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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 14 Jun 1961

Vol. 54 No. 8

Industrial Research and Standards Bill, 1961—Second Stage (Resumed).

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

Everyone seriously interested in the future prosperity of our country will certainly welcome this Bill. We are living in an age, as everyone knows, of ruthless technological competition and unless we gather all our forces, we simply will not survive in this competitive world. Very often, when these drastic developments are put into operation, the work of some smaller private or voluntary bodies is affected. This evening, very briefly, I should like to refer to one voluntary body which will be affected to some extent by this Bill. I should like the Minister to give the position his sympathetic consideration, as I am sure he will.

The body I have in mind is the Institute of Irish Inventors, founded about four years ago by some citizens of Dublin and of the country in general. It collected a very fine body of advisers and has a hard-working committee, and for nearly four years now, it has been pursuing its objectives very effectively in its quiet and small way. I should like to mention two of the objects which this Institute of Irish Inventors has before it: (1) To assist the members by giving advice on the protection of their ideas, suitability of inventions, marketing, and patents; to encourage potential inventors to pursue their idea so as to ensure a useful flow of ideas to the market and to form a link between the inventor and the various sources of information, supply and demand; (2) to provide a panel of experts to assess the commercial potentialities of a novelty or device and to give advice on the best method of manufacture and marketing.

Clearly, a good deal of this effort will be taken over by the reconstituted Institute. What I should like to know is what is the future of the Institute of Irish Inventors? It has no paid staff; it has no property; it has no offices except those given by voluntary support About a year ago I understand some representatives of the Institute approached the Minister's Department. They had very friendly discussions with some of the officials and they came away hopeful that perhaps they might get some Government support. With that in mind, the Institute has not been as active within the past year as in previous years. The Institute knew something was brewing and developing and held its hand.

During the past year or so, the Institute has mostly confined its activities to affording help and advice on a purely personal and voluntary basis to inventors, because the introduction of legislation was apparently impending.

The problem for us in the House and I think for the Minister is whether an Institute of that kind can continue to serve its useful function under this legislation. The newly reconstituted Institute will take over a good many of its functions and, what is more, the newly constituted Institute will take over most of the lucrative inventions. I imagine that if any one of these Irish inventors has something that is likely to be really valuable for Irish industry, he will, of course, go to the Industrial Research Institute from this private body.

On the other hand, as Senator Quinlan was saying, it is unwise to draw too firm a line between commissioned industrial research and what we might call free invention. Very often, it is the crack-pot inventor, or the person who is believed to be a crack-pot inventor, who really turns up with something of immense value not only to his country but the whole world. That has happened in the past. It is the eccentric who sometimes produces the unusual and valuable invention.

I suggest that this small but effective body can still serve a useful purpose but its sources of revenue which are very small will be probably considerably diminished by the new body set up under the Bill. I wonder what the Minister's policy in a matter of this kind would be? Would he be prepared either under this Bill or by some separate provision to give some funds to this Institute of Irish Inventors to help them to work parallel with his own Industrial Research Institute? Personally, I think that for the sake of the country, it would be worth doing. This Institute is able, on a kind of personal direction basis, to do what a big Government institute sometimes cannot do. I think something will be lost if this Institute completely goes out of operation, as there is some risk, although I hope it will not come to that.

I would ask the Minister if there is any possibility that he could either under this Bill or in some other way find funds to help this voluntary organisation. It has, amongst others, on its list of patrons a Nobel prizewinner and several other distinguished Irish scientists and industrialists. It is not a completely negligible body by any means. The Minister would be well advised to consider its welfare and how this Bill will affect it.

Another measure the Minister might consider is to give one of its leading members representation on the board which is being set up under this Bill so that at least there will be some kind of liaison between the Institute of Irish Inventors and the Industrial Research Institute. I know there is a certain risk that when these very desirable and necessary developments are put into operation, small and valuable bodies will be swept aside. I know that the Minister is broad-minded enough to realise that it is not always the big, highly-organised body that gets all the good results, that occasionally the small rather personally run bodies can produce very surprisingly valuable results. While welcoming this Bill otherwise, I would appeal to the Minister to take this matter into account and do what he can do to keep this useful element in our society going as strongly as it has been going in the past.

In every country, there is a necessity for legislation and for an institute such as this in relation to standards as was so ably pointed out by Senator Quinlan. The present scope of the Institute and any future scope it can have is, in fact, extremely limited in relation to the extraordinary efforts that are being made in this field both commercially and otherwise. Senator Quinlan envisaged almost a teaching institute—an institute involving study as well as investigation by the ordinary people employed there. Having regard to the size of this country and the relatively small amount of large industries in it, we must be satisfied with the type of Institute that is now being set up. It is wise that we should realise that we cannot expect wonders from this organisation.

Where this Institute can do a valuable job is in the setting up of standard specifications and standard marks. When a product is sold, the fact that there is legislation in respect of it and a scientific description of the project laid down by law is of great value and will be availed of in the law courts. Where goods arrive in a country and where it would be most expensive to send them back, such a system of arbitration has long been in use. If, for instance, animal foods do not come up to the standard specification, then the samples are taken in a certain way and sent to London for arbitration when the prices are altered, the goods rejected or some other recommendation made.

The most commonly known instance of specification started during the war and was carried on here afterwards. It related to the meat content of sausages. I am sure the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards could lay down specifications which would be of value to the consumer, the legitimate producer or the legitimate manufacturer over a wide field. At the same time, there are difficulties in the way. It is not unwise to remark on the fact that not so long ago an institute such as this ruled on a certain non-alcoholic beverage and pronounced it not to be of the type described on the label. Arguments have been put forward since that the physical properties might have tended to give that impression but at the same time, other properties in that particular mixture would give the desired results as set out on the label.

These are things that we all know and read about in international magazines. They do point out that the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards is not the be-all and the end-all of the specifications of a product. A sedative might be described in an advertisement as a remedy for something like arthritis. A sedative would not be a remedy for arthritis because it is a condition of the bone, but it would be a pain killer. The Institute might rule against the description of such as a cure-all but it might at the same time be of great value.

The example I should like to refer to on this point is red flannel. If the purveyors of red flannel suggested it was good for lumbago, the Institute could rule them out of court but we all know it is good for lumbago, so that we cannot take the decisions of that body with regard to standard specifications as absolutely and always correct because of their physical approach only. I have instanced the fact that large firms are spending fantastic sums on the sort of thing that should be done in the Institute in its improved state.

It is true that firms have banded together to employ consultants to do such work and such consultants are usually specialists, so that in a particular trade we might have a manufacturer employing 50 to 70 people on research and testing and procuring standards. The industry would have a very limited field to work in and from that would stem the fact that the bigger, very highly skilled specialists in that end of industrial research and standards, having a very large field to work, could not be expected to compete in this way.

For instance, in the flour milling trade, there is a firm in England, whose principal died in Dublin not long ago, which employs 60 to 70 operatives constantly testing wheats of all kinds and milling processes to see how the best flour can be produced. If the Institute were to reach that degree of application, we would need 60 people for that industry. Some of them, of course, because of their abilities, could go into another field, but at the same time, we would need a huge staff and a huge amount of money, so that I do not think the research end of this Institute is going to bring us a lot.

In Section 6, the Institute is instructed or empowered to publish the results of any tests or analyses carried out by it or by any person on its behalf. I should like to warn that this sort of thing should be done very warily because, like a statistic, it is part of a set and any conclusion drawn from a few investigations can, in this extremely complex era in which we live, be very misleading.

I know of an instance where the Institute, in my view, gave the Minister for Agriculture a result which was misleading. I think it is in order to discuss what has been happening over the past few years. It is known that the Institute produced an all-Irish loaf. Quite frankly, I think that had a bad effect. Even from the point of view of my own business, and everything about it, I would desire an all-Irish loaf, but it had the effect that the millers and the bakers who knew that an all-Irish loaf was not factual got their backs up and were inclined to disprove it. The result, in my view, has been a conflict of ideas and I am convinced that the suggestion by the Institute that this could be done, even in a good season, was a bad thing because it affected the whole flavour of things in the trade. It would have been better if they had refrained from that.

Even this year, at this late stage, the argument is being produced as to how much Irish wheat should be included in the grist. The Institute presented a report that 60 per cent. should be included. At the same time, the laboratory in Britain which I mentioned has produced a report that 30 per cent. should be included and in Sweden a report has been presented that 25 per cent. should be included. You could produce, I am quite certain, a one hundred per cent. Irish loaf if you did it literally in a test tube.

I am quite certain from viewing the Irish crop this year, that while the laboratories in Britain and Sweden are being over-conservative, as far as the Irish farmers are concerned, it would only be regarded as an argument. I suggest that the Institute should proceed warily and make quite certain, in association and cooperation with the industries they are investigating, that the tests they are carrying out, as well as being clinical tests, also relate to large scale commercial production. It would be a pity if this body did not become, without having the powers, almost a judicial body and a place of reference to which people in doubt could go.

In summing up, I would say that the standards specifications end is really the end in which the Institute can do good. Senator Miss Davidson was on the same line when she talked about shoddy being put into school uniforms. I do not think there is a lot of that, but at the same time the good industrialists and the good producers who could keep up to certain standard specifications laid down by the Institute are entitled to their price because their products will give the wear and the return which they should. It is also true that we should not have to pay for an article under the name of a quality product when the article is not a quality product. The list of standard specifications is the one that could really benefit this country. Therefore, I hope the Institute will proceed cautiously on any findings they produce in industrial production. If they do that and avail of any opportunity that comes their way to cooperate with industry, agriculture and with those who must live by what they do commercially, then we will have a good Institute.

I do not want to speak at length on this measure but I should like to support the Bill and welcome it. I think the spirit in which it has been introduced is excellent and we all recognise the necessity underlying it, for the promotion of industrial research and the standardisation of the commodities and processes.

I notice in the definition section, Section 2, both "standard specification" and "standard mark" are referred to. I read at line seven of page four:

"standard mark" means a mark prescribed or deemed to have been prescribed by an order under section 24 of this Act for use in connection with a commodity, process or practice to indicate that it conforms to a particular standard specification.

All of that is excellent, but I read at the end of the page in Section 6, subsection (2), paragraph (d), that the functions of the Institute are:

to make recommendations to the Minister as to the provision and use of standard marks for commodities, processes and practices which conform to standard specifications,

I read further down under paragraph (g) (iii)

encouraging the standardisation of commodities, processes and practices,

The whole of Part V of the Bill deals with standard specifications and standard marks. As I say, all that is excellent, but I should like to put a question to the Minister arising out of that. Is there any feeling that the Irish public may be put off by the fact that the commodity is marked with a standard mark which is taken to indicate a standard specification because, as he probably knows, one of his Cabinet colleagues is of opinion that a standard mark on an Irish egg prevents people from buying that egg? We shall be dealing in a moment or two with a Bill specially designed to remove the necessity for putting any standard mark on an egg to mark its standard specification and so on.

It does not really, unfortunately.

I agree with the attitude of the Minister that this type standard mark and standard specification is excellent, and I do not share the view of his colleague that the public are put off by such a mark. I cannot help adverting to the fact that we are passing a Bill to enable this kind of code marking to be engaged in, and in another quarter of an hour or so, we will be asked to pass a Bill for the purpose of abolishing such a practice in relation to eggs. I should like to know if the Minister shares my belief that this code mark does not, in fact, have a deleterious effect upon the buying public. With those words I should like to welcome the Bill now before us.

Not for the first time and, indeed I am sure not for the last time, I do not agree with the grandiose welcome which has been given to this Bill in the House this evening. I have not a warm welcome for it. What I am about to say in one way reflects on the Minister. His Department has produced a vast mass of legislation and it has no objection to producing an amending Bill in the following month.

Looking at the 1946 and the 1954 Acts, and at this Bill I find that whole chunks are the same. I am not going to make any detailed complaint about that because, in fact, this approach bears out something I should like to see in other Bills. I believe we should begin from scratch and produce a completely new document. That is a very good idea. I suggest that when we find that the only worthwhile change in the Bill is the change which removes the restriction on the amount which may be voted each year for the Institute, it is a pity the Department would not produce a Companies Bill. The last effective Companies Bill was passed in 1908. The 1908 Companies Act is the only worthwhile piece of legislation to come from the Department for quite a long time. There have been two Companies Bills in Britain since then, one in 1928 and one in 1948. The 1954 Bill altered the 1946 Act only in relation to specification and standard, which are, of course, most important.

We have now really a completely new organisation for the Institute. There is no doubt that this new organisation is more coherent, and likely to work more effectively, than the existing organisation, but there is not a whole lot in it. I notice the usual undercurrent of the managers taking things closely under their own control. That idea is very definitely there. It is being brought closer to the Department from the control point of view, in spite of the fact that the Minister said in his brief that there is more freedom. I refer to the appointment of staff generally at any rate. Previously the Institute did certain things and the Minister had to confirm them or to put his seal on them. In future, the Minister is to do these things.

There is not a great deal in this Bill. I think that some of the encomiums bestowed on it this evening were bestowed because of the removal of the financial restrictions. Most of the other matters dealt with were, in fact, covered already. As I say, I would prefer to see the Department producing a Companies Bill. If it ever does, I hope I will be still alive to see it.

I am glad to see that members on the Government side have dropped the practice of welcoming Bills. It was markedly absent on a recent Bill. This Bill is not unwelcome but neither is it greatly to be applauded because the objects of the new Institute will not differ in any material respect from the objects and functions of the council and the various committees established under previous legislation. The Bill really streamlines the co-ordination of the functions of the existing bodies, and the only other significant change so far as I can see is the removal of the restriction of £35,000 on the annual grant.

An extraordinary thing about the Institute for Research and Standards is that no one ever hears anything about it. In Britain, they have some kind of housekeepers' institute which certifies that certain articles reach certain qualities and standards and one sees the seal of that Institute on quite a number of items of household use. The people in this country are very interested in an Institute with that kind of function. It is a function I should like to see given to the Industrial Research and Standards Institute to fulfil effectively under this piece of legislation.

There is no doubt that the price of the industrial drive has been very heavy when we consider the inefficient and defective quality of some of the goods which have been produced behind the shelter of tariffs and quotas.

Utter nonsense.

They have got better.

I will come to it in a moment.

I hope the Senator does.

I will. That is the price that is being paid, and it applies not only to goods that are produced here from scratch. It applies equally to goods which are assembled here from imported parts. There is hardly an item in the kitchen of any house in this country that does not go "wallop" within a few months of being bought, because of inefficiency in putting it together. That applies to electric cookers, washing machines, electric fires and other commodities.

And sabotage.

That would be libel outside the House.

National sabotage— the Senator is very good.

There is no use denying that is so. Anybody who takes an interest in his domestic affairs and keeps his eyes and ears open will hear and see the complaints in relation to these ordinary articles that should not show the defects they are showing.

The Senator is an excellent domestic.

I do not consider that uncomplimentary and I can do my public duties equally well. I do not like being delayed in having to ring up the E.S.B. or the G.E.C. and people like that. When you pay money for articles, they ought to work efficiently in the years to come.

And so they do.

I hope that this Bill and this resuscitated and revivified Institute for Industrial Research and Standards will produce this kind of effect—that if you buy a pair of shoes, they will not leak within a matter of a few days. I had the experience of buying Irish-made shoes and within a week they let in water.

Has the Senator Irish-made shoes on him at the moment?

Certainly he has and he always wears them. He always insists on getting Irish goods in Irish shops but he likewise insists upon getting quality. I do not think that is unreasonable.


If you buy a pair of Irish-made shoes, I think you ought to expect that they will remain waterproof. I bought a pair of Irish-made shoes and they let in water after a week. I wrote to the manufacturers and I received a very impudent reply. I am sorry I have not got the letter here in order to put it in the Library so that members could see the way a particular Irish manufacturer treats a member of the Irish public who makes a complaint because a pair of shoes for which he paid upwards of 60/- or 70/- were so bad as to let the water in in a week. The reply I received was that they were not guaranteed to be waterproof. For what purpose does one put on a pair of shoes solemnly every morning except to keep one's feet dry?

For kicking yourself.

That was the answer I got. The reason the shoes were not waterproof was that the manufacturers, who are an English firm manufacturing apparently under licence here, were obliged by the laws of the Oireachtas—they knew I was a member of the Oireachtas—to use Irish leather.

That is an old one. It is too old.

If the members disbelieve me, I can do a little research. I can unearth the letter, if they disbelieve me.

They knew their man.

We disbelieve the manufacturer who wrote that. We are not doubting the Senator's word.

That is why we ought all to be interested in the new function to be assigned to the Institute of promoting the utilisation of the natural resources of this State. I think it is most reprehensible that Irish leather should be said by Irish manufacturers to be unsuitable for the manufacture of Irish shoes. I hope that something will be done by this Institute and that the Minister for Industry and Commerce will bring about a situation in which if people pay 50/-, 60/- or 70/- for a pair of shoes, they will be able to wear them after a week. That is not the first complaint I know of about shoes letting in after a week. In a previous case, I knew the answer to be that they were not guaranteed to be waterproof. If people state they regard that as sabotage, I cannot help it. These are the facts.

There is another matter which concerns the female section of the country. I see letters in the paper and I hear quite an amount of conversation about it from time to time. It is that the manufacturers of nylon hose have fallen down on their job. Nylon stockings are an item of ordinary and everyday use and it is very necessary that they should last for months.

The Senator is stretching his yarn or the nylon a bit.

I may be weaving an unpleasant story for the Minister but time was when they would last. I should like the Minister to have the matter investigated by the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards. Nowadays nylon stockings last no time whatever. It seems to me to be appropriate for some authority to prevent the women of this country from being fleeced by the stocking manufacturers. If the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards pay some attention to things of that kind, I think that whatever money is being paid to finance it will be well worth while.

There is no use talking about being at the dawn of an era of prosperity when according to some we are on the verge of an economic breakdown. There is no use talking about a major industrial break-through or things of that kind, if tangible results are not brought home to the Irish consumer. I have here one of the reports of the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards, the annual report for 1959. It refers to standards having been settled in the previous year in relation to white spirit, linseed oil, turpentine and so on. That may be all very useful but there is a great deal more urgent and useful work that an institute can engage itself in and thus confer greater benefit on Irish housewives and, indeed, aid in the reduction of the cost of living in this country and counter the decline in the value of money. If it is intended that this Institute is to make any headway, then clearly money must be found to finance it.

What I say in relation to the Institute is not to be taken in any way as reflecting on the personnel up to the present because they are a body who have the courage of their convictions. In a report for 1958, we read observations by the Committee which, to my mind, suggest they are people who have the courage to stand up to an unwilling Department of Industry and Commerce and a miserably-minded Department of Finance who perhaps would not allow the Department of Industry and Commerce to do what should be done. In the report, on page 8, we find it stated that the Institute has found difficulty in filling some of the vacancies. This is at a time when we are supposed to be in earnest about industrial expansion and here we have an institution that takes an extraordinary step for a semi-State body and puts down in writing what is a shocking indictment of the Departments of Industry and Commerce and Finance.

In 1960, two years later, they come back again, when confidence has been restored and development principles have been laid down, and at page 20 they say that the difficulty referred to in previous reports—so that it must have arisen prior to 1958, because it does not appear in the 1959 report— in recruiting suitable technical staff continues, as does the unattractiveness of the salary offered by the Institute. This is in August, 1960, and a number of positions remained unfilled. The report said that the matter was under discussion with the Department of Industry and Commerce.

If one looks at the Appendix to see the details of the staff, one sees that literally there were more "officers than men". There were 50 on the Industrial Council which is the Government body but the effective technical staff of the Institute in 1960 consisted of 11 people. Among these is included the administrative officer, so that in effect there were ten. If the Government and the Minister for Industry and Commerce are in earnest about providing an Institute that is going to do research and all the things associated with research, they are not going to do it with a staff of ten or 11 people.

Another matter which occurs to me is in regard to the provision in Section 43 where the Institute is to be permitted to undertake or assist in the development and exploitation of an invention. The Institute is supposed to be an autonomous body and independent, but under this section it cannot incur expenditure on any one project in excess of £5,000, save with the consent of the Minister. In these modern times, I do not see how the Institute is to get very far with £5,000. If they have to put a case to the Minister for Industry and Commerce to justify the expenditure of more than £5,000 on a certain invention, they will be required, on paper, to prove that the invention will be a success before they can undertake the research upon the particular invention. That is the queer kind of inverted approach we adopt, that they will have to establish the success of the invention before the money is provided.

I am rather inclined to share the view expressed by Senator O'Donovan that this is not a great Bill. It can only be a great Bill and a real benefit to the public if adequate finance is placed at the disposal of the Institute and if the Minister for Industry and Commerce, or the Minister for Finance, interfere as little as possible in its day to day workings.

One again observes the dead hand of the Department coming in in Section 34 where offices of special responsibility may be designated by the Minister and they can be filled only with the consent of the Minister and the remuneration, tenure of office and conditions of service of such office is to be determined by the Minister, subject to the approval of the Minister for Finance. In my opinion, that is not the way to progress. If that is the way in which the Institute is to be permitted to conduct its business in future, I cannot hold out any great hope for the results everybody would wish for.

Ba mhaith liom tacaíocht a thúirt dona Seanadóirí a aontaigh cheana féin leis an mBille seo. Molaim an Bille. Ní maith liom an síor-cháineadh a chleachtaíonn daoine áirithe i dtaobh déantús na hÉireann mar a dhein an Seanadóir Ó Coigligh. Táim i bhfad níos sine ná an Seanadóir—go deimhin, táim níos sine ná é fé dhó agus ní bhfuair mé aon locht ar bhróga de dhéantús na hÉireann. Rud eile, ní raibh orm riam rudaí den tsaghas sin a mhalartú. Ní chloisimid aon rud ach gearáin den tsórt seo. Is trua nach gcloisimid dhá thaobh an scéil chun a mheas cé acu olcas nó maitheas a bhaineann leis na h-earraí seo.

Caithfidh sár-rud agus rud cuíosach a bheith ann. Sin iad na neithe a ritheann tríd m'aigne. Cad a dhéanfar i leith na gcaighdeán nuair a cheapfar iad? Sin ceist nárbh aon dhíobháil beagán a chloisint mar gheall uirthi.

Maidir le rudaí a déantar in Éirinn, níl siad ar fad go holc. Is dócha nach bhfuil le fáil aon bheoir atá níos fearr ná Guinness ná aon uisce bgatha níos fearr ná an t-uisce beatha a dhéanaimid. Níl a fhios agam má tá aon chaighdeán eile níos fearr le cur i bhfeidhm orthu san.

Tá a lán rudaí fónta dhá ndéanamh in Éirinn. Sé an locht atá le fáil agamsa ar an gcaint a rinne ár gcara, an Seanadóir Ó Coigligh, ná go mbeadh sé le tuiscint uaithi nach bhfuil aon rud fónta in Éirinn. Ní mar sin atá. Tá neithe fónta in Éirinn. Is aithnid dúinn iad agus is fearr a bheadh siad ach caighdeán a chur i bhfeidhm ar neithe eile nach bhfuil chomh maith sin agus an t-eolas a chur ar fáil in aisce ón Institiúd atáimid ag ceapadh anois.

Is cóir an tInstitiúd a bheith ann agus mara bhfuil an cumhacht acu ba cheart go mbeadh an cumhacht acu chun caighdeán ceart a chur i bhfeidhm agus a chur in iúl do dhaoine a bhíonn ag déanamh rudaí áirithe go gcaithfidh siad caighdeán a dó nó a trí dena h-earraí sin a chur ar fáil. Is iad so na neithe a ritheann tré aigne duine ar an mBille seo. Níl an tarna tuairim ann ná gur Bille fónta é agus molaim é.

Despite the criticism of Senator O'Quigley who made use of the privilege of this House to indulge in some biting criticism of this Bill, we still believe in it. The fact was mentioned in the Programme for Economic Expansion issued by the Government in 1948 that the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards would be made a progressive body. That promise has been honoured in the full.

I should like to mention a point that was overlooked in this debate. Due to the American Counterpart Grant fund, the Institute was enabled to set up three very important laboratories to deal with raw materials. We should always bear that fact in mind and be grateful to the American Government. Senator O'Quigley speaks like a millionaire. He would like us to think we could have royal standards on a republican income. It is all right to indulge in that sort of barrel-rolling in the House and say that the goods produced by our Irish industrialists are shoddy, and that if you buy a pair of shoes today, they will leak tomorrow. I think I know more about shoes than Senator O'Quigley.

On a point of fact, Senator O'Quigley did not say that. He referred to one pair of shoes, not shoes.

That is so but let the Senator go on until he hangs himself.

I recognise that, but in referring to one pair of shoes, he did not specify the fact that every pair of shoes is not immune to leakage. The best pair of shoes in any country today may not be waterproof and it is only shoes bearing the brand "waterproof" or "weldschoen" that are, in reality, waterproof. That may be something new to Senator O'Quigley. The Senator can go to England or America and purchase a pair of shoes and they will leak if they are not treated as they should be treated. In speaking of our industrial efforts under the privilege of the House or indeed elsewhere unwarranted attacks are sometimes made on some of our Irish industries.

No attack was made.

I think so.

An individual instance was quoted.

I think so.

Surely the whole range of household goods was not an individual instance?

He mentioned individual instances. There was no question of Irish industries always being at fault.

He said the whole range of household appliances could be found to be defective. That is not so, of course. You will get defects in any range of goods and it is hardly fair to say, under the privilege of the House, that the whole range of household appliances manufactured here is defective.

In formulating this legislation and on the advice of his Department, the Minister is taking certain powers. I believe he is adopting a wise course. We have no means nor indeed have we the subscriptions forthcoming from those engaged in industry to enable the Institute to carry on by voluntary effort. When America, England and such countries are quoted here, it would be well, indeed, to recognise the fact that we have no industrialists large enough to be able voluntarily to subscribe money to this type of Institute in order to enable it to carry on industrial research.

Looking at the 14th annual report issued in 1960 by the Institute, I find that the Institute has engaged in various activities. I welcome the fact that they mentioned they have set up a laboratory for testing building materials, paper and leather. That is to be welcomed. I believe that not merely could we supply our own home market with first-class leather but we could have a substantial export in leather as well, if we handled it properly. I should think that we are losing anything up to £5,000,000 or £6,000,000 a year as a result of the rough treatment hides get in the course of flaying and tanning and all the rest of it. It is a pity that should be so. As a matter of fact, it should be one of our basic raw materials and it should be the best on the market because we have the scope and the necessary raw material to produce the leather. For that reason, I welcome the fact that the Institute is proceeding to examine that aspect of leather production.

I also note that the standards committee are taking steps to increase the output of standards, in particular the standard mark regarding consumer goods. It is regrettable, I think, that as time goes on, more of our industrialists do not examine this aspect of the matter and apply to the Institute to have certain goods tested and stamped with the standard mark. That would in itself, despite what Senator Sheehy Skeffington said, be a guarantee to the consumer that the goods would give the service required. The absence of that mark is notable at this stage of our industrial development on goods produced for the home market. It is more of a necessity, of course, to have that mark on goods for export. I understand and I know that most goods produced for export carry the mark. We appreciate that, but I think this House will recognise, and those of us in public life should be concerned to see that the goods displayed in the shops here should carry the standard mark—a guarantee of quality of the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards.

What about the code marking of eggs?

I think that matter was explained.

You do not manufacture an egg. Is that not the answer?

It is one of the answers. I think that matter was explained to the Senator. There is really no comparison. It is not a comparable proposition, if you like. The reason for the removal of the code mark on eggs was explained to the Senator by the Minister for Agriculture. I think it was accepted by the House. It was more or less an agreed measure. Perhaps the Senator may be the only one dissenting from it. I do not know, but I think that may be so.

I am in favour of marking.

I think I explained my position to the Senator. I said that due to the fact that people like to buy a fresh egg——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

You could not very well mark vegetables.

I do not want to be dragged into an argument of this description with the Senator. The Senator might come around to the view prevailing here and elsewhere that eggs for the home market will do very well without the code mark. I was glad to note that the Institute had examined the problem of effluents in water. That has given rise to certain difficulties down the country where objectionable effluents from tanneries and other industries pollute the rivers. It clashes with our aim to promote our inland fisheries. Therefore, I welcome the fact that the Institute intend to deal with that point. I also note that the relevant merits of phosphatic fertilisers are being examined. That is a step forward which will be welcomed by the farming community.

There is nothing much more to be said on the Bill. It more or less tidies up the previous Acts; it divests certain functions and makes certain changes and altogether it is a step forward. Despite the biting, cynical attitude of some people towards our industries, I think we are making very good progress and that our figures show that. The figures in the last Budget showed it and the figures for the first half of this year will show it and if we can continue in that direction, it cannot be said that we are not taking steps to deal with all aspects of industrial production.

I should just like to say a word on Section 44 which, to the ordinary man in the street, is one of the most important sections in the Bill. That is the section under which, if the Minister is satisfied that it is in the public interest to do so, he may, by order, declare in relation to any commodity intended for sale to the public that it shall be unlawful to manufacture or sell that commodity, unless it complies with the standard specification declared by the Institute. One can go one step further. Undoubtedly, in spite of what Senator Carter and others have said, badly turned out goods have appeared on our home market and while their numbers may be getting less and less, they do appear. The purchaser of those goods gets very little assistance, if he wants to find out where they came from. Would the Minister go further and take power to compel manufacturers to put their trade mark or some mark on all goods they produce, if they have put goods of an inferior standard on the home market?

A manufacturer may produce a particular lot of goods, say, the day's manufacture, and he cannot afford to discard them altogether. They are put on the market and as a result they give a bad name not only to that manufacturer but also to other Irish manufacturers. Therefore, I suggest that the Minister should take power to compel manufacturers to put their mark on their product. That would be of great assistance to the purchaser. Most of the firms who manufacture good products are proud of their commodities but I have purchased commodities about which I would have liked to complain to the manufacturers but I could not find out who manufactured them. The shopkeeper told me he got them from a wholesaler and from there on their history seemed to get lost.

First of all, I should like to apologise to the Seanad for not being here this afternoon when the Second Reading was given to the Bill, but as the House probably knows, I was engaged in the other House moving the Estimate for my Department. However, the Minister for Transport and Power who read my speech gave me a fairly complete note of what had been said before the House adjourned for tea. I am glad to see that Senator McGuire, who led off on behalf of Fine Gael, gave the Bill unqualified approval. As he is the Senator on that side of the House who is perhaps most representative of industry, it is a commendation that I am very glad to receive. Of course, some of his colleagues went to the other extreme and, as Senator Carter said, approached the Bill in a rather derisive and cynical fashion. However, Fine Gael are entitled to have that kind of approach and have the best of both worlds, and indeed the best of every world, in relation to any measure coming before the Oireachtas.

I deplore the attitude of Senator O'Quigley who comes in here in a sniping fashion, not so much at the Bill itself but at Irish industry in general. However, he is entitled to put forward that point of view and perpetuate the old reactionary approach towards Irish industry and its advancement. On the other hand, I do not like him to get away with the suggestion that Irishmen cannot produce goods as well as people in other parts of the world and that only inferior goods come on the market in Ireland.

I should like to say to him in relation to the specific instance he quoted in regard to leather and boots, that recently I had the pleasure of going through one of the largest boot and shoe factories in the country. It has a strong association with an English firm and I was very pleased to hear that the upper leather which that firm was procuring from Irish sources was, in their opinion, the best that could be procured in any part of the world. I should like to remind him also that we have quite a substantial export market in leather to Britain and other countries. I think we are amongst the three major exporters of leather to the British market.

I am sorry he had such an unfortunate experience with the shoes he bought, but leather is not expected to be waterproof in all conditions. I do not know if the Senator ever played golf but if he has not, he should consult some of his friends who do. They will tell him that one of their greatest difficulties is to find leather shoes, no matter where they are manufactured, which will withstand water.

I am talking about walking around the streets of Dublin.

The Senator is quite entitled to his point of view and to express it here, whether it is a point of view that one condones or not, or a rather unfortunate attack on Irish industry——

The Minister can try to interpret me if he wishes. I

I hope I am not misinterpreting the Senator. He went through the whole range of household goods and said there is no day in which some household appliance does not go "wallop".

I did not say that.

The Minister is often in better humour. He should ease up.

I am in quite good humour——

When the Minister reads what I said, he will understand it.

——but I should like to strike Senator O'Quigley's sniping hand to the desk.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Minister must not be constantly interrupted.

I did not interrupt the Senator. He had his way in attacking Irish industry. I am Minister for Industry and Commerce and I shall not defend Irish industry on all occasions, but I will not have implied attacks on the quality of Irish workmanship.

I related my remarks to the Bill.

I hope my remarks are related to the Bill also, because I am following exactly what the Senator said. To come, perhaps, to the more serious observations, offered on the Bill, the first speaker, apart from Senator McGuire, was Senator Quinlan, who mentioned several aspects of the Bill with which he did not agree. I do not think I need go into every one, but he suggested that this Bill would be useless unless there were a degree of co-ordination between the new Institute and the universities. I do not expect that there will be any lack of co-ordination. In fact, I believe there will be full co-ordination. Whether in the matter of pure, applied or routine research, I do not think the Institute will lack in any way co-operation either from industry in general, or from the universities, if it is required.

So far as criticism of ministerial control over the Institute is concerned, I can say again very safely that the intention in this Bill is to relax control and that has been done in several instances. As to the suggestion by Senator O'Quigley that we should let the Institute rip, so to speak, and exploit developing inventions, I do not believe that any member of this House would agree that the Minister who has ultimate responsibility to the Oireachtas should not have some control over the expenditure of an Institute such as this in the matter of inventions and their development. It is quite reasonable that a certain amount of money should be expended by the Institute without recourse to the Minister and for every single invention £5,000 is not an unreasonable sum.

The criticism of Ministerial supervision of the higher posts as to salary and conditions is not any serious criticism, I think. Certainly, the effects of any supervision the Minister would be enabled to exercise would not be any deterrent to the activities of the Institute. That matter was raised in the Dáil and I explained it would not be my intention, or the intention of any other Minister, to select any particular person for the higher post and to confine it to a senior technical and administrative man. The purpose of the designation of the posts requiring the Minister's sanction is to ensure that the salary so fixed will not be out of line with similar salaries and remunerations in other public companies and in the Civil Service.

I gave as an example of the type of instance I had in mind the case of the Institute requiring the services of a particular man who was working in industry, say, in some part of Great Britain, a man who was willing to work for the Institute but who, by reason of the salary he gets in industry in Great Britain or elsewhere, would not come to the Institute unless he got a certain sum. It is in such circumstances that I would expect the Institute to come to me, if it is a designated post, and ask whether A.B. working in Coventry or somewhere else could be given a certain salary by the Institute. If A.B. were the person the Institute wanted, if he were properly appointed and if the salary were reasonable, I think the Minister could have no objection to the making of that appointment. These are the only circumstances in which the Minister would interfere in any way with the appointments. The Minister himself would not be responsible for the selection of any such person.

The Senator also suggested that the board should be representative of certain groups including universities and the Federation of Industries. In dealing with this point, I think I could deal also with Senator Stanford's suggestion that the Institute of Irish Inventors might also be represented. I do not mind telling the Seanad that I have a strong objection to nominating boards as if they were conventions. The qualifications for membership of this Institute are set out in Section 8, subsection (3). The Minister is required to make the appointment "by reason of his attainments in scientific research applied to industry or because he is representative of industry or of persons employed in industry or is capable of giving substantial practical assistance in the work of the Institute".

I should prefer a person to be selected because of his qualifications under one of those heads, and not because he represented an organisation or a university. It is quite likely that one or more university professors will be appointed. In saying that, I do not want to be bound in any way. Speaking generally, I think that in order to procure the best qualified board, the most effective board, the Minister should be free to cast his net as wide as possible, without being limited in any way, in a small board such as this with eight members and a chairman, by being obliged to put representatives of certain institutions on it. I gave an undertaking to the Dáil, which I now repeat here, that the only consideration I will have in mind when making any of these appointments will be that the person so appointed will be able to fulfil his functions in accordance with the provisions of that subsection and that no other considerations will apply.

You, Sir, made certain criticisms— perhaps not criticisms—I do not know if it is in order for me to address the Chair in this fashion——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

It is quite all right.

You made the comment that you did not give a warm unqualified welcome to the Bill. I should like to point out that in introducing this Bill in the Dáil I did not claim anything very special for it. I did not claim it was a revolutionary measure or that it would blaze a trail in any way in the matter of industrial research and standards, or in the matter of improving techniques or the quality of Irish goods.

I said the Bill was designed to overhaul the functions, powers and the organisation of the Institute so as to enable it to function more effectively. As reported at column 988, Volume 189, No. 7, of the Official Report, I said:

While it is proposed in the Bill to repeal the 1946 and 1954 Acts I should like to make it clear that the changes now proposed are not very radical inasmuch as the Institute as set up in 1946 is being continued in being, although its organisation, financing and functions are being adapted in the light of experience of their working.

That is exactly what the Bill proposes to do.

There are important changes in the Bill inasmuch as the financial restrictions within which the Institute had to operate hitherto will be removed to a considerable extent. Hitherto, it was given an annual subvention with a ceiling of £35,000 and it often happened that by reason of trying to work within that £35,000, it was never spent. Henceforth, money will be made available for this work in the same manner as it is for any Department or section of a Department. The Institute will submit its programme and its estimate of the cost of that programme in advance, and it will be examined in the ordinary way in the Department, and approval will ultimately be sought for that amount from the Oireachtas. I think it is a more flexible arrangement. It is one that will give the Institute the opportunity of putting forward a realistic programme of expenditure and will give it, I hope, the opportunity of fulfilling its functions much more effectively than it has been able to fulfil them in the past.

With regard to appointments—I should say that the existing Institute is not yet abolished—they had to come to the Minister for Industry and Commerce in respect of every appointment made. The director had the making of the appointments but in the case of every appointment, he had to get specific sanction from the Minister for Industry and Commerce. Now, except for those two or, perhaps, three designated posts, the Institute will have full authority to employ all its staff without any recourse to the Minister.

There are, of course, some other changes in the Bill. Again, I do not claim they are in any way revolutionary but they provide for the matter referred to by Senator Stanford—the development of inventions. They ensure that certain commodities will conform to certain safety standards and some other minor matters. Since I mention inventions, I might now deal with the comment made by Senator Stanford. I do not think there is any threat in this legislation to the continuance in being of the Institute of Irish Inventors. The Institute did seek and were given an interview by my Department. Even as late as last week, the Federation of Irish Industries came and one of the deputation mentioned this specific matter. I take it that that particular member of the deputation had something to do with the Institute of Irish Inventors. He was probably a member of it. In giving the new Institute certain powers in relation to inventions, it is envisaged that the Institute will have the necessary equipment in respect of inventions which the voluntary body, the Institute of Irish Inventors, has not got.

As far as subvention is concerned, there will not be any direct subvention as such by the Institute to the Institute of Irish Inventors but the Research Institute could employ the Institute of Irish Inventors if it happens to do any specific work and pay them for it. In saying that, I am not in any way suggesting that this is to be a direction to the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards so to employ the voluntary Institute of Irish Inventors but it will have that power under the section. Certainly, as far as co-operation is concerned, I would expect the Institute to give full co-operation to the existing voluntary body.

I pass from what Senator O'Donovan said about the Bill. I may say in passing that while there has been quite a volume of legislation from the Department of Industry and Commerce, I do not think it can be suggested that this Bill is unnecessary. It is introduced because of the experience of the working of the existing Institute. It has been said to me by more than one member of the existing council that the council is too unwieldy and that the two committees which operate are also too unwieldy and that the smaller board will be a much better servant of industry than the old council and committee.

As far as the Senator's reference to the Companies Bill is concerned, if this Oireachtas is in existence in the autumn, I hope to have the pleasure of introducing this Bill. In saying that, I feel that if it is not in existence in the autumn, the next Minister for Industry and Commerce will have the pleasure, as one of his first legislative acts, of introducing such a measure.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

It will be a great day.

It will be appreciated that it is a voluminous document. It involves a lot of research and a lot of drafting and redrafting. The office of the Parliamentary draftsman has been kept very busy in recent months. While I am not suggesting that that is the only reason the Bill has not yet been produced, it is one of them.

Maidir leis an méid adúirt an Seanadóir Ó Siochfhradha d'fhiafrigh sé conas atá sé beartaithe an caighdeán a chur in éifeacht. Sé an rud atá beartaithe ná caighdeán a ghlacadh agus aon earraí a chaithfear a dhíol agus an marc sin orthu caithfidh siad bheith suas chun an caighdeán sin. Ni chuirfear cosc ar aon earraí a dhéanamh ach amháin má tá baol ann do bheatha nó do shláinte. Sin é an t-aon chás amháin ina gcuirfear cosc ar dhaoine aon rud a dhéanamh mar sin.

I think that largely takes care of the question asked by Senator Cole in reference to Section 44. The Bill as it stands is, perhaps, not specific enough. The intention is that restriction will be put on manufacturers in the making or producing of articles, only if they constitute a danger to life or health. I propose to bring in on Committee Stage an amendment to clarify that section and to ensure that there can be no doubt about it. I agree that there can be certain doubt as to what the section may mean in its existing form.

I should refer to Senator Donegan's suggestion that the publication of the results of tests or analyses should be undertaken only on very rare occasions, if at all. I think he chose a bad example. He will be more aware than I, because of his association with the cereal trade, that the tests carried out in relation to the production of a palatable loaf from all Irish wheat were carried out following quite a lot of public interest and even agitation. It is only reasonable that the results of these tests should have been published. Whether it was a good thing or a bad thing, I do not know. As far as the millability of wheat is concerned, he will know that countries all over the world are trying to find tests as to millability without success.

In any event, the testing of wheat is something that will now be given over by the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards to An Foras Talúntais, being more an agricultural than an industrial problem. I take it that An Foras Talúntais will be more properly equipped and have the necessary technical power to carry out these functions as well at least, if not better, than the Institute has done heretofore.

We have a lot of leeway to make up.

That about meets all the points which have been raised and if there are any clarifications or any other points they could be dealt with——

Might I ask the Minister to reply to the question I put as to whether he anticipates encountering any prejudice in the public mind against goods because of the standard mark?

I think the example put by the Senator in suggesting there is a certain amount of inconsistency in what we are doing here this evening has been dealt with by Senator Carter and Senator Donegan, inasmuch as an egg is not manufactured. In regard to the stamp on the egg, many people felt, rightly or wrongly, that the dye might have some obnoxious substance in it which would penetrate the shell and affect the contents, but the intention of the standard mark is that when a manufacturer accepts the standard mark and applies it to his goods, it will be prima facie evidence to the public that the goods conform to the standard set out by the Institute. If the goods do not carry a standard mark, there certainly is no power in this Bill to require all goods to carry a standard mark, but it will be an indication to the public that they are not intended to conform to the standard specification as formulated by the Institute. Therefore it is to be presumed, in my opinion anyhow, that the members of the public will assume that the goods are perhaps not up to the required standard. Therefore, the goods carrying the mark will enjoy a selling value above the goods not so marked. I do not think there is any question of prejudice.

Question put and agreed to.
Committee Stage ordered for next sitting day.