argued that there is no great advantage in that especially as there is alternative accommodation of good quality available. The fact of the matter is that anybody who has any experience of administration, or made a study of the problem of administration, has come to the conclusion that there is everything to be said for centralisation of administrative staff. Sir James Milne, of whom the Minister has spoken so highly and so often——

And the Senator has quoted so frequently.

——and I have quoted so frequently — has indicated that there would be advantages to be gained and economies through the establishment of a headquarters such as is visualised in the Store Street project. Sir James Milne put in a plea against Store Street, not on the grounds that it would not be an economic proposition, but on the grounds that in the present financial circumstances of Córas Iompair Eireann it would not be desirable to go ahead with the scheme. The only point that remains then for decision is whether the financial circumstances of the company were such that it should not have gone ahead with that project. Before I pass on to the question of cost, let me advert to the advisability of having this terminus. For years the public has been demanding such a service as would have been provided in the proposed Store Street terminus. The public is entitled to that. It may be that the public has not been paying up to this for such an amenity. It may be that if we went ahead with the project that we would then come to the conclusion that, having provided such an amenity, the public ought to contribute something towards it. Be that as it may, the point is that the public has been demanding facilities such as were generally envisaged in the Store Street proposition. We have efficiency of administration as an argument in favour of it. We have economy in administration as an argument in favour of it, and we have the public demand for such an amenity and the public right to it as another argument in favour of it.

Sir James Milne—he is not specific— said it was doubtful whether in the existing state of the company's finances that it should have gone on with this scheme. It is worth while remembering that he did not declare definitely against it. In fact, the relevant paragraph in the report would indicate that if the financial side of the matter were all right he would approve of it. The cost has been mentioned by the Minister as £1,000,000. We ought to get clear on this question of the £1,000,000. When the company decided to go ahead with the project the cost then estimated was somewhere about £500,000, somewhat under £500,000. Time went on, changes occurred, prices apparently altered, wages altered, and we may say, generally, that all costs altered. As I understand it, in contracts in these days, nobody will tender a firm figure. He will tender a certain amount, with the right to adjust if prices alter unfavourably for him as contractor, so that one might say that £1,000,000 at the time the contract was entered into would be somewhat unreasonable. But in the circumstances, in the way that things changed, it can hardly be said, even if it were to cost £1,000,000 that the company should be blamed or that the proposed cost was unreasonable, but from the financial point of view and the effect of this building on the company, would it have made a very great difference one way or another to the financial position of the company if this project had not been mooted and started?

Assume that the building was to cost £1,000,000. Assume that the company had not, from resources of its own, the money required, that it had to go outside and get them, and the House will remember that Sir James Milne has not indicated that this was a bankrupt concern. I think, as well as I can remember, looking over the figures, he indicated that the company was in a position to provide something about £3,000,000 to £3,500,000 off its own bat for capital projects, but if it had to raise £1,000,000 the question was: at what rate would it get the money? I think if circumstances had been normal it would have been able to raise the money at pretty much the same rates as those at which it had been raising money up to the start of this whole financial trouble — at or about 3 per cent. Assuming that it had to go to 4 per cent. for the £1,000,000, that would cost the company £40,000 per year. The £40,000 would have to be provided by the company on account of this project. Would the company be able to raise that £40,000? What economies might accrue? Obviously I am not in a position to indicate what precise economies would accrue, but of one thing I am certain, that if one were to examine it objectively, one would have no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that the company would have little difficulty in servicing that £1,000,000.

In the first place, even if the company had to impose something in the nature of a fine or a tax on passengers using the terminus, the public would hardly complain if they were to get the amenities they had been demanding for so long and to which we are all agreed they are entitled. What the company might have got from that I cannot say. I might attempt a calculation on the basis of the Milne Report which indicates the number of passengers arriving in Dublin on the long-distance bus service. I could calculate from those figures what even a penny per head would be likely to bring in, but there is no point in my doing it. I want to indicate that the idea of this project should not have been rejected on the grounds suggested by Sir James Milne, or on the grounds that have been argued to the extent that they have been by the Minister a few minutes ago. There would have been a saving of rates. The Minister has declared, I think, in the Dáil, that from information given to him the amount of rates that would be saved would be somewhere about £4,500, or something like that. I do not know whether that is a firm figure. I do not know whether the Minister has got all the relevant information or whether he has considered the alterations that are accruing from time to time in rates. The tendency, taking things by and large, is upwards. However, that has to be taken into account. The project envisaged the provision of restaurants. Senator Tunney remarked — perhaps I should not try to quote him—but he indicated that the company did not make a good job of its present catering services. I think the truth is — I have just looked at the figures for Córas Iompair Eireann in the balance sheets for 1946 to 1949 and in each year the catering services of Córas Iompair Eireann did pay. In any case, the intention was to provide catering services. I have no doubt that having regard to the number of passengers arriving and the conditions under which they would arrive, and the conditions under which they would assemble to take buses going out, the restaurant would have proved to be a very successful venture.

I have little hesitation in saying that if Coras Iompair Eireann were to farm out that particular aspect of the project, it would have little difficulty in getting a very considerable offer. How much I cannot say. But I have indicated that £40,000 would have serviced this project. I am trying to indicate that the company would have very little difficulty, taking things by and large, in collecting the requisite funds to service the project. There would be an economy of buses, an economy in the handling of buses, in fuel, in loading and in regulating the flow of buses in and out. How much that would be worth I am not attempting to say, but it must be obvious to anybody who has any little understanding at all of business administration that that must lead to very considerable economy. There would be, apart from the economy in buses, an economy in staff—the staff not merely of the buses themselves like drivers, conductors and other personnel but the economies that would accrue from the better organisation of the staff itself in single central headquarters. How much that would be worth I have no means of calculating, but in a vast organisation like Córas Iompair Eireann, an organisation which is spread, I understand, over six different buildings in the city, the staff organisation as envisaged in the Store Street project must have led to very considerable economy.

The Minister has argued that the project was properly rejected on the grounds of the financial difficulties of the company. I have tried to indicate more than once in this House that we should be very careful in our approach to this aspect of the problem. We do know that Córas Iompair Eireann got into difficulties, very considerable difficulties. What I hope Senators will realise is that Córas Iompair Eireann's getting into these difficulties was not the fault of its management. Why? The loss in 1947, which is the key year, was, to the best of my recollection, £912,000, but in that year the company had to face a coal crisis which every one of us remembers and remembers well. In consequence of that crisis, railway transport came almost to a standstill for a considerable period. I remember reading the financial report for that year and the company estimated that it lost in or about £450,000 because of that crisis. The second difficulty that the company had to contend with was that there was a protracted bus strike. Notwithstanding the existence of the Labour Court, this strike developed, and I remember that the company estimated that it lost about £500,000 because of that strike. Put these losses together and you find that the £950,000 loss was due to causes over which the company had no control and for which it was very unfair to blame the company. In other words, if the company had not run into these unfortunate difficulties instead of a loss it most likely would have made a profit. Yet we are basing all our attacks on Córas Iompair Eireann, all our assessments of its success or otherwise, on that very exceptional year.

The difficulties of the company were bad enough because of these factors over which it had no control, but the company was not a free agent to do as it wished in order to overtake these difficulties. It could not alter fares or charges without the consent of the Minister. Here is the point. If Córas Iompair Eireann could not have gone on with these particular projects, which have been criticised to the extent they have, and with this particular project of a central bus station on the lines indicated in the Store Street project, the fault is not the fault of the company but the fault of the Minister for Industry and Commerce. My saying that will evoke the reply from the Minister that I am a Fianna Fáil propagandist. No doubt the Minister will protest that all the ballyhoo we have heard from the other side is not Coalition Party propaganda. I have here a document which I understand was posted to every member of the Seanad. There is an address to it, a Dublin address, and it bears the signatures of two very well-known people. One of them was for a very long time a member of this House—ex-Senator Joseph Johnston. He was a very useful member of the House and a grand colleague, but he will not be remembered for his sympathy with Fianna Fáil or the Fianna Fáil Government. The other signatory to this document is a Mr. Heffernan who, I understand, was formerly a member of Dáil Eireann. I may be wrong in that, and if so perhaps Senators who have a longer connection with the Oireachtas than I, will correct me. I understand that Mr. Heffernan was a member of the Dáil for a long time, a Parliamentary Secretary, and a member of the old Fine Gael party. These men have circulated to each Senator their views on certain matters in connection with Córas Iompair Eireann. I want to quote a few lines from this communication. On page 2 of the memorandum, which is issued from 4 Clare Street, Dublin, there is this remark:—

"Further, the application made by the directors early in 1948 for authority to increase charges has been shown by the report to have been fully justified."

The board of Córas Iompair Eireann asked for permission to do certain things in order that it might retrieve the position. Sir James Milne has declared in very definite terms that the board ought to be allowed to increase its charges in order to cover increased wages and increased costs. If the board did not overtake those difficulties, with whom does the blame lie? Clearly, the blame lies with the Minister for Industry and Commerce, who dug his heels in the ground and rejected the arguments of the ex-chairman and of the board for authority to do what they had a perfect right to do in the circumstances, namely, to get in by extra charges, by extra fares, the amount necessary to cover the increased costs that the company had to contend with.

The Minister said with regard to the new project: "The company did not need it." I said before that one of the things which I think most unfortunate about this whole matter is that when investigation was being made into the position of Córas Iompair Eireann those charged with the duty of making the investigation did not meet the ex-chairman and the directors of the company and get their views on these matters. In this we have a one-sided view. The Minister says it was not wanted — I would like something more than the Minister's statement that this project is not required. The company could not afford it — I do not think I need say any more on that.

The Minister got a certain satisfaction out of pin-pricking Senator Hawkins because the Senator quoted the views of a London journal on this matter of a central bus station. He indicated that it was unworthy of Senator Hawkins to rely on the views of outside people. But the peculiar thing about it all is that the Minister himself has relied on the views of outside people who could hardly have been familiar with the peculiar economic circumstances of this country, people whose views and whose approach were coloured, were influenced, by their association with a totally different set of circumstances. The Minister argued that Senator Hawkins wanted to have it both ways. If anybody wanted to have it both ways, or if anybody wants to have it both ways, clearly it is the Minister.

If it is agreed that we should have a bus station — and I think the arguments are all there that we should have it — then the only question is, where should it be located? I am not in a position to say. The Minister has again waved the big stick and told us that he has a lot of information that, if he cared to give it, would not be very nice. For my part, I have appealed to Ministers in the House more than once that they ought to put an end to this. They are over two years in office, they have the files at their disposal in their Departments, they have a very able Attorney-General, they have an excellent Civil Service, and it is about time they put their cards on the table, and told us specifically what those charges are that can be laid against worthy citizens of this State. So far as I am concerned, I am sick of such statements as "I have information which I will give if I am driven to give it". Perhaps the Minister will influence his colleagues to have some kind of tribunal or commission set up in order to settle this thing one way or the other.

On a recent occasion it suited me to use the public transport service. I met railway workers, railway officials. I assure the Minister I did not canvass their views on this question of Córas Iompair Éireann or Store Street. They themselves introduced the subject and the thing that intrigued me was that these men, both railmen and busmen, were of the same opinion, that Store Street was an ideal situation for the terminus. They may not be experts, but at any rate they were men who had long service with the transport company, men whose views, after all, might not be despised. I, for one, would not be anxious to despise them.

Senator Miss Butler had some information for the House with regard to what happened at the Dublin Corporation Planning Committee. All I can say is that I am very disappointed that a person of the high qualifications and distinction of the town planner in question did not think it worth his while, if he felt strongly on this project, to state in writing his objections. I think, in view of what has been said, this must have been a matter of very great importance. He must have realised the extent of its importance. I am sorry that all we have so far about his views on the matter is that he says: "Well, if you must have it, then let it be." I think that when men are appointed to responsible offices of this kind, they ought to realise the heavy duty that devolves upon them. If they have serious objections to any particular matter they ought to put them on record and lodge their protest with the Lord Mayor, stating in definite and specific terms what their objection is. Perhaps the eminent authority in question has done that, but, in the absence of information that he has, then, for my part, I am not prepared to pay much attention to what happened at the Committee's meeting on that particular matter.

Again, the question of the type of building has been mentioned as a reason why the Store Street project should be rejected. I am not an architect. I would not know, from looking at the plan of a building, how beautiful it might appear, or otherwise, when finished. All I know is that the gentleman who prepared the plans is a gentleman of eminence in his profession, and I would be sorry to think that one of his eminence and experience would be a party to the erection of a building of this kind that would ruin the city to the extent indicated by Senator Butler. If the building were to be the eyesore which the Senator has indicated, and if it would injure the city in the way she says, then there is a lot to be said for rejecting the project. However, I am not inclined to agree with Senator Tunney that those responsible for the project ought to be shot.

He did not say that.

I think the word he used was "charged".

Which is slightly different.

May I withdraw the charge that I made against Senator Tunney that he indicated those responsible ought to be shot? I have tried to reduce this thing to simplicity, firstly, whether the service indicated was called for, and, secondly, whether in all the circumstances, the financial circumstances, of the company it was wrong for it to go ahead with the venture. With regard to the location, I have to make up my mind on that. From what I know of Smithfield, and from what I know of the Store Street area and of the possibility of a "getaway" from that area via the North Circular Road or, for that matter, via the South Circular Road——

Via the South Circular Road from Amiens Street? Has the Senator ever tried that?

With the enforcement of traffic regulations there is no reason why either Senator Hayes or I could not do it, or why it could not be done in the case of buses with proper organisation.

It is an agony in a 10-horse-power car. I do not know what it is in a bus.

However, the point remains that it is not essential that all incoming and outgoing buses must cross O'Connell Street. Taking things by and large, as I see them I have to decide in the light of my knowledge at the moment, in the light of what is being said on the other side and in the light of what has been said by the Minister, and if I have to decide then I say that Store Street is the proper location for this project.

The Minister, when replying to the amendment, thought fit to open his remarks in a way that seems to be usual now with Ministers when they come to this House. He challenged the motive that prompted me to put down this amendment and said that it was false Fianna Fáil propaganda, based on the idea that the oftener you repeat a falsehood and the more widespread it becomes known the more likely people are to believe it. Other Ministers coming to this House have given expression to the same view. I, therefore, have come to the conclusion that the charges of corruption, the charges in regard to Locke's Distillery and to the railway tribunal and the other charges that were made during the last few years, were founded on that ground which is this: "We know these charges to be false, but we are firmly convinced that the oftener we repeat them the greater is the hope that people will believe them."

I have stated before that Bills are brought here so that Senators may have an opportunity of considering them and of giving expression to their views on the principles underlying them. It is the duty of Senators to examine Bills in detail and, if they think it necessary either in the national interest or in the interest of the section of the people they represent, to submit amendments for consideration. It is wrong for a Minister either in the Dáil or particularly in the case of this House to come here and say: "I have made up my mind," as the Minister did say on the Second Reading of this Bill, "on the question of a bus station at Store Street", and, having given expression to that point of view, to say that it was propaganda, something for which the functions of this House should not be utilised, for any Senator to suggest that the Bill might be amended — for example by directing the board to undertake the completion of a work that had already been begun by the board of Córas Iompair Eireann.

The Minister expressed surprise that I should take a keen interest in the views expressed by London experts. We have had views put forward inside and outside of this House by people, whether they are native or foreign, who cannot be said to be experts on transport, the provision of accommodation in general or the design of any particular building. Two representatives were sent here by this journal's organisation because of the fact that a controversy had arisen as to the suitability of this particular site. I put the views expressed in that journal before the House, as well as the views expressed in the March issue of the Irish Builders' and Engineers' Journal. The Minister failed to give a satisfactory answer, or otherwise, to the questions which I put to him. I asked him when it was decided to acquire the site in Store Street. Rather than answer that question, a threat was issued — I do not propose to deal with it — regarding the circumstances surrounding the acquisition of the site in Store Street in such a manner as to give the feeling that: “ Well, it is better that I would not ask that”.

But we want to hear the whole story. I put the question in very plain language. Was it the decision of the board of Córas Iompair Eireann that this site should be acquired, and was it not a fact that the matter was under consideration by the Dublin Corporation? Was it not also a fact that the site was approved of not only by the town planner to the Dublin Corporation but by the corporation itself? The second question I asked was, when, and by whom, was the decision made to abandon Store Street? The Minister failed to answer that question. From the manner of his reply, I take it that the decision was made by him as Minister for Industry and Commerce. He put forward the only reasons that have been advanced, which are not at all reasons, that owing to the circumstances in which Córas Iompair Éireann found itself at the particular time, it was not well that the work should be proceeded with. He did make this admission. He admitted that the burden of completing the building is going to be placed on the new board of Córas Iompair Eireann, that they must find the money to complete the building. Senators have made a reference already to the standard of the building. Some have termed it as being unsightly and an unworthy building to be erected in this grand City of Dublin. In connection with that matter, I should like to ask the Minister whether an arrangement has been entered into with the Department of Social Welfare to have the necessary alterations carried out that will suit their requirements and, if such an arrangement has been entered into, who is the architct employed to do the new planning, to draw up the new specifications, and to see the work is carried out in a proper manner?

In connection with Smithfield I, also, made reference to the amounts that will be involved in, first of all, acquiring the property, and then necessary demolition of buildings, and removal of persons. I gave a certain figure. The Minister will, I am quite sure, make this allowance, that this matter has been brought before the Dublin Corporation. Surely, the chairman of Córas Iompair Eireann has gone into the question of the additional cost. Some particular ground must be acquired. What will the cost of that ground be, and what is the area of the ground? What will the acquisition of the site and the erection of the building entail? On the Second Reading, and earlier, to-day; I pointed out the great benefit it would be to complete Store Street because of the fact that there was provision made for the supply of refreshments, and the other amenities for the travelling public. In his concluding statement, the Minister pointed out that I need not have any fear in this connection, and that at Smithfield, there is also going to be refreshment accommodation. Now, the Minister has, at least, changed his mind in that small regard.

No. I never said there would not be.

The Minister has stated both in the Dáil and here in this House that it was fantastic for any board to undertake a building of the nature of Store Street, that it could be well understood for a board like Córas Iompair Eireann to undertake the provision of mere bus accommodation, a bus terminus station, but no one must take it from the Minister, when he referred to it in that manner, that there was any other undertaking to be attached to it. Senator Tunney put forward the view that Córas Iompair Eireann should not engage in the catering business. If he holds that view strongly, then, before this House passes the Committee Stage of the Bill, he should, at least, put down an amendment to remove the section of the Bill making provision for the board to engage in the catering and hotel business throughout the country.

The Minister also gave us the information, that when the building is completed by the board of Córas Iompair Eireann it will be handed over to the Social Welfare Department. When earlier to-day I inquired as to what use the ground floor portion, which was originally planned to contain 17 tiers of buses, would be utilised for, I ventured to remark, that I could not see any use, other than for the public who might be making application for any one or other of the social welfare schemes. The Minister, in his reply, admitted that that was the purpose to which the ground floor portion of this building was going to be put. He put forward the plea that it was quite justifiable to do so, that the applicants for any of the social services had a right to have accommodation. I agree with that, but when we examine the building, and the purpose for which it was built, and the number of people waiting to be received by one or other sections of the Department, it would give us the picture that the whole City of Dublin would be applicants at the one time. While Dublin is a great part of Ireland, we must remember that it is only a fifth of the country. What are the other applicants throughout the country going to do?

Surely it is enough to discuss railway affairs, and the whole railway system on one sub-section, without going into social services in addition. I suggest it is out of order.

The only other purpose, I believe it will be put to, assuming it is taken over by the Social Welfare Department, is, that this space provided for the 17 tiers of buses, will provide ample accommodation for the staff cars of this new Department, while the bus travelling public from all parts of Ireland can look on at this, while they wait for the new station to be provided at Smithfield. Now, the Minister made a charge. He said that if co-operation was given, the Smithfield station would now be ready.

What exactly was the Minister's point?

I did not say that. I said it would be well on its way.

What progress has been made to acquire it, and what are the opposing factors? Surely, the Minister cannot contend that the expression of views in this and the other House by members, or some articles written by persons in the local or daily Press have little to do with the acquiring of the site. There must be some other difficulties in the way. If the Minister has given a direction to the chairman of Córas Iompair Eireann to acquire this site, and if there is something holding up the progress of the acquisition, we would like to hear it. If the site has been acquired, then, we would like to hear what the price was, what the area of ground was, and where exactly it is situated and particularly what influence was brought to bear on the police authorities to make them change their view in relation to the site at Smithfield when, on the first occasion, they were not prepared to approve of it. I believe this is a serious matter and one of national interest. It is a matter in which the rural people are vitally interested. Even at this late stage I urge on the Minister that he should reconsider his decision and have the Store Street premises completed for the purpose for which they were first intended.

This discussion has gone on so long I do not like to prolong it much further. Like Senator Ó Buachalla, I know my Dublin. I know of no part of Dublin as open as the Smithfield area. Were we considering now for the first time the selection of a site and were there no prejudices one way or the other and the decision lay between Store Street and Smithfield, I would declare Smithfield to be the more suitable in my opinion. I wonder how many here know that area. Do they know it was the haymarket and that it accommodated up to 1,000 loads of hay coming into Dublin on horses and carts from Meath and Kildare even in our own lifetime? It is a big open space. No buildings will require to be demolished. Plenty of buildings can be constructed. There are at least ten openings into that area. If it is necessary to widen one, as it probably will be, the only premises that might be interfered with are slum property which should have been demolished long ago. That does not apply to the Store Street area. If one had to widen that area one would be up against vested interests and business concerns demanding fabulous compensation for their property.

And the Great Northern Railway.

That is quite true. Finally, if the House will excuse a rather mixed metaphor, we know that this amendment would not be accepted and, in putting it down and arguing for it, Senator Hawkins was merely flogging a dead horse.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

It has been suggested that the House continue after 6 o'clock in order to finish this amendment.

Mr. Hayes

That is on the presumption that we shall finish it shortly after 6 o'clock.

May I say that a completely wrong impression is being given to the House and support is being sought for this amendment by implying that there is only one choice, Smithfield or Store Street? That is entirely wrong. It has been pointed out by Senator Clarkin that in the course of certain discussions he suggested Broadstone. In the course of those discussions I suggested Kings-bridge, because there there is room for expansion and possibility of approach from all directions, plus the added possibility of bringing short-distance buses to the same terminus as long-distance ones. But I do not think all this arises on a particular section of a Bill such as this. I want to draw attention to the fact that it is not a question of choice between two sites. Those who tabled this amendment are trying to get support for it on that basis. The Town Planning Committee suggested that the site should be on the esplanade along the quays.

I would also like to say that I was present at the various discussions referred to by Senator Clarkin and at no time was there any suggestion made by anybody representing Córas Iompair Eireann that the Dublin Corporation would be involved in any expense in whatever site was chosen.

I would like to make one request. There are only two reasons, as I have said, for putting down this amendment. One is either interested in the proposed site for a specific and definite reason or else one wants to air a particular point of view. I think it is unreasonable to expect us to sit here while the person who proposes the amendment leaves the House, having put his point of view, while other members are expressing their opinion and while the Minister answers the questions put to him, and subsequently returns to have the last word, restates his original point of view, asks the same questions, and restates things that have already been denied publicly, such as whether or not the town planning authority had given their sanction to the original site. If Senator Hawkins cannot stay for the whole debate or is not interested in hearing the other side he should at least read the debates and not keep us here until 6 o'clock repeating his original statement and asking questions that have already been answered by the Minister.

On a point of explanation. It is true that I was absent during portion of the Senator's remarks, but it is not true to say that it is the practice to introduce amendments and then walk out of the House. I was here practically all the time the Minister was replying. I was here when the Senator who last spoke was not here.

Arising out of what has been said, a statement which reflects on the probity of certain members, may I say there is a method under which the conduct of members can be challenged? It is quite improper that such a matter should be brought up in the way in which it has been this evening.

I am more than surprised at the statement made by Senator Miss Butler. This Bill has been before the House for the past two days and this is the first appearance Senator Miss Butler has made in the House.

Senator Miss Butler was here yesterday at 3 o'clock and remained here. She was also here at 3 o'clock to-day.

I must say this debate has taken a most unpleasant turn as a result of the statements made by Senator Miss Butler.

It is only made more unpleasant by continuing it.

Amendment put and negatived.

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

I move amendment No. 7:—

Before sub-section (2) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

The board shall contract for the purchase of 50,000 tons of Irish coal in each year to be used on Córas Iompair Eireann services;

Provided always that the Minister may, after due notice, direct the board to contract for such higher quantity than 50,000 tons as he may think proper.

I have put down this amendment because I believe that provision should be made that the board should purchase Irish coal. Arigna coal, from various reports of analyses, has been proven to be as good steam coal as any coal imported in this country. I know that during the emergency large quantities of Irish coal were purchased by Córas Iompair Eireann and a lot of that coal was found to be of very favourable quality, but during the time of the extended market, and when there was a heavy demand for coal, a third-crop coal was then mined in Arigna which should never have been allowed on the market. That coal, I believe, brought Irish coal in general into great disrepute, but at present coal of a very high quality is being mined in Arigna and it has to be crushed with crushers into slack in order to get a market for it with the Irish Sugar Company. Now, that is sold at an uneconomic price. For some time past, since 1947, the market has been dwindling for Irish coal, with the result that many of the people who were engaged in coal production in previous years, from 1934 onwards, have had to emigrate to Britain to hew coal there to be imported back into this country.

Roscommon County Council, in the years past, erected many houses for the miners working in Arigna. I think they put up 24 or 25 houses in the years 1936 and 1937, and when employment increased in 1939 and 1942, a scheme was mooted for the erection of 40 more houses to accommodate the miners, and 20 of those 40 houses were erected at a cost of £1,200 or £1,300 each to the ratepayers. With a falling market in Irish coal, these houses have now become white elephants and a burden on the over-taxed ratepayers, all because of the failure of the Government to find a market in their industries for that Irish product. Deputations have waited on the former Minister and on the present Minister as regards finding a market with the railway company. These deputations consisted of coal mine owners, trade union officials and public representatives, but they all met with the same reply from the Minister and his officials, that they have no control over the Irish railways or Córas Iompair Eireann.

For that reason, I believe that the Minister should make this provision in the Bill in order to foster an Irish industry where, after the emergency, there were 600 people employed. But now, with a falling market there are only about 350, and if this falling market for Irish coal continues, I see very little hope for the industry. It has had many obstacles in its struggle for existence during the last 200 years, but it came from that struggling existence when the miners were in poverty, into a period of prosperity. I do not like to see the miners going back into the same rut because of a falling market for Irish coal. Railway companies in this country were never favourable to Irish coal. Although locomotives went up to the mines to take coal to the sugar company's factories, you always found that foreign coal was used in the locomotives. I ask the Minister because of the reasons I have given to include this amendment in the Bill providing that the board shall purchase a certain amount of Irish coal.

Anxious and all as I am to see the fullest possible development of the Arigna coalfield, I cannot accept this amendment. I think it would be entirely unfair to bind the board in the way which the amendment proposes. While it is true to say, of course, that the output and sale of coal in Arigna are not now as great as during the war period, when you had an abnormal expansion, due entirely to war conditions, it is a fact that the output and sale of coal from Arigna, even at the present time, is very substantially greater than it was prior to the war. I think also it is only fair to say that over 60 per cent. of the entire output of Arigna is taken up by three State or semi-State companies, if for the moment you can describe Córas Iompair Éireann as a State company. Between the Electricity Supply Board, the Sugar Company and Córas Iompair Éireann they take, as I say, something in excess of 60 per cent. of the entire output. I am anxious that, as far as possible, native fuel would be used. As a matter of fact, I was concerned to such an extent about Arigna coal being used by the transport company that I asked Sir James Milne and his experts when they were here if they would have a special look at Arigna, and see if they could make any recommendations in connection with it. In so far as I have had any authority whatever up to the moment to give a direction or make a suggestion to Córas Iompair Eireann, that suggestion has been that so far as they possibly could they should use Arigna coal.

I am quite sure if the coal is as good and as suitable as the Senator says it is, the new board will be more than anxious to avail of it to the fullest possible extent. There are many reasons why that should be so. I might mention in that connection that, as recently as a fortnight ago, the colliery owners from that area were received in my Department at my suggestion, with a view to seeing exactly what their difficulties were, and to what extent, if any, we in the Department could be helpful to them. The suggestions which they made during the interview are at the moment under consideration in the Department, and if there are any steps which we can take to improve the position there, they certainly will be taken. I think, however, it would be undesirable, and not right, to put into legislation an amendment such as that proposed by the Senator.

I should like to know from the Minister or Senator Lynch whether the Arigna mines were working during the war or how many mines there are in that district. Are there two mines or one mine and was that mine in existence during the emergency?

Anyone who has had experience of travelling on the Great Southern Railway system during the war will remember that the company at that time were using turf and timber to fuel their locomotives. Anyone who has had experience, as you, a Chathaoirligh, and I had, during the war of travelling from Cork to Dublin, when the journey on one occasion occupied 16¾ hours, must know that the engines were not using Arigna coal at that time. I am altogether in sympathy with the object of this amendment but if these mines had been operated to the extent necessary during the war it would have saved a lot of time, not to talk about saving some of our souls because some of us perforce had to use very bad language at that time. It would have been helpful to know if the company were using Arigna coal at that time.

I wish to support the amendment moved by Senator Lynch. I know that it is difficult at this stage to confine the board to purchasing a particular quality or quantity of coal but if we look at the report of Sir James Milne we find that in 1941 about 2,132 tons of Arigna coal were consumed by Córas Iompair Eireann. In 1947, when there was a fuel crisis, the amount of Arigna coal consumed by Córas Iompair Eireann was 47,876 tons. In 1948, for a period of nine months, which was the only period for which figures were available at the time the report was compiled, the amount of Arigna coal consumed was 8,587 tons. Examining the report, we find that certain recommendations were made in regard to the steps that the collieries should take in order to improve the quality of the coal. We understand that these recommendations have been carried out. Whatever difficulties might have existed during the war years were due to the difficulty of securing machinery in order to have the coal properly screened and a proper quality delivered. These conditions have passed and, as Senator Lynch has pointed out, these mines are situated in a part of the country where it is almost impossible to find alternative employment for persons who formerly worked in the mines. I have not the figures in respect of the quantity of coal consumed by the Sugar Company and the other State or semi-State organisations which might utilise this coal. We can see that if the drop from 40,000 to 8,000 is allowed to continue, it will mean a considerable amount of unemployment. Again, that unemployment will be brought about in districts where no alternative schemes can be put forward. The only avenue open to these people is to seek employment in the coalfields of other countries.

This is really a national question and it is one which, I am sure, the Minister will direct the attention of the new board to, in the hope that they will do all they can to ensure that as large a quantity of coal as possible will be taken from the mines Senator Lynch has in mind.

I rise to support the amendment moved by Senator Lynch. The district to which the Senator has referred is a very poor one and mining is practically the only form of employment that is given there. Every type of coal that could be produced during the emergency was produced there and given to the railways. It is admitted that in their anxiety to produce a good deal of coal at a time when everything in the way of fuel was so necessary, what might be termed a third-grade article did, perhaps, get on the market. It is better to be honest about these things. That grade of coal did not, perhaps, find favour with a good many people who happened to use it, and that sort of thing might be likely to give the whole project a bad name. I have been reliably informed that the coal that is being produced now is of first-class quality. That being so, I suggest the Minister should ask the board to investigate this matter, and if the coal is as satisfactory as the producers say, the Minister might use his good offices with the company and get them to utilise this coal to the fullest extent possible. My colleague, Senator Finan, asked me to say that his views on this matter are somewhat the same as my own.

Captain Orpen

I understand that one of the difficulties with this particular coal is its high ash content and liability to clinker. I was informed that an experimental firebox was being made on one or two locomotives in order to see if they could get rid of the difficulties created by the ash and clinker. I should like to know if this firebox was tested out, and with what result.

As I indicated on the Second Reading, a very special effort is being made to see if it is possible to design a locomotive that will economically utilise native fuel. That fuel may not necessarily be coal; it may, but not necessarily.

I can assure the three Senators who spoke in favour of this amendment that I have urged, and will continue to urge, State companies to use native fuel to the fullest possible extent. I have indicated that 60 per cent. of the entire output of the Arigna coalfield is being taken up by State companies. Might, I, in turn, make an appeal to Senators who are members of local authorities, particularly in that area? If the local authorities and the local institutions in the counties surrounding the Arigna coalfield would do their part of the job and give preference to the coal produced, which is, I have been informed, suitable for at least some of their requirements, it would be very helpful.

I think it is right to say that one of the main complaints that I got from Arigna is not so much with reference to the amount of coal purchased by State companies as that the purchases are not spread all over the mines. The smaller mine-owners are complaining that the State companies take their supplies from one or two mines. There is probably a very good reason for that, but I do not want to go into that matter at the moment.

All these points were put before my officers and they are being examined in order to see what we can do to help. I have no hesitation in giving an assurance to the Seanad that in so far as I can urge State companies to take coal from the Arigna area or to utilise every native fuel to the fullest extent, I shall do so, but I suggest if the State companies are taking 60 per cent. of the output that with a little effort in the locality itself and in the counties immediately surrounding Arigna they might be able to dispose of the remaining 40 per cent. or a great part of it.

I agree that the State companies are utilising some of the Arigna coal, and that includes the sugar company. But the sugar company uses a considerable amount of slack. There would be, perhaps, 40 to 50 per cent. of round coal. Some of the mines have installed coal-cutters, and aerial routes for the transport of coal have been established, and this has been done in order to put the coal on the market at a price that would enable it to compete with the foreign coal. Some of the mines find themselves in bad financial circumstances. They were always hoping that the market they had at one time would continue, but they find themselves now in a difficult position.

I am not making any case with regard to the smaller mines. The people who produce the most coal, the mines that give the greatest amount of employment — these are the people who kept coal-mining in existence when the output had dwindled practically to nothing. It is lamentable at the present time to see mountains of foreign coal at Sligo, some 20 miles from Arigna, and to see the local coal-miners cycling over the roads for their unemployment benefit. They are out one week and in another and in the meantime mountains of foreign coal are being built up at Sligo. It is a disgraceful thing.

They have made appeals to the former Minister and to the present Minister to find them a market with the railway company. The market they had with the railway company during the emergency has dwindled to something like 100 tons a month. I think the Electricity Supply Board has also cut down its demand. For these reasons I hope the Minister will use his influence with the new board and will give sympathetic consideration to the claims of the Arigna miners. I propose to withdraw the amendment if he gives us an assurance that he will do so.

The Minister appealed to members of local authorities in the adjoining counties to encourage a greater use of Arigna coal. Coming as I do from a neighbouring county to the one in which the Arigna mines are situated, I can say we are doing as much as we can to purchase Arigna coal. My own experience, as a member of the county council during the economic war period, was that we used both Arigna coal and turf. The county engineers experienced the same difficulties as regards fire bars as are mentioned in the Milne Report. We found that the fire bars in the engines and boilers burned out much more quickly than when we used British steam coal. I am satisfied, however, that, as a result of the efforts made by the engineering staff of the Longford County Council, we have overcome those difficulties to a large extent. I am satisfied, too, that Córas Iompair Eireann, with the research facilities which will be at the disposal of their engineering staff, will also be able to overcome this difficulty about excessive clinkers and excessive ash.

I would ask the Minister to bear this also in mind, that there is the impression that Arigna coal vis-a-vis similar quality English coal is less valuable. I do not think we could accept that as being 100 per cent. correct. Let me give an example. I am sure most of us read in the newspapers recently a statement which was made by a person connected with the British coal mines, a person who, we must assume, was in a position to know what he was talking about. His statement was that one-third of the output of the British nationalised coal mines was fit for roofing only. We know what that means, that there is an excessive amount of shale and slate in it which is unfit for burning but eminently suitable for roofing. We know, too, that both the quality and the quantity of coal available to us from England have been reduced very considerably. Whatever the reasons are, we know that the requirements of this country in coal have had to be met from Poland and other foreign countries.

I think in view of the expenditure of foreign currency and that sort of thing it would be very desirable — I must say that the Minister's attitude to this amendment was very sympathetic and gives me very great hope — if the Minister would follow up the request that he has made and have the position of the Arigna coal examined very carefully. I hope he will ask the board to be appointed under this Bill to be active in investigating the possibilities of an intensive use of Arigna or other Irish coal. As regards price, I know that if Arigna coal was available at say, 70/- a ton and imported coal at 65/-, I would, if the decision were left with me, certainly decide in favour of the Irish coal at that difference in price.

I should like to support the amendment. I think if there is anything the Minister can do to induce the company to absorb as much as possible of Irish coal it would be a step in the right direction. I know it used to be argued that the quality of Irish coal was unsuitable for certain forms of public transport. I am prepared to admit that, possibly, at one period that was so. I am reliably informed now that the quality of Arigna coal, particularly, is equal to that of any other coal produced within the country and is, in fact, almost as good as any imported coal. I think that, in the interests of Irish industry and of Irish employment, it would be a fatal mistake to use imported fuel where native fuel could be used.

I am interested in this matter mainly on account of the Arigna coal. The production of coal there is about the only form of employment in the area. Quite a large number of breadwinners and their families are dependent on the continued production of coal there. It is a pity that we, in this country, are more or less inclined to deride the home-produced article. I am glad to say that the Minister has publicly given a lead against that evil habit. I remember that, in 1926, no English coal could be procured here because there was a big coal strike in England at the time. The Dublin people at that time were forced to rely on Arigna coal. I was living in Dublin at the time. I will admit that it was more difficult to start a fire with Arigna coal than with Wigan coal, but once the fire was started I would say that it would take a clever man to see any difference — to say whether it was Arigna or Wigan coal that was being used. Since that period Arigna coal has improved very much. I am sure that if Córas Iompair Éireann give it a decent trial they will find it possible to use practically all the coal produced there. I am told that if the company would use 1 cwt. of Arigna coal to every ton of other coal they use they would be able to absorb practically all the output of that mine. That may not be quite correct, but if it is anyway nearly accurate I think it would not impose a very heavy burden on the company to buy their coal in Arigna. If the Minister could see his way to make a recommendation, or even to give a direction to the company that it was in the public interest to use Irish coal, wherever possible, it would be a step that would meet with the approval of everyone in this House.

Has not the amendment been withdrawn?

It has, and we have since had two speeches on it.

I did not hear the Senator indicate that he was withdrawing the amendment.

What I think Senator Lynch said was that he would be prepared to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed: "That Section 15 stand part of the Bill."

On the section, I endeavoured yesterday to raise a question on Section 6 which had to do with the particular functions of the chairman. The discussion on the amendment that has just been disposed of bears out quite fully, I think, that I was quite relevant in attempting to raise the matter that I had intended to raise on that section. The chairman of the new board, the whole board, is to be appointed by the Government. The chairman of the old board was also appointed by the Government. I think it is understood that there was a special reason for that, namely, that the chairman would pay particular attention to the public interest as against private interests, and that, in order to fulfil that function, he would have consultations from time to time with the Minister. What I want to know is whether the Minister has anything similar in mind to what obtained under the old board. The reason I am asking that is that the Minister has indicated quite clearly that this board is going to be completely independent and that he is not going to interfere with it. He may refer me to Section 14 and say that, by Order, he can get the board to do certain things. What I want to get clear is this: If the board does not approach him for an Order, will he be within his rights in insisting that in making an Order the board shall carry it out? I want to draw attention to a few words in sub-section (1). The board is to exercise its powers in the provision "of an efficient, economical", and so on, system of public transport, and the board is to operate "in such manner as it considers necessary". What I want to get is this: supposing the members of the Dáil and Seanad and the public outside come to the conclusion that a number of things should be done by this board. For instance, we have now the question of the provision of Arigna coal. The board may come along and say: "We are expected to run this undertaking on the most efficient and economical lines, and our view is that asking us to take Arigna coal to assist in the development of that area clashes with this view." They may say: "We consider a certain course necessary and, consequently, it is unreasonable to ask this board that is charged with the duty of providing an economic and efficient service to engage in work of this kind, taking over Arigna coal for the purpose of developing that particular area." Now, the importance of the coal industry in that area has been stressed. Some of us are familiar with the district along from Drumshambo to Drumkeerin. We know the extent to which hundreds of families are depending on the industry in that area. I merely mention it as something the Minister may have to attend to. I want to get from the Minister an indication as to whether he will be able to ensure that the board will attend to his directions on this matter. Now, again, it is quite conceivable that the public will demand, in view of our experience in the emergency, that the transport undertaking should push ahead with experiments in the use of native fuel. The Minister has referred to that. That will necessitate the provision of engines. That will necessitate the building up of a reserve of engines, a costly business. The Minister has indicated that the investigations are going on. It is possible that we will be able to work up turf, say, in such a way that it would be used in locomotives. Well and good. We arrive at the stage where we are satisfied that the fuel can be used. It will not do to wait until an emergency arises to have that reserve of locomotives essential to maintain the economic and efficient transport of the country.

Why should the Senator assume we would wait? We have not waited even for this Bill to start the investigation.

No. I am quite satisfied, from what you say, and from what I know, that research is going on all the time, but the company may come along and say: "You asked us to run this concern in the most efficient and economic way, and in asking us to build up reserves of locomotives, you are asking us to do something that is unreasonable, and it is going to be very costly". Will the Minister be able to come along and insist that his directions with regard to research, and with regard to the provision of the required number of locomotives will be carried out? It is always possible to say that if the board does not do it we will put in another board. That is true. What I have in mind is whether it would not be better to have something such as we have had before, that there will be consultation continuously between the Minister and the board, that these things will go on, this work will go on, without having it done or brought about as a result of public agitation. Again, there is the question of the doubling of the line. The Minister mentioned to us to-day that, from his knowledge, that is a tremendous task. He indicated to us that it would cost millions, many millions, I think he said, and that he does not expect that the company could undertake that within any reasonable time. If the public comes to the conclusion, and presses for the doing of that work, the doubling of the line between Dublin and Galway, as Senator Hawkins mentioned, what is the position if the company says: "You are asking us to do too much; if you want to run efficient services on the lines indicated in this section, then you are asking us to do too much". This point relates to the encouragement of national economic development that is incorporated in the section. You will remember this, that business men approach problems from a business angle, and do not take the same view as other people. We would consider certain things well worth while, the imposition of tariffs, and the imposition, say, of compulsory tillage. Some experts may say you should not do that, but the public will have other views. For myself, if I am asked what is my view on a certain problem, I can reply: "If you ask me to judge it on the basis of pure economics, then do such and such a thing," but as soon as I come into this House, I must think of other considerations. I must think of people. I must think of their employment. I must think of the break-up of their homes, something I see every day in Connemara, in the area in which I am particularly interested, people having to leave home. That is what I want to get clear, and that is why I want to raise the question as to whether there should not be full liaison between the Minister and the board, where things will be discussed and the board and the Minister will work in the fullest co-operation. The next thing I want to refer to is in connection with sub-section (2), that it is the duty of the board—

"to secure, as soon as may be, that, taking one year with another, the revenue of the board shall not be less than sufficient to meet the charges properly chargeable to revenue".

Senators will remember that that section was referred to at considerable length in the Dáil. Perhaps it may be said that all that is to be said on it was said in the Dáil. I only want to say that I am not satisfied. I think this sub-section gives the Minister a fair opportunity to indicate to us what he thinks are the prospects for the new transport company. He referred yesterday to the fact that Córas Iompair Eireann is being subsidised at the moment and I think he believes it will have to be subsidised for some time to come. He did not indicate how long.

I do not know.

The Minister does not know. I would like the Minister to give us some indication as to what he thinks the prospects are. After all, he has been in office for two and a half years, and he must have had during that time a considerable amount of information available to him. From the time he assumed office I think he has been taking a special interest in the affairs of Córas Iompair Eireann.

I have had to.

He may now be able to give us some indication as to what population density is likely to be in the years to come. That is a factor of considerable importance in relation to transport. He may have some idea as to the possibilities of industrial expansion and the extent to which that will affect the transport organisation. He may possibly have made up his mind by this as to what he thinks ought to be done with regard to public and private hauliers and with regard to the extent to which they should be made to contribute more than they are contributing or to what extent their activities should be curtailed.

Perhaps the Senator would help me in that matter.

I cannot help the Minister. The Minister is in office in order to look after matters of that kind and inform the public with regard to them. He is there to give a lead on these things.

I am not above asking for advice and taking it.

The Minister has all the resources of the State at his disposal to aid him in coming to a conclusion in this matter. We do not ask for a precise figure. The least we ought to get is some indication as to what he thinks the trend will be. He should have a better idea than we can have as to what the trend is likely to be in regard to the various factors on which an organisation such as this is dependent. In view of the time the Minister has spent in his present exalted office and in view of his interest in transport affairs, surely he could give us now some indication as to the possibility of this company reaching the stage where it will pay its way. Taking one year with another may mean a period of 100 years.

Yesterday I sought some information on Section 7 under the provisions of which we debar members of the board from owning stock in the company. I suggested that in this particular case there is no reason why a director should be debarred from holding stock because of the peculiar conditions attaching to the stock and to the organisation itself, namely, that the rate of interest is fixed and guaranteed. I suggested to the Parliamentary Secretary, who was acting for the Minister, that this concern was to be a non-profit-earning one in the commercial sense. Before the Parliamentary Secretary had an opportunity of replying there was a chorus from the other side of the house that it was, of course, intended to be a profit-earning concern. Now, I have read the Bill, and the reason why I mention the matter is because I have been wondering whether or not it is to be a profit-earning concern. The wording here is that "its income shall be not less than sufficient to meet the charges properly chargeable to revenue". I took it from that that there would be no profit.

I took it that it would be the duty of the board to watch its income and ensure that, if there is a possibility of income exceeding the amounts properly chargeable to revenue, it would apply anything it might have——

That is a most amazing interpretation.

Why should it be?

It is extraordinary.

It would apply anything it might have to giving relief immediately to the users of the transport system. If the company reaches a stage where income is likely to exceed the amounts properly chargeable to revenue, then fares and freights should be reduced. Assume that the Minister is right and that the statement is amazing, is there anywhere in the Bill a provision for the handling of surpluses, apart from the provision governing reserves for the repayment of capital and apart from the provision governing reserves to repay the Minister for Finance any loans he may advance?

If the Senator read the Bill——

I have read the Bill. I may have overlooked that. In what section does it occur?

I do not know. Read the Bill again.

There you are. I have been quite frank. I have read the Bill. There are a number of points with regard to the disposal of profits. Profits have a very definite meaning; they are the residue left after payment of contractual charges. Are there to be profits? If there are profits, where will they go? Will they go to general reserve? Will they go to the Minister for Finance, quite apart from the repayment of any loans or advances he may make. I think that matter needs some clarification. The Minister may smile and he may try to deride the points I and some of my colleagues raise, but that is not an answer to the question put to him.

This Bill is one of the most important that has come before us. It deals with a matter upon which the economic and commercial life of the country is dependent to a great extent. The Minister should spare no pains in procuring all the information he can and subsequently informing the House as to what he thinks the prospects of the company are likely to be when this Bill becomes law. I would not like to think that we may have to go on for all time subsidising the company. At the same time it may be necessary in the general interests of both the community and the company to continue subsidising. It might be unreasonable to expect the company to pay its way and ultimately the State may have to step in and help it, as it has had to do on occasions in the past. There are other points I would like to deal with, but I know there is a certain urgency in getting this Bill through. However, I would like to have some clarification of the position.

I have listened to a good many speeches by Senator Ó Buachalla, but I do not think I have ever listened to one with which I found myself in more definite and profound disagreement. I disagree with his whole attitude. He thinks that in discussing the details of this Bill on Committee Stage what we should really be concerned with is the mind of the Minister. I do not think the mind of the Minister matters. What matters is what the Minister is proposing that the House should put in this Bill, and what powers it will give to him or to his successors, or what powers are lacking in the Bill. Indeed, what is in Senator Ó Buachalla's mind or the mind of any other Senator, is really more important from the point of view of the Seanad. Senator Ó Buachalla thinks, unless I misunderstand him, that it would be desirable to have some provision in this Bill by which there would have to be — I think he used the word consultation — between the chairman and the Minister, either constantly or frequently——

I am not asking that that should be incorporated in the Bill. I want to get from the Minister a statement as to how the thing is going to operate. I am not asking that it should be incorporated in the Bill.

If it is not to be incorporated in the Bill I cannot see how it can arise on the Committee Stage, which deals with provisions which are to be made in the Bill with regard to the functions of the board. I am trying to understand the Senator's position and I am trying to deal with the principles dealt with by the Senator. We are concerned with what is in the Bill, and not with what the Minister may forecast about the future. How is the Minister to tell us in advance whether this new State company will have to be subsidised for one year or for 100 years? I suggest it would be wrong for the Minister to say that it would have to be subsidised for one or 100 years and wrong for the Minister to set out in advance what the board should do or what it should not do. It would be extremely foolish for the Minister to attempt to do that. I am not a bit enamoured of the idea of a State owned company, but when we have decided to set up a State owned company, let us, for goodness sake, give it every chance to be a success, and do not let it be crippled in advance by what this Minister, or any other Minister thinks at the present time, or whether Senators think the best or the worst may happen. Let us examine this Bill to see if its provisions are workable, and to see that it provides powers which will be fully adequate to make this company a success, but which will not take away the ultimate responsibility of the shareholders which, in future, will be the State. I suggest that to a large extent anything you put in Section 15 must be experimental. You cannot put into Section 15 everything which should be done after experience. I firmly believe that in the working of a State company of this kind it will be necessary, as it was with the Electricity Supply Board, to produce new Bills to deal with conditions as they may arise. Senator Ó Buachalla seems to be anxious to know if the Minister could insist on the board doing something he wants done whether the board likes it or not. I do not think that is a matter on which you can give a specific answer, yes, or no. The Minister can certainly indicate the policy of the Government to the new board. The board must give it its consideration with full responsibility as a board which has to manage this large and difficult undertaking. The board must remember first that it has responsibility and second, that the shareholders are the State and that ultimately, like any other board, it must carry out the wishes of the shareholders, but it is not obliged to do what any Minister for the time being indicates. Obviously, if it has any sense, it will pay close attention to it, but if there should be disagreement, if the Government of the day considers it wise, the power, undoubtedly, is in the hands of the Minister because the shareholders are the State as represented by the Oireachtas, and the Oireachtas has the ultimate power. But, to say that a Minister should be a dictator, that he should order the board to do something that it felt to be undesirable, would be wrong. If that were to happen it would not give your State-owned concern a chance, and that is why I say I am in fundamental disagreement with Senator Ó Buachalla. He wants the Minister to tell us what he thinks will happen in future. He wants to know whether it will be one or 100 years. That is the kind of statement that would cripple any board of this kind if it were made in all seriousness.

May I say that I feel that Senator Douglas has on many occasions made feeble efforts in this House? His effort on this occasion is about one of the feeblest I have ever heard from him. Is it not true that the Minister, having considered this whole problem, has stated that it is to be the duty of the board to provide an efficient, economical and so on transport service——

Let the Minister reply. You asked him all the questions.

I do not quite understand the remark of Senator O'Farrell. The Minister has considered this first matter, and he has put into this Bill a duty to be carried out by the board to provide an efficient and economical transport service. Either he knew when he was putting that in, or he did not know, that such a thing could be done. That is the point. I expect that the Minister believes it can be done. In order to do that, he proceeds to appoint a new transport board. That, I suppose, is the only outstanding change — not the only one — but one of the most outstanding of the few changes to be introduced in regard to the transport system. He is going to appoint a new board. Is it sensible of Senator Douglas to ask me to believe that by merely appointing a new board with the objects set out in this section, these objects are to be achieved? When the Minister was giving consideration to these things, he knew what the old board had attempted to do. He decided, in view of what it had attempted to achieve, that it should be dismissed and that a new board should come into its place. What is going to be done in the future? Is there a great deal different to be done in the future from what was done in the past in this transport company, and how is it going to achieve the excellent objects which have been set down in Section 15, sub-sections (1) and (2)? One other word. I think it is time that people on the other side of the House learned something about the procedure of the House——

Why confine it to the other side?

——we are entitled on this Stage to put down amendments and we put them down as a rule because we believe that the words in our amendments should go in as they are. On other occasions we put amendments down because we are not sure that the words are the exact words that will meet the situation and we leave it to the Minister to provide a proper draft. Another reason why amendments are put down is to get information on certain specific points. Having disposed of the amendments, a Senator has the right to come along and raise relevant matters on the section itself.

The Senator has raised those matters already, and did not even wait for a reply. He might have waited for a reply from the Minister before he got on his feet again.

There is a certain custom in the House, I think, that Senators themselves engage in discussion and that we leave to the Minister the duty of coming along to deal with the arguments, summing up and giving his conclusion. If it would have been better to have allowed the Minister to speak after Senator Douglas, then I am sorry I did not adopt that course. Perhaps in future I shall do that and then we shall have the Minister, like some of ourselves, bobbing up and down every other minute.

This section is the most important section of the Bill in my opinion, because it is the section which sets out the duties of the board. The duties, as Senator Ó Buachalla has pointed out, are contained in subsections (1) and (2). The Bill itself originated in the fact that an inquiry was held into the working of the present transport company. A report was made by persons whom the Government and the Minister thought fully qualified to inquire into the position and make certain recommendations. When we examine that report we find that a recommendation was made by Sir James Milne that the board should be strengthened and the directors as a whole made responsible for the affairs of the company.

"The duties of the board in relation to the Government and of the chief officers in relation to the board, should be defined and the policy to be pursued in regard to future developments should be clearly laid down for their guidance."

I suggest that in this section we should have some indication or provision made for that relationship with the Government and the board. We should have set out for the guidance of the board and their staff what the future policy is to be. It would be difficult, I know, to put into the Bill every detail, but the line of approach — what it was the board was required to give immediate attention to—should be set out.

We have already dealt with the composition of the board. The composition of the board is not on the lines suggested in the report. Neither are the duties as contained in Section 15 set out in the manner Sir James Milne would have liked to see them. Certainly there must have been some good reason for recommending to the Minister that the duties of the board in relation to the Government and the chief officers in relation to the board should be defined and that the future policy to be pursued should be laid down. It is in this section that these provisions should be made. At this stage I should like to express my deep regret that Senator Miss Butler has not found it possible to be present while the discussion on this section, in which she was so interested in the early part of the day was taking place. While expressing that regret, I do not propose to deal with the section further in detail.

I think in Section 15 (1), the Minister makes clear what the duties, which the board is to perform, will be. If the members appointed to the board are to perform these duties, the less interference they will have from the Minister or from political influence through the Minister, the better for the board. If they can provide a cheap, economic, convenient and efficient system of transport, that will, in turn, create an atmosphere in which industry can survive and live. In some quarters the idea seems to prevail that the proper way to develop industry is to allow a lot of cranks, who know nothing about industry, to impede the conduct of industry by a series of theoretical provisions, but the way to provide employment in industry, I submit, it to create the atmosphere in which industry can thrive in an efficient and economic way. That is the true business approach if we have the courage to face it. It has been found in any country that has made any substantial progress that an efficient and effective transport system is one of the essentials to such progress.

I hope that the Minister will not give any cognisance to the points raised by some Senators on the opposite benches. I am strongly of the opinion that he should not interfere in the day-to-day affairs of the company and that he should not let economics alone be the guide by which the affairs of the company would be administered, because industry will have to pay for the service that this company is providing. If industrialists do not get an efficient and an effective transport service, in the long run their industries will not be able to compete in the export market or even to produce goods for our people here at home at the price at which the people would like to have them. All these items of 1d. here and 1/- there are the things which ultimately affect the cost of living.

One matter was discussed rather fully here to-day, though I did not engage in that discussion. I do not believe that we should aim at a policy of concentrating all our traffic in the centre of the city by a system under which we have motor buses dropping their passengers in the immediate vicinity of O'Connell Bridge. I think that is madness. Dublin City is twice the size it was 50 years ago and I think there should be a wider destination for traffic than can be provided within that particular area. I think that the board should take steps to prevent that.

The Senator is diverging somewhat from the matter under discussion.

Section 15 is the matter under discussion.

The Senator is getting away from it.

The Minister can see the problem that is created by bringing all the buses and all the different forms of transport into the middle of the city where everybody has to contact that transport. There should be some other centres in the city to which that transport could be directed. For example, it might be better if some buses went down the North Circular Road and the South Circular Road instead of coming right into the centre of the city to a point within 100 yards of O'Connell Bridge.

That was dealt with on a previous section.

Another matter which struck me in connection with this transport problem, particularly in the City of Dublin, is that we make little or no use of the railways we have to transport people to suburban areas. In all modern cities of Britain and other European countries, electric transport has been found most efficient and economic in dealing with suburban passengers. All the lines around the City of London and around all the cities on the Continent——

The Senator is now making a Second Reading speech: he is dealing with transport in general instead of with the section.

I am speaking of the general duties of the board. I do not think I have delayed the House very considerably on this aspect of the transport problem. Some Senators have spoken on the same subject on at least five different occasions.

The Senator should have made this speech at the proper time.

If the Cathaoirleach thinks I should not mention this matter of electric transport, then I will not refer to it any further.

It should have been mentioned at the right time.

I have nothing further to say at the moment, but I will mention the matter on another stage of the Bill.

I rise merely to ask the Minister a question which seems to suggest itself from the words contained in line 24. The wording there is "the maintenance of reasonable conditions of employment for its employees". What is meant there by "reasonable employment"? If there is any difference of opinion between the employees and the board, will there be any machinery of arbitration in order to avoid what we are all afraid of in a monopoly, and especially a transport monopoly — a strike?

I do not know whether the Minister would think it wise to embody in the Bill some sort of provision so as to make it easy for the board and the employees to settle differences without tremendous loss and inconvenience to the public. We must remember that the public are the real owners of this thing, yet they are in the position that they have not a word to say. We would all feel happier if we thought that there was a chance of settling disputes between the board and its employees through some form of arbitration which both parties would consider it a duty to accept. I would like the Minister to tell us what he thinks could be done about it.

Captain Orpen

This Section 15 seems to me to be one of the important sections, as it indicates the minds of the Government and of the Minister as to what they expect the board to do, what they expect the board to provide, and, presumably, what they hope the board will achieve. The section refers to "an efficient, economical, convenient and properly integrated system of public transport for passengers and merchandise by rail, road and water". Well, we all hope that it will achieve what is laid down in Section 15, but one rather wonders why in the past our efforts to achieve any one of these desirable objectives so signally failed. We certainly never have had what could be called an efficient transport; it has not always been economical; it has never been convenient and it has never been properly integrated.

We had a competitive system at one time, so competitive, one against the other, that it looked as if each section tried to damage rather than help its neighbour. One hopes that when we have the integrated system that is adumbrated here, it will not follow the precedent of a neighbouring country where, when the railways got control of the canals, they closed most of them. Curious as it may seem, the canal to-day, even in this country, serves a very useful purpose. Quite recently I wanted to bring a girder from Dublin down to my place in Wexford. The girder was 20 feet long and it required either a long truck or two trucks. The rail charge would have been £6 or £7. I tried the road service, but they would not touch it, as it was 20 feet long, unless I could get a special truck. I then bethought of the canal system and eventually it was sent down to New Ross for 10/6. So there is some use in the old canals.

The last line in Section 15 (1) is most interesting because there we see laid down "so as to provide for the needs of the public, agriculture, commerce and industry". I hope there is some meaning in that order—the public, agriculture, commerce and industry. Presumably, that is in the order of importance, the public first, then agriculture and then commerce and industry. Curiously enough, no attempt has ever yet been made in this country to deal in our public transport with the peculiar needs of agriculture.

Many years ago, like, at any rate, two Senators in this room, I spent a short time associated with a railway company—in fact, with three or four railway companies—and I learned some things from the general officer commanding transportation. He was the general manager of the railway company and he said to me that the secret of a successful railway company is to develop volume — volume of traffic and volume of goods. Do not, he said, bother about anything else but volume. That was his first aphorism. The second was that volume is something that does not exist; it has to be created. The third one was that the only way you could ever achieve volume of traffic is by flexibility in your freight classification. Now, we might go back 30 years to what Geddes said then and it is curious that the one thing that is observable in our public transport in this country is that we have never gone after volume; we have always gone after receipts.

Does this come under the general duties of the board, Senator, as set out in this section?

Captain Orpen

Yes, I suggest it does. Go after volume, create the traffic and then you may achieve what is set out in sub-section (2). All our transport concerns previously, when they got into difficulties, asked for higher fares. We have never gone after volume either in passengers or in goods. We even recently—I think it was in the 1944 Act—made the fatal mistake of simplifying classification, which absolutely precludes, therefore, the creation of new traffic in goods. Classification is the foundation for building the volume you have got and of searching for more of it.

It is hoped that this new board will take the broadest possible view of the needs of the public, the needs of agriculture, the needs of commerce and of industry and that they will take care, in their initial stage, not to be too restricted in the things they do merely because it was the previous practice of Córas Iompair Eireann or of the railways with which they may have been familiar. Anybody who has had experience of railway work in other countries realises that to a large extent. A railway company, as a transport concern, by providing the facilities required creates traffic. Sir James Milne says in his report that passenger traffic is largely created. Admittedly, he does not say the same of freight traffic, but in this country, where quite a large part of our potential freight traffic must come from agriculture, there is the opportunity to create traffic, to move goods from where they are to where they are wanted, goods that do not at present move. I also suggest that a wider outlook be taken than was taken hitherto.

I make these suggestions as one who hopes that the narrow view of immediate earnings will not restrict the possibility of looking for traffic and looking for goods, thereby building up a volume of traffic out of which ultimately one should be able to get sufficient revenue to cover costs. It is in that particular aspect of transport that railway work completely differs from road traffic. Road costs and volume more or less increase proportionately. Rail costs do not go up in direct proportion to volume handled, but unfortunately our rail charges here do tend that way, but costs do not. The greater part of rail costs are fixed costs independent of volume haul, and it is for that reason I urge that we should take a wide view of the transport problem with regard to what can be carried on rail, looking to a large increase of volume to cover total costs, rather than an immediate result of increased earnings following increased charges.

Am I to understand that the Minister is concluding on the section?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Minister is to conclude.

May I be allowed a moment to deal with one matter that was raised by Senator Mrs. Concannon? She asked for an explanation of some of the wording in sub-section (1) of Section 15. I think the wording of that sub-section, in so far as it deals with the conditions of employment for the staff, is a vast improvement on Section 9 of the Act of 1933 which imposed on the railway company the obligation to settle all disputes with the trade unions. In the Fifth Schedule to this Bill that particular portion of Section 9 of the 1933 Act will be repealed. Something had to be substituted for it. What I understand is being substituted for it is that it shall be the general duty of the board so to exercise their powers under this Bill as to secure or promote the maintenance of reasonable conditions of employment and to ask them to arrange conditions of employment and wages with the trade unions. What was in the 1933 Act was ridiculous and impracticable. This merely asks the board to approach the matter in a spirit of good will and to do the best they can.

Before the Minister concludes, may I ask if there is any objection to sitting late to finish the Committee Stage of this Bill?

May I say on behalf of myself and of other Senators that we do not wish to sit late this evening? Many of us have work to do early to-morrow. We consider that if the business is not finished at the usual hour to-night, it should be taken next week.

There will be opposition from this side to sitting after 10 o'clock to-night. We have had two hard days here. Some of us have other parliamentary engagements. There are committees of the Seanad of which members of this House are members, and I do not think it would be fair to ask us to sit late to-night.

I take it that no committees will be sitting to-night?

No. For my part I will not agree to sit after 10 o'clock.

It was pretty clearly understood that the Committee Stage of this Bill would be finished to-day. If every section is going to be discussed on the basis on which Section 15 was discussed there is no hope of finishing until the small hours of the morning. Senator O'Brien says that he has work to do in the morning. I also have work to do in the morning, and I think in the same place as the Senator. I think we ought to get on with the business and get it finished to-night—otherwise we will become a laughing stock—or meet to-morrow. We have this business to do, and I think we are quite capable of doing it if we confine ourselves to what is relevant on the sections. I suggest that we finish the Committee Stage to-night.

We are prepared at all times to meet Ministers and to meet the Government Party, but this is a very important Bill.

Hear, hear!

It is one of the most important Bills that has come before the House for some time. There is no urgency about the completion of the Committee Stage, or of any other stage, of the Bill to-night, this week or even this month. We have quite a number of amendments to it that have not yet been reached. Therefore, it means that if the suggestion to sit late to-night were accepted the consideration of the remaining amendments and sections is going to be skimped over. We are prepared to meet to-morrow to complete the Committee Stage, if necessary, but we are not prepared to sit after 10 o'clock to-night. We must have regard to the fact that there are a number of country Senators who have to get to their hotels to-night. If we sit late there will be no bus service to take them. Some people seem to think that we from the country have no interest in the transport system, but I want to put it that we are the people who utilise the national transport system, both rail and bus, because we have no other means of transporting ourselves.

I did not suggest that anything should be skimped. What I did suggest was that we should take time, by sitting late, to complete the business. If we are to adjourn at 10 o'clock and resume the Committee Stage next week, can we have any understanding that the Committee Stage will be finished next week?

I agree with Senator Hayes that Section 15 gave rise to a long discussion—to what were, in the main, Second Reading speeches. The terms of the section are so wide that the Chair, I think, found it very hard to rule anyone out of order. There was a brush between the Chair and Senator Burke. I myself had intended to raise certain questions on Section 15, and I am hoping to be able to do so on later sections. There is nothing we can do here, if members get up, and keep talking. They are entitled to talk.

I suggest, Sir, that as a House we should collectively be able to do something to show that we are able to transact business, without skimping the business, and without hammering business through in any very rapid manner. I agree, that we ought to sit until the usual hour to-night and adjourn until next Wednesday, and I hope, Sir, it will be possible next Wednesday to complete the Committee Stage, because I suggest that if we were to meet three days next week, and the week after, at the rate we are going at present, we would not even finish the Committee Stage.

That would not be worth while.

I do not think it would be worth while. I have some experience of parliamentary debate, and futility in parliamentary debate is never worth anything, and neither is repetition. If I were to devote myself to the same kind of debate, as there has been on this section, I could keep it going for a long time. I do not intend to do so. However, Sir, we can go on until 10 o'clock.

Perhaps, I should make it clear that, as far as I am concerned, I have no desire to rush Senators in their consideration of this Bill. I have been nursing this particular baby so long, that I would nearly be lonely, if I were deprived of it now. I agree with Senator Hawkins, that it is a very important Bill and, perhaps, if it had been approached here in the Seanad by certain Senators, as an important public measure, we might have reached the stage when it would not be necessary for anybody to suggest sitting after 10 o'clock to-night or to sit to-morrow. We have been told this section is a very wide section. It is. Do Senators object to that?

Apparently, wide and extensive as it is, it is not sufficiently wide or sufficiently comprehensive for Senator Ó Buachalla. I do not believe it would be within the power of the officers of my Department or the parliamentary draftsman to so draft a section that it would meet the points or the fears which were expressed by Senator Ó Buachalla. Perhaps I would not be too far wrong if I suggested that the fears were really wishes. Perhaps the Senator would be easier in his mind if there was no section of this kind in the Bill, as there was no section of this kind in the 1944 Act, but merely that the Minister for Industry and Commerce should have power on his own initiative, should have power to request or direct the board to do anything in relation to the services, charges, the closing or the abandoning of lines. I must confess, listening to Senator Ó Buachalla, I had to wonder whether he had read this Bill at all or whether he had read any section of the Bill. The Senator said that practically the only change that was made was that we were dispensing with one board and appointing another. Has the Senator not yet grasped this fact that, in this Bill, the State is acquiring a private concern?

No, Sir, the records of the House will show that my statement was that this was one of the few outstanding changes.

The fundamental difference is that what was, and is at the present moment, a privately-owned company is being acquired by the State and will in future be operated for the State and for the community. Senator Hawkins did not seem to have grasped that either. He was quoting Sir James Milne against me. Again, it is amazing how fond some members on the other side have got of Sir James. He said that Sir James talked about the relationship that obtained between the Government and the board and that the powers which I am suggesting are not along the lines suggested by Sir James Milne. Sir James Milne was writing and talking about the board of a private company and not the board of a company which was going to be acquired by the State and going to be operated by the State. Sir James Milne merely mentioned that the Government representation on the board of Córas Iompair Éireann, as a private company, should be strengthened. That was one of the recommendations which was not acceptable to the Government. Of course, we had from Senator Ó Buachalla these rather sneering references to which I had to listen for so long and so often in the Dáil from the Opposition there. Subsidy, subsidy for Córas Iompair Éireann, subsidy, subsidy—something rather shameful about subsidy, something we should be ashamed of.

I do not think so.

One would imagine that none of the State sponsored companies, which had been formed by the predecessors of this Government required or had got subsidy. On the one hand, the Senator decried the idea of subsidy, the necessity for subsidy; and, on the other hand, he was advocating, himself, and would so impose his will on the new board, as to make it impossible for them to operate without a subsidy. The Senator cannot have it both ways. The only difference between me and the people who take that line is that I face the facts, as I find them, and I do not attempt to hide from the public, that if it is considered, as it has been considered necessary in the national interest to maintain and to improve the railways, then the people must be prepared to pay for that. I am saying that, and I have never tried to hide from the Dáil, and I am not trying to hide from the Seanad nor am I trying to hide from the public, the fact, that if this company is to carry out the duties which are laid down in Section 15, then, unquestionably, having regard to the way in which they are shackled at the start, it would certainly be some time before they reach the position indicated in sub-section (2) of this section. Let us remember that we are handing over to this new board a transport system which was described by the previous chairman as being almost entirely obsolete, rolling stock, some of which is over half a century old, equipment which is largely out of date, some of it, which has been badly maintained, in so far as it was maintained at all. Do not forget that notwithstanding all the activities of the previous and the present board, not as much as one single railway carriage has been built in this country since 1937.

This is a very important section. Senators should realise that it is so important and we should not have this endless repetition of purely frivolous questions. Senator Ó Buachalla is very concerned to pin me down in order to get on the record something he subsequently hopes he will be able to wave under my nose. The Senator is very anxious that I would not deprive myself of any power to dictate to the board at any time it pleases me to do so. I approach this in a different fashion altogether. If I were to look upon my responsibility in this matter in the way in which the Senator thinks I should, and if the relationship between the board and myself in the carrying out of its duties were such as the Senator thinks it should be, then I would very justly fear it would be impossible for me to get a board of the type of men best fitted to sit on such a board because no self-respecting citizen, in my opinion, would accept a seat on that board if he was to be merely the mouthpiece of the Minister and if he was to move solely at the whim and pleasure of the Minister.

What will happen is that the Government will endeavour to get the best board it can. I am quite satisfied, before ever we start to select the members of the board, that they will ultimately be criticised and I will be criticised. I shall endeavour to get the best board I can. I shall endeavour to get a board interested in carrying out the duties laid down in this section and interested in implementing the policy contained in this section. I shall endeavour to get a board that will bring to its assistance the best experts and the greatest technical skill available, either inside or outside the country. I shall then be prepared to leave it to the board since the board will know far more about how the railways and the transport services should be run than I know or will know. I shall endeavour to get a board which will have at its disposal in considering the lines upon which this policy should be operated that expert advice, knowledge and experience which neither the Senators nor I have at our disposal.

If Senator Ó Buachalla will look at Section 16 he will see there that the Minister will not be entirely unconcerned about the board. The Senator is not correct in saying that I have stated that this board will be entirely free and fully and completely independent. I never said any such thing. I have indicated that matters which were formerly determined by the Minister will in future be determined by the board or by the tribunal. I think most Senators will agree that that is important. Unquestionably the Minister for Industry and Commerce must have close contact with this board just as he must have close contact with the Electricity Supply Board, with Bord na Móna, with Mianraí Teoranta, with Céimici Teo., or any of the other State companies at present in existence. Surely it is not suggested that it will make for efficiency and economy and for the best possible public transport service to have a Minister for Industry and Commerce tugged by the sleeve, the elbow or the shoulder by every T.D. or Senator at every hour and minute of the day retailing the Senator's or the Deputy's complaint to the chairman or general manager of the company. That is the distinction I make.

Let me say again, and will Senators please get it clearly into their minds, that what we are doing under this Bill is acquiring for the community a national transport system, with a board which will not consist of the appointees of any private interests in the country but will consist of the appointees of the Government of the State for the time being. The Senator will notice in this section that the national development aspect has not been excluded. May I point out to the Senator that that was included in this section as the result of an amendment moved by a member of his own Party in the Dáil? The responsibilities of the board towards the public, towards agriculture, towards industry and commerce have not been ignored.

The responsibilities of the board for ensuring reasonable conditions of employment, to which Senator Mrs. Concannon referred, will not be ignored. On the point raised by Senator Mrs. Concannon, may I say that there is machinery which, I hope, will give us fewer strikes than we might otherwise have; that machinery is being extended and improved every day? I am perfectly satisfied that it is being approached in the proper spirit by both the board and the representatives of the employees and I believe that we shall in time get a common understanding as to what reasonable conditions of employment mean. I do not even want to attempt to meet all the points raised by Senator Ó Buachalla. Frankly, I doubt very much if he was serious——

Very serious.

I find it very hard to believe that the Senator was serious in a number of the points he raised. I say this without any desire or intention of being offensive; most of the points were just footling.

If the Minister finds it difficult to answer the questions, that is one way of doing it.

I find no difficulty whatsoever. The Senator's difficulty is that he has apparently failed to grasp even my plain speech and, goodness knows, I speak plainly enough.

I am afraid you do not. If you spoke plainly enough, this Bill would not have taken from last November until now to go through.

It was not lack of plain speech on my part that was responsible for that.

It was lack of plain drafting in the first instance.

I think that is a remark that should not be made. If there is anything wrong with the contents of the Bill I take full responsibility for it. I cannot, of course, take responsibility for the drafting of the Bill.

It was in that sense I made the remark.

So long as the Senator is hitting only at me that is quite all right and we can be perfectly happy.

Like the tinkers, we keep the fight between ourselves.

Quite so. I do not know that there is anything else that I can say at this stage. If the Senator has any doubts I want to assure him that, in so far as the Government may think it desirable to give a direction or outline a policy to the board, the Government is fully empowered to do that. I want to warn Senators and everybody else that my whole idea, so long as I am the Minister, will be to keep as far away from the board as I possibly can and let them do their job.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 16.

I move amendment No. 8:—

In line 43, page 11, to delete the words "other than day-to-day administration".

This is a very brief amendment and, as Mr. Gladstone said, I will not weary the House with the dreary drip and the dilatory declamation in moving it.

Bedad, wait until you see!

Section 16 says that the board shall furnish to the Minister such information as he may from time to time require regarding matters which relate to its activities, other than day to day administration, and which appear to him to affect the national interest. I take it that he will look only for information on matters which affect the national interest, but if any of these can be said to be a matter of day to day administration, is he preventing himself from seeking information with regard to it? Day to day administration is not defined, and it is not easy to distinguish between day to day administration and what might be called acts of policy. In fact, some day to day administrative acts might be of very serious import, and might conceivably affect the national interest, but according to this section, as drafted, the Minister would not, in that case, have the power to request information. At least, he would not be expected to request it. I do not attach a tremendous lot of importance to this amendment, and I do not want to provoke a long discussion on it, but I am asking the Minister if he is satisfied that the leaving in of these words will not stultify him in making inquiries regarding matters which may affect the national interest. I agree that matters of day to day administration should not be matters for the Minister unless such acts do affect the national interest.

This point, of course, was raised in the Dáil also, but I am advised that there is no fear that I will not be able to get the details of administration at any time if I require them. Quite frankly, that limitation is put in because I do not want to be answering questions day after day why John Ryan was made head porter instead of James O'Brien or somebody else, or why somebody was removed from his post or why parcels were not delivered, or why a particular train was five minutes late. It is to avoid that sort of question that I put in this provision. I should say that it was with some reluctance that I agreed to go as far as I am going. Of course, it is a new departure altogether in State companies and takes us further in relation to many things we have to deal with in these State companies.

If the Minister is satisfied with the section as it is, I would ask the leave of the House to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 16 put and agreed to.
SECTION 17.
Question proposed: "That section 17 stand part of the Bill."

On this section, I was going to ask a question, a similar question to one I asked on the Air Navigation Bill, in relation to the manner of serving notices in certain cases. The Minister will send out notification by prepaid post addressed to a person at his usual or last known address—I am referring to sub-section (5) (C). If the letter is not delivered, it is, of course, returned to the Minister, but what happens then? This may be purely a legal matter with which I am not familiar. Would it be necessary, or would it be advisable to make provision for the publication of a notice to the effect that this letter has been returned and that within so many days the Minister will take over the ownership of the property in question? It may be that it is the usual thing to send out a letter and if there is no response, and the letter comes back, to assume that everything is all right. It seems to me reasonable that, if this letter does not reach the person to whom it is addressed, there should be some further step by way of the publication of a notice that this letter has been posted and has been returned, and that the Minister is proceeding with the taking over of the land. There may be nothing in that point but something, it seems to me, ought to be done.

I would be anxious to meet that point so far as I could, but I am advised that this sub-section meets it very fully and I do not think it would be very desirable to have public notification by way of the Press. I doubt if it would be desirable.

I am thinking of the possibility of a person having the right of certain lands being away in England or elsewhere, with an unknown address, so that he is not in consequence receiving the notice.

The Senator will appreciate that in such cases as are mentioned in the section, there will, in addition to the letter, be the usual investigation beforehand on the spot by the local officers who are concerned—personal contact.

I think these are the usual provisions which have been established, perhaps, for 100 years, providing for the compulsory acquisition of lands. They are employed in many cases under the Labourers Acts and the proposals are quite in accordance with the modern practice.

Does the Senator think that no hardship might result from this procedure?

Hardship often results when lands are compulsorily acquired.

I knew of this to happen where land was proposed to be compulsorily acquired: certain people had interests in the land and were precluded from obtaining certain benefits because, perhaps, of bad advice or of not taking the proper steps in time. Certainly I know that has happened.

I would like to say in regard to this principle of the acquisition of land or of private property of any kind that I feel that for a long time there is a tendency, a growing tendency, for the State merely to make an arbitrary settlement with the owner and to pay only arbitrary compensation. It does seem to me that there should be some provision for an appeal against the compensation awarded by the State. It does not seem fair that the State should not only acquire the property but be the assessors of the amount to be paid for it.

The Act of 1919 provides for an arbitrator who assesses the compensation as between the parties, on the basis laid down in that Act. The basis is the price which a willing buyer would pay to a willing seller in an open market. There is a referee to assess the compensation, an entirely independent person.

Perhaps this is not relevant, but how does that apply to the taking over of property in which there are other people interested?

This relates to land; not to companies.

I am glad to know that there is some appeal when it is a question of taking land against the compensation offered by the State.

The State does not decide the amount. When land is acquired compulsorily, there is a standing arbitrator before whom the parties go, and it is his duty to determine the various interests and the value of the various interests. The arbitrator fixes the compensation and makes an award accordingly.

I think that what Senator McGuire has in mind is that if land is acquired by anybody under authority from the State, the principle of compensation is recognised and has been recognised all along. The question of the amount that may be paid is decided, in the event of there being disagreement between the persons and the authority acquiring the land, by arbitration. What I gather from Senator McGuire's comments is that even the State cannot acquire property—in this particular instance land—either through a local authority or bodies like Córas Iompair Éireann, without recognising the principle that compensation in terms of money or otherwise should be paid to the owner. The question of the amount is decided by arbitration in the event of disagreement.

I am quite satisfied that a court of arbitration can be set up to decide what should be paid and the only point on which I wanted information was whether there was any appeal. Supposing the owner does not want to be removed from his land, that he is quite happy in the possession of it, there is the mental aspect of the matter to be considered as well as the question of monetary payments, in the case of an individual's rights. If he is not satisfied, it seems to me that he should have an appeal to the courts. I am only asking that question. Apparently, he has not an appeal.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 18 and 19 agreed to.
SECTION 20.
Question proposed: "That Section 20 stand part of the Bill."

I wonder would the Minister be able to give us some clarification as to what is meant by sub-section (3) of this section?

The board may enter into an agreement with a trader or with a local motor lorry owner.

I can quite understand giving power to the board to enter into an agreement with other transport undertakers such as lorry owners or transport undertakers of any kind, but when it comes to the question of entering into an agreement for the carrying of merchandise, then I think we open a very big field.

Perhaps I can relieve the Senator's fears. I am afraid that I was unconsciously misdirecting the Senator. This deals with the question of a flat rate and there is nothing new in it. It is in operation at the moment. For instance, the company may agree with, say, Guinness's, in return for getting the carriage of their entire output, that they shall have a flat rate all over the country. The Senator knows that the product of that particular firm is sold at a flat price.

It is sometimes even flat itself.

Very rarely, I think. As I say there is nothing new in it. It is merely continuing a policy that is already there.

Might I ask the Minister this question? The section refers to railway classification of merchandise. Is it intended that the railway classification of merchandise shall apply to freight carried by road?

No. This is railway traffic.

I do know that one of the greatest difficulties that Córas Iompair Éireann and its predecessors had to deal with was offers made by private hauliers for the transport of certain goods at a certain rate when the railway company and the freight department of the railway company were prevented from carrying at anything like that figure.

The railway company are given more freedom in relation to classification now than they had before.

I understand it has been the custom to give preferential rates to Limerick and some of the western towns in view of their remoteness. I should like to ask the Minister will such a practice be continued in future.

I could not give the Senator an assurance on that. It will be a matter for the company and its officers to arrange the classification and the charges but I should certainly hope that if the new board are not able to give better concessions, they will not make conditions any harsher than they are at the moment.

May I say on this section that the people in my district are interested in the fate of the West and South Clare Railways? These railways are somewhat different from the ordinary railways because they were constructed by an independent company formed about 65 years ago. They were passed by the grand jury which reigned at the time and an interest of 4 per cent. was guaranteed by the rates on the capital invested in the first part of the line, a sum of £170,000. Later there was a further £40,000 added and the rates guaranteed the interest at 4 per cent. up to the time of the passing of the 1944 Act. At that time there was an amalgamation of all the lines and it was agreed that the ratepayers of the county would be relieved of the responsibility of guaranteeing this interest on the payment of about £32,000 for a period of seven years. I mention these facts so that the House and the Minister may know that the people of Clare have paid a very considerable sum for the maintenance of these lines.

During the last few years of the reign of the late Government a rumour was spread—without much foundation, as far as I know—that the lines were going to be closed, and there was a big campaign against such a development by the people in the various towns which these railways serve— Ennistymon, Lahinch, Lisdoonvarna, Miltown-Malbay, Kilkee, Kilrush, etc. There were meetings held against the idea of closing the line but, so far as I am aware, that proposal did not exist at all. At any rate, it showed the inclination of the people and how they felt about it.

I would not say it is a very economical line. It skirts all the way round the coast. There is a big store cattle business around there and the railway brings turf from West Clare to Ennis and various other centres. I would like to know if there is any proposal in mind to close down that line. If there is, there should be a substitute service, perhaps of a better kind. At that time those who were campaigning against the closing of that line—it is a narrow gauge line—suggested that it should be made a broad gauge line so as to synchronise with the other railway lines. But I understand that that would be a very expensive operation. I merely wish to know if that matter has been considered at all and, if it has, how is it proposed to deal with the situation.

I should like to deal with the points raised by Senator Honan. It is true to say that this is somewhat different from the other branch lines in the sense that it has a narrow gauge. Also, it is probably one of the longest branch lines, being about 53 miles long. So far as the question arises of its being closed down or kept open, if there is any application or any desire by the board to close it, that would have to come before the tribunal, like any other branch line. The board could not close it on its own initiative. All the interests concerned in keeping the line open would be free to act and to put a case before the tribunal, just as would be done in the case of other branch lines. The Senator is quite right—it would be an expensive operation to put a broad instead of a narrow gauge there; it would probably cost somewhere in the neighbourhood of £1,000,000.

This section covers the point where an abandonment order is made and authority given to the board to close down a branch line and abandon the service. Certain provision is made. If it is a question of the maintenance of bridges or any roadways that the railways pass over, an obligation is placed on the local authority to do certain things. Provision is made in this Bill for an agreement between the transport company and the local authority. If no such agreement is executed, and if the superstructure of the bridge is not removed, the liability of the board to maintain the bridge shall cease on the appointed day and the road authority shall be liable to maintain the bridge.

I am not so much interested in the payment. What I am interested in is that provision is made for the doing of certain work under an agreement between the transport company and the local authority. If, for one reason or another, the local authority declines to enter into that agreement to carry out that particular work, then an order is made and a day appointed on which the responsibility of the board ceases entirely. The responsibility is then placed on the local authority, without its having agreed to accept that responsibility. It must follow from that that the board shall pay to the road authority compensation for any expense which the road authority may incur by reason of the liability so imposed on them.

I would like some clarification as to whether that would include payment of compensation for any accidents that may happen at that bridge arising out of the fact that the transport authority has abandoned it and the local authority has not agreed to take it over. It seems a roundabout way of doing a particular job. The company is the authority to maintain the bridges and the roadways over which the rails run. A decision is arrived at to abandon the service over such bridges and roadways and an attempt is made to have an agreement with the local authority to take responsibility and have the bridges removed or, in the case of the roads, I expect that the rails would be lifted and the road made good. I know places where I am very doubtful if the local authority would take the responsibility and I would like to know what then happens under this section.

I had an amendment down to this section, but it was ruled out of order and I am not going to refer to it. My principal object in putting down that amendment was this. I do not think that the railway lines should be sold to the farmers on each side of the line, as the section states. I believe the railway lines should be kept intact for at least ten years until this mad craze for road transport wears off. When that wears off there will be an outery in the country to get back to the railways again. If the railway tracks are kept intact, they will be preserved at very little expense for the reopening of the railways when people get back to normal.

I intend to move an amendment on the Report Stage to that effect and, therefore, I will not discuss the matter further now.

I am largely in agreement with the idea underlying Senator Counihan's amendment. I agree with him that it is a very serious matter if such a thing could happen as that the railway lines would be taken up altogether. When I talk about the railway lines I mean those branch lines. It would appear to me that the whole policy of the Government, not alone the Department of Industry and Commerce but every other Department, is based on the supposition that we have seen the last of wars. I hope that is a fact, but I do not believe it is. I think the general belief of thinking people all over the world is that we have not by any means seen the last of wars and that, in fact, the day is not far distant when we will have to be making preparations again to deal with a war situation.

It is a very serious matter to suggest that the branch lines which may be regarded as unprofitable in peace times or at the present moment should be put in such a way that they cannot be used again. In the last war there were all kinds of appeals made to keep the lines open and, in a good many cases, those appeals were dealt with sympathetically and the lines were kept open at great inconvenience and considerable expense to the railway company at the time. I believe that, while a lot of people on his own side of the House seem to find amusement in the suggestion made by Senator Counihan that these lines be not interfered with for at least ten years, there is a lot of sanity in that suggestion.

The question may arise as to why that amount of land should be left unproductive, if you like, for a number of years, and perhaps ten years may seem a long time to some people, but, with all the will in the world, I say it would be a very hard thing to use the ground on which a railway line exists for any other purpose for a considerable number of years. Anybody who knows what the construction of a railway line is like must know that it is a combination of several materials, deliberately designed not to grow any kind of vegetation. Every effort is being made to produce that sort of soil underneath the railway lines. If that is so, and I believe it is, it would cost a tremendous amount of money to convert that land to any other use. The alternative would seem to be to allow it to become derelict. That would be a disastrous policy. I am referring to the branch lines which may be considered to be redundant. I think it would be a far saner policy to keep them in the best repair possible, at the smallest expense, for a number of years at any rate, in the belief that we may again reach a situation when it may be impossible to supply the transport requirements of the country by any other method than the use of these branch lines.

Senator Counihan referred to the craze for road transport—motor lorries and the rest. I saw some Senators laugh at that suggestion. The fact is the people generally have a craze for motor transport. It may be said that I have myself because I drive a car. We all have got the craze for doing things in the easiest possible way without paying sufficient attention to the expense involved, even to ourselves as individuals. It is quite understandable, therefore, that farmers and cattle dealers are inclined to take the easy method for the transport of their stock as against using the railways which served such a very useful purpose over a long number of years.

I suppose one may say that another war is definitely not outside the bounds of possibility. I think most people would say that it is highly probable within the next five or six years. In that situation we will have to say to ourselves "the worst has happened and what are we going to do about it?" Most sensible people would say that one of the first things to be looked to was transport to meet the food requirements of the country. Defence, I suppose, would be the very first thing to be looked to, but we are not dealing with that on this Bill At any rate transport for food supplies for man and beast would be a first essential. There would be very little use in producing wheat in the County Waterford to feed the people in the City of Limerick unless we had the transport to take it there or in growing wheat in the County Galway for the people in Dublin if we had no means of transporting it to this city. It follows from that, that if we are to depend on road transport that, in turn, we will be dependent on outside sources for the fuel required for it—supplies of petrol and of crude oil from Central Europe or America. If we have a policy of self-sufficiency to produce our own requirements in food we must be careful to see that we are able to deliver that food at the points where it is required.

We all know that during the last war we had a number of people grumbling and complaining that the railways were not giving a good service, completely overlooking the fact that they were working under a terrific handicap. They had not available the kind of fuel that would enable them to make speed on long journeys. I think it is up to Senators interested in agriculture or in industry generally to ensure that none of these branch lines will be put out of commission or reduced to such a point that they cannot be brought into service in the case of an emergency.

During the last war some of them had to be closed down owing to the lack of fuel supplies, but they were again pressed into service when we were not able to get petrol for the transport of turf, agricultural produce and various other things by road. We found then that the railways were our only reliable method of transport. It was well for us that these branch lines had not been torn up as the line from Galway to Clifden had been many years ago. It is worthy of mention, too, that during the last emergency these branch lines provided a means of transport for our live-stock industry in which I include cattle, horses, pigs and everything that is produced on the land. If we had not that method of transport the country would have been deprived of the substantial income that was derived from the export of our cattle and horses.

Of course, we always have cynical sneers from people who try to use politics for any purpose. Unfortunately we have them in this House. On the last day, when discussing this Bill, it was suggested that special trains were run to the Curragh to provide transport for one individual. Well, I think a remark of that kind does not deserve any notice beyond saying that were it not for the fact that the railway lines were there our bloodstock industry would probably have suffered very considerable damage. I believe that if we bear in mind the lessons that are to be learned from what occurred during the last war, and if we recall the difficulties which we came up against at that time, we will all agree that the branch lines should be maintained even if it should prove a costly job to do so. The fact is that if the last war had not started for another ten or 15 years, the branch lines would have been torn up and our horse machinery would have gone out of action and so we would have been left like people on a desert island without any means for the production of food for man or beast.

Senator Quirke certainly makes the best possible use of the very brief period he spends in the House.

Thank you.

If the Senator wanted to give effect to the suggestions made by him he should have put down amendments, because the law will be as it is stated in the Bill when it becomes an Act. The provision relating to branch lines is that if the board desires to close down one or more branch lines it will make an application to the Transport Tribunal and, having given time for any objections that may be raised, the tribunal then has the power to issue an order authorising the board to close the line or lines in question. There is a further provision which enables the land on which these lines are laid to be disposed of, so that speeches urging what should or should not be done are sheer futility unless amendments embodying those views are inserted in the Bill.

It is suggested that these branch lines should be left undisturbed for a period of years, say ten years or so. I wonder have Senators ever heard the story of the Birr-Portumna branch line. Through some dispute with the old Great Southern and Western Railway, it ceased to run trains on the Portumna-Birr line, and it was left there for a certain number of years. After a while the Board of Works, having reconsidered the matter, decided to reopen the line, but when they went to find the line they found it had been stolen. They found that every rail, and sleeper, and fish-plate, every fitment, gates and fences had disappeared mysteriously. That is precisely what would happen on a railway that is left without a maintenance staff or permanent way gang to look after it.

Is it the suggestion that the Board of Works were so careless about Board of Works property or the property of the people of this country that they allowed a whole railway line to be taken away before they made a report to the Guards?

Whether it is or not, it was stolen, and that was before the Guards.

That is the fact. The Guards were not here at all. If the Senator, before he talks authoritatively on transport, would read the history of it——

I have travelled on a lot more transport systems than the Senator has.

You may have travelled, but you will not see much from the inside of a motor car or a first-class carriage.

The ticket, I take, is a third class.

In any event, I am talking as an ordinary member of the Seanad, and I do not propose to lay down wisdom for anybody in regard to transport, but you cannot leave a line unattended. You must either maintain it in full, maintain a full staff or get rid of it, in order to avoid complete loss. Very naturally, I am railway-minded and in sympathy with those who would like every line of railway maintained. Public opinion will, no doubt, manifest itself, locally at all events, when any of these cases come before the tribunal; and, it may be, that the Transport Tribunal will insist on lines which are making a considerable loss each year being kept open. The difference between now and the future will be that that loss will have to be borne by the community, not by the railway company, as such. Previously, it was the private shareholders who bore the loss or the workers on the line had to accept lower conditions of service. In the future we can afford to be more generous, because it will be paid either by increased rates, freights or fares or it will be paid for by subsidy direct from the State. We can afford to be generous.

It is rather futile, also, in a matter of this kind, to discuss in lurid prognostication the possibilties of another war. If another war comes well, I do not think branch lines are going to save us. We must remember that we closed down more branch lines in the emergency than we ever closed down in times of peace, because we were unable to get the fuel from England, the only place we could get it from in time of war. Is it suggested that Britain will be so protected in the next war that we are going to have sufficient to run our railways in full? My wish, of course, is that we shall, but let us not live in a fool's paradise and imagine that any provision we can make, whether neutral or belligerent, that we are going to avoid suffering of a very violent and terrible character. Whilst we should make every possible provision to alleviate the suffering that the community may suffer in such a calamity, it is rather a tall order to suggest that that depends on the maintenance of branch lines. I hope there will be no more branch lines closed down. Already, a very considerable number has been closed, some of them temporarily, and an extension of the process would soon leave only the main lines existing. As I have said, we will have the Transport Tribunal, and we will have the knowledge, that if they are kept open, working at a loss, that the State or the community will bear the loss; consequently, we should all be happier about it.

This is rather an interesting point. I have not spoken in this debate so far, but I am tempted into saying something on this. I have sympathy with Senator Counihan and, indeed, with Senator Quirke on the proposal envisaged about keeping the line for ten years. I do not think it would be practicable altogether. I can see difficulties; that is, the provision as to keeping fences and one thing or another. One suggestion does occur to me, in connection with the maintenance of lines, if it does take place. I think it would be rather a pity that the lines or the property would be altogether destroyed; that is, that the fences should be taken up, everything else, and destroyed or given away, or as they would be, sold for a very small sum.

If I were to suggest anything, I would suggest, that if the railways or any portion of them are closed down, it will be because they are not paying, because goods and passengers are being transported in some other way. That leads to the further use of the roads by motor vehicles of some sort or another, lorries and so on. That brings me to the point I am anxious about. The railways are, generally, the shortest line between two important points, two villages or two towns. They were built between important places, villages or towns, and they are, generally, the shortest way between these two points. I suggest, if the railways are going to be abandoned, and if the roads are going to be subjected to increased traffic every day, that the position for the ordinary pedestrian and the man using horse traffic, with a valuable horse and a cart, will be almost impossible. I suggest, as Senator Quirke has said, that these lines are mostly manufactured of hard substance, and they can be easily converted by the local authorities, if they are passed on to the local authorities, into a road for horse traffic and pedestrians. That would preserve these people from the increasing menace of fast traffic. I suggest they can be utilised in that way, if not, indeed, preserved, passed on to the local authorities at a small sum, and the local authorities could easily convert them into a road good enough for the local man, and the local man who has a horse and cart.

I am afraid, Sir, that I was out for some of the discussion that, I understand, has developed along the question of branch lines, and if they are to be closed, maintaining them for ten years after they had been closed. That, as has been said, will be a matter, that under this Bill, will have to go before the tribunal, before which the company and the outside interests who will be concerned in the maintenance of the line can be represented.

May I say to Senators, and to other people, in that connection, that there is one certain way of ensuring that a branch line will not close down; and, that is, by the people in the locality using it? Remember, if a branch line has to be abandoned, it will not be, abandoned by the board. It will be, because it has been abandoned by the public themselves; and, perhaps, people would keep that a little more in mind and have some regard to their own responsibility for keeping a line going. I would like to say that, I think, all of us are anxious that branch lines should be kept open. I think that in this country, particularly, branch lines are very essential, particularly for dealing with live stock and for clearing fairs. We cannot, however, be entirely neglectful or forgetful of the economics or the finances of the matter. I do not want to go into it any further beyond saying that, I think, there are in the Bill as reasonable safeguards as one could ask for in relation to the closing or proposed closing of any particular branch line.

As a matter of fact, I would like to say this, that while we have been discussing branch lines and the closing of branch lines this section, to my mind, is not the section dealing with the closing of branch lines at all. The question that I was anxious to have the Minister's view on is this: this makes provision for what happens when the abandonment order is given. I want clarification of the position that may arise where a local authority refuses to enter into an agreement to remove such a structure as, say, a bridge. In certain circumstances I can see that a local authority might not be prepared to enter into such an agreement. An appointed day is fixed and from that appointed day the matter becomes the responsibility of the local authority. Provision is made that the local authority shall be compensated by the board. What happens when a local authority refuses to enter into an agreement? Will the structure be allowed to remain there until it falls into decay or until some serious accident occurs? Will the board be compelled to undertake its removal?

In that connection I can only point out that there is no change in the existing law. This is merely a re-enactment of what is contained in the 1944 Act. So far as I am aware no new obligation is placed upon the local authority.

I am not concerned with the imposition of some new obligation. I can visualise the position where an abandonment order is given to the board and negotiations are entered into between the board and the local authority for the removal of a bridge. The local authority engineer, for one reason or another, does not recommend the council to undertake the removal of this structure; but from the appointed day the local authority shall be liable to maintain the bridge or to remove it. The board is compelled to make good the cost but that may not be a sufficient inducement to the local authority. Possibly they might not have the equipment or staff necessary to do the work. What happens then? Who is responsible after the appointed day where there is no agreement with the local authority?

That situation could only arise where a local authority was being pigheaded. I think ample provision is made here. There is no undue or unfair obligation placed upon the local authority at all. If they are asked to do the work they will be compensated for it. It is no argument to say that they may not have the equipment or machinery to do the work. I am sure there are many competent contractors who would be very glad to carry it out for them.

Section 21 agreed to.
SECTION 22.
Question proposed: "That Section 22 stand part of the Bill."

On Section 22, the board is here given power to make by-laws and regulate the times of arrival and departure of trains and vehicular traffic. Sub-section (2) provides:—

"The board shall submit to the Minister for confirmation any by-laws made by it under this section."

I thoroughly agree with this sub-section, and it is because I do agree with it that I ask the support of the House in having a similar amendment entered in another more important section; that is, that before a regulation affecting the lives of the people, as a regulation made by Córas Iompair Éireann must, is made it must be submitted to the Minister and he should have power to either confirm, modify or amend such regulation as he thinks fit. Not alone should the by-laws made by the board be submitted but proposals to increase fares and freight charges or make changes in the activity of the board should also be submitted to him. There will be a discussion later on another section of this Bill and I am anxious, therefore, to draw the attention of the House to this particular provision. This gives the Minister power to amend or perhaps revise regulations submitted to him.

There is a very big difference. In the other case the Senator wants to make the Minister a court of appeal.

I think that if the Minister directs his attention to sub-section (b) (iii) he will find there that he will really be in the position of a court of appeal because orders submitted to him for his approval must be published in no less than two morning papers circulating throughout the State and persons will have an opportunity of submitting their case. The Minister may, as he thinks fit, refuse to confirm, and so on. Before the by-laws become effective the public is made aware of them so that the people may understand what their implications are.

The Senator will have some difficulty in proving an analogy there.

Section 22 agreed to.
The Seanad adjourned at 10 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 26th April, 1950.