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Seanad Éireann debate -
Thursday, 5 Jan 1961

Vol. 53 No. 9

Public Business. - Dairy Produce Marketing Bill, 1960— Committee Stage (Resumed).

It is proposed that amendments Nos. 6, 7 and 8 be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 6:

In subsection (2) (f), lines 42 to 44, to delete "and promoting increases in the quantities of milk and milk products exported from the State."

Amendments Nos. 6, 7 and 8 are, perhaps for the purpose of getting information though, if they are as wide as I think they are, it may be necessary to delete the paragraphs. The paragraphs concerned place on the Board the responsibility of promoting increases in the quantities of milk and milk products exported from the State. Paragraph (g) provides that the Board may establish, equip and operate showrooms, information bureaux, etc., to promote increased consumption and use of milk and milk products and to promote increases in the quantities of milk and milk products exported from the State. Paragraph (h) provides that they may publish and distribute, or provide for the publication and distribution of, pamphlets, notices, bulletins, journals, etc., for the same purpose. It seems to me that if the Board took their responsibilities seriously they would have to set up their own advisory service.

The whole question of increasing the quantity of milk and milk products exported seems to be a question of major Government policy. How can one even approach the question without, first of all, having a definite assurance from the Government as to the measure of price support they will guarantee for the increased products in the years ahead? Secondly, if the increase is to be obtained in that way, it may be a steady increase on each of the farms concerned. That means better farming and better management and all the other necessary features that go with it.

Another way is to change the pattern of farming. Under these sections, for instance, would the Board be entitled to spend funds advising farmers that beef production is a low-profit type of farming and that they ought to switch over to dairy farming? The section appears to be very wide and I should like to hear what the Minister has to say before I develop my arguments. There may be a very simple explanation.

I should like to hear the Senator further because I do not follow his reasoning.

If we take just one paragraph, paragraph (g) it states:

establish, equip and operate, and provide for the establishment, equipment and operation of, and assist, financially or otherwise, in the operation of, showrooms, information bureaux, and similar establishments, in the State and outside the State, designed to promote the increased consumption and use of milk and milk products and to promote increases in the quantities of milk and milk products exported from the State,

My query is in relation to this part of the paragraph: "to promote increases in the quantities of milk and milk products exported from the State." How can the Board do that? It is tied up with major Government policy. If we want to get increases, as we all do, the Government will naturally have to guarantee some returns to the farmers embarking on these increases; in other words the Government will have to commit themselves to a policy of price support for some reasonable period ahead. The question could also arise as to advising farmers to get into milk production and to get away from some of the less profitable forms of farming, to swing over from tillage or from some of the beef production enterprises. I want to know how the Minister envisages that the Board should carry out these functions and what are the limitations.

This is not an Appropriation Bill debate.

I cannot understand why the Minister does not see the point that Senator Quinlan is making. His point seems to be that it is all right to set up marketing machinery but you need the produce to market abundance, and the problem with nearly all agricultural products in this country is that they are not there in the abundance and in the continuity that would allow people who know how to market them to do so. It is more important to have the products to market than to have the marketing technique. This very important Bill raises the hopes of the farmers with regard to marketing. However, I do not want marketing to be allowed to become a panacea for all our problems. It will not help them at all unless we have ways and means of getting the increased production. That is a very important point and the Minister ought to say what increased quantities he proposes to have apart from the other aspects of policy. In this way the Seanad, when discussing marketing, will know more about the marketing problem with which they have to deal.

Surely the Seanad cannot accept these three amendments? On the Second Reading debate and in the discussion yesterday the idea that emerged was the need for increased exports of our agricultural products, of milk and milk products. These three amendments cut across that idea and there is no sanity attached to them. It is sought to delete from each of the three paragraphs (f), (g) and (h) the words "and promoting increases in the quantities of milk and milk products exported from the State." That cuts the bowels out of the Bill and it is preposterous to ask the Seanad to accept these amendments.

The Senator has stated that he requires information. Therefore Senator Ó Donnabháin would be wrong in assuming that Senator Quinlan intends to pursue the amendments to the point of emasculating the Bill. I take it the mover of the amendments has read the Report —I know he has—and on page 3 there is, in my view, the most important sentence in the Report:

The fundamental point to be decided is whether this country should be an exporter of whatever temporary surplus of dairy produce may arise from time to time or whether the country should be a long-term exporter...

That is the kernel of the problem.

I think the Minister has made it clear that it is the policy of the Government to increase milk production within reason and within limits. To carry it to the limit suggested by Senator Quinlan will possibly mean the playing down of sugar production which can stand on its own legs without support, and at the same time to drown other countries in milk and milk products and have unlimited price support or subsidy in some form or other. If the Minister for Agriculture were to advocate that policy, I would not have the opinion of him I have.

Mr. O'Dwyer

I cannot agree with these amendments. The purpose of establishing this Board is to increase milk production; otherwise there would be no need for the Bill. I would say one of the weaknesses of the Bill is that the Board are not given sufficient power to develop the dairying industry. If exports of milk products are to have continuity the supply must be stable. Up to this it has been by no means stable. A few years ago when butter production was at its full height the export market was developed; the supply at home suddenly dropped and exports had to stop. It may arise that there will be a fall in cattle prices at some time and that there will be a tendency towards dairying, but the next year there may be an increase in fat cattle and store cattle prices and then the farmers will go back to that type of farming. There is always that danger and the Board should have power to develop dairying and put it on a sound basis. I think the Board should have power to develop dairying in some way and also, because of the danger of the eradication of bovine T.B. affecting our production, I think the Board should be in a position to re-establish dairy herds to replace those eliminated.

I could not even guess up to now what these amendments were really aimed at. Surely whatever success may attend the Board's efforts, when it is established, we all hope that the purpose for which it is being established will be realised, that is, that it will make an effort to export whatever surplus we have more profitably than has been the case in the past. The more profitable our exports are made, the more likely we are to increase production. Is that not a simple aim and object? Surely that is the aim of the Bill and of the work in which we are engaged?

Government policy in that regard has been stated many times already—to increase the cow population, which is the only way in which we can secure and make available increased supplies of milk for conversion into milk products. The more scientifically these surplus products are marketed, the more profitably they are marketed the better our chances of having the supply increased. The amendments, it would seem, are designed to prevent the Board from engaging in all sorts of activities in which a board, to which a task of this nature is given, should engage.

The amendment was put down for information. What I want to know is what precisely does the Minister visualise the Board should do under this section? The question of increased production is beside the point because we are all in favour of it and there would be no point in setting up this Board, unless we were committed to that. My worry on that score is that the Government's committal to that policy is not strong enough but I do not want to develop that here. I want to know what the Board would really do under, say, (f), publicity, to increase the quantities of milk and milk products exported from the State. I regard those as being major functions of Government and of the Department of Agriculture to the extent of advising farmers and arranging or encouraging changes from one type of agricultural production to another.

Perhaps the Minister would tell us if the phrase "promoting increases in the quantities of milk and milk products exported from the State" is to be interpreted as meaning promoting means of selling those increased quantities when they go abroad. That seems rather a far-fetched interpretation. It would clarify the discussion if the Minister or Senator Ó Donnabháin who seems to feel so strongly about this would take any one section and explain how, if he were a member of the Board, he would envisage the Board complying with it. It is no use putting duties on the Board with which they will find it impossible to comply.

I think this is an outrageous suggestion to make to the Minister. Section 5 deals in some detail with the functions of the Board and now Senator Quinlan asks the Minister to discuss the future administrative operation of the Board in a very detailed and extensive way set out in Section 5. Section 5 sets out in some detail the machinery which the Board will operate and surely how it will operate administratively is a matter for the future and not a matter into which the Minister can go here, unless we are prepared to remain here for the next month.

I can see what Senator Quinlan is getting at, but I think the whole thing is a bit nebulous. I do not think the wording has any material effect. As an indication of the general importance of the Bill, it is of some value, but there are so many other indications elsewhere in the Bill of the Board's functions regarding the promotion of increases in the quantities of milk and milk products that it does not seem to matter one way or another whether these phrases are there or not.

Like Senator Quinlan, I have some misgivings as to whether or not the Government really want to increase milk product exports but if one looks at the Bill in a general way, there are so many other statements on particular facets of the industry that the phrases objected to by Senator Quinlan do not seem to matter.

A final word. As Senator Lenihan has raised the matter, this section involves both the Minister and the new Board because we must agree that the development of increased production is a major Government responsibility. Consequently, we are within our rights in asking how does the Minister envisage that aim will be achieved between his Department and the Board? If the Minister will agree that the main responsibility for increased production lies fairly and squarely on the Government and not on the new Board, then I think we shall be satisfied.

The Board has nothing to do with production; it is a marketing Board. How does the Senator suggest that the onus should lie on the Board or that anybody seeks to put the onus of achieving increased production on the Board? The Senator knows that it is major Government policy to promote and encourage increased exports of all agricultural products and that, in the current Book of Estimates, upwards of £23,000,000 or £24,000,000—I forget which—is devoted towards encouraging production and exports.

The Senator is very anxious to tie this in with politics and involve both the Minister and the Government in day-to-day administration and in every dispute, if you like, as to the merits or demerits of milk and milk products. When the Board are established they will have their day-to-day problems, just the same as any other statutory body. They will function in the same way as every statutory body functions at the moment. They will conduct their affairs in a businesslike fashion. It seems to me that the Minister is not called upon on the Committee Stage of this Bill to answer hypothetical questions as to what Government policy is in this matter. Everybody is familiar with Government policy. Any Government must needs subscribe to the sentiments expressed in this measure and to the provisions of this Bill, if it is to survive. The purpose of the Bill is to increase production and to find the best possible market for that increased production and, at the same time, compensate the producer.

I cannot understand Senator Quinlan raising these matters. He does not want the amendments passed but he wants a statement from the Minister——

I did not say I do not want them passed.

I do not repeat as the Senator repeats, in other words, six times statements he has already made, but I repeat my statement that he is trying to emasculate this Bill and I cannot understand why any sensible person would want to do that. Yesterday we had arguments from the opposite benches in favour of embargoes on the new Board relative to their activities within the State. To-day, by deleting this phrase, the Senator wants to put embargoes on the Board outside the State.

Not outside the State.

When Bord na Móna were being established, the Minister was not asked how he proposed to drain the bogs or what machinery he would use for that purpose. We all know how Bord na Móna have developed. Is it the desire that the Minister should say something now so that it can be picked on by somebody who will proclaim that it is phoney? The only phoney note is the phoney attitude of the Senator who put down these three ridiculous amendments. Continuing the discussion on these lines is fantastic.

I doubt if we will make very much progress if Senator Ó Donnabháin insists on substituting abuse for discussion. Senator Carter put his finger on the matter. He said this is a marketing board. We are all agreed on that. The clause here refers to methods to increase production. All I have asked is that the whole responsibility will not lie on the new Board. I merely ask for information, information to which every member of this House is entitled. I put many days' work into this and had Senator Ó Donnabháin put the same amount of time and work into it, he would not have been so confused in his interpretation of the section.

Very often, we get information on amendments which makes the position quite clear and the amendments are then withdrawn. I have put down a number of amendments so that we may be satisfied after that fashion. I cannot know the position fully until I hear the full explanation; neither can I withdraw an amendment until I have been given a reply. If the Minister will give an assurance that the major responsibility for increasing our export of dairy products will rest fairly and squarely with the Government, I shall be quite satisfied.

The duties and responsibilities of this Board will be set out fully when this measure is enacted.

Does the Minister accept that it is major Government responsibility to increase production?

I accept fully the implications of what I have said as far as the activities of this Board are concerned.

That does not clarify anything. I am not saying now whether or not it should be a policy of increased production. All I am asking is that the major responsibility for increasing production will remain with the Government.

It is all in Section 5.

The main ingredient in increased production is obviously price support. Consequently, I do not want us to shelve that responsibility and place it solely on the new Board.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments Nos. 7 and 8 not moved.
Question proposed: "That Section 5 stand part of the Bill."

In my opinion, if one were to delete the entire section, with the exception of subsection (2) (i), one would have all the powers necessary. The rest of the section is intended to direct and, in some measure, to limit, the activities of the Board. Two things should happen. First, the Board should have the widest possible power within the framework of what they set out to do and, secondly, in major policy decisions, the Government should be answerable to Parliament and information should be readily available to Parliament.

Subsection (2) provides:

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) of this section, the board may do all or any of the following:

Subparagraph (i) of subsection (2) provides:

(i) undertake, promote, or provide for the undertaking and promotion of, and assist in, financially or otherwise, any activity which, in the opinion of the Board, is or is likely to result in, directly or indirectly, increases in the quantities of milk and milk products exported from the State.

That subsection embraces everything. It embraces what Senator Quinlan wishes the section to embrace, namely, an increase in the production of milk. Had Section 5 consisted merely of that provision, Senator Quinlan's question would never have been asked, because the answer is obvious. If, however, one takes the other subsections, one finds detailed specifications of the particular duties and activities the Government desire the Board to undertake. When one comes to consider, for instance, subsection (1) (a) one finds that it is to provide for the export of milk and milk products but there is no mention of production. Similarly subsection (1) (b) points out that the Board can "promote, facilitate, encourage and assist (financially or otherwise), coordinate and develop the exportation of milk and milk products." Again, we have the same words "exportation of milk products."

My reading of the Bill is that it is the intention of all these subsections with the exception of subsection (2) (i), to limit the activities of the Board to the encouragement of the export of surpluses and to direct their activities away from the production of milk within the State. That is my quibble with this section. The case has been made, and must be accepted, that if we have not got a continuing volume of milk products to sell, we cannot put our own labels upon them and advertise them abroad as branded products. On Second Reading I pointed out the premium that can be obtained on branded food products. In fact, many firms selling food products in bulk at a loss can make up that loss by the sale of branded products in packets All firms desire to have a continuing supply of goods so that they can advertise and promote greater sales of the branded, packaged product.

Section 5 does not give the wide powers mentioned in subsection (2) (i) because of the nature of all the other subsections, to which the Minister can draw the attention of the Board if he wishes them to desist. For that reason it is a limiting section. But, unfortunately, the Bill as a whole is unlimited as far as the powers of the Minister are concerned.

We had a long discussion yesterday on subsection (2) and there is no point in prolonging the matter. But there is one point I omitted to make in regard to subsection (2). If one turns to subsection (2) (g), one finds that what the Minister was speaking about is covered there. This subsection states that the Board can:

establish, equip and operate, and provide for the establishment, equipment and operation of, and assist, financially or otherwise, in the operation of, showrooms, information bureaux, and similar establishments, in the State and outside the State, designed to promote the increased consumption and use of milk and milk products and to promote increases in the quantities of milk and milk products exported from the State,

So that, in fact, all the talk about Shannon Airport was the same sort of thing I mentioned yesterday when I said I put down, as a connotation to the Dáil Debates, "All my foot!"

Under subsection (2) (c) the Board may be instructed to institute the investigation of markets. Again there is limitation. They are instructed to investigate markets rather than investigate why we have not got a constant supply of creamery milk for which we could get a premium. Subsection (2) (d) refers to the carrying out of "periodic comprehensive reviews and surveys and studies of trade in milk and milk products in the State and outside the State." I say that limits the wider scope of subsection (2) (i). You have the same sort of approach in relation to subsection (2) (e) in regard to presentation, subsection (2) (f) in regard to publicity, subsection (2) (g) in regard to the equipment and operation of showrooms and so on and subsection (2) (h) in regard to the publication and distribution of bulletins and journals. This section would be of far greater value if it consisted only of subsection (2) (i).

I hope the Minister is sincere in his attempt to increase the volume of milk produced in the State. This will, of course, mean an increase in exports because, with the exception of cheese, it is quite obvious that home consumption has remained static. I feel the implication of Section 5 is that it merely addresses the Board to the marketing of occasional surpluses and on that basis in world trade today the marketing of any food commodity can produce nothing but a loss.

With this section we are leaving the question of Government policy. The Government have announced their intention of increasing production and all that. They have set out in their White Paper that they hope to increase cow numbers and to have the resultant increased production. But what is missing in the whole approach—I know it is a very difficult thing to give—is a long-term guarantee of price support. As everybody knows, there is no point in appealing for increased production unless the people concerned can profit by that increased production. I hope it will be possible for the Minister to get from the Government, before very long, at least a five year plan of price supports so that the farming community will know in reasonable time what type of support they may expect and may plan accordingly. That is the essential ingredient in increased production.

Subsection (2) (c) states that the Board may:

conduct, or provide for the conducting of, investigations, surveys, analyses, studies and reports in relation to markets, potential markets and market conditions for milk and milk products in the State and outside the State.

In other words, marketing investigation and research. If Senators will cast their minds back to December, 1957, and January, 1958, when we were discussing the Agricultural Institute Bill, they will find that very many members on both sides, in welcoming the Agricultural Institute, stressed marketing as one of its biggest problems. Replying to the Second Stage debate, the Taoiseach first gave his opinion as a lay man in regard to markets and said:

There are types of marketing problems which would lie within the competence of the Institute....

He goes on later:

There is really no need to consider the problem at all in the way I would consider it—as a lay man. I am assured from the legal point of view that the Bill is sufficiently broad to enable marketing problems to be dealt with by the Council.

That is the Council of the Institute...

Personally, if I were a member of the Council I do not think I would push in that direction so much, especially now that a body is being set up to deal with marketing problems of a different kind and I believe this question should be left to them and that the more scientific type of problem in regard to marketing should be confined to the Institute. I feel Senators can be satisfied that the legal advice I have received shows it is possible, and within the competence of the Council and Institute, to deal with marketing problems.

Under the section, we have a meeting of functions between the more empirical type of marketing analysis, the more experimental type, and the more studied type that might be in the province of the Agricultural Institute. Therefore, in passing this section, we should all express the hope and the confidence that there will be the fullest possible co-operation between these two bodies in their mutual contribution to our marketing problems. I may say that I have the fullest confidence that that will take place because even though the Agricultural Institute is only two years in being, it has made a remarkable impact on our nation and has achieved, I believe, everything we could wish it to achieve. Perhaps I might also pay tribute to the Minister and the Government for the wisdom they showed in their selection of the chairman and directors of that body.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 6 stand part of the Bill."

In my remarks on Section 5, I expressed my view that the Board should be left as far as possible without any interference and, at the same time, when major decisions involving a change of the functions or the work of the Board came to be made, the Minister should come back to Parliament. I believe that the further we get away from Parliament, the further we get away from government by the people. Even though, of necessity, the Minister always has a majority in Parliament, in wide reaching matters such as a change in the functions or the actions of a board as important as the Board we are now discussing, he should come back to Parliament.

Under Section 6, as I interpret it, the Minister can give power to the Board to do anything else he wants them to do. He can make any provision he likes relating to their work. I think that is far too sweeping. For instance, if certain chocolate crumb exports were to be handed over to the Board in the future, which are not within their responsibility at the moment, it is only right that the Minister should come back to Parliament and go through the machinery of Parliament to give that extra function to the Board. That would mean that those members of Parliament who had experience of the chocolate crumb export trade, if that were the particular facet being changed, could make their case if they felt it was not wise to depart from the existing situation.

There are new products which could be investigated by the Board under Section 5 and the international market is constantly changing. There are new products, such as processed cheese, which has come on the market in the past 15 years. A new product might be developed by an individual creamery or firm and it could be swallowed up by the Board, if the Minister saw fit. While the Minister would have the benefit of advice from his advisers in the Department and in his own Party—and it is only right that he should have advisers in his own Party—it is also right that if such a sweeping change were being considered, it should come before Parliament and be discussed in public in order that everyone could make his case.

I feel that Section 6 is entirely too wide in scope and, in fact, I believe there is no necessity for it at all. Because I believe it is throwing Parliament aside, I oppose the section.

I should like to support Senator Donegan in opposing this Section. It is only right and fit that the Minister should come back to Parliament and be fully answerable to Parliament in respect of any change of policy. We are daily becoming more socialistic in this country and whether in regard to co-operative creameries or otherwise, this form of State control is wholly undesirable. I believe one of the reasons we are not making as much progress as we should all like is that we are relying on the State rather than on the individual. I do not know how the freedom of the individual is to be protected under Section 6. It is quite possible that if an individual creamery gets an idea for doing something better than the other creameries and if it has not strong representation on the Board, it might find itself taken over by the Board. With regard to whatever small process or idea it has, an order will be made in Merrion Street and it will not be brought before either House——

Who says?

I feel that the more liberalisation we have, the more success we shall have in marketing and everything else. We are going away from the experience in every country in Europe in this matter and, in everything we are doing, we are becoming more socialistic and more regimented and, in the future, even in the interests of freedom, no one will be able to unscramble the eggs after we have scrambled them.

On Section 5, Senator Donegan argued at some length that there was an attempt to play down the powers of the Board. In his view, omnibus powers were given to the Board under one subsection, while other paragraphs took away powers from the Board. He said he was against that. Now on this section he says the powers of the Board are too wide.

The powers of the Minister.

The whole thing is nonsense. The Board may——

Not the Board—the Minister.

——with the consent of the Minister for Finance do certain things. The Minister may give certain duties to the Board. That is giving power to the Board as I read it, and if the Senator wants to read it his way, I cannot help that. I am entitled to read it as I see it. Surely we cannot suggest that the Board, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, would be asked to collect as much income tax on behalf of the Revenue Commissioners as would suit their own purposes or some such arrangement.

We ought to be practical about this matter. The Board must be given power to carry on and to do the job of work that has not been done up to now as well as it might have been done. The Board of Aer Lingus do not have to come back to the Dáil and Seanad—they have power to make their arrangements without doing so. They do not have to come back to this House and to the Dáil every second month looking for additional power. These boards cannot be put into watertight compartments, although there is a mentality which suggests that the Minister and the Board should be put in watertight compartments. There will never be success that way.

We should agree, even at this late hour, that as far as possible we should divorce the question of the marketing of agricultural products from political activity and political suggestion. It is hard to do so because many of us have political attitudes, whether or not we know it. It would be well if matters of this nature were divorced from politics. Maybe it is because I have a political attitude that I cannot help thinking that the debate so far on Sections 5 and 6 has had an underlying political suggestion that the Government have no policy on this matter, that the Government do not want increased production, that the Government want fluctuating marginal surpluses to dump on a foreign market at possibly the most unsuitable time.

Maybe it is because I am damned with a political attitude that I see in this debate an attempt to suggest that that is the policy of the Minister and the Government. If that is so, it is my attitude that it is not the policy of the Government or of this Party to dump on a foreign market improperly packed and improperly marketed agricultural products.

In his quiet way, Senator Burke made a contribution. He suggested there might be something in this section to prevent a new firm from marketing a particular milk product under a trade brand.

Senator Donegan said it before me.

I am sure that if the Senator produces "Burke Butter" properly packed, properly advertised and properly marketed and gets a better price for it on the British market than that for Danish butter the Minister would freely give him the power to export it as he himself wants to export it.

I wish to support the opposition to this section but in doing so I regret that any note of acrimony should enter into our discussions, such as the contribution of the last speaker. We are acting as a deliberative Assembly. We should all be jealous of the position, privileges and rights of this House and of the other House but especially of our own House. We should be ever-watchful against this type of what one might call government by order or by regulation. That is the type of government in dictatorships—government by order. If a dictator takes over a country he wants it to function as smoothly as possible. He will have his Department of Agriculture, his Department of Fisheries, and so on, and he will have them manned by competent officials. When they decide, their decision goes through by order. That is the type of legislation we have been slipping into very much in recent years— order and regulation. If we realise our position in this legislative Assembly we should guard against that. What is the reason for it? I cannot see any.

Under Section 5 the Minister can, in writing, simply assign to the Board the various problems in exporting milk and milk products. Then we get this omnibus Section 6 which assigns to the Board such additional functions as the Minister thinks fit in relation to milk and milk products. For instance, he could assign to them the inspection of creameries or the conducting of the advisory services. There is no end to what he could assign to them under this provision. This Bill was ordered by the Dáil to be printed on 24th November. Many members were I think displeased that it did not pass through this House on 21st December, a bare month after it was ordered to be printed by the Dáil. If it were just an amending Bill rather than this comprehensive and important Bill setting up this whole new organisation, it might have been different. You will find evidence in the records of amending Bills which have gone through in a matter of a week or two weeks. The Houses have always been most co-operative on these matters.

If there are any radical departures in relation to the marketing of milk and milk products, if there are any functions like the ones I mentioned to be assigned to the Board, Parliament should be consulted and we should have the opportunity of discussing them.

We are on Section 6. The Senator's point was made and ought to be considered in relation to Section 63.

I agree but I regard Section 63 under which the orders are laid on the Table as very much a secondhand and a poor substitute for the type of amending Bill that comes through here. Take another example. We have had many Bills in the past assigning capital to various companies, to Bord na Móna, Aer Lingus, the E.S.B. and others. We always put an upper limit on that. The idea is that it is capital sufficient for four or five years. When the Minister needs more capital he comes back to the House. The House has a discussion on the activities of the company, and so on, and gives the Minister his capital. At least it investigates the matter fully. Why can we not do that in relation to this new Board?

It would be very wise to drop this section altogether. We are simply saying that Parliament is unnecessary, that we should have Ministerial rule. In short, we are simply saying that we should hasten the process of socialisation which is taking place here. If a dictator ever takes over, he will have all the machinery available to enforce his will upon the nation.

It would be impossible to pass any important Bill without giving the Minister power to make certain orders. It is almost inevitable in any kind of Bill and certainly in one of this nature. It is always possible, when you give him that power, to say: "This is another step on the slippery slope" and that we are heading for dictatorship and Socialism. All that the House can do on any Bill is to consider what is reasonable and to consider whether the powers given in the order are reasonable and, if they are, then we must accept them even if they appear to some people to be another step in the wrong direction.

It appears that the power given to the Minister in this is quite reasonable and is not anything that we can worry about. To say it would be better for the Minister to introduce an amending Bill rather than to issue this order is merely a quibble. Perhaps it would be better, perhaps worse. It is quite clear that any order made by the Minister must be laid on the Table. If any member of the other House thinks he should not have made the order he is quite entitled to bring the matter before the House and discuss it in exactly the same way as if the Minister brought in an amending Act, so that as far as the question of handing over powers to the Minister and that we will be able to do nothing about it is concerned, that situation does not exist and will not exist. We will have the opportunity, if we disagree with any orders made by the Minister, to discuss the matter, object to it and say he should not have done it. It is a quibble to say that this is a very serious power we are giving him and that it would be much better to bring in an amending Bill.

One thing we must realise is that we have gone farther in this country than any country outside the Iron Curtain has gone in creating a monopoly in the milk business. I think that monopolies are dangerous and the public must be safeguarded rigorously by Parliament. The pages of history are eloquent on the question of the evils of monopolies. When the Minister takes power in a section to allow the monopoly to do even more than is contained in the sections of that Bill, it is, indeed, right that Parliament should protest. One of the principal objections I have to a monopoly and the sections in this Bill is that it imposes uniformity. It kills imagination and variety and stops new entrants into the business and is likely to give us, as a result, mediocrity.

As an example of the sort of thing that can happen, let me quote the case of a friend of mine who said he would like to sell milk in the town from which it was most convenient for him to bring back feedingstuffs and other raw materials for agricultural production. After he had delivered the milk to the local creamery, he was informed that he could not deliver the milk to that creamery because geographically another creamery was nearer to him. Possibly it would have been nearer to him with a helicopter. That is the sort of thing I am afraid of.

It should cause us all to pause before giving such power and say that the Minister is a reasonable man. His predecessor was a reasonable man. I said to the Minister's predecessor, Deputy Dillon, that this was the greatest monopoly in the State. I still hold it is the greatest monopoly in the State. I discussed the question of co-operatives with representative co-operative associations in both Holland and Denmark. As far as I can see, we have gone farther in holding up any person who feels he could handle milk or milk products better than any co-operative society or any vested interest in the trade. More people are being precluded in this way in Ireland than in any other country in the world. It is the negation of progress. We want to look at the matter from the point of view of freshness. What we are laying down in our laws is the sort of thing that would have prevented progress in America. It is the antithesis of a virile, active, private enterprise economy to stop anybody with imagination getting into the business.

With regard to the man from whom the creamery would not take milk, he found that he was not prevented from selling bottled milk. He started to engage in the sale of bottled milk and I believe it is amongst the best bottled milk in the country. There is an example of a man who was able to demonstrate that he could do something better himself. I think that in the whole of the creamery industry if anyone, whether he be from Leitrim, Tipperary, Cork or any other place, is able to do something better than is done anywhere else, we should not hold up progress by saying that beyond a certain point one cannot go.

Therefore, I feel that any new intrusion on the rights of the citizens of this country, as enshrined in fine phrases in the Constitution, should be brought before these Houses and discussed openly. Why should any Minister be ashamed to say what he proposes to do? Why should he not listen to criticism? Many lawyers in this and the other House know that, through criticism and cross-examination, they get the truth. The Minister and all of us are put on our mettle. That is how we sift things. That is why I oppose this section. The Minister should withdraw the section. I do not think it is necessary.

I shall be extremely brief. The comparison made by Senator O'Reilly between Aer Lingus and An Bord Bainne is ludicrous. There is no comparison. One has only to read through this measure to see the degree of power which the Minister has got. Senator Ryan made the point that it is always necessary to give power to the Minister but this Bill is the type of Bill where that is not necessary. There are two entire pages devoted to the specification of power and the limitation on the extension of powers. In my view certain subsections of Section 5 are, without doubt, even contradictory. I feel that with such a comprehensive specification, there is no need whatever for such powers as are mentioned.

With regard to the fact that these orders will be laid on the Table of both Houses of the Oireachtas, I do not think that is any substitute for the Minister coming back to amend an Act. Senator Quinlan drew attention to the fact that people from the 24th November would have been very desirous of getting this legislation through in 15 days. It did not go through. I understand that orders tabled in both Houses of the Oireachtas, can be discussed within 21 days. When that is done, the orders may be in operation. I feel that Section 6 is entirely too wide. The specification is so distinct and so comprehensive in Section 5, Section 4 and, indeed, in Section 2 that there is no need whatever for further powers for the Minister except the powers he can get by coming back to Parliament.

The functions of the Board may be set out fairly extensively as some Senators claim but however extensively they are set out, as we all must admit, if we want to be reasonable, some function could be overlooked. The suggestion that I should in that event have to come back to the Oireachtas with amending legislation, I think, is childish.

It would not be a great crime to have to come back.

I think it is childish. The contribution made on this section by Senator Ryan answers the whole case and meets all the points to which we have listened. All this section does is to provide against the possibility that some normal function of this Board might be overlooked, might not have been included, and to provide power for the making of an order, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, to add that function to their other functions. That order will be laid on the Table of the House and can be discussed, as has been described by Senator Ryan, and how that conflicts with a commonsense approach is something I just cannot understand.

For almost 35 years, I have been listening to this kind of debate, as to the wisdom of legislation by order and the power given to Ministers to make regulations or orders of one kind or another. As Senator Ryan said, it has been necessary and it will always be necessary to do so. Surely to goodness, it is necessary, in a formidable Bill of this kind, to have a precautionary section which, in the event of some function having been overlooked, will enable me to make an order, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, so that that defect may be rectified.

There is an in-between stage that has been overlooked in relation to the section which I think could well be adopted. In Section 5, we set out the functions of the Board and we go the distance of enabling the Minister to specify in writing what particular way some of these functions are to be discharged. I agree entirely with the Minister and Senator Ryan that it is not possible to foresee everything in legislation of this kind and, therefore, if you are not to have amending legislation, you must have some other short method of adding to the functions or taking away from the functions of a body such as this.

On yesterday's Order Paper, there is a motion in connection with the State Guarantees Act of 1954, under which additions to the Schedule are made by means of a drafting order laid before each House of the Oireachtas. The drafting order does not take effect until it is brought before each House of the Oireachtas and approved. That is one example of the kind of way in which these additional functions could be added to Bord Bainne. We had the same kind of thing recently when discussing taxation in relation to tractors. There was a long debate in the Dáil, and a fairly long debate here, before the method for increasing taxation for tractors was brought into operation. Under the Social Welfare Act, 1952, there is extensive provision for putting certain people into the insurable classes and removing certain people from the insurable classes and that is all done by orders, each of which has to be approved by each House of the Oireachtas before it takes effect.

Senator Quinlan and other Senators are quite right to be disturbed about the number of orders and the number of regulations being made, none of which is ever reviewed by either House of the Oireachtas. The only example in recent times, to my knowledge, of an order which was sought to be annulled was one in the Dáil in relation to some aspect of the Minister's Department. I need not tell the House that it got short shrift from the Minister, who, I am sure, regarded it, too, as being childish. The plain fact of the matter is that if the Minister or any Minister wants to add to the functions of Bord Bainne, there will be no difficulty in approving a drafting order. As far as any Minister for Agriculture is concerned, presumably he will always have a majority in Dáil Éireann, but not so certainly in Seanad Éireann, to get his order through.

For that reason, I would ask the Minister seriously to consider whether this section might not be amended on Report Stage to adopt the in-between procedure I suggest: not to introduce an amending Bill each time you want to add to the functions of the Board or lay the order on the Table of each House, but to adopt the procedure under the State Guarantees Act and also under the Social Welfare Act of 1952.

In reference to what Senator O'Quigley has said, the fact that numerous orders are laid on the Table of the House and are never challenged is clearly indicative of one of two things: either that the Government, the Ministers, have been abusing their powers and the members of this House have been negligent in not bringing to the notice of the House and the country that Ministers have been abusing their powers, or, on the other hand, that the Ministers have not been abusing the powers they have been given in various Acts over the years.

I could not accept that. The answer is that when an order is laid on the Table of the House, it is a fait accompli and members of the House, when faced with something which at that moment is in operation in the country, naturally on many occasions do not wish to discuss it. All they can do is seek publicity about it, seek propaganda about it, whereas, in effect, the other system is a different one.

For the records of the House, I should like to point out that on one occasion during the emergency period, an order which had been made was challenged and discussed in this House and, by agreement of all members of the House, it was altered. I grant that on that occasion it was during an emergency period, as a result of the bombing of the North Strand, but the order was altered. I have personal experience of getting an order altered because it was incorrect, through approaching a Minister. He agreed that it was incorrect. That shows that when we feel strongly about orders or regulations, we get them altered.

One swallow never made a summer.

It does not prove there is a winter.

To seek a precedent in an important order made during an emergency period such as obtained during the last war, and on which agreement of the Houses of the Oireachtas succeeded in changing the order, is, in my view, to use the words of the Minister, childish. There is no analogy there whatever with what we are now discussing. If I were to produce an analogy in order to estimate the likelihood of the Minister's accepting a change in an order laid before the House of the Oireachtas in relation to the legislation we are discussing or anything else, it would be his attitude to the amendments here today, which proves that there would be no hope at all of his accepting an alteration. The Seanad is supposed to be vocational; Senators are supposed to know something about agriculture and the dairying industry. Many amendments have been put down to this Bill. Amendments have been put down by Senator Quinlan who has qualifications far in excess of those of any member of the Government in regard to the matter we are discussing.

It is quite obvious that the Minister is determined not to accept any one of them. That proves completely that the hope of changing an order laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas in relation to this sort of legislation is exceedingly dim indeed.

Senator Ryan puts the position, as the former Taoiseach used to do, on the one hand and on the other hand, so nicely and neatly and logically that it seems extremely reasonable.


We all know that that kind of codology has gone out, thank God.

Are you against logic?

I am not against logic at all. I am talking about the apparent logic of the former Taoiseach's pronouncements, which Senator Ryan seems to admire. The plain fact of the matter is that until the Statutory Instruments Committee was established as a sub-committee of this House, of which Senator Ryan is a valued member, Departments were playing fast and loose with regulations. There were regulations that were supposed to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas within a specified time. They were not so laid for months after the specified time. They were supposed to be laid as soon as may be. They were not laid as soon as may be or anything like it. When Departments were asked why that was so and why they had not complied with the provision, they always had some kind of excuse. The plain fact of the matter is that regulations which Ministers were authorised to make were not being laid before each House of the Oireachtas as directed by the various statutes under which they were made.

It is all very well for Senator Ryan to say that if none of these is challenged, presumably they are all correct and, if they are not correct and if they are not challenged, the Houses are guilty of negligence in the discharge of their functions. At any rate, let us be satisfied and rejoice here this morning, on 5th January, that here is a Bill and here is this number of amendments and here is Seanad Éireann as one of the Houses of Parliament discharging its constitutional duty in examining minutely this legislation, section by section and line by line. When we are doing that, I do not think the members opposite are the slightest bit happy that we are doing our duty in this way. I am sure the Minister is most unhappy that amendment after amendment is being debated at length. He has some difficulty, I observe, in restraining members from interjecting and consequently slowing down the progress of these amendments and this Bill through the Seanad.

I am quite contented here.

The Senator can talk away. We are prepared to sit here until tomorrow.

I am quite contented.

That makes me happy.

My standard of endurance is fairly well established.

I am delighted to hear that.

Come to the section and leave order to the Chair.

I should not like to see the Minister in any way disturbed and I am glad that we can discuss this Bill in a free and easy atmosphere, knowing that the Minister is not trying to get it through.

My point is that all these various statutory instruments are being laid before each House of the Oireachtas. They are not being attended to. I have suggested before, and I will suggest in the near future in the form of a motion which I hope Senator Ryan and others will support, that the Seanad should set up a sub-committee analogous to the present Statutory Instruments Committee, to examine each of these regulations as it is made. If we had that kind of effective machinery operating, I would have much less hesitation in saying that any regulations can be made because each regulation would be examined by this Committee.

You have such a committee.

The Senator is displaying remarkable ignorance. We have the existing Statutory Instruments Committee whose terms of reference are extremely narrow and, for the information of the Senator, who has been a great deal longer in this House than I have and probably may be, the present Statutory Instruments Committee does not examine whether or not these regulations are good or bad. They merely examine them with a view to seeing if they conform to the procedure laid down in the various statutes.

I was a member of that Committee and I did that work personally.

The Senator does not know anything about it.

I read through any that interested me.

The Senator's memory is failing. The committee which I am advocating could examine each statutory instrument and determine as a matter of policy whether it was good or bad. The existing Committee does not concern itself at all with that.

Merely are they lawful.

Are they lawful and validly made. The Seanad would carry out a great and valuable function as a House of the Oireachtas in doing that valuable work. If members on the other side of the House are prepared to agree to the establishment of a committee of that kind, then I would have no hesitation whatever in agreeing that regulations of that kind could be made under the section and can be annulled within 21 days because I would know that every regulation would be examined as it was made and its political and economic wisdom or otherwise examined and scrutinised by this committee.

Senator Ryan, in his very valuable contribution, has shown the necessity for an appreciation of the duties of the Seanad and the necessity for members to scrutinise orders and use the opportunities available to challenge, but he cannot for one moment equate an order with an amending Act because an order as is provided in Section 63 can be discussed by motion within the next 21 days in which the House has sat. In other words, if an order is made after the House rises in July, nothing can be done until October or November and then the tracks may be up. There is the provision here that any decision of the House will not prejudice the validity of anything that has been done previously. In other words, the tracks were lawfully taken up.

A new classical reference.

We are letting down the dignity of this House and our function as legislators, if we consent to this type of government by order, merely on the plea that something might be forgotten and that because some minor thing might be forgotten, we must agree to a section as wide as this and giving unlimited powers to the Minister. The phrase used is "such other additional functions as he thinks fit". Every function in connection with milk and milk products could be assigned by order to this new Board.

Why should it not?

It is very bad practice to legislate so much for the particular. You might as well say that, because there is a slight danger that innocent people may be imprisoned, we should have no prisons. It is as wide as that.

Mr. O'Dwyer

It is quite clear that this is a provision to guard against the possibility of something having been forgotten. The working of this Board is a comparatively small matter and there should be no need to hold up the future business of the Dáil and Seanad in order to take it. I cannot understand why such a long discussion should take place in this regard.

There are a large and growing number of people in this country alarmed at the powers given to various boards. This House and Dáil Éireann should be very careful in examining the powers given to these semi-State bodies which are cropping up with alarming regularity month after month for the past number of years.

I welcome this Board and I hope it will be able to do what is necessary for the dairying industry. Speaking as a member of a co-operative committee, I would say that any help that can be given will be given. However, I appeal to this House in all earnestness to consider other boards and the dictatorial attitude they have adopted, even when asked to meet representatives of the people. They have treated them in a manner which the people deplore. I appeal to this House, while giving everything necessary for the carrying out of the functions of this Board, to refrain from giving full powers to them. In the very near future, both Houses of the Oireachtas will examine very carefully the powers that have already been given to other boards and the powers about to be given to this Board.

I did not intend to intervene in this debate which has been dragged out unduly, but the last speaker has compelled me to do so. There have been many arguments put forward from the benches opposite as to the extraordinary powers being given to these semi-State bodies. I should like them to examine these powers for themselves and the reasons for them, to go a little further back and examine the reasons why such bodies are coming into being and why there is a necessity for such bodies today. It is not the Minister who is seeking to create these bodies without the necessity being there. If our people in various walks of life had the necessary skill, experience and background to form co-operative societies or other public companies to carry out these functions, there would be no necessity at all for these much-abused bodies that have been set up. No self-respecting man with intelligence would dream of acting on that Board if he were to be hamstrung at the start because of the kind of clamour there is and the suspicion that surrounds the appointments of these bodies.

Many of these bodies are performing functions in a most creditable manner; in fact, the overwhelming majority are doing so. I have no reason to doubt that, as time passes, the Minister's actions in setting up this new Board will be justified. There is a reason and a demand for this Board among the farming community and anyone who has any knowledge of farming will have to admit that. I should much prefer to see the farmers themselves organised in some shape or form to do this work which the Minister has, of necessity, to step in to do, when there is no other organisation to do it.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Is the amendment being pressed?

Would you register us as dissenting?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

How many Senators wish to be recorded as dissenting?

A number of Senators rose.

Question: "That Section 6 stand part of the Bill" put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 7 stand part of the Bill."

Subsection (2) of section 7 provides:

The Minister may by regulations made under this section prescribe a day in each nominating year...

That gives the Minister elastic that can be stretched to twelve months. Could the Minister not have the establishment days within 21 days of the day four years after the proposed establishment day rather than take this power to have a Board which sits for three years or four years factually?

Question put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 9:

In subsection (1), to delete "nine" and substitute "thirteen".

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Amendments Nos. 9, 10, 18 and 20 go together.

I take it we shall have separate decisions?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

There will be one decision. The others are consequential on No. 9.

In that case, I shall have to treat No. 9 as depending on the others and I make a case to show that the additional members should be added.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Senator will have to make a complete case.

Yes. I intend, first of all, to make a few general remarks on the composition of the Board and then to take each of the separate additions I have suggested. I think it would be better if we could keep the discussion to each of these as they arise rather than mix up the four additions with one another.

We have had a great deal of very uninformed criticism, ranging from Senator O'Reilly's criticism that it is a condemnation of the co-operative movement that this Bill should be introduced, to what we heard from Senator O'Grady—again in the same tone—that the farmers cannot do it themselves. The plain fact about this is that the farmers have not been asked to do it themselves. The Irish co-operative movement was the pioneer in the field. Sir Horace Plunkett laid the principles of co-operation with Fr. Finlay. Unfortunately, these principles have been developed to a much greater extent in other countries, especially in Denmark where co-operation has reached the zenith.

The reason for the lack of development in Ireland is quite evident in regard to co-operation. It is simply lack of education. At first, this was the responsibility of an alien Government up to 1922, but I regret to say our own successive Governments have not taken very great steps to ensure that the rural community would be educated to the extent necessary to carry out their work in co-operation and to the same degree as in Denmark. There has been a big improvement in the past 10 years in that regard and I feel the co-operative movement can and should play a much bigger part in the present development than is assigned to it in this Bill. I hope some suggestions I have to make will remedy that at least to a slight extent.

Let us not, however, say for a moment that co-operation has failed here because my firm conviction is that the co-operative movement, through its head organisation, the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society, is capable of being expanded and enlarged to the extent where it could perhaps outdo the corresponding organisations in Denmark engaged in exporting and other activities.

However, that is not aimed at in the Bill and we shall take the Bill as it is and treat the place given to the co-operative movement with the charity of our silence and at all times protect the movement from any unjust insinuations like those made by Senators O'Reilly and O'Grady to the effect that farmers have not been able to do the job. I maintain they could do it.

The main reasons for the suggested increase in membership from 13 are these. Two additions were recommended by the Advisory Committee. They recommended nine members for the Board. I have stated that if ever the Government took the very unwise step of assigning cream exporting to this new body and riding roughshod over the Irish Cream Exporters who have done such a valuable job, then that body should automatically be represented on An Bord Bainne. That brought the membership to 10. The Committee also recommended that if ever this new Board became associated with chocolate crumb exporting, that branch should also be represented. The chocolate crumb section have been given their representative, despite the fact that the Board quite wisely will not be concerned with the export of chocolate crumb to England, the Six Counties or Canada. That brings the membership to 11.

The other two I suggest here are, first, the secretary of the I.A.O.S., whoever he may be. He should be on the Board ex officio. That is the least tribute we can pay that organisation. It is not necessary to pay them a tribute or to have this appointment made on sufferance because we can feel certain that if we have the secretary of the I.A.O.S. on the Board, we shall have an invaluable member, one capable of making the highest possible contribution. I am not referring to the present secretary or any other but I am referring to whoever will be secretary at any time. I have no doubt we would have a man of the highest calibre, a man comparable with the present illustrious holder of the position who would make an invaluable contribution to the Board. He would also be a man of general interests, not concerned with any one particular facet of milk production and his interests would lie in the co-operative movement as a whole and the farming community under that co-operative movement.

It is scarcely necessary for me to make the case for that and I am rather surprised that the Advisory Committee did not advert to it. Perhaps they may have had difficulty in that they did not wish to raise a hornet's nest of other organisations seeking representation. There are many farm organisations and others that might use such a recommendation as a lever to try to get representation for themselves. I do not think any organisation could seriously contend that they occupy the same wide general position in regard to Irish agriculture as the I.A.O.S.

The other suggestion I have made is that the Agricultural Institute should nominate somebody. The Seanad will recall when we had the Agricultural Institute Bill before us, the attitude was reminiscent of today. We were setting up this new body with a big job to do and nothing was too good for it: we were to give it all the powers and anybody who suggested even a minor restriction or minor review was pushed aside. The Agricultural Institute which is doing such remarkable work at the moment and which has set about its job with such vigour could make an outstanding contribution to the Board. It has a very active dairy committee and has many dairy farms. It has its headquarters at Moore Park outside Fermoy and a farm at Herbertstown and it is branching out generally. It is concerned with the economic needs of milk production.

I said earlier, and I do not think I need repeat the quotation, that under the Act setting up the Agricultural Institute, it is charged with various research problems including marketing so that there is really an overlapping and we shall need very close liaison between An Bord Bainne and the Institute in the time ahead. Consequently, I feel that a nominee of the Institute would be a most valuable acquisition to the Board. I am not concerned for a moment with representation on this Board; that is purely secondary and I hope members appointed to the Board will forget their original organisations and work in harmony on the Board as members of it.

There is an absolute necessity for getting the best men we can, men backed by the best advisory service. In that regard both the I.A.O.S. and the Agricultural Institute have outstanding claims. This would be a valuable means of linking these bodies together in our mutual efforts to improve our agriculture and general standard of production to achieve what we all know can be achieved.

I am a little restricted in this debate because of the way in which the amendments have been grouped together. I appreciate that that is, perhaps, inevitable. It is proposed that four members will be nominated under Section 9, three representatives from the producers and then the Minister will appoint one member through the co-operative societies to represent cream. That provision is, I think, totally inadequate. If producers are to be represented so that they will have confidence in the Board, then they should be represented, fairly, squarely and honestly. The suggestion made by the Minister that producers might be represented by creamery managers is quite wrong. It is tantamount to asking producers to say that they are not fit to be represented by people from their own ranks. Admittedly creamery managers have more technical training. But that is not the point. The important thing is to have bona fide producer representation on the Board. If it is necessary to have creamery managers on the Board, they should be designated as such.

Again producers should be fairly representative of the different areas. At the moment counties like Kilkenny, Laois and Wexford are all lumped together—areas in which 90 per cent. of the milk is produced.

No. Monaghan and Cavan.

I have not checked very closely but my estimate is that there is not more than 20 per cent, in that region. There is all the difficulty of the representative keeping contact with the groups. I propose a radical division into units. For instance Clare, Kerry, Limerick and Cork would be one unit; then Waterford, Tipperary, Wexford and Laois would be another, and the remainder would form another suitable unit. Within those regions it should be possible for a representative to keep in touch with his group.

Another recommendation I make is that the representative should be someone who earns his livelihood mainly from dairying. If such a Board were being constituted in Denmark, the idea that the dairy farmers might be represented by anybody else but dairy farmers would be regarded as the height of absurdity. I do not know whether I can discuss the system of voting.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

There is a separate grouping for that.

That can be treated separately. That relieves me. The way the cream exporters have been treated is a scandal. We are all ready to acclaim a successful body. We are all ready to recognise the contribution a successful body makes to our economy. The belief seems to have grown up that the only successful bodies we have are the semi-State bodies like the E.S.B. and Bord na Móna. In the dairying industry we have one of the most successful bodies of all, the Cream Exporters Association. Over the years that body has exported as much dairy produce to England as the other groups combined. Yet, cheese and milk powder, and quite rightly so, will each have a representative on this Board. The cream exporters have been ridden over roughshod. The management of this highly successful trade is being taken from them. Some people say co-operation has failed.

In the Cream Exporters Association we have an outstanding example of what co-operation will achieve. We have ten to twelve per cent, of the British market for this highly lucrative trade, and that market will expand considerably in the future. Yet, the best that can be done is to provide for a representative, elected by the co-operatives as a whole, who will have to acquaint himself with the problems of cream.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Senator is now adding amendment 21 to the other four for discussion.

I understood we were discussing them all together.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

It was not on the list but the Senator has pretty well discussed it.

With your permission, I shall leave amendment 21 for discussion later.

I am in favour of substituting 13 members for nine. At the moment we have 100,000 suppliers of milk to creameries. We have 52,000 milk suppliers who are members of co-operatives and we have approximately 20,000 supplying milk to the Dairy Disposal Board. The suggestion is that four producer members will be elected by the members of the co-operative creameries in the nine southern counties. There are 138 co-operative creameries in these nine counties. One representative will be elected by the remaining co-operative creamery societies. This group has 50 creameries. All the societies total 188, and they will have one representative. About 20,000 suppliers to the Dairy Disposal Board elect the fourth man.

From the above it can be seen that a quarter of the suppliers have no say whatever in the election of the Board. Indeed, if allowance is to be made for the fact that many of those claiming to be members of co-operative creameries are long dead and their shares not transferred, we find nearly half the suppliers have been disfranchised. The producer representatives should be elected by the producers. If this cannot be done now, I submit a complete register should be made of the producers and that two years should be the time given instead of four. The producers should be given an opportunity of voting directly on this Board.

I am afraid one section of the milk suppliers have been completely forgotten in this Bill. I refer to the liquid milk suppliers, the people who are supplying milk to the villages, towns and cities of Ireland. It does not matter whether those people are supplying milk for pasteurisation or bottling or to what firm they are supplying the milk. Those are the people who are enduring the greatest hardships. They are producing milk at a greater cost to themselves than any other section of the milk producers. Everybody knows that the production of liquid milk is a very costly business and that for seven months of the year the liquid milk producer has to produce his milk with little or no profit to himself.

In almost all these cases the liquid milk producer is bound by contract to the firm to which he supplies the milk. An amazing feature is that when creamery milk suppliers and other go out of production, the liquid milk supplier is asked to expand his production. If he does not do that, he finds that he will be cut down on his summer quota, when he can produce milk at a profit, and there have been cases where the quota has been taken up altogether. That is very unfair. It is most unfair that the liquid milk producers have not got representation on this Board. It seems that certain aspects in regard to liquid milk are now to become functions of the Board.

No, none of them.

I am glad to hear that.

The Board will have no responsibility at all.

They could have under the Bill.

They could not.

I do not mean that it is intended, but legally they could have.

I would again submit to the Minister that the liquid milk producers should have representation on the Board. If co-ops and others can obtain a licence to go into liquid milk and sell milk which they are buying at the creamery price, which is the case at the moment, against others who are giving a greater price, eventually we shall have cut-throat competition. The result of that would be a lowering of prices and that could be a very serious matter.

I would ask the Minister, in all fairness and reasonableness, to give representation to the liquid milk producers on the Board. Even on the figures contained in the Minister's statement in the Dáil, it is evident that liquid milk represents something like 25 per cent. of the total production, and surely those producers should be represented on this Board? If they are not given representation, we can expect to see further confusion in regard to the sale of liquid milk and the disposal of surpluses. I am not trying to be critical of the Bill but I want to say this. The Government should have invested in the Board and given it a clean starting sheet instead of leaving it with a huge back-log of butter which must be disposed of at a substantial loss. The Board is obliged to function on borrowed money. I suggest to the Minister that he should give them a clean sheet——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Senator will be able to make that statement on another section.

I just wish to reply to the Minister's intervention. I know it is not intended to include in the functions of the Board the handling of liquid milk, but the point I made to the Minister is valid, inasmuch as it is true that under this legislation, and we have now passed Section 5, it is legally possible for the Board to deal in liquid milk. I would refer the Minister to subsection (2) (b) of Section 5, which states:

(b) engage in the business of wholesale and retail dealing in milk and milk products—

(i) outside the State, and

(ii) with the consent in writing of the Minister and until such time (if any) as the consent is withdrawn in writing by the Minister, in the State,

Senator Sheridan has brought up a very important point. It is true that in certain small areas there is an infiltration of milk bought at creamery rates into the liquid milk trade. Of course, the creamery doing that would be limited in its sales to the amount it could get during the winter, whereas normally the householder wants the same amount each day. However, this shows how all-embracing this Bill can be. It is possible for the situation mentioned by Senator Sheridan to develop to the detriment of those who must supply milk in almost equal quantities every day of the year, a very difficult thing.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

This is not germane to the amendments. There are other sections on which it could be more properly discussed. We should keep to the amendments concerning the membership of the Board.

I do not propose to accept any amendment that will in any way enlarge the Board. I should like to remind Senator Quinlan that we are not selecting a football team. We want a reasonably compact Board, always providing that it is fairly representative of all the interests concerned. We certainly should not have it larger than is proposed in this measure. In fact, I think the Board, as proposed, is too large. Not only is that my opinion, but it is also the opinion held by a number of people, some of whom were associated with the Advisory Committee which made the report on which this measure is based. The Board membership has been increased by one, in comparison with the announcement made in the White Paper. That increase of one was decided upon by me, in order to meet the case made here by some Senators, that the Cream Exporters Association should have representation on the Board.

I am not going to argue about this matter. I say again that I cannot take seriously any proposal which would result in increasing the membership of the Board to 13, having regard to the fact that the proposal in the Bill is that it should consist of nine members, four of whom are to be elected by the milk suppliers, one representing the cheese manufacturers, one representing the milk powder manufacturers, one representing the Dairy Disposal Board, one officer of my Department and one representing the chocolate crumb industry. If that does not cover the whole field of interest in milk and milk products, I do not know what to say.

We can go on, of course, saying that individual organisations, such as the I.C.M.S.A. and a number of others, should have representation on a body such as this. I do not mind Senators discussing these things for as long as they wish. That is their job, but, at the same time, I do not believe that anything that is said in support of a proposal aimed at enlarging the membership of the Board to 13 would be taken seriously by those who would like to see a compact Board properly representative but designed to do their work efficiently.

I was surprised to hear the Minister say that a Board of 13 members should not be taken seriously. Exactly two years ago, we assembled here in early January to discuss the Agricultural Institute Bill which came from the same Department and was sponsored by the same Minister. The Council of the Agricultural Institute consisted of 12 members and one chairman—13 members. The Minister cannot have it both ways. He cannot contend that he was infallible when he suggested 13 members for the Agricultural Institute and that it is now absolutely absurd to suggest 13 members for this new body.

I am not concerned with the size of the Board. I think 13 members should be as workable as nine or 11, and I might remind the Minister that, in effect, the Advisory Committee recommend 11 members—nine plus two. The Minister will also find that the number who are entitled to be present at sittings of the Cabinet is probably greater than 13, showing that there is no magic in numbers.

What I want to hear from the Minister is the reason these people I have suggested should not be included and should not be capable of making a valid contribution to the problems on hand. I made a case for including the secretary of the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society, but that society, of course, is not a semi-State body, and neither is the Irish Cream Exporters organisation, so they must be pushed out of existence in order that the new semi-State body can take over everything. I do not think that is a proper appreciation of the effort of Irish cooperatives or private enterprise. It is no wonder that we are slipping more and more towards this type of socialist economy. Admittedly, we have no socialist Party here, but we have more socialist legislation—I should have said we have no serious socialist Party here —than any country in Western Europe or west of the Iron Curtain.

I should like to hear from the Minister the reason the secretary of the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society should not be included in the membership of the Board. If I might advert to the present holder—I do not wish to single out individuals—for 25 years, he has been regarded as a suitable person to make a contribution to the running of the E.S.B. and all members here have been loud in their praises of the activities of that body. Had there been a milk board in the same period I suggest he would probably have made an equally distinguished contribution.

Is it not reasonable that the Agricultural Institute should make a contribution and that the tie-up or the liaison which exists between the Minister's Department and the new Board should exist between the Agricultural Institute and the new body? Perhaps the Minister would get down to particulars and say why it is that these bodies should not be represented. I cannot for one moment accept that it should be said that the new Board should consist of X members and that we should be tied to that.

I am not obliged to comment upon the suitability of individuals. I am not obliged to comment on individuals who can offer themselves or be offered to the suppliers for election to this Board.

I did not ask the Minister to comment on individuals but on positions. A representative of the Agricultural Institute is not an individual. The Secretary of the I.A.O.S. is not an individual; he is the Secretary of the I.A.O.S.

He is an individual.

It is a funny sort of statement.

He could be a representative of the I.A.O.S.

I have pleasure, then, in amending it to a representative of the I.A.O.S.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Is amendment No. 9 being pressed?

I want to hear the Minister's reason for the grouping. He insists, in respect of certain representatives, which seems very unfair, on taking all the major milk-producing counties together and then the minor ones.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Senator will appreciate that the Minister does not have to answer if he does not wish to do so.

Before withdrawing the amendment, I want to protest against the general approach to amendments in this House. We are trying to do our job here. We expect that an amendment should be received and discussed in a reasonable manner.

As Minister, I received a report on this subject from an advisory body set up by a predecessor of mine. That report has been considered very carefully. Decisions have been made as to the size of the Board, as to the interests that should be represented on it, as to how they will be elected, as to who will elect them. A Bill is now produced on that basis. Senators can have their own views on whether the Board is large enough and on the interests that should be represented on it. I cannot help that. I cannot convince those who disagree with my ultimate decisions in regard to these matters. I am not disputing their right to do that. Surely, however, I do not have to continue endeavouring to do something I know I cannot achieve and that is to convince those who do not want to be convinced?

Who will not be convinced.

The Senator has cited the size of An Foras Talúntais. There, you have to have regard to the enormous number of organisations. That was one of the greatest problems, I thought, although it looked very simple. I forget the number of meetings but we had a list of them. I was trying to give representation to different interests. It was entirely different because these were, in many cases, competitive organisations.

Here, for example, we are having four people, say, elected by the suppliers to creameries to represent them. The co-operative side is divided in two. What does it matter if, in the north, there are 45 or 60 creameries as against 120 creameries in the south and that they elect one each? Will two men not be elected by these societies who will have the industry at heart? If one man is elected by 40 or 50 societies and the other is elected, say, by 120 societies, what difference does it make?

To compare a board like this with the Agricultural Institute is simply not facing this matter as I believe it should be faced. Senators will realise that, when setting up a business body and you make sure the representation reflects fairly the interests concerned with the activities of this body, the smaller it is the better. That is the general conclusion. On the efforts of the man who will be the whole-time official of that body and who will do the major portion of the work will depend its success.

I do not want to be discourteous to anybody. We have a number of other amendments to deal with. I believe in stating, as I have done on all occasions when we come here or to any deliberative assembly, that if there is need for close reasoning I can apply myself to that just as well as anybody else. When I state as best and as clearly as I can my reasons for giving an instruction or making a decision as to the general framework of this measure, I cannot force Senators or any Senator to agree with the wisdom of that course or of that decision. However, I do not want to keep bobbing up and down replying to every point of criticism of that action of mine.

Business suspended at 1.10 p.m. and resumed at 2.30 p.m.

Before breaking for lunch, the Minister referred to what he called the picking of a football team for this new Board. In point of fact, the same remark might apply to the Cabinet itself. There are 13 members in the Cabinet, in addition to the Parliamentary Secretaries. The Minister mentioned the difficulties he had in setting up the board of 13 for the Agricultural Institute. Would the Minister say that the Agricultural Institute would have been in any way improved if there had been only ten or 11 members on it? I do not think anybody could contend that.

It is a research board.

I know. It is a research board with very many facets just like the Marketing Board. They bring together a large number of different tasks—markets in different countries, different products, research in connection with different products or in conjunction with different institutions in the country. The weakest possible argument that could be advanced against any board is its size within limits. You could have limits varying from 13. Thirteen is probably quite large and eight or nine is comparatively small. I seriously suggest to the Minister that even if he is adamant about maintaining nine, he should consider substituting some of those I have mentioned for some of the members suggested in the Bill.

He could, for instance, very well consider putting a representative chosen from the creamery managers in place of a representative of the Dairy Disposal Company. Anyway, I will deal with that on a later section where perhaps it will be more appropriate, because I intend to oppose the section dealing with the appointments from the Dairy Disposal Company. If the Minister is adamant on this, I suppose there is no point in pressing the amendment further, but I think that those omitted represent a serious loss to the Board. I am not concerned with representation; I am concerned with the quality of a board that can be appointed and I think it is a mockery to the memory of Sir Horace Plunkett, Father Coyne, Father Finlay, and the rest of them, to suggest that the I.A.O.S. has no role to play in this new Board.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 10 not moved.

Amendments Nos. 13, 15, 22 and 24 may be discussed with amendment No.11.

I move amendment No. 11:

In subsection (2) (c) (i), line 29, before "and " to insert "in accordance with the single transferable vote system of election".

This amendment is aimed at having elections by the single transferable vote. This is a topic which we debated at great length on former occasions. I would point out that in the Local Government Act, 1942, it is laid down that the system of election should, in effect, be that of the single transferable vote. It is a system always used in committees, where you eliminate the lowest man and have a second vote, and so on. That type of voting system is laid down in this Bill as binding the election of a chairman of Board Bainne and that is as it should be. I think it would be as well if the regular elections of members by the producers and others concerned were conducted on the system of the single transferable vote. Simply, all it means is that you vote for the candidate you like best; then you vote for the candidate next in order of preference, if the first is eliminated, and so on. It is simple, straightforward and comprehensive and, above all, it avoids any type of backdoor bargaining and such activity that is likely to go on under the other system. Under the other system, you have representatives going up in the different areas and one says to the other: "You are taking votes from me; neither of us will be elected and one of us should go"; whereas, if you have the transferable vote, you can let those you wish go forward and the best horse jumps the ditch, the person most acceptable to the group on the whole is elected.

In such a sprawling constituency, you might have a representative from the Cavan region, one from Cork, perhaps one from Kilkenny and so on. The result is that under the system laid down here a candidate getting even 20 per cent. of the votes could be elected. If there were 100 people voting and he got 20 votes and was the highest, he would be elected. Surely we have progressed a little beyond that stage. Under the other system, we avoid all forms of bargaining and I would urge the Minister seriously to consider this amendment and to accept it as the basis of the elections for the Board.

I wish to support Senator Quinlan in this amendment. I am fortified in my support of the Senator, and I am sure he is fortified also, by the decision of the people that the system of voting which he wishes to have inserted here is the one they desire. As he pointed out, this is a sprawling constituency and a person could be elected by 20 per cent. of the votes cast. In fact, we could turn this into an organised horse race. I do not think we should do that. In fact, I believe it is rather an oversight on the part of the parliamentary draftsman or the Minister which has brought him here with a system of election that is not in keeping with the system adopted by the people of the country. I believe if it were anything else, it would be the greatest effrontery to suggest such a form of election. I feel that Senator Quinlan has made an unanswerable case and I hold the Minister has no option, in justice or in duty to the Irish people but to accept this amendment.

This was no error on the part of the draftsmen; this was a decision made by myself before the Bill was drafted at all. Naturally, the two systems were before me and I decided in favour of this one. In the first place, as far as the co-operative societies are concerned, it is not proposed, nor was it intended, that the supplier should have the direct vote in that case. It is the societies in the north and the societies in the south that will determine who is to be their representative. In regard to the Dairy Disposal Company creameries and the University covered by this Bill, it is the suppliers in these cases.

I tried to weigh this thing up as best I could and to devise the more simple method of getting results having regard to the fact that those who would be nominated, whether by the co-operative societies or the suppliers of the Dairy Disposal Company creameries, would be nominated because of the nominators' belief that they were persons who would be suitable to serve them and to represent their interest on this Board. Assuming that three people were nominated in the southern area by the co-operative creameries or two in the northern area, you might take it as almost a certainty that they would have been nominated because the concerns that nominated them believed that they were suitable persons. So, also, in regard to the other group of creameries controlled by the Dairy Disposal Company and University College, Cork, the 20 people who would nominate an individual would be fairly satisfied that he was a suitable person. Therefore, there could not be very much difference as between one and the other and, as I say, I was looking for simplicity. These two systems were before me. I decided in favour of this direct method and I believe it is the better.

It is very difficult to understand the reasoning of the Minister on this matter. The Minister is talking about a simple system. There is no system simpler or better known to the people of this country than the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. As far back as 1937, when the Constitution was being adopted, the then Taoiseach could say: "The system we have we know. The people know it." That was 23 years ago. The people knew the system of proportional representation so well that while the particular scheme of proportional representation was not incorporated in the 1922 Constitution the then Taoiseach, Parliament, or the Dáil as it then was, decided to write it in and copper-fasten it in the Constitution. There is no point in the Minister's saying that the system of proportional representation is not a simple, workable, easy system known well to the people of this country.

The Minister was talking at an earlier stage about certain things being childish. I should like to say, with all respect, that the Minister was uttering platitudes when he said in regard to the people who are nominated that there will be no difference between one and the other, that they are well known to the people who nominate them and who have confidence in them. We all know that everyone who is nominated has the confidence of and is well known to the people who nominate him but it is a different business when it comes to the electorate choosing which of all the different people they want to represent their interests on a local authority, a board or otherwise. It is astonishing— Senator Donegan has referred to it as a piece of effrontery—that although the people of this country have come down quite clearly on the side of proportional representation, one vote out of five is sufficient, apparently, to elect a person to represent the interests of the co-operative societies on this Board. I do not understand this at all.

It was one of the things that surprised me when I read the Bill first that the ordinary system of proportional representation was not incorporated. It would give rise to no difficulty. It is evident that in the drafting of this Bill the Minister has taken a decision to make himself as unpopular as he could possibly make himself.

I am surprised at the Minister's statement that this was a decision of the Minister himself, especially when we hear so much from the far side of the House about collective responsibility. As regards this being a simple method, the simple method was rejected by the people last year in no uncertain manner. They came down on the side of proportional representation. In this case also the people's wishes should be adhered to.

Senator O'Quigley has stated that the system of proportional representation was enshrined in our first Constitution and again by Fianna Fáil in the Constitution of 1937. The present President at that time stated that it was a system that had worked well in Ireland; it was the system that was known to our people. He favoured it at that time. He also stated that it was the system that gave the best results. In my opinion it is the system that will give the best results in the election of members to this Board.

We ought to clarify our minds a little on this controversy. The people of Ireland did not by the referendum determine that in a case of this kind proportional representation was the best means of voting. It is wrong that that should be said by my colleagues on the other side of this dividing line, which has no political significance, but is merely a geographical feature, which I have often emphasised. It is not fair. What was decided in the referendum was a national issue for national politics. This is not quite the same thing and unless my colleagues who are supporting the amendment can show me cases similar to what is in this Bill in which proportional representation has worked well and has been accepted as the best procedure, their arguments up to the moment as far as I am concerned fail.

I have no difficulty at all in meeting the challenge thrown down by Senator Stanford. The system of proportional representation has worked satisfactorily over a large area such as will apply in this kind of case where you have several counties.

Could we have specific cases, Sir? I would be interested.

I shall come to that —in the election to the Seanad.

The Senator is now going outside the scope of the Bill. We cannot have a discussion of that kind on this Bill.

With respect, I want to demonstrate that the system of proportional representation can work very satisfactorily as is suggested in this amendment, and I propose, subject to the ruling of the Chair, to show that the system of proportional representation works equally satisfactorily for large areas in the country and one of the statutes under which proportional representation is used and, in my submission to the House, works satisfactorily, is that which governs election to the Seanad.

On a point of explanation, Sir. That is a national situation, which is not the same thing. It is only misleading the House to try to argue that it is.

At any rate, there is that particular system and the point about the system of election to the Seanad is that it relates to the entire Twenty-six Counties, a total electorate of about 900 people. Proportional representation is also used in elections to urban councils, where it works satisfactorily, in elections to corporations and county councils.

I always think that it is a very good thing when you are looking for precedents to have a look at the basic law of this country, the Constitution.

Where the Constitution lays down something and that is accepted by the people and there is no doubt about it, we do well to follow the basic, fundamental law of the country. Proportional representation is enshrined in the Constitution as a system designed to give fair representation to all classes. That is what the people stated in 1937 and they reaffirmed their decision in 1959.

There can be no doubt that where you want to get fair representation or where you want to get a system that works well that will be achieved by adopting proportional representation. Nothing that anybody could say would convince me that it is advisable to provide that in an election with seven candidates one-seventh of the votes plus one is sufficient to elect a member to this Board and that that is a better way to represent the interests which that person is supposed to represent on the Milk Board. We are getting very far away from equality and fair play and it does not appear to me to be the kind of thing which would appeal to the Minister who has gone on record in this House in describing himself as a just man.

I think we have confused the issue slightly by referring to proportional representation because this is not proportional representation. There is nothing proportional in it. We are electing only a single person from a given electorate.

In that case all references to the referendum were completely out of place?

I agree, completely.

That is what I wanted to establish.

The only question is the transfer of the particular vote, to say: "If your first choice is not elected whom do you prefer should be elected?" rather than to have some member of a creamery going around and saying to another candidate: "Will you go in behind our candidate because we shall only eliminate one another by contesting the election in that way?" The system of the transferable vote in the words of the Minister, allows a candidate whose nominators believe he is the most suitable candidate to choose, to contest the election without a bargain or any other kind of arrangement with another county.

I pointed out that in the Bill itself the very desirable and correct provision of the Local Government Act, 1942, is insisted on for the election of the chairman by the Board when the Board has been constituted. I am only asking that the same provision extend down to the election of the individual members. Senator Stanford is asking for precedents in this case. A precedent was created by the Minister himself because two years ago the Minister set up the Agricultural Institute. For this purpose he constituted a number of panels. Each of those panels consisting of a number of organisations returned one member and the Minister himself by order—it was not enshrined in the Bill—provided that the method of election should be by single transferable vote and it worked exceedingly well. In each of the panels there were four or five electing bodies. Most of them I think put up one candidate each but there was no need for bargaining between them. The election was held and one candidate emerged from each group. I believe it was a highly successful election and is a highly successful precedent to us. In connection with this Bill I admit there is a difference in size between the four or five organisations that constitute a panel——

Hear, hear.

——and the larger number that constitute the electoral bodies in the creamery panels. However, that is all the more reason why we should prevent any attempt by one section to bargain. A certain group might feel that their man will not get a fair show. Wexford might say: "There is no use in our putting up a man; we could never get him elected against a man who represents all Munster." Why not let Wexford put up their man independently? If he is an outstanding figure and is known for his work maybe he will be elected.

I am not convinced by any argument to the contrary and I do not for one moment accept the argument in regard to simplicity. I do not think our rural population are so ill-educated that they cannot be relied upon to use the methods they use in electing the captain of their football team. They propose a number of people; the person receiving the least votes is eliminated and they vote again. That is the single transferable vote system and that is what I am asking for here.

They must have changed things recently in that regard.

Amendment put.
The Seanad divided: Tá: 11; Níl: 20.

  • L'Estrange, Gerald.
  • McGuire, Edward A.
  • O'Donovan, John.
  • O'Keeffe, James J.
  • O'Quigley, John B.
  • Prendergast, Micheál A.
  • Quinlan, Patrick M.
  • Roddy, Joseph.
  • Sheridan, Joseph M.
  • Stanford, William B.
  • Tunney, James.


  • Brady, Seán.
  • Brennan, John J.
  • Carter, Frank.
  • Cole, John C.
  • Colley, Harry.
  • Fitzsimons, Patrick.
  • O'Dwyer, Martin.
  • O Grádaigh, Seán.
  • O Maoláin, Tomás.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Daniel.
  • Lahiffe, Robert.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • O Ciosáin, Eamon.
  • O Donnabháin, Seán.
  • O Siochfhradha, Pádraig.
  • Ruane, Thomas.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Walsh, Laurence J.
Tellers:— Tá: Senators Quinlan and L'Estrange; Níl: Senators Carter and Ó Donnabháin.
Amendment declared lost.

Amendment No. 12 is consequential on part of amendment No. 10, so that I do not know exactly how it stands now. The main part of amendment No. 10 has been lost but there are two other subsidiary parts which were not governed by the decision on amendment No.9. Perhaps the most satisfactory way of dealing with this would be for me not to move amendment No. 12 now and to submit an amendment on Report Stage. That is what I propose to do.

Amendment No. 12 not moved.
Amendments Nos. 13 to 18, inclusive, not moved.

I move amendment No. 19:

In page 7, to delete subsection (5).

This amendment is put down as representing the view of the Fine Gael Party in the Dáil. I quote column 1361 of the Official Report of the Dáil debate of 15th December, 1960, when the Minister moved amendment No. 2 adding a new subsection. There is no need to quote in full, but the report goes on:

Mr. Dillon: Is that consequential?

Mr. Smith: Yes.

Mr. Dillon: The whole point of election now seems to go by the board. I understood that you were going to group all the cheese manufacturers so that they could nominate one man. It now appears that unless they all agree on one man the Minister will make the appointment. If any group fails to agree unanimously on one man the Minister steps in and appoints.

Mr. Smith: Yes.

Deputy Dillon went on to develop the argument that all an individual had to do who wanted to become the appointee, if he were a cheese manufacturer, was to disagree. He could arrange with a future Minister for Agriculture—the present Minister is, of course, always excluded when we attribute any kind of double dealing to anybody—to disagree with his colleagues and then be appointed by the Minister. I think that is a mistake and that the subsection should be deleted. The Fine Gael Party in the Dáil felt that it should be negatived and my view is that we should similarly disagree here. However, I have no hope that the Minister will change his view.

I do not think the Senator is really dealing with the subsection to which he tabled this amendment.

It is amendment No. 19.

The amendment deals with licensed manufacturers.

Yes. The amendment the Minister moved in the Dáil is exactly similar, word for word.

It has no relation to the procedure that will be followed, once the register of licensed manufacturers is available. The Minister must have a register of licensed manufacturers because he would not otherwise know who the cheese manufacturers are.

Suppose one of them disagrees with the majority?

That is a different matter altogether. The effect of the Senator's amendment would be to leave me without any means of knowing who were manufacturers from the point of view of their entitlement to come together and elect a representative on the Board.

In that case, I shall withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed: "That Section 8 stand part of the Bill."

I question this appointment of one person nominated by the Minister whom the Minister will consider to be representative of the Dairy Disposal Company. The Minister considers the number of places available must be limited to nine. In that context, it is quite wrong that one of these should represent the company. In the recommendations of the Advisory Committee, a pious wish is expressed that possibly sometime in the future the company will fold up because the company was set up originally under the 1927 Act as a holding company, until such time as agriculture showed itself capable of doing its own business through the medium of cooperation—the system that was developed here and the system that we taught the Danes, and others, how to work.

The idea originally was that the Dairy Disposal Company was a holding company to facilitate the gradual transfer over to co-operative societies. That intention has actually been frustrated by successive Governments. It is being frustrated again here by official recognition of the idea that the holding company has gone by the board. One might describe the Dairy Disposal Company as the last outpost of colonisation in Irish agriculture. It was the transfer mechanism set up to help Irish farmers from a state of colonisation to a state of independence, from a state in which they had no say in the activities of their creamery to a state in which they would play their part as full and proper members of co-operative societies. All that is now being frustrated once more. Not the slightest effort is being made to form co-operative committees around this Dairy Disposal Company. For that reason, I think it is wrong that, with a limited personnel of nine, this undue recognition should be given. We are not told when the Government intend to fulfil the promise made in 1927 of bringing this holding company to a cessation and fully emancipating our Irish farmers.

It is interesting to listen to the speeches of the Senator who has just sat down. This morning, he chastised some other Senators for not being as generous as they should have been to the co-operative movement. Now he has another case to make.

I was a member of the Dáil when this holding company was set up in 1927. I have been a member of the Dáil ever since. I was in the Department of Agriculture in 1947 and one of the things which struck me at that time was the failure of the co-operative movement to take over, as was originally intended, from this holding company. Far from taking over from the holding company, the holding company had in fact expanded its activities and developed the creamery system in areas which had never been approached by the co-operative movement or the I.A.O.S.

Now, we sit here and listen to this impartial Senator, this constructively-minded Senator, according to his own assessment of himself. Mark you, it is mighty hard to put over on any section of our people the ideas we have as to our own constructive minds. In a deliberative assembly, and outside it, people will make their own assessments. To me, this latest contribution by the Senator is tremendously revealing. Not only has this company been a holding company but it has been a developing company. If it were not for its activities, where would the creamery system be in Clare and parts of Kerry?

The creameries would be closed.

They would not be closed, because they would not be there. The only concerns taken over in 1927, and subsequently, by the co-operative movement were the concerns situated in fertile patches. Indeed, when I looked at the history of this effort on the part of the State— the co-operative movement and the holding company—it reminded me of a song I used to try to sing when I was in good humour. It went like this:

For Riley and I were chums, you know,

And we always shared.

Black eyes, sugar plums—the devil a hair we cared.

But when there was anything good to be got,

Take my word—

When I was done, I handed it over to Riley.

I think that explains fully the activities, the success or otherwise, of the co-operative movement in relieving this semi-State body of the concerns that were purchased with the intention of transferring them to co-operative societies. They took the concerns likely to be profitable and left the others with this much despised semi-State body that has not only developed them successfully but has gone out into the backward districts of Munster and elsewhere and built up a tremendously fine organisation now catering for about one-quarter of the total suppliers of milk to creameries.

In my early days, I was desperately anxious to see to it, as far as possible, that this organisation would be broken up and taken over by the co-operative movement. When I came into Agriculture in 1947, the first thing I heard was that this company would not agree to show its balance sheets to those anxious to inspect them. I thought that was an unreasonable attitude for them if they were serious in giving the co-operative movement the chance it should have. I consulted my advisers and they advised me not to give these documents to the I.A.O.S. It will not be denied that it was I made the decision that they should have these documents because I wanted to make sure that they would have no reason to offer me for their failure in this respect. However, I never heard a word about that matter since. Some of our daily papers, once every six months perhaps and certainly once a year, used to have a leading article about this monstrosity that was growing up and gathering into itself all the activities now being taken over by this body. There is not a word about them now. There are no leading articles and no denunciations now.

I say I was modest in designing this Board because I set out to secure that the producers would have this Board, body and soul. All I provided was that I should have one man out of the nine representing my Department, and that four should be elected by the suppliers of milk to all the creameries. In addition, I provided that I would have the right to nominate one individual representing this trading company that has grown up in the manner I have briefly described. While I do not want to flatter them unduly, because maybe they could have done more—there are some lines on which they could have— let me say with those reservations they have done a very good job, a good job for districts for which it is tremendously difficult to cater.

I find myself before the annual meeting of the I.A.O.S., an organisation to which we make from the funds of the State a pound for pound contribution, being castigated because of my failure or that of my predecessors, to do certain things or to deal with matters, matters which should not be on the agenda at all. I find it is not easy for me to keep silent on these occasions. Indeed, I could talk about these matters for hours. Then I think of the generosity of some of our Senators here, Senators who are prone to silence when they could be justifiably critical. I think how hesitant they are about giving a little recognition where it is due, who suggest that I am doing something unfair, and that I am greedy because, out of a Board of nine, I am providing that I shall have the right to nominate an official of my Department and one man from the Dairy Disposal Company to represent 20 or 25 per cent. of the milk suppliers of the country. I know I should not go into that subject without going into it as thoroughly as possible, even from memory. That would take a long time and I do not intend to use all the time I would require to do justice to the subject; but, having listened to Senator Quinlan's last speech, I thought I should say what I have said.

I regard that history from 1927 to 1947 and from then to 1960-61 as indicative of the failure of the co-operative movement to do the job it was intended to do. Instead, that task has had to be performed by this organisation, now so much despised. I am not one who was ever enthusiastic for semi-State companies of any kind; but I can be fair-minded enough to admit that when they do a good job of work, and when those who had more swagger about them failed, there must be something lacking in the man who would deprive them of the credit due to them.

I must hand it to the Minister. He is a very able politician. I could also, from memory, talk for two or three hours about the dairy industry, or for any number of hours the Minister wants. It is no business of mine to run down the Dairy Disposal Company. In fact, I have spoken extremely favourably of it in this House. I made an analysis of State companies on the Finance Bill last year and spoke particularly favourably of the Dairy Disposal Company. But that is not the issue here. The question may be asked: if the Dairy Disposal Company are in existence, why was this job not given to them? I am not suggesting it should have been given to them. Much of the Minister's statement was "off the beam".

Fundamentally, the Minister says all the time: "One man, one man, one man", and then at the end: "Yes, and another." The Minister, in fact, is putting two people on a board of nine. Since the matter has been raised, the Dairy Disposal Company is a private company and the directors of the company are officers of the Department of Agriculture. It is not the same as other State companies; it is in a class by itself, because its directorate is composed of officers of the Department. I am not criticising them. That is not the point. The point is how much control the Minister will have over this State body.

I shall say something I have often said before—I am not making a political point—I am against having officials on these bodies at all. I have serious seasons for that. The Minister for Transport and Power recently explained the difficulties he has in trying to reconcile the duties of his Department with the two big bodies he has to deal with, the E.S.B. and C.I.E.

The fact is that the Dairy Disposal Company is, in a sense, part of the Department of Agriculture. Theoretically, the Company is there but, in fact, it is more nearly part of a Government Department than any other semi-State body is part of any other Government Department. The fact is that the Minister will have two out of nine members on this Board. There are a variety of reasons why it is very doubtful——

The Advisory Committee recommended it.

I cannot help what people recommend. The queerest things have been recommended, but I am not responsible for what people recommend. I am making an honest to goodness statement on what I think about this matter. It would be far better, if the Minister were having nine people on this Board, that the nine members should be representatives of the industry as a whole, and let the Board be to that extent more independent of him.

I was reluctant to speak on this Bill at all, because I appreciate that there are certain tentative approaches in relation to semi-State bodies in the Bill which we never had before, for example, the instructions in writing by the Minister, and so on. We can only wait and see how it will work out. The Minister and his Department deserve credit for these new approaches and for these new developments in relation to semi-State bodies, but it is not right for the Minister to say that he has only one member on the Board, because, in fact, he has two out of nine members on the Board. I am extremely doubtful about the advisability of that.

One of the difficulties that arises is quite a simple one. If there is disagreement on the Board, the Minister's representative will go back to the Minister and tell him his story. That is a human way to behave. He will be reporting back to his chief, but I believe, in the ultimate, it means that if there is a strong representative of the Minister on the Board, he will be the Board, and if there is a weak representative and a strong Minister, every week that representative will say: "The Minister tells me to do so-and-so; my Minister says——" and then ream off what "my Minister says."

There has been a great deal of discussion on this Bill and I must say it is a matter of the greatest interest, but the Minister is not nearly so naive as he pretends. He is not nearly so naive as he pretends when he gets up to reply and pretends that he has been goaded into a reply by Senator Quinlan. I never go back over past history but I might make one remark, since the Minister has spoken. I know the history of the Dairy Disposal Company perhaps as well as the Minister. He did make one suggestion: that the only parts of this industry that were any good were passed back to the farmers in the rich parts of the country.

That is not the only occasion—and I shall say just one sentence about this —on which the Fianna Fáil Party turned turtle. When I was a young man, I found that it was the case that the Fianna Fáil Party went all over Connaught from 1927 to 1932 saying: "Look, the Cumann na nGaedheal Government gave £1 million to the rich farmers of Munster and they would not give you poor men in Connaught one penny."

Who said that?

The Fianna Fáil Party said it all over Connaught.

Give the names of some people who said it.

I shall not give names. The Minister comes in here wearing sackcloth and ashes—I never go back over ancient history and I said I would say just one sentence and it is true: the Fianna Fáil Party went all over Connaught for five years and said: "Look, they gave £1 million to the rich farmers and would not give you one penny."

Más fíor bréag.

Tá tú go h-anmhaith.

Perhaps my pronunciation is not good, but no good Irishman ever questions a man's pronunciation when he is trying to speak in Irish.

Sé mo thuairim nach raibh sé de mhisneach ag an Aire an rud sin do rá i mBéarla.

Téimís ar ais go dtí an alt.

As I say, I do not usually go back over ancient history, but it does not upset me at all and apparently it does upset the Fianna Fáil Party.

I find it very difficult to understand what the members on the opposite side want in regard to the personnel of the Board. We discussed this question on Second Reading and, of course, it was very hard to accede to the requests and opinions of everybody in relation to the Board. On Second Reading, I said that the people who are most entitled to representation on the Board are the producers, and they will be given representation.

Reference has been made to the Dairy Disposal Company. That Company has done good work within its limitations. There is no doubt about that, but, at the same time, an effort is being made now to put the dairy industry on its feet, such as has never been made before, with particular reference to the export market. We want to try to get a foothold in the export market and, in my opinion, the people who would be most interested in getting that foothold are the producers themselves. Therefore, the idea in the Bill is all right. It is good and should be given a trial.

After the Minister's impartiality and his condemnation of partiality on the part of everybody else perhaps we can get back to a little sanity and consider his hysterical outburst. I have not condemned the Dairy Disposal Company for what it has done. I have not condemned successive Governments for their failure to hand over, as implied in the 1927 Act, the regions to the owners through the development of the co-operative movement.

They would not take them.

Co-operation comes from people themselves and cannot be imposed. The Minister was very grievously at fault in accusing the co-operative movement of failing to take over. There was failure on the part of the Government to train the people in those regions in co-operation. There was failure to set up, in each of the centres, a committee that would play its part in the management of the creamery.

I do not think Senator Brady would contend it would be wrong to have the creamery committees associated with the Dairy Disposal units. I do not see any reason for the parallel structure of the two. Ultimately, I do not see why the whole co-operative movement, the existing co-operatives and the Dairy Disposal Company, should not fuse into one movement. We are all going the same way. Only by co-operation can we get there. Right through the debate one gets the idea that anything of a State or semi-State nature is good but that anything outside State control is bad and the further out the worse it is.

I am glad I have the chance of following Senator Quinlan. For a man who talks about charity in debate, the implication of his last statement is shocking. If I have understood him correctly, his point is that the Minister and people on this side of the House want to develop a Socialist system here and that he is the only warrior preventing a drift into Socialism. I shall not even try to contradict or deny it because it is an unworthy statement. If the Senator had a little more charity he would not have made such a statement.

I have no particular brief for the Dairy Disposal Company. I have always considered it a pity that Government Departments have to do a job that should be done by the people either through private enterprise or through co-operation. It would be unjust for me or anybody to make an attack on the Dairy Disposal Company. They have done a good job of work. It may be easy enough now to say they are "Yes-men". I cannot believe that "Yes-men" for anybody, even for a Minister, despite the fact that the Board is composed of civil servants, can do their job satisfactorily. Men faced with a job will do it very badly if they are "Yes-men". I do not think any Government would tolerate such a body. It is shocking to suggest that the members of the Board are "yes-men". I might suggest that the speaker, when making that statement, was not I think actuated by malice or else he does not understand the mind of a civil servant.

So much has been said about the co-operative movement that nobody except those who mouth shibboleths about it believe in it. There has been much talk about the co-operative movement but there has not been much practice. The real trouble is the failure to translate highfalutin theory into practical reality. That is the difference of outlook between Senator Quinlan and myself. It might also be the difference of outlook between Senator Quinlan and the Minister and possibly between Senator Quinlan and successful civil servants who have been on the Board of the Dairy Disposal Company, of which I know very little. However, they have made a success of their job and that is something.

I did not say they had not.

I suggest that the implication is clear enough. Surely any representative of that body appointed to this Board would have the interests of that particular group, of that organisation, of that area in mind and would not be a "Yes-man" for the Minister? I could not believe that any Minister, the present Minister or any Minister in any Government, would appoint a man of that sort. I hope we have not sunk that low. There is a very serious and hard job of work to be done by the Board and I hope they will succeed in their efforts.

It may be hard enough to please us all but it is easy enough for the Minister to decide on the number of the membership, the method by which they will be elected, and so on. In practice, because of the failure to translate the principle of the co-operative movement into practical reality, it will still be hard enough to get, what I should like to be achieved, a Board that has due regard to the interests of the farmer, particularly the small farmer.

I cannot help feeling that co-operative societies which trade under their name and enjoy the advantages of friendly societies very often behave in a monopolistic way. I am further aware, and many Senators are aware, of the tax reliefs available to such societies. I know of creameries that have been built in the past five years by a successful chain of co-operative societies in areas where there had not been creameries before. Here is a surprising thing. When it was found that there was a reasonably good supply of milk to a creamery the memberships were never completed, the money was handed back to the people who subscribed it and they were not allowed to become even members of a co-operative society. There does not appear to be much co-operation in that sort of thing.

If the I.A.O.S. were achieving the objects it should achieve that sort of thing would not happen. I have some personal experience of that matter. Some years ago I was engaged in negotiations on the amalgamation of creameries. Even with co-operative societies, the financial standing of the organisation becomes the dominant factor and the richer organisations in some cases know quite well how to use the big stick on the smaller organisations. While co-operativism may appear and is, in fact, a good principle, I think it is time that the people who talk so much about it should do a little to ensure that it is applied in practice.

This debate has, unfortunately, taken a trend where we are discussing the merits and demerits of co-operativism and the co-operative societies of this country and the Dairy Disposal Company. An action or a deed is of itself worthy merely because of what it succeeds in doing. Who does it does not really matter. I am fully aware that the Dairy Disposal Company has done excellent work and that the co-operative movement has done excellent work. Both of them, being constituted of humans, have made mistakes.

I feel that, in general, the discussion is running along lines of a rival effort to get representation on the Board of the various sections that compose the purchasing power of the dairying industry. I feel that is a bad thing. Were I to generalise on the purchasing powers of the dairying industry, I would say it is a pity that there is not a greater percentage of private enterprise involved also here. Private enterprise has the habit of reducing everything to a common denominator. Private enterprise is of itself the right line and the best line. Even though it has failed on occasions and other methods of propagating industry have succeeded, it is a good common denominator. We should not go into the vicissitudes or otherwise of the Dairy Disposal Company or co-operativism. Both of them have done a rather good job in their own particular way. It might be a good thing to confine ourselves to the section of the Bill. It would be a pity if the Seanad or members of the Seanad took sides.

Mr. O'Dwyer

I quite agree with the clause as it stands. The representation is, in the circumstances, quite reasonable and justified. As a matter of fact, I would say that the Dairy Disposal Company, their organisation and machinery, have given the greatest help to the marketing committee over the past 20 years. We must agree that the work of the Dairy Disposal Company has been carried on exceptionally well. It would not surprise me if they were the most successful of the semi-State boards. However, that does not prevent us from saying that we would not like to visualise the Dairy Disposal Company as a permanent institution.

The ideal of co-operativism was that the farmers of Ireland would be banded together in their own districts in co-operative societies to develop agriculture and to develop the land of Ireland as it should be developed. That is the ideal of the co-operative movement. No matter what is said, if you look around the south of Ireland, you will find that that ideal has been fully realised. Each co-operative society is developed on its own lines and in later years these societies have federated to embark on larger enterprise. That was the ideal of the co-operative movement—that it would extend all over rural Ireland. It is the only basis on which we can rebuild rural Ireland; it is the only basis upon which the people can be trained, not only to develop their resources but to develop their culture and national administration.

I remember well the year 1927 when the Dairy Disposal Company was set up. The Minister at that time did a great work for the farmers when he took over the creameries which at that time, because of their superior resources, would have destroyed co-operation. I felt that the creameries did not meet the Minister very well by refusing to take over the less successful creameries. They left them on his hands.

We are asked why the co-operative movement did not take over these societies. Where the Dairy Disposal Company creameries were set up, the farmers lost all interest in co-operation. They refused to make the necessary sacrifice to establish co-operative societies. Like people who are maintained in an institution with their food and everything else provided for them without any trouble, they refused to make the necessary sacrifice to establish co-operative societies. I know why that is so because I had a lot to do with the preparations to take over those societies and in the old days the farmers pledged their whole credit in order to establish co-operative societies and maintain them. The people to whom I refer refused to invest a penny. The Dairy Disposal Company exercised a corroding influence on all the farmers around it. That condition has steadily grown and it is harder to take over those creameries now than it was 20 years ago. They do not want to understand making sacrifices and doing things for themselves. I submit that that is an unhealthy state of affairs, which should not be allowed to continue. I would suggest to the Minister and the Government that they should take steps as soon as possible to see that these Dairy Disposal Company creameries are transferred to the co-operative movement.

They will not take them.

Mr. O'Dwyer

A programme has already being drawn up which recommends that the co-operative movement should be banded with the Dairy Disposal Company, and that advisory committees should be set up here and there for the suppliers of the Dairy Disposal Company creameries, so that in the course of time the profits would be applied towards the liquidation of the charges on the creameries and the creameries would be completely free of debt and handed over to the co-operative societies whose suppliers will have been trained to administer them. That is the only feasible way of taking them over. The farmers will not make sacrifices. The Dairy Disposal Company has been very well managed but that may not last. We should look forward to the time when it ceases to exist as a Government institution and is handed over completely to the co-operative movement.

I am delighted to hear that Senator O'Dwyer knows something about the co-operative system and to hear him speak words of wisdom and enlightenment for the Minister for Agriculture. We all know the wonderful work done by the I.A.O.S. over a long number of years. It is unfortunate that a Minister for State should come in here and criticise voluntary organisations such as the I.A.O.S. or any co-operative movement.

There is nothing voluntary about it.

The majority of the work is voluntary and the Minister knows that.

It is in my hat.

They have done wonderful work and Senator O'Dwyer has told us about the wonderful work they have done since 1927. Remember they did that against great odds and in difficult times. They worked from 1932 to 1938 during an economic war when certain people wanted a wall built around this country and we were told that the British market was "gone and gone forever, thank God."

The Senator should put that gramophone record away.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

We have roamed very much in this discussion but nobody has roamed so far as the Senator.

There was an attack made on them and I am going to reply. They were working during difficult years. They were working from 1939 to 1945 during a World War. I want to say that I think it wrong for a Minister for Agriculture to criticise those co-operative bodies. A month or two ago we had the Minister for Health criticising the voluntary hospitals and the Bishop of Galway, Dr. Browne, has stated recently that we are drifting too much towards Socialism. Do we want to criticise voluntary initiative in this country? That is what some people are trying to do at present. Have we heard of Horace Plunkett or of Denmark and the wonderful work that has been done there through co-operation? I think the Minister will admit that the greater part of the success of the farmers there is due to the fact that they co-operated with one another. If we had the same co-operation here and if we had a Government prepared to help those who were prepared to help themselves, instead of criticising them, we would get much further.

The Minister and those Senators on each side of the House who spoke claimed credit for the expansion of milk production etc., and the Minister blamed Senator Quinlan for not giving credit where credit is due. The Minister was inclined to claim that credit for himself. I do not think that he deserves all that credit but I will admit that a certain share is due to him for some of the work he did in 1947. Still, if we go back to 1948 we find that we had the lowest number of cows on record, we had not enough milk to supply our own needs and we imported butter from all over the world.

We did not import any butter in 1948, or in 1947 either.

We did. Bring your mind back. It was rationed.

Do not mind my mind, I want records.

It was rationed here.

We imported no butter.

We were rationed and the war was over for three years.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I do not think the matter is relevant to this debate.

We are an agricultural country with 12,000,000 acres of fertile, arable land, with a population of under 3,000,000 people and with five acres of land for every person in the country. We had not got enough butter for our own needs and we had the lowest number of cows since the taking of records began.

We imported no butter in the year the Senator mentioned.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I wonder if the Senator would try to get back to Section 8 of the Bill, which deals with the constitution of the Board.

The Minister stated that the Board had the interests of the whole industry at heart. I do not see how the Board can have the interests of the liquid milk producers at heart. Senator Sheridan pointed out that they represent anything from 25 to 33 per cent. of the total producers yet they have no member on the Board to protect their interests. It is unfair that from one-quarter to one-third of the suppliers of milk are not represented on this Board. There is no denying the fact that certain aspects of liquid milk production can become the function of the Board at any time. If we refer to Section 5 and Section 6 of this Bill we see that they can.

Subsection (1) of section 5 of the Bill states that:

The Board shall, in addition to the functions assigned to it by any other provision of this Act, have the following general functions, namely:

(a) to export, or provide for the exportation of, milk and milk products of such class or kind as the Minister may from time to time specify in writing to the Board ...

Section 6 states that:

The Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, from time to time by order—

(a) assign to the Board such additional functions as he thinks fit in relation to milk or milk products.

Twenty-five per cent. of those milk producers engage in liquid milk production yet they are not to have representation on this Board. There are four representatives of the suppliers of milk to creameries and one representative of each of the manufacturers of cheese, milk powders and chocolate crumb. Those people will be represented and I think it is unfair that the other 25 per cent. of the liquid milk producers have not got some representation on the Board to protect their interests.

It is only by having someone on the Board that their interests will be fully protected. We will not have the cut-throat competition which Senator Sheridan mentioned this morning if those people are represented on the Board. We know that the liquid milk producers and those who handle the milk fix their prices more or less by contract. It is done through the contract system. As Senator Sheridan told us, you could have creameries buying milk at ? or ? in a creamery area and sending it into another area where liquid milk is sold and——

Which side is the Senator on?

I am on the side of justice for everybody because remember——

Who is just in the case the Senator has mentioned of the——

If you have got this cut-throat competition you will have scarcities and gluts and so on. What we want is stability. The best thing for dairy farmers, whether they are supplying milk to creameries or engaged in liquid milk production, is stability. It is in the best interests of the country.

Does the Senator mean a uniform price for the entire country?

I did not say any such thing.

I take it that is what the Senator means.

The Senator knows that you cannot have a uniform price because milk is supplied to the creameries during the summer months when cattle are fed on grass and the skim milk is given back to the producer and in areas where liquid milk is supplied the supply must be continual throughout the year, that the supply must be kept up during the winter months.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

If the Senator will allow me, he has got a good deal of leeway.

This is a Second Reading speech.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

This is either a Second Reading speech or a speech that might have been made this morning on Section 5 of the Bill.

No, Sir. I am making the case that instead of giving four representatives to the creameries, the Minister could easily give one to the producers of liquid milk.

Oh no, the Senator is not.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Senator will make that case.

I am making the case that they are entitled to representation and what I intended to say was that they should get at least one. Give the creameries three and give the producers of liquid milk one representative on that Board. I contend that in all justice they are entitled to it. It would be in the interests of stability and co-operation. It would be in everybody's interest in the end. It would be in the consumer's interest and definitely in the interests of the country.

One thing that has beaten us in the past in foreign markets is that we had not continuity of supply. That could be achieved if there were co-operation and if the farmers had full trust in the Board in future. If the farmers have not confidence and trust in the Board, there will not be the co-operation that we would all like to see the Board getting.

I should like to compliment Senator O'Dwyer, who spoke so well in defence of the co-operative movement. He spoke as Father Finlay or Sir Horace Plunkett would have spoken had they been here today. He pointed the way and the Minister would be well advised to take cognisance of it.

Actions speak louder than words.

I hope Senator O'Dwyer will get plenty of action.

I hope people will do their best to follow the path that Senator O'Dwyer suggested for the ultimate development into the full blossom of co-operation that Sir Horace Plunkett envisaged and which, to Senator O'Reilly's surprise, was the basic organisational idea behind the success of the Danish farming movement. Everything is based on that. We have a lot to learn.

They applied it in practice. They are practical people. That is the difference.

In the composition of the Board one of the most important sections of the industry is completely ignored, the Creamery Managers Association. We know the wonderful work they have done and the big part they have played in developing the many fine centres that we have got. The Minister says that they can come in under certain other provisions. He is suggesting that the producers should nominate creamery managers.

I did not suggest anything of the kind.

In the Second Reading speech.

I did not. I said they "could."

That is what I said. "Could" is what I said.

He did not suggest that it should be done. You want to put words into the Minister's mouth.

The Senator said "could."

That is the word I used—that they could nominate these. That is against the very idea of producer representation and if advocated in Denmark would be laughed to scorn. The Creamery Managers Association may perhaps be appointed under (c), (d), or (e) but if they are appointed they will be appointed for a specific purpose, either to represent cheese or chocolate crumb or milk powder interests and not to represent the vast bulk of the ordinary creamery milk producers. It is a grave defect in the Bill that recognition was not given to the creamery managers as a body. The election of a representative of creamery managers to the Board would improve its composition considerably.

The Minister has mentioned here that the manufacturers of cheese shall appoint a member to the Board. We need some clarification there. Cheese manufacturers comprise Mitchelstown and 13 creameries federated in the Golden Vale Society. Will they count as 13 manufacturing units or will Golden Vale, as a federation, count as one unit?

The Dairy Disposal Company is one of five engaged in the manufacture of milk powder. There are Ballyclough, Mitchelstown, Dungarvan, Urney's and the Dairy Disposal Company—in other words, three co-operatives, one private concern and the Dairy Disposal Company. The Minister says that these are to have a representative. I would imagine that in selecting a representative there would be some type of gentleman's agreement on rotation. Does the Minister envisage that when it comes to the Dairy Disposal Company's turn there would be two representatives of that company on the Board or does the provision he has made for the Dairy Disposal Company in sub-paragraph (f) mean that he would not consider it reasonable that one of their members should also be nominated by cheese or milk powder interests? Possibly they may easily go into cheese production and again would be likely to qualify under that subsection.

I am just pointing out the manner of being represented that the Minister offers to the creamery managers. It is a way that is equally available to the Dairy Disposal Company. Yet, in the latter case, the Minister makes further additional provision for them.

I find a lot of biassed thinking going on. The Minister was questioned as to how creamery managers would find representation and he indicated how that could be done. He said that they could be selected in the ordinary way as individuals. In fact, at meetings of the Fine Gael Party which preceded the arrival of this Bill in the Dáil, that matter was discussed and the Party was in favour of representation on the Board for creamery managers but in a recent debate in the Dáil the Party accepted the Minister's reasoning that the creamery managers could, in fact, be selected in the ordinary way as individuals.

I know that in Monaghan-Cavan there is one man who, if he stood for election, would be elected against any farmer-producer. Senator Quinlan seems to think that that is a fantastic idea, that it is wrong, that it is against the idea of producer representation. He suggested that in Denmark such a suggestion would be laughed to scorn. I do not accept that at all. If creamery managers are the absolute snow-white workers on behalf of the cause of co-operation and on behalf of the producers, are they not individually just as good persons to have on the Board as producers? Often they know more about the business. They may be farmers' sons reared on dairy farms and then they come to know the creamery business. Granting equal intelligence and equal ability, are they not more suitable persons than any producer?

This debate has provoked what seems to be always present in Irish life, a conflict in relation to co-operation, private enterprise and State companies. I would reiterate that I think a thing is good or bad of itself, no matter who does it. I see no objection whatever to the Minister making his case that the Dairy Disposal Company should have representation. The co-operative movement should have representation. I regret that private enterprise has not a greater slice of the dairying industry because it is the common denominator. If one were to follow out the hypothetical suggestion of Senator Quinlan, whereby at some stage co-operatives were to take over the Dairy Disposal Company, if such a decision came before the Minister and if, at the same time, a sum of money came from private enterprise for that concern, I wonder what would be the right decision for the Minister to take. After all, private enterprise would pay income tax. Private enterprise would have to work in competition with the rest of the country, and if they paid less for milk, it would not be very long until attention was drawn to that fact, and it would be a simple matter of legislation to ensure they would no longer have that advantage.

At the moment, we are all following flags. Some of us are following the flag of the State concern, the Dairy Disposal Company; some of us are following the flag of co-operation, a white angel flapping its wings; and others of us are mixed up and do not know where we are. I believe the debate in the Dáil was sufficient. There is nothing we can do but accept a Board of nine members. I think the criticism Senator L'Estrange and Senator Sheridan made is valid because of the phrasing of the Bill and the Minister's refusal to accept amendments.

If one looks at the phraseology of the Bill, one sees it as possible for the Board to engage in the sale of liquid milk. As a liquid milk supplier and one of the largest suppliers to Dublin city, I can see for myself, selfishly, that at a future date that province could be invaded by the Board without further legislation. On that basis and on that basis alone, there is some case for representation. If the Board is to be restricted in number as the Minister visualises, I feel the case is not strong enough but there is that danger and there is that looseness about the provision. It is my view that this Bill is a sort of omnibus for everything and that not enough thought has been put into it by the Minister, the Department or the Parliamentary draftsman.

Question put and agreed to.
Amendment No. 20 not moved.

I move amendment No. 21:

In subsection (3), to delete all words from and including "for" in line 57 to the end of the subsection and substitute:

"who are recognised creamery managers, or existing officials of the Irish Cream Exporters' Association, provided that in the said month the shares of the society shall be freely on offer to milk suppliers who are not already members of the Society."

The only point I wish to make on this amendment is that in all those elections, the Minister should take steps to comply with the expressed wish of the Marketing Committee, that the suppliers to the creamery would at least have the opportunity of being concerned with the elections from the co-operative creameries. What I have suggested is that there should be added a simple clause to state that the shares of the company shall be on offer to milk suppliers who are not already members of the society, that is, for one month before the elections take place.

That would provide an opportunity for those who are not shareholders to acquire shares, if they so wish, because there are certain regions in the country where I believe closed shop practices exist with regard to buying shares of co-operative societies. I have here a report of the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society and in the Minister's county of Cavan, there is a group which was registered in 1928 and which has a membership of only 11, although it has a turnover of something like £350,000; in other words, £35,000 per registered shareholder.

That was because it went into liquidation at one time.

I understand that, in that region and in other regions, there are people who are anxious to become shareholders and who cannot.

If the Senator knew the background, he would not regard that as a useful comparison.

Who now holds these shares?

A group of creameries.

And that is why there are only 11 individual owners of shares?

I know of a case in Cork where a very prominent farmer had great difficulty in securing shares in a co-operative.

Those shares are held by a group of 11; they are 11 small separating stations. They are co-operatives, which means 11 shares are held by hundreds of shareholders.

In any case, the problem has been adverted to by the Advisory Committee. They felt that producer representation would be best achieved directly through the producers but that it was more feasible and convenient to achieve it through the co-operative societies. It was felt, therefore, that all who supply milk should have an opportunity of acquiring shares. Is there any real objection to incorporating in the election provisions a provision to the effect that during the month or some other period prior to the election, the shares of the society concerned should be freely on offer to the members of the society?

Mr. O'Dwyer

The shares of co-operative societies have always been open to suppliers who cannot be refused without reasonable grounds.

Provided the law is observed.

"Provided the law is observed" is a very shrewd remark by Senator Carter. The matter raised by the Senator might be looked into but I do not think putting amendments into the Bill is the best way of achieving what is intended. It might not even then succeed. There does appear to be a tendency on the part of very successful co-operative societies, when they become fairly big, to control the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society, possibly the Creamery Managers Association and the co-operative societies as such, where in some cases the issued share capital can be quite small. While the Minister had a ready answer in the case of the 11 members, there may be other cases where share capital in a society is not, in practice, freely available to the members.

Since this Bill became a controversial matter, a man from the Ballinalee area visited me, a fairly shrewd, intelligent, progressive farmer. His purpose in seeing me was that he considered he might make a useful member of the Board. He is a supplier in that area of County Longford, the area from which Senators Carter and L'Estrange come. Once there were no creameries in that area, except one possibly on the Longford-Cavan border. That man feels that he is not even in a position to be a candidate for election, despite the fact that he is interested in co-operation. He played a leading part in the organisation of a creamery in his area but it appears that the parent institution, the co-operative society, while finding that there was reasonable certainty that this creamery would be successful, decided not to continue the issue of share certificates. In the case of at least one creamery, or possibly two in that area, organised in the past couple of years, it appears there is a genuine grouse because people who actually tendered money in some cases had it returned. They expected to get a certificate of membership of the society but their money was handed back, apparently, without interest and without comment.

There is something wrong there but that is a matter the I.A.O.S. should examine. If they did that, I should not be criticising them. Tribute has been paid to Senator O'Dwyer. I accept his view because I believe in the philosophical idea of co-operation and I realise that he has done more for real co-operation, applicable in practice, than many people who speak about it would do in three lifetimes.

Can the Minister indicate any way of getting over the difficulty?

Which difficulty?

The difficulty of shares mentioned also by Senator O'Reilly.

I could not agree to that at all. I do not believe it would be possible or, if so, it would be tremendously difficult. If shares were available, as it is suggested they should be, I am not satisfied that would not be open to abuse.

There would be a great rush to buy shares in the next month.

Perhaps, but I can see in certain circumstances it might not be desirable. This amendment in regard to the appointment of a particular individual is limiting. A number of the Senator's amendments limit the choice in cases where a choice can be freely made. I object to that. If I were to come forward with a proposal that where a free choice was supposed to be made, you should have all kinds of limiting conditions, means tests and so on, I should never get out of this Chamber alive. It amazes me that some of these amendments should seek to limit the right of the people who have a vote to exercise to say whether the appointee should be a creamery manager, a farmer also, a farmer only, whether he should be half-and-half or whether he should have any other interest. There is no merit in giving to people with intelligence and judgment the responsibility of making a decision and then saying: "You are not to elect a particular candidate, if he has black hair or if he has not a white head." As briefly as I can put it that is my objection to these proposals, suggesting the insertion of limiting conditions where a public type of choice falls to be made.

I think the Minister is limiting those who have the right to nominate to the Board by not giving representation to certain people. On the last occasion, the Minister seemed to feel some alarm that if the creamery managers got an additional representative elected directly by the Creamery Managers Association, it was quite conceivable that the association would have a majority on the Board. That could happen, but the spirit in which I made these suggestions was that if producers were to be members, I felt they should be represented by producers as such. If you took steps in that way, you would have four producer representative. On the other hand, if you expected that other representatives would come from the management side, you also had that tied up, so that you had not more than four or five from that side. The other three, as I suggested, would come from the Minister or the Agricultural Institute and the others.

I accept the Minister's objection to that. Anyway, it has gone by the board now, as the original idea of increasing the Board from nine to twelve has been rejected. Consequently, I wish to withdraw this amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 22 not moved.
Section 9 agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 23 to 25, inclusive, not moved.
Sections 10 and 11 agreed to.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Amendments 26 and 27 may be discussed together.

I move amendment No.26:

Before subsection (2) to insert a new subsection as follows:

"( ) Each Society or Company shall be entitled to as many votes as may be specified by order by the Minister."

Amendment No. 27 is really consequential on No. 26. If we take what is in the Bill, that each society is entitled to one vote, it seems grossly unfair that a big concern like Mitchelstown should have the same representation as some small co-operative creamery. I would not go so far as to suggest proportionality, that if the turnover were ten times as much in one as in the other, one should have ten times as many votes as the other, but I think it is very unfair that they should have an equal number of votes. What I have suggested is that the Minister should retain the power of specifying by order the number of votes a society is entitled to have. That leaves him free. In the first instance, if he wishes, he can specify one vote for a society. If it is considered desirable to change subsequently, there is provision to do so. I am trying to give power to the Minister, although in my earlier amendments I was trying to take power away from him.

The Senator would want to provide him with a bodyguard.

I am very pleased to see that the Senator is prepared to give me power to make orders. I was almost convinced that was something no Minister should have the right to do.

Except in very limited circumstances.

I find now that, in certain circumstances, the Minister may be permitted to make orders. I speak jocosely. I considered this matter very carefully. Even without very deep consideration one could see the point of an organisation such as Ballyclough, Mitchelstown, Dungarvan, Loughaiglish, Killeshandra—some of these very big concern—having only one vote while a small independent separating station, for instance, would also have a vote. I could find no way out of that, and I do not think it is an urgent matter. Whether I am a supplier of milk to a small separating station or a member of the Killeshandra co-operative my interest in the price of milk and in the way in which milk products will be disposed of aboard will be as keen in the one case as the other.

If I were elected as one who had an interest in the smaller type of concern it would not necessarily follow that my capacity to play my part on the Board would be any lower simply because I happened to be associated with a smaller body. I turned these things over in my mind. I could not find it possible to devise an intelligent method of apportioning the number of votes cast by any of these individual concerns. I looked at it in the way I am trying to describe now. I decided they were all interested in the same thing and there was no conflict of interest; whoever is chosen for the southern group and for the northern group will be chosen by all the co-operatives, large and small, and will be elected on the Board to look after the interests of the producers. I think the position is safe enough.

Does a central creamery with a number of branches have only one vote?

Yes. The branches are satellites.

Perhaps the Minister would answer a question about the Golden Vale Federation.

They manufacture separately. Each will have a vote.

Really, then, Mitchelstown will be swamped.

They would, if the Senator got away with it.

If the Minister does not want the powers I will not force them on him.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment 27 not moved.
Section 12 agreed to.
Section 13 to 15, inclusive, agreed to.

I moved amendment No. 28:

To add to the section "provided that he has not already had twelve years consecutive service on the Board."

In setting up a Board I hold there should be some positive effort made to ensure a certain amount of change in the composition of the Board. If we examine different bodies we find far more damage is done where membership continues indefinitely and I, therefore, suggest here a very mild type of rotation; a member should be ineligible if he has sat for more than 12 consecutive years on the Board. Having served three consecutive periods, he should step down for at least one period.

This amendment also falls in with the group as far as I am concerned, because it is a limiting provision. I object to the amendment. I think an elected representative should be allowed to retain membership. Where provision is made for an election every four years it would be wrong, in my view, to restrict on the lines suggested by the Senator. Had that provision attached to membership of the Dáil I should have been out of it 25, or 30, years ago, and I should take a poor view of that.

The member would be out for only one period and he would go back refreshed.

Every four years the Minister is in the hands of the electorate.

And these will also be in the hands of the electorate as well.

We should have rotation on all our bodies.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 16 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 29:—

Before Section 17 to insert a new section as follows:

"The Minister may at any time remove his nominated officer from the Board".

I have been accused of being antagonistic to, or critical of, the Dairy Disposal Company. Here, I am coming to their aid in that I am advocating that they should be treated as an independent unit. If the Minister appoints one of their members to the Board, as he is entitled to do, that person should be permanent on the Board in the same way as the members elected by co-operative societies and others. Otherwise, he would be just a second representative of the Minister. It is valuable that the Minister should have one representative of his Department from the point of view of co-ordination but it is wrong that this restrictive practice, to use the Minister's own words, should be used against this particular representative. The representative of the Dairy Disposal Company should function as a full member with the same rights, duties and privileges as every other member of the Board.

Without having any desire to have control over the individual concerned, one has to ask oneself who else is there to select this man except the Minister? Having selected him, who is to remove him except the Minister? There is no comparison as between an elected member and the representative of the Dairy Disposal Company. The elected member must present himself to the electorate every four years. If I appoint the representative and I have no power to remove him, what will happen? Let us be consistent. Sometimes it might be desirable to change.

Because of political expediency.

It might be desirable to change and, having appointed the man, surely the Minister should have the right to remove him. If not the Minister, then it would have to be somebody else. Who would that somebody else be?

I am an appointee of the Minister for Education on the Board of Advanced Studies. Speaking subject to correction, I am not sure if he has any right to remove me.

The Minister is satisfied he can remove him if he wishes?

There is no question of removing a member appointed by the co-operative societies?

No, because they are elected for four years.

The point I make is if this company is to be represented, its representatives should be in the same position.

There are several reasons why a Minister who makes an appointment should have the right to remove the person concerned. We are not all saints and we do not all continue to give the type of service expected of us. Many things might arise which would necessitate the removal of a man.

But despite all that, the Minister can remove a man in any section of his Department.

There might be promotion, for instance.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 17 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 30:—

Before section 18 to insert a new section as follows:

"(1) If in relation to a nominating provision, on the nomination day in any nomination year, no person stands proposed under that nominating provision, the Minister shall appoint a person he considers to be representative of that group.

(2) The results shall be arranged in order of voting preference in each of the nominating panels, and all casual vacancies shall be filled in the order shown.

(3) If no further persons are listed in the voting results as required under subsection (2) of this section, and a casual vacancy occurs, the Minister shall appoint a person he considers to be representative of the group."

In Section 18 we have a rather complicated provision by which the Minister, in effect, takes unto himself the right to fill all casual vacancies occurring on the Board. That seems to be a very wide power and one quite unnecessary. As I suggest in this amendment, whether you adopt the straight vote system or the single transferable vote, the candidates can be returned in the order of the election—the candidate elected, then the next, the next and so on. It is quite feasible and reasonable that the second man on the panel should step up if the first man steps down. In the event of the panel running out, the amendment proposes that the further filling of the vacancy should be left to the Minister.

It is not worth while tying the Minister in the matter of a casual vacancy arising every four years. I do not think it would be wise to do so. When filling a casual vacancy I cannot see a Minister failing to have a look at the results of the election in, say, the southern or northern areas and, if a second candidate offers, seeing how he has fared. If two or three candidaters offer in the southern area, it may be that the second got only a fraction of the total vote. I do not think it is wise that, by acceptance of this amendment, the Minister should be compelled automatically to appoint that person. You should trust the Minister a little more than that.

The amendment loses much of its force due to the fact that we object to the single transferable system of voting. It is quite likely, as the Minister has said, that the second person might get only a small fraction of the vote got by the first person. That could not occur under the single transferable system and the second person would be in every respect the second choice of the group. However, that is not possible under the system of straight voting used in this Bill, and consequently I wish to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 18 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 31:

To add to the section a new subsection as follows:

"( ) (a) The Minister shall cause to be inserted in Iris Oifigiúil in the next issue following the establishment day, particulars of the remuneration and expenses to be allowed to the Chairman and to the members of the Board.

(b) All changes in remuneration and expenses of the Chairman and of the members of the Board shall be similarly inserted in Iris Oifigiúil”.

Senators will note that Section 19 states:

A member of the Board shall be paid out of the Fund such remuneration and allowances for expenses as the Minister, after consultation with the Minister for Finance, from time to time determines.

This will be by order and there will be no record of it on the Table of the House. I feel the proper procedure would be that the remuneration of the chairman and members of the Board, as distinct from their expenses, which might cause difficulty because they vary, should be published in Iris Oifigiúil so that we would know the remuneration of the chairman and members of the Board just as we know the Minister's official salary and the salaries of Senators and Deputies and so on.

This Bill follows the line adopted in seven or eight more or less similar measures. As far as the remuneration of these people is concerned, a Parliamentary Question will always bring the information required. That is the practice that has been followed and there is no reason to depart from it.

If the Minister assures me that a Parliamentary Question will bring the desired information, then by your leave, Sir, I wish to withdraw the amendment.

I have supplied it myself on a number of occasions.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 19 and 20 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 21 stand part of the Bill."

I wish to oppose this section because it imposes a restriction on a member of the Board. When he becomes a member of either House of the Oireachtas he must cease to be a member of the Board. That is rather unnecessary. In setting up these boards we always express the wish that the best possible board will be recruited, and then we immediately proceed to disenfranchise those people in so far as their eligibility to sit in either Dáil or Seanad is concerned. I know a certain case could be made against having these people sit in the Dáil which takes considerably more time than the Seanad, but surely if there is any substance in the claim that this is a vocational Seanad or that we desire it should develop on vocational lines, then it is only right and proper that members of the boards of various semi-State bodies and others should be able to play their part if called on without in any way detracting from their duties as members of these boards.

We are up against the problem here, and we are all very conscious of the problem, of semi-State bodies, and we shall have to do a lot of clear thinking on it in the next couple of years. We must have many of these semi-State bodies, but, on the other hand, we must be aware of what we are doing and not take, as it were, another step towards expanding the area of socialisation and nationalisation of our resources. Consequently, where it is possible for us to change from semi-State boards to non-semi-State bodies, it would be advisable for us to do so. We did it in the case of the Dairy Disposal Company.

Equally, while it is desirable that we should have some close links between Parliament and the semi-State bodies, I can think of nothing that would achieve that end better than having some permanent people on the boards, who also happened to be elected to the Seanad on one panel or another. It is rather interesting to see where the approach of the Government has varied. First of all, we have, in the Minister's Department, the Agricultural Institute. There is no restriction on a member of the Council of that Institute or even on the chief officer himself, to prevent him from being elected to this House. If such a person is elected to this House, it is only as it should be. I know the Minister will say that the Agricultural Institute is an automonous body and not a semi-State body. I grant the difference, but I do not think membership of that Board is quite comparable with membership of Bord Bainne. If a member of Bord Bainne is undesirable in this House, it is likely in the same way that a member of An Foras Talúntais would be undesirable, too.

Then, we swing to the other extreme in a measure with which the Minister was associated, the Glenamoy grassmeal measure. Admittedly, that Bill was sponsored by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, but it went to the extreme that if a member of the authority set up under that Bill was even nominated for election to the Dáil or Seanad, he would thereupon have to resign. An officer of the company is under the same disability and the same clause has been invoked in the recent Broadcasting Authority Bill. There might be some justification for that.

There is justification there.

I put down this amendment to highlight the problem. I hope the day will come when the Government will accept such an amendment, and we will be pleased to find that we have amongst us members who are intimately connected with semi-State bodies who will act as a bridgehead between the two.

I agree with Senator Quinlan on this point and, in fact, when I saw the amendment I looked up an Act that I remember, namely, the Agricultural Produce (Cereals) (Amendment) Act, 1958, which has a great similarity to this Bill. There are reasons why members of either House are excluded from membership of the Board set up under that Act inasmuch as the Minister appoints the Board. In this case, it might well be that a milk producer in the south of Ireland, a politician of either Party or an Independent politician, might be the fittest and a most excellent person to sit on this Board. In such a situation, it would be a mistake if he were not allowed to do so.

This exclusion of members of the Houses of the Oireachtas is going too far. It is now included in almost all provisions of this kind. I feel that we are being altogether to squeamish about it. There is nothing wrong in a member of the Fianna Fáil Party or the Fine Gael Party, if he is fit and able, taking such a position in some capacity, and accepting the stringent criticism which will come to him from the other side if he digresses in any way from the path of duty or the path of excellence. I feel that the automatic inclusion of this provision in every similar Act passing through the Houses of the Oireachtas is wrong, and I register myself, like Senator Quinlan, as disapproving of it.

It is not so many years since the Government of the day decided to insert this provision in every Bill of this kind. They must have had very good reasons for taking that decision. While I am not able to give them all now, I am perfectly satisfied it is the right thing to do. This is a small country and the couple of hundred people chosen to act here as Deputies and Senators surely are not vital to the composition of boards of this nature. However they succeed in getting there, many members of the public take a very poor view of their being there, and are very critical of any such happening. It was, I am sure, because of that growing attitude on the part of the public that the Government of the day some years ago—I do not know how many—decided upon this course. It is provided for here, and I have no doubt it will be provided for in Bills of this nature for years and years to come. I hope it will.

I do not follow the Minister's reasoning. He says this is a small little country and, therefore, a selection from the 200 or 300 members of the Oireachtas cannot be vital to any board. This being a small country is a good reason why certain members of the Oireachtas being members of boards could, in fact, be vital, from the point of view of their knowledge and experience.

Let us take two men. The ex-Minister for Agriculture of the Fine Gael Party, the Leader of the Opposition at the moment, Deputy Dillon, could surely, if elected—but I think he would not be elected because he is not a milk producer—make a very big contribution to this Board. The Minister sitting here to-day in Committee has convinced me that if he were out of office, he would do the same thing. Yet those two men are excluded by this provision. That is just an example, but I feel it is a proper example.

We are being far too squeamish about this sort of thing and too susceptible to criticism. We will be criticised, no matter what happens. If one were to consider how these things are operated in one of the most successful countries in the world, one has only to look at America where we find inter-relation on all sorts of boards, committees and so on of members of the Senate and members of the House of Representatives. I believe that the automatic inclusion of this sort of doctrinaire provision in Bills of this nature is bad.

I would only be sensitive to criticism if my conscience were not at ease.

I was not referring to the Minister because he is not sensitive to criticism.

I do not mean myself; I am saying that public men need not be sensitive to criticism, provided their consciences are at ease.

I agree, Of course, the Minister is not sensitive to criticism.

The Minister has stated that the membership of these Houses, the few hundred involved, is not fatal to the board. I agree with him on that. I should be prepared to see the second proviso stand; in other words, that a person who is actually sitting would be ineligible for appointment to a board. It is different when a person outside, sitting on a board, is appointed to one of the Houses. This is one of our real problems. The class from which we can draw membership of the Oireachtas is getting smaller and smaller. Those in salaried positions, and so on, are unable to accept. You have to be in a second position. You have to be a land-owner or in a business or in some other position before you can undertake membership of the Houses at the present allowances. Looking through the Houses, there are very few who have not got other means of support. That automatically excludes the vast bulk of the salaried people in the country. Then the cry is raised: "Why do graduates not enter politics?" They cannot afford it.

I should like a list of the members of all the boards. I imagine it would run into hundreds of our leading citizens. All these are excluded. If you wish, you might exclude them from the Dáil for a while, but there is no case for excluding them from what should be a non-political vocational Seanad and what I hope one day will reach that position.

I notified my intention to oppose this section but did not expect to get agreement. However, by raising the issues involved and keeping at them, we can ultimately bring the Government to face the task of shifting this very restrictive proviso. I would welcome the chairman of any of our State bodies. They would be ornaments to our Houses. They would be capable of valuable contributions on many legislative matters.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 22 to 24, inclusive, agreed to.
Amendment No. 32 not moved.
Section 25 agreed to.
Sections 26 to 29, inclusive, agreed to.

I move amendment No. 33:

In line 16, before "such" to insert "or issue share capital for capital purposes".

This amendment is merely for elucidation as to the powers conferred on the Board. Do they extend to the issue of share capital for capital purposes by the Board?

This is a non-profit-making Board. It is not comparable with other bodies of this nature. We see no reason for issuing share capital. In fact, it would present many undesirable problems.

In a case where so many large business interests are involved, co-operative societies and so on, surely this would be an obvious means of part-financing a company?

What advantage would it have?

It would probably be more stable or less reliant on the Government rather than expect the whole thing to come from the Minister.

It is not designed as a profit-making concern. What purpose would it serve from the point of view of issuing shares?

If the whole effort had been made through the co-operative movement, then obviously the share capital, in the main, would have been put up by the co-operative movement, just as the share capital is put up for various co-operative enterprises, cattle marts, and so on. The fact that it is non-co-operative would not preclude it from paying whatever is the legitimate——

Where you have shareholders, do they not own the concern? If it were possible to do that, would it be desirable that this Board should be owned and controlled by shareholders?

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 30 agreed to.
Section 31 agreed to.
Amendment No.34 not moved.

I move amendment No. 35:

In pages 17 and 18, to delete subsection (4).

This amendment is to delete the section that limits the amount of subvention to the export of dairy produce which the Government should give. This is intended to be a governor on the engine that produces dairy produce. When an engine comes to a certain capacity, a governor does not allow it to go any further. In support of that, I would say that the whole demand for dairy produce here, with the exception of cheese, has been proved to be static. Whatever improvement we may get in cheese will be rather small. Therefore, if we have a static home demand and if the position is that we drink or consume a certain number of millions of gallons—let it be X million gallons— and we export a small amount, the levy, being one-third of the cost of exporting that small amount divided over that X million gallons of milk at home, shall be small and shall reduce by a small amount the price of milk paid by the consumer. If we expand our exports, while the demand at home is static, relatively the charge upon X million gallons of milk at home is increased and the price of dairy milk is reduced. Therefore, if we have expansion, the situation here is that the price of dairy milk is reduced and when the price of any farmer's crop reduces, he moves over to something else.

Our farmers are mainly mixed farmers. While a farmer may be a dairy farmer, at the same time, he has other avenues for his energy and production. Therefore, if the price of dairy milk is reduced, then the heifer that might have been mated is not, but instead is sold as beef and the declared policy of the Government to increase the number of dairy cows to 1,500,000 does not succeed.

I would refer to the necessity for a long-term plan for expanding dairy produce, as referred to in the conclusions of the Advisory Committee on the Marketing of Agricultural Produce report on dairy produce. I would refer the House to paragraphs 8, 9, 10 and 11. It is very important that we should read these paragraphs.

Let me quote:

At this stage we should like to refer to the need for a long-term plan for the dairy industry in this country. It seems to us that it is essential to evolve an overall national policy for the industry and that this should be done by the milk producers, the Irish Dairy Produce Board, recommended by us later, and the State. The fundamental point to be decided is whether this country should be an exporter of whatever temporary surplus of dairy produce may arise from time to time or whether the country should be a long-term and regular exporter of dairy produce. If it is the intention that the country's export trade in dairy produce should continue to be merely the export of whatever fluctuating surplus may arise from year to year, there would be little point in altering radically the present marketing arrangements. This applies particularly in the case of butter, the marketing arrangements for which, in our opinion, have operated reasonably satisfactorily in disposing of the occasional temporary surpluses that have arisen.

They now proceed to draw the conclusion:

We consider, however, that proposals for the future marketing of Irish dairy produce should be based on the assumption that the country must have an increasing volume of such produce to export and our report must be read in that light. A significant increase in the volume of exports of dairy produce cannot be brought about rapidly and we believe that a definite long-term plan aimed at increasing milk output and providing a steady flow of dairy products for export must be evolved. In formulating such a plan it is important that the following two points should be borne in mind. In the first place, the plan should be a long-term one which will be maintained over a reasonable period irrespective of temporary developments. Secondly, the producer must be assured that any increase in efficiency and productivity resulting from his efforts will be reflected in an improvement in his standard of living.

I do not want to quote Paragraph 10 but I should quote Paragraph 11 which draws further conclusions:

We must say that our views in regard to the dairy industry are at variance with the general trend of the section on dairying in the White Paper, which appears to consider dairying outside the context of the wholly artificial nature of world trade in dairy produce. Furthermore, the dairy industry here cannot be considered on its own and the dependence of the cattle industry on it must be taken into account. If the arguments in paragraph 33 of the White Paper are accepted as general policy, it seems to us that the conclusions of this report will be largely negatived.

The desire of the Government is to give the appearance of going on with the recommendations of this report, but at the same time to adhere to their own conclusions as adumbrated in paragraph 33 of the White Paper on dairying. The Advisory Committee also digresses from the views of the Government as stated in that section.

In their general conclusions, I should refer the Seanad to conclusion 20 on page 36 of the report of the Advisory Committee on the Marketing of Agricultural Produce in the Summary of Recommendations.

Are we on Section 33?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Section 32, amendment 35.

There the Advisory Committee say:

An annual grant for the purpose of supporting exports of dairy produce should be made to the Dairy Produce Board, the amount to be determined in annual negotiations about November of each year between the Board and the Department of Agriculture and the Board to be allowed to support exports of certain other dairy products as well as butter.

These people say that we must proceed on the basis of an expanding dairy industry and that each November we should look at what are the requirements of that industry and go further in the realisation that we have a constant surplus to export at any time and that we can get better prices and can dispose of our losses. The Government in their White Paper do not adhere to that view. In my opinion, they tried to put the governor on the engine. The result will be the ordinary grasshopper policy for agriculture that we had in this country— the swing of the pendulum. The price goes up when production goes down and vice versa. That is the old supply and demand idea which governs all transactions, but it is not allowed to govern transactions in the marketing of agricultural produce in any civilised country today.

The position is that the prices of agricultural produce are all artificial. In fact, there are supports which we cannot too freely afford, but, at the same time, there are stated policies and aims and a desire to get somewhere, in the hope that when you have got to that point you can market your produce more advantageously and dispose of losses. The Government, in paragraph 26 of the White Paper, state:

The objective of policy will be to increase cow numbers progressively to at least 1,500,000 by 1964. The retention for breeding of an additional 50,000 heifers per annum would enable this objective to be attained without undue disturbance to the farming economy or to the export trade, though the progress of the Bovine Tuberculosis Eradication Scheme, involving the slaughter of considerable numbers of cows before the end of their normal life, will for a time be a complicating factor. It is important that these additional cows be bred for beef rather than milk production, as beef can be sold abroad competitively, whereas butter, our most important milk product, cannot—a situation which seems likely to continue for some time. A considerable proportion of the additional cows should be outside the main dairying areas.

From that, I deduce that the Government want to have this governor and do not want an expanding export drive in dairy produce. You cannot sell the goods if you have not got them.

The first thing I want to say in relation to the ordinary breeding of cattle is that single suckling and multiple suckling became rather popular three or four years ago. This year and last year, there was not a great profit either in single suckling or multiple suckling. Therefore, what are we to do with our cows, the whole basis of our cattle industry and therefore this country's prosperity? If we are to digress from the breeding of young heifers, we are destroying our main agricultural export. Even though industrial exports have passed the cattle export trade slightly in money value, it must be remembered that industrial exports involve us in a considerable amount of imports of raw materials before we export the finished product. I hold against the Government and against the views stated in the White Paper. We must proceed in the realisation that this country has to market the milk products so that we may have the calves at a price that will give some extra return to the dairy farmer.

Let me quote from paragraph 33 of the Government White Paper which was mentioned in the Advisory Committee's recommendations:

Where a subsidy has to be paid, the benefit to farmers from increased production and exports is, to the extent of the subsidy, achieved only by a transfer from the community at large, of which the farmers themselves are a considerable part. If, according as production increased, unit costs were reduced, enabling milk products to be marketed abroad with gradually declining aid from public funds, the improvement in farmers' incomes would be more soundly based and, ultimately, the whole value of the increased output would accrue as a net national gain. The need for a change in this direction is made more evident by the prospect of an expansion in the breeding herds. An annual increase of 50,000 cows (paragraph 26 above), accompanied by an annual increase in yields even of only 10 gallons per cow, would, at the end of five years, quadruple the amount of milk surplus to home requirements. On the basis of present export prices and subsidy arrangements, this would entail an Exchequer subsidy of some £10,000,000 to £12,000,000 per annum. A potential liability of this magnitude cannot be undertaken. Both for economic and financial reasons, the primary objective of grasslands policy must be to secure an increase in the output of meat rather than of milk, since even on present production costs meat can be sold abroad without State aid.

The Government, therefore, do not agree that the breeding herds in the milking areas should be increased. I feel that is a terrible digression from a proper agricultural policy. I feel that even if there is the increase mentioned in Paragraph 33 of the White Paper, if things were to continue as they were, in the order of £10,000,000, that great load that could fall upon us would be largely negatived by the extra opportunity we would have of marketing our products in an orderly fashion.

Denmark has been mentioned at least half a dozen times today. The Danes are now claiming a large portion of the British market for dairy products, and, as a by-product of the export of dairy products, they have claimed a large portion of the bacon trade in the British market. I feel that the Government in putting this limiting factor there are deliberately setting the governor on the engine, saying that if exports increase, the prices at home will diminish and if the farmer is dissatisfied with the price of his milk, he will as a result keep less cows. He will not keep that extra heifer. Instead of having 1,500,000 cows which have been mentioned as a target, we will have less. I feel that the Government want this pendulum and I feel that in November of each year, there should be a meeting between Bord Bainne and the Minister, and, in consultation with the Minister for Finance, a sum should be voted which would run the dairy industry for the following 12 months. That would be a fairer and better solution because it would allow for expansion. I feel that if the dairy industry does not expand, agriculture generally will contract as well as the dairy industry.

I do not know where we are to get our store cattle for export, if we do not get them from the dairy industry. I know there was a great move towards single-suckling and multi-suckling calves and in the first years, these beef calves did make a good price but as the number increased in relation to the demand, they made bad prices and single suckling calves in this year, when beef was making a fair price, made as low as £27. What is the choice for the farmer? Does he keep his good heifer and make it into beef, or does he keep her and milk her and rear calves and sell the surplus milk? We are not changing the situation in the dairying industry one iota.

A few years ago, the Government instituted the one-third, two-thirds system and as a result there was a reduction of one penny in the price of dairy milk. Following that, there was a dry summer and there were no exports and the Government took credit for the fact that there was an increase of 1.3d. in dried milk. That again is the pendulum system which has operated in all Irish agriculture over past decades. If the Government want that system, they could not have devised better machinery than the system whereby when exports increase, the price of milk at home decreases.

I feel this section should be deleted and that the Minister should meet Bord Bainne in November each year and plan the general policy of the Board for the next 12 months. That would give some incentive to the farmer to increase his breeding herd in the dairying areas. The Minister knows that in these areas there is a 40 per cent. incidence of bovine tuberculosis. How does he propose to increase the breeding herds in those areas, if he does not give some support? If he does not give this support, it will produce the grasshopper farmer and the pendulum and will not help the dairying industry. That is my case on this section. I am supported by the Advisory Committee in my views, so that I am not completely out on a limb.

One thing which happens in a deliberative Assembly which I always think should not happen to the extent that it does is repetition. Senator Donegan made this speech on the Second Reading.

He did not.

The very same speech. It was made in the Dáil. The reports to which he referred have been quoted and I dealt with that quotation when I was concluding the Second Reading discussion and I said then that if a Senator wanted to be really objective and fair, he should read on and could provide himself with more information. I dealt with Paragraph 33 of this document known as Economic Expansion. I dealt with the times and circumstances in which that document was prepared. It was prepared at a time when, as the Senator admits himself, beef was very costly, was a very good trade and was very profitable. It was prepared at a time when the Taoiseach, who was then Minister for Industry and Commerce, and I went to Britain as a result of the challenge of the New Zealand Government. We were obliged to go there to deal with our export position, as far as butter was concerned.

On the conclusion of the Second Reading debate, I tried to deal with that matter in an objective way. I proceeded to read Paragraph 34 of Economic Expansion from which the Senator has quoted. This is what Paragraph 34 said:

However much policy may be tilted towards having beef rather than milk products as the marketable surplus, any increase in cow numbers will result in an increase in milk production...

This document makes it clear that the policy aim was to increase cow numbers. The steps to be taken towards that end are also outlined in the document.

The paragraph continues:

and it is urgently necessary that production costs be reduced so as to enable the increase over home needs to be economically exported. The improvement of grasslands will help directly both by reducing feeding costs and by enabling better feeding methods to be introduced. Care will be taken to ensure that the best breeding stock of the main dairying breeds will be available in the dairying areas both at the artificial insemination stations and at the premises of private breeders; this will enable further improvements to be effected in the dairy herd. The scientific investigations necessary for a determination of the comparative merits of the Friesian and Shorthorn breeds will be pressed ahead. Farmers will thus be able to decide for themselves whether to go Friesian or Shorthorn and the State will endeavour for its part to introduce the best sires of both breeds and to improve the existing breeds by progeny testing.

That document was prepared as an indication to the public of the objectives which the Government was striving to achieve. It does not follow, of course, that even if you did deliberately say to the farmers, "go in for beef rather than milk" that they would do so because naturally that would be determined by the profitability of one as against the other.

Much as I detest repetition, even when it has to come from me, I want to say now that when this document was being prepared, because of the circumstances of the time to which I have referred and because of the danger of our whole attitude being misrepresented by paragraph 33, from which the Senator has quoted, I was personally responsible for paragraph 34, in order to show the farmers that we were not in any way prejudiced against milk and milk products, that we knew the difficulties of handling a surplus to our own requirements, that we were not prejudiced against them and we were indicating here the steps we were taking in order to enable them to produce so as to simplify marketing.

I said also here, in reply to the criticism on the last occasion, that you cannot misrepresent this Party as far as the milk producers of the country are concerned. You may try as much as you like. I am not saying that the price which is paid for milk here is very attractive by comparison with other countries, not by any means, but I am saying in the Seanad and I shall say it anywhere, before any audience, that this Party does not have to be in any way afraid or ashamed to go before the farmers, in comparison with the performance of any political Party, and have this scheme contested.

The fact that we are here as a majority Government, the fact that this Party has been in office with two breaks since 1932 is proof, if you are dealing with men and women with reasonable minds, that we have retained the support of the people. Even when out of office we have been able to secure almost 50 per cent. of the support of the people. We have been able by our own activities, by our own achievements, by the policy that we pursued, to secure and to retain their confidence and I would say that we never held it so firmly as we do today.

You never got 45 per cent. of the farmers.

What about the last bye-election?

Go to the country. What are you waiting for?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach


We shall not be like some of those who preceded us. We shall not have to be almost lifted out of office.

You will have to be lifted out.

I do not like to have to deal with this very politically minded Senator from County Louth. I have been in politics for a very long time and I would not have been in them for so long if I did not have some liking for politics but I really do dislike having politics on every plate that is put before me. I like to get some ease from politics now and again. I do not know whether the Senator regards that as a tribute or a criticism but I do not know of any Senator except his running mate, Senator Quinlan, who is so politically minded as he is. There is no harm in that.

Does the Minister recollect the time when he spoke for six hours and never used a political argument?

It is said that I can be tremendously interesting if I am in the mood.

Never more interesting than now.

Do not lose too much sleep about us. As far as our relations with the country are concerned and especially my relations with the farmers, they were always good.

What about the Minister for Local Government?

In the case of the farmers, especially milk producing farmers, I suppose I have the best record of all of them. You could not do damage to my name as far as they are concerned.

Not any more.

The Minister is putting bad thoughts in my head.

Coming to the end of the Bill I had reluctantly to make these remarks so that Senator Donegan would be given some ammunition with which to take up the running after me. I did not like to leave him there. He is associated with these amendments and if he had to say his part and do his piece, it would be very dry if he had to cover the ground covered by Senator Quinlan. I intervened as a matter of convenience. I hope that the Senator has got some useful notes on which he can play a new tune.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Could the Leader of the House indicate what the arrangements are?

I think there is general agreement that we should finish this Stage. As a matter of fact, the understanding I had was that we would finish the Committee Stage by 6 o'clock and I think we should endeavour to do that.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Then we shall go ahead.

At what time will the House rise?

When we finish the Committee Stage of this Bill, at 6 o'clock.

We are not going to be coerced into rushing. I will not have that.

Despite how the farmers love the Minister.

Agreements should be kept.

I have no objection to an adjournment for tea.

We ought to do that or postpone the debate till Tuesday.

I cannot do that.

There was an understanding that we would finish the Committee Stage of this Bill at 6 o'clock and then take Senator Prendergast's motion. We have made several endeavours to take Senator Prendergast's motion and if this effort fails, I cannot see when it will be taken.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

If we are to take Senator Prendergast's motion, it is only fair to the Minister who has been sitting here all the time that we should have a tea adjournment.

I do not want this debate to be prolonged as it was on other occasions until nine or ten o'clock on footy points. If understandings are arrived at, they should be honoured.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I have noticed that matters have been disposed of more rapidly in the last hour. The Leader of the House thinks Senators may get second wind during tea time.

It is quite possible.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I think the feeling of the House is that we should have a tea adjournment.

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

The Minister, in replay to my contribution, said many things and I analysed them pretty fairly. He said that the White Paper, which in my view did not predispose towards expanding our economy, was prepared at a time when beef was profitable, when the present Taoiseach and himself were in London trying, as he said, to combat the challenge of the New Zealand Government on dairy products on the British market. That seems to be an admission that what I suggest is true. He went on to quote paragraph 34 as if it were a complete apologia for paragraphs 33 and 26 and he almost challenged me that I had not continued to quote him. Of course I am quite prepared to quote the entire White Paper if he wishes but I do not think it would be either necessary or in order.

Taken in conjunction with the statements he made that the recommendations contained in the White Paper were made at the time mentioned and when the Taoiseach and himself were in London, one must read the first words of paragraph 34—the paragraph the Minister quotes as an apology for Government policy in this regard—as something that proves rather than disproves my contention. I quote:

However much policy may be tilted towards having beef rather than milk products as the marketable surplus, any increase in cow numbers will result in an increase in milk production and it is urgently necessary that production costs be reduced so as to enable the increase over home needs to be economically exported.

I could continue but I think in the interests of brevity it is not necessary. The paragraph refers very properly to the necessity for improving our dairy breeds and so on but when you take the first sentence I think you must immediately accept that the Government's policy was to move our cattle policy away from the dairy end towards the beef end.

I have pointed out on the Second Reading that in fact production of beef, while most necessary and suitable in part of the country and suitable for our economy and was built up because farmers' houses had larger farms around them and that sort of thing, it is at the same time a kind of cattle rearing that produces the lowest income per head. I think it true to say that if you are going to ask the people in dairy areas to restrict their activity you are, in fact, following a contracting policy rather than an expanding one and that is wrong.

This section refers directly to the levy on dairy milk and the position when this enactment becomes law is that the levy will remain law until it is repealed. It is therefore a perpetuation of the milk levy and is designed, like other levies on agricultural produce—notably the levy on wheat— to control production as the governor on the engine controls its speed as I described in my first statement on this matter.

Senator Quinlan and I were grouped together as running mates. I did not discuss this section, or any part of this Bill, with Senator Quinlan at any time. The identical amendments were tabled from Louth and Cork, with no prior exchange of any kind. It may be said that "fools seldom differ" or "great minds run in grooves". There is absolutely no question of Senator Quinlan and I being running mates.

I wish to make a few observations to reinforce what Senator Donegan has said. I stand here, as I have always stood, as an Independent representative, and I will defend that position against attacks from any side. I have frequently been criticised by my friends on this side and frequently by my friends on the other; I am glad to say I have found friends on both sides. I conceive it to be my duty on a Committee Stage like this to give whatever views I can as a result of the study I have put into the measure. I do not expect my views to be accepted in whole, or even in part, but it is my duty here to put forward my views. I make no apology for being concerned because of the inroads that are being made into our national life by the creation of groups of citizens who cannot take any part in the public life of this country. That is a very ominous development. It is one we must watch.

With regard to independence, I wish that we here would grow up a little and regard Committee Stages as so much give and take. I look back with extreme pleasure to the first occasion on which I tabled amendments here. It was the Committee Stage of the Agricultural Institute Bill. I had 25 amendments down. The Bill was piloted through the House by the President, who was then Taoiseach and Head of the Government. It was a magnificent debate. Not the slightest imputation was made against any speaker and we wound up that debate, having done a good job on the Committee Stage. One of my amendments was accepted. As I see the position here tonight, there is not the slightest intention to accept any amendment. We have found ourselves up against closed minds the whole way through. I want to register the strongest possible protest against this method of handling a Committee Stage and the only effective way I can see of registering my protest at this stage is not to move all the remaining amendments standing in my name.

We do not wish to go into the Division Lobby on this amendment but we do wish to be recorded as dissenting.

Will the Senators who wish to be recorded as dissenting please rise?

Senators Donegan, Quinlan, L'Estrange, O'Quigley and Carton rose.

The Senators will be recorded as dissenting.

Amendment declared lost.
Section 32 agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 36 to 38, inclusive, not moved.
Question proposed: "That Section 33 stand part of the Bill."

I have consulted the Agricultural Produce (Cereals) (Amendment) Act, 1958, in relation to the establishment of a Board such as this. I find that the wording is that the Board shall provide itself with such offices and premises as it considers necessary. According to Section 5 of this Bill, all sorts of things are covered, such as shops, showrooms, bureaux. I regard the provision as highly suspicious and as absolutely unnecessary.

The Minister's approval is vital and that approval is an assurance which should be appreciated fully by the Senator.

I fear I cannot accept the Minister's approval as a complete answer. Under subsection (2) (g) of Section 5, we find that the Minister's approval is not necessary at all. They can have anything they like—bureaux, shops, showrooms.

They can undertake none of these activities without my approval.

There is nothing to that effect in the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 34 and 35 agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 39 and 40 not moved.
Section 36 agreed to.
Amendment No. 41 not moved.
Section 37 agreed to.
Amendment No. 42 not moved.
Section 38 agreed to.
Sections 39 to 51, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 52 stand part of the Bill."

What property is involved here? Could the Minister also tell me what amount of money is to the credit of the Dairy Produce Price Stabilisation Fund?

I could not say. The property would be butter and butter boxes.

It is mainly that kind of thing?

Yes. I would not know the amount of money at the end of the year. It is only when all these accounts are straightened out that I would be able to give that information.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 53 to 62, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 63 stand part of the Bill".

Regulations and orders are to be made and laid before each House of the Oireachtas "as soon as may be." Could the Minister give some general information as to the period in which normally regulations and orders will be laid before each House of the Oireachtas?

I would not have a clue, to tell you the truth.

This brings us back to Section 6, about which we were talking earlier. Senator O'Reilly spoke at some length this morning. What he had to say was subsequently endorsed by the Minister—that the great safeguard about the addition of duties and functions to the Board lay in the fact that regulations and orders made under the Act would have to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas. Therefore, there was a great deal of fuss, bother and pother about the thing, since Parliamentary control was being retained under Section 63. The Minister is the person who will be responsible for laying these regulations before the House "as soon as may be" possible. I now ask him what is his intention—would it be within seven days, a month or three months?—and the Minister says he has not a clue. That is not a very satisfactory way to ask us to defer our opposition to Section 6. It makes more urgent the amendment of Section 6 along the lines I indicated this morning.

My note here says "This is a routine provision." I do not suppose that question was ever directed to me previously. An order is made and it cannot be published until it is printed and a date is given on which it becomes operative. I would never have known there was any doubt about such a document being made available to the House, had I not heard some Senator say that, as a result of the activities of a Committee of this House, it was discovered that that was not so in all cases. In all the cases I know, once the document is ready for tabling, the date is mentioned and all is in order. It was because some Senator mentioned to-day that that was not the practice in all cases that I was hesitant about giving any assurance on a subject about which I knew very little. The matter never arose with me during my time as Minister.

I appreciate the Minister's position. I do not expect him to be able to explain everything in the Bill. We had a fairly lengthy debate on Section 6 and Senator Ryan said— and the Minister subsequently approved of what he said—that the safeguards in relation to an addition to the functions of the Board lay in the fact that these regulations were available.

They have to be.

Of course they have to be. What I am asking is how soon, because our experience has been that it may be as long as six months. That is a fair length of time. I am asking the Minister is it his intention that they will be laid upon the Table at the earliest possible date they are available?

Not only is it our intention but it is the practice of my Department to do that.

Unfortunately my experience has been—and I do not say the Minister's Department is particularly at fault in this respect—that regulations were not laid on the Table as soon as they might have been. No difficulty arises in regard to printing because, as we all know, many regulations are stencilled, and are available for purchase in the Government Publications Sales Office in stencilled form. So far as printing is concerned no difficulty need arise, but the Minister should be able to tell us that his interpretation of "as soon as may be" would be a week after making the regulations.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 64 and 65 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.

Next Tuesday.

Report Stage ordered for Tuesday, 10th January, 1961.