Livestock Marts Bill, 1967: Committee Stage (Resumed).

Amendments Nos. 13 to 15 inclusive, not moved.

I move amendment No. 16:

In subsection (2), line 35, to add at the end "provided that these conditions shall not include any provisions requiring the acceptance of bids at auctions which are notbona fide bids”.

The purpose of this amendment is to make certain that the conditions which the Minister may attach to the licences do not make it obligatory upon the owner of a livestock mart to do certain things which might appear to be required by the regulations.

I do not think it is out of order at this stage to review the progress of this debate. We have now reached amendment No. 16 only, and it is proposed to sit tonight and I suppose tomorrow and next week, if we do not finish. Many of these amendments are reasonable and in other circumstances would receive some reasonable kind of a reply. In this debate so far we have certainly achieved new standards. From your ruling last night, Sir, it now seems to be in order to refer to observations made by Members on this side of the House as gobbledygook, as mumbo-jumbo and as asinine. You specifically ruled that the use of the word "asinine" in a debate on agriculture is in order.

There was nothing personal in the remark made by the Senator. If the remark were of a personal nature, the Chair would not tolerate it.

The Senator lacks a sense of humour I am afraid.

It is obvious that he lacks a brief on this amendment.

No. Last night the Senator was "with beaded bubbles winking at the brim, and purplestained mouth". That was a description of the Senator last night.

I did not catch that description. I am in excellent mood for argument this morning.

What has this to do with amendment No. 16?

Nature abhors a vacuum and I hate futility to a degree. Proposing this amendment is, to all intents and purposes, a good exercise in parliamentary democracy but it is somewhat futile. The Fianna Fáil machine is turning over beautifully.

It is time the Senator came to the matter involved in amendment No. 16.

I will come to the amendment. I am merely prefacing my remarks by saying——

The preface must not be disorderly.

I was referring to the well-oiled machine, and some of the cogs were very well oiled last night.

If the Senator starts that, we can give him plenty.

I thought the Senator had a sense of humour.

I have, but I do not like the personal innuendoes the Senator starts the morning with.

I thought the Senator had a sense of humour, but apparently not when the joke is on him. However, one can see the same machine revolving in the same way with the same result.

This amendment is designed to ensure that a condition shall not be attached to a licence by the Minister which might make it obligatory upon the owner of a livestock mart to accept bids which were notbona fide bids at an auction. Some people may be inclined to say that it is perfectly obvious the Minister would not attach such a condition to a licence but nothing is obvious any more where the Minister for Agriculture and the Fianna Fáil Party are concerned. The ordinary norms of conduct no longer apply.

The provisions of this Bill are so far-reaching in their consequences that one must endeavour at least to alert the public to the kinds of thing that can happen and it is because of that that I think this amendment should be incorporated in subsection (2) of section 3 in order to ensure that a person cannot afterwards be found guilty of a breach of a condition under subsection (4) either in the opinion of a court or in the opinion of the Minister for Agriculture because he refused to accept a bid which was notbona fide. Since the Minister will be the arbiter of what is right or what is wrong, what has or has not been in compliance with the conditions attaching to the licence, it is proper, I think, that we should write into the section governing these conditions a prohibition upon requiring people to accept bids at auctions which are not bona fide bids. We all know that every other day there is a good deal of puffing at auctions and deciding as to whether or not bids are bona fide depends upon the skill, judgment and experience of the auctioneer. It is, therefore, a proper precaution to write into the section the proposed amendment.

This section is probably one of the most heavily loaded with danger to both the sellers at and the proprietors of marts in so far as it is extremely difficult at times to differentiate between thebona fide and the not so genuine bid. In a well-run mart the proprietors will always be on the alert to make sure that the bidding is above board but there are occasions on which proprietors are fully aware that the bidding is not what it should be, that there are people present with intent to puff up the price, and the auctioneers may find it impossible to pinpoint the fact that some of those present at the auction are puffing up the price. I can see a situation arising in which a man may have his bid refused and not be given any reason for that refusal by the auctioneer; that man may turn then to the Minister and make an objection. An inquiry may be held. What redress have the proprietors of the mart? They are left in a very serious difficulty. They are unable to prove their case though they may feel absolutely certain that puffing was going on. If they make that known to the inspectors when they come along to investigate the complaint, they could leave themselves wide open to a very serious charge. I think the amendment is a very reasonable one and I hope the Minister will accept it.

A Senator

How would you implement it?

Extremely difficult, I agree.

It will be a shock to auctioneers associated with these sales marts when they find legislation being enacted to compel them to accept a bid and not to ignore it.

Is that the amendment?

We are suggesting that the words "bona fide” should be put in so that an auctioneer will be in a position to ignore bids that are not bona fide. There is the example of a bidder who will go in well oiled to a sales ring and start bidding and making trouble. In the ordinary way, the auctioneer is a judge of that person. He may know the person, but even if he does not, he may observe that this man is not a genuine bidder and he will ignore that bidding and try to carry on business without the interference of that person or his assistance either.

There is also the other type of person, the puffer, who is prompted to increase the price of an article beyond its value or beyond the bidding which is likely to take place for the particular article. Apparently now if one of those puffers comes into an auction, the auctioneer is, as a result of this Bill, compelled to accept the bidding or to give a good reason if he does not. He may be, for instance, an agent for the Minister; he may be a political agent; he might even be a John Brown. If John Brown is ignored by an auctioneer who does not approve of the activities of this particular John Brown, the auctioneer will be in trouble.

There could be a situation in which the Minister for Local Government might arrange for the seizure of cattle and the sale of cattle in a mart for which the ordinary farmer would not bid. The Minister for Local Government might send down a bidder to purchase those cattle in spite of the feeling of other business people in that mart. Never before was it written into a Bill that an auctioneer must accept a bid from a person who is not genuine, from a puffer or from some political agent sent down for the purpose of bidding and paying money usually very much below the value of the stock sold in order that some other law will be complied with. Seizures can be sent into marts now and the auctioneer is compelled to be a party to such a transaction by acting as the auctioneer in respect of such seizures. If he does not agree to act as auctioneer in respect of those sales, he is liable to lose his licence.

Then there is the intimidating bid. I am not talking about the kind of intimidation that was dreamed up by the Fianna Fáil Party in the past few months. I am talking about the selfish person who goes in and shouts out a bid in order to intimidate or prevent otherbona fide bidders from bidding. Now, apparently if this type of person goes into an auction, the auctioneer is compelled to accept this bid or explain why he did not, so that the auctioneer, who is usually the central figure at the mart, will be interfered with to a very great extent by this Bill.

We all know how well conducted the sales marts in this city are. They have been functioning a long time and those who conduct them are above reproach. They know their customers. They know, for instance, the cross-Channel buyers who come in here; they know the people from down the country who come to those sales in Dublin. They are in a position to ignore a bid which they consider is not genuine or is not in the best interests of the running of the business. Now, those people who are established for nearly 30 years as sales auctioneers in Dublin city are likely to find themselves hamstrung and controlled to a very great extent by the provisions of this Bill. They will be compelled to come within these regulations and to follow the rules that are to be laid down by the Minister in connection with their businesses which have been running in a very satisfactory manner for almost 30 years and which have given very valuable service to the livestock trade in general. A great measure of confidence has been built up between the proprietors of those sales yards in Dublin and their customers, particularly the cross-Channel customers, who are a key in the export of livestock from this country.

The Bill should have excluded those sales yards in Dublin in the same way as it has made provision for the exclusion of the RDS and a number of other long-established places where livestock is sold under auction. The proposal here is that the Minister will be the judge as to whether these auctioneers in these very well known sales yards are conducting their business properly. Remember, those people had to deal with the John Browns and they dealt with them in a very proper manner. Now apparently it will be written into this Bill that in future these sales yards proprietors will have to doff their hats to John Brown when he goes in to bid for seized livestock which may have been put into the ring as a result of certain action by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Department of Local Government or any other Department which may have had a right to seize livestock.

You know all about seizures.

John Brown must be haunting you.

John Brown was brought on the scene in recent months again——

By the Fianna Fáil Party.

His soul goes marching on.

Of course, the Army, the guards, the mailed fist, and big stick were all brought out in Kilkenny. It is not known yet what the cost of that operation was.

The Senator must keep to amendment No. 16.

I will not be allowed, Sir.

You will not be interrupted so long as you stay on the amendment.

I am only reminding Senators of the activities of John Brown in the past.

In doing so, the Senator may not be disorderly.

My fear is that John Brown will be going into the livestock marts——

A Senator

Who is John Brown?

He is a Fianna Fáil——

The Senator will keep to the amendment.

All right. What I am talking about now are bids from John Brown in these marts. He is actually a political agent and he goes in as a bidder for livestock which have been seized——

For what reason?

As a result of Government action.

Senator Rooney should be allowed to continue his speech on amendment No. 16 without interruption.

In all fairness the people who have been operating sales yards for the past 30 years should certainly not be subject to the provisions of this Bill and, as well, a number of them have been functioning for the past ten years and have run their business in a very proper manner. It is proposed in this Bill to warn the auctioneers who are participating in those sales yards that they are likely to lose their licences if they do not accept a bid. It will be up to the auctioneer to prove that a bid was not genuine if the question of losing his licence arises by reason of his refusal to accept it. It is very difficult for an auctioneer to prove that, but in the ordinary running of his business, an auctioneer knows whether a person is a genuine bidder or is what can be described as a puffer, apart from the other type of bidder I have mentioned. already. Apparently he is compelled by this Bill to accept all and sundry and he is answerable if he refuses to accept a bid, if he ignores a bid and if a complaint is made to the Minister. This puts such auctioneers in a very awkward situation so far as the puffer's bid is concerned and the bid from some kind of troublemaker or intimidator. Apparently under this Bill he is obliged to accept all bids at the risk of losing his mart licence.

A Senator

Which bid is the Senator talking about?

I am asking for abona fide bid. I should be satisfied if the Minister agreed to have those words put into the Bill to ensure that the auctioneer will get a fair chance to run the business on a fair and decent basis as far as other bidders are concerned.

I am sure it will be some consolation to Members of this House to remember that they are not required to accept amendments which are notbona fide.

I am rather surprised at this discussion. No auctioneer does in the ordinary way, and no auctioneer should in the ordinary way, accept a bid which is notbona fide. That is the only complaint possibly that should be made against auctioneers. I am rather horrified to think, however, that Senator Rooney who purports to have some respect for the rule of law system, should hold that if a sheriff offers cattle for sale at a cattle mart and if a bid is offered, the auctioneer should not accept it. Surely if somebody buys Senator Rooney's cattle, gives him a dud cheque and then takes possession of them, and Senator Rooney in the meantime gets a decree for them and the sheriff offers the cattle for sale to refund Senator Rooney's money, the Senator's contention is if anybody bids on those cattle, the bid is not a bona fide bid because it is made at the sale to recover for Senator Rooney the amount of the decree that has been granted to him in the court.

This whole thing seems to me to be an absolutely absurd smokescreen. If a man does not pay his lawful debts, if an ordinary legal process of law be taken against him to compel him to pay his legal debts, surely the rule of law has fallen completely into ruin if that man cannot be made to pay his liability in the ordinary way. According to Senator Rooney, if we are to believe him, sheriffs and such people should be completely abolished and a man may pay if and when he likes, and if anybody bids at a sheriff's sale, he is not abona fide bidder. I am rather horrified at the whole thing.

I want to make it clear that I did not say that anybody bidding at what is called a seized auction is not abona fide bidder. I said the auctioneer should have the option of accepting bids or not.

You said he should have the option of refusing bids if the sale is by the sheriff and if a person is bidding in such an instance.

That is what he said.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 8; Níl, 26.

  • Davidson, Mary F.
  • Fitzgerald, John.
  • McDonald, Charles.
  • McHugh, Vincent.
  • Malone, Patrick.
  • O'Quigley, John B.
  • O'Sullivan, Denis J.
  • Rooney, Éamon.

Níl

  • Ahern, Liam.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brennan, John J.
  • Browne, Seán.
  • Connolly O'Brien, Nora.
  • Dolan, Séamus.
  • Eachthéirn, Cáit, Uí.
  • Farrell, Joseph.
  • Fitzsimons, Patrick.
  • Flanagan, Thomas P.
  • Honan, Dermot P.
  • McGlinchey, Bernard.
  • McGowan, Patrick.
  • Martin, James J.
  • Nash, John Joseph.
  • Ó Donnabháin, Seán.
  • Ó Maoláin, Tomás.
  • Ormonde, John.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Patrick W.
  • Ryan, William.
  • Sheldon, William A.W.
  • Teehan, Patrick J.
  • Yeats, Michael.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Malone and Rooney; Níl, Senators Browne and Farrell.
Amendment declared lost.
Amendments Nos. 17 to 19, inclusive, not moved.

Amendments Nos. 20 and 21 go together.

I move amendment No. 20:

In subsection (5), line 5, to delete "guilty" and substitute "convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction".

The purpose of this amendment, first of all, is to provide that it be perfectly clear that a holder of a licence will be guilty of an offence only when he is convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction. As the subsection is drafted, it does not make clear that it will be a court which will find the person guilty of an offence. Indeed, it seems to me—and I may well be correct in this—that the Minister may himself decide that that person is guilty of an offence, without any court hearing or court conviction, and, thereupon, if he thinks fit, revoke the licence. That certainly is what the subsection says at the moment; whether that is what the Minister intends it to say is another matter.

I do not know whether I should proceed any further without finding out whether I am correct in my interpretation of the section. I do not want to take up any more time than is necessary on this Bill. Perhaps the Minister might indicate if my interpretation of the section is correct at this stage?

Surely I have enough to do to try to interpret the section without interpreting the interpretation of the Senator of the section.

The Minister might be good enough to tell the House whether subsection (5) means that he himself can determine, without any court hearing, if a holder of a licence is guilty of an offence.

Under the Agricultural Produce (Potatoes) Act, 1931, section 13, the Pigs and Bacon Act, 1935, section 30, the Agricultural Produce (Eggs) Act, 1939, section 23, and the Dairy Produce Act, 1924, section 22, the Minister has this duty to perform: in his opinion, these contraventions are determined. Under the Fertilisers, Feedingstuffs and Mineral Mixtures Act, and the Seed Production Act of 1955, he has this determination at his discretion. There is nothing new in this section; in fact, it is paralleled by all six of those I have mentioned. Perhaps that might clarify the situation for the Senator.

I take it then that the Minister is relying on earlier law. I shall not get out these subsections or sections of different Acts to justify this. One can sympathise with the Minister in doing that but again it is a question that this thing would probably have gone unnoticed but for the fact that this Bill was introduced in these circumstances and, because of that, people have been alerted to the contents of the Bill. If exactly analogous provisions are contained in the 1931, 1934, 1939 and 1955 Acts, for my part, in 1967, I have no hesitation in saying they are provisions which should not be in those Acts; they give power which it is wrong to vest in any Minister of State. One has only to go back to the Offences against the State Act of 1939 and the decision, again, of the Supreme Court in that connection, in which they decided that the determination of whether a person was guilty of an offence was an exercise of judicial power which properly belonged to the judiciary established under the Constitution. That is another of the Supreme Court decisions which should govern and should have governed the 1955 and 1956 Acts, and which cer tainly invalidates what was done under the 1931, 1934 and 1939 Acts.

The fact that those Acts have been passed year in year out, notwithstanding those provisions, goes to show how strong is the bureaucracy in this country and how their say is to prevail over what is decided by the courts. Of course, Ministers do not have time to go into every one of these details when Bills are going through. They take it for granted the Bills are drafted in accordance with the best legal advice available from time to time to different Ministers; they cannot be expected to read these provisions in detail. But I have, on previous occasions, on other legislation, referred to the decision on the Offences against the State Act, Part IV, which involved the Legislature in introducing a new Act in relation to Part IV of the Offences against the State Act, by reason of the decision of the Supreme Court. I referred to that when previous Bills were going through. But the Government, and apparently their servants, the public servants, are not prepared to be governed or inhibited in any way by decisions of the Supreme Court. All the talk about the Constitution, about respect for law and order, is so much vapid and empty talk when you see this kind of legislation being presented, which is clearly contrary to what is, in my view, contained in those decisions of the Supreme Court.

Therefore, it seems to me we ought to make it abundantly clear in this legislation that a person will not be held guilty unless convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction—in this case, by a District Court, or on indictment, by the Circuit Criminal or Central Criminal Court. That seems to me to be a very reasonable amendment, notwithstanding what has been done in earlier Bills. If the Minister were sincere in his protestations that he would accept reasonable amendments, it seems to me to be entirely reasonable to make provisions in the subsection that a person shall not be guilty of an offence, unless convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction.

That is the law, as the Senator should be aware; everybody is innocent until found guilty by a court.

That is not the Minister's attitude, because the Minister will, if he thinks fit, revoke a licence, if a person be guilty of an offence which he can decide.

If the Senator reads sections 2 and 8, he will see they can mean only one thing.

If he is of that mind, why not make it entirely clear? Mind you, lawyers—as Senator Ryan being a lawyer knows very well, and Senator Nash as a lawyer also—do not read just subsection (5) in isolation; they have to read it with the rest of the Bill. If you read it in conjunction with subsection (6), you find that there the Minister refers to his own competence and the right of determination whether a person has been guilty of a breach of the regulations (a) to (e) provided for in section 6. There is to be no inquiry by a barrister of ten years standing in relation to any such breach. The Minister will be prosecutor, judge and jury in relation to that series of offences——

That is, when guilty of an offence.

——and all of these are matters which are not susceptible to determination as to whether or not the requirements in relation to the physical aspects of a livestock mart are complied with. If the Minister wants good and clear legislation, there is no reason why he should not put in— having regard to the provisions of subsection (6) of this section—the amendment I suggest.

Equally with that, we ought to write into the Bill a provision which will mitigate the severity of the penalty which will or may be imposed on the holder of a licence because of an infringement of one of its conditions. The Minister may—and this is a rather startling piece of legislation—impose a condition when he is granting a licence; then, if that condition is not fulfilled, the non-fulfilment is an offence. Therefore, when a Minister takes a sheet of paper, sits down in his Department and says "the granting of this licence shall be subject to the following conditions, (a), (b), (c) and (d)," there and then the Minister is making law, which is not subject to any regulations, which is not laid before any House of the Oireachtas, because the breach of any one of those conditions under subsection (4) makes a person guilty of an offence.

The person guilty under subsection (8) shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £100 or at the discretion of the court to imprisonment for not less than three months for a breach of a condition written on a sheet of paper in the Minister's office and about which the Legislature knows nothing. If that person is convicted on indictment, he is liable to a fine not exceeding £500 or a term of imprisonment for six months. We have gone a long way from the rule of law when that is to be the order of the day, the new form in which legislation is to be enacted. The Minister may find precedents for that but as theIrish Times states today: “It is not often that one sees anywhere a Minister for Agriculture so apparently dedicated to an anti-farmer cause.” There is no precedent for that in the history of the State.

Therefore it seems to me to be highly dangerous in such a highly inflammable and explosive situation to provide that the Minister, by writing on a document which is known to nobody except him and the holder of a licence, can create an offence which involves a person in the penalties I have referred to. Livestock mart licences will become very valuable pieces of property in due time because there will be a limited number of them and presumably those engaged in the business will be deriving some profit from it.

Equally in the case of intoxicating liquor licences, there is a limited number. The number was frozen by the Intoxicating Liquor Act of 1902 and that was completed in the Act of 1960, but the Legislature all over the years, even when we had kings and queens governing us and in our later republican days, never thought it right and proper to provide that one infringement of the licensing law should involve forfeiture of a licence. It provided that there should be what one would call a warning system, that the first offence should not be endorsed on the licence but that the second and subsequent offences might be endorsed and if there were two endorsements, on the third offence the licence would become forfeit.

That is the provision contained in the Act of 1960. What I am proposing here is not that the Minister, for one breach of a condition in a licence or any offence under the Act—as, for example, a breach of any regulation— should be entitled to have the licence forfeited but that a kind of warning system should be set up which would during a period put the licence in jeopardy and therefore mitigate the automatic withdrawal of a licence. I am suggesting in amendment No. 21 that where a person has been convicted of an offence under the Act, there should be discretion or power given to the court in the case of a first conviction to record that conviction in a manner analogous to what happens to a liquor licence; and in the case of a second offence, one would have it recorded, the conviction to be recorded for one year in the first case and in the second, for a period of three years; and if while these two convictions were endorsed on the licence, there was a third conviction only then would the licence be forfeit if the court thought the circumstances warranted it. The Minister as prosecutor before the District Court, would be able to make his case for the opinion of the district justice or circuit court judge, as the case may be, as to why the licence should be endorsed or forfeit at the end of the period.

That seems to me to be a reasonable approach to the observance of the law on the part of the owners of livestock marts. If the Minister wants to be fair and reasonable, he should accept this amendment. If he does not accept the amendment and if the members of the Fianna Fáil Party and the other Senators who vote with the Fianna Fáil Party want to be fair and reasonable, they should accept this amendment, notwithstanding any view the Minister may have to the contrary.

Senator O'Quigley made great play of the licensing laws but he failed to tell us that endorsements ultimately result in the liquidation of licences for all time. There is no such thing as renewing that licence in any circumstances thereafter, nor is there, in the liquor laws in the ordinary sense, any freedom available to the courts to create new licences except in very stringent conditions which compel the applicant to extinguish an existing licence. Therefore, the Senator's analogy is completely haywire and does not hold water, or liquor for that matter. I am not impressed by it and I do not think anybody else could be impressed by that analogy.

The Minister, of course, cannot get a thorough grasp of the licensing laws from one reading of a memorandum. What I am arguing is that the Minister in a particular case may put one person out of business for all time on a first conviction. It does not matter whether somebody else wants to renew the licence for that livestock mart, the individual or the cooperative group owning it can be put out of business on the say-so of the Minister. That being so, the holder of a licence should be given the graduated system of chances I have suggested. If, say, John Brown is the holder of a licence and he is guilty of an offence, if he becomes guilty of a second or a third offence while the first one remains recorded, then his licence goes but there is nothing to prevent Thomas Murphy from applying for a new licence in respect of that mart and getting it.

The distinction between the mart and the intoxicating liquor law, as the Minister knows, is that in the one case it is a licence given to a person—under the Bill here—and in the other the licence attaches to a premises, and once that licence is liquidated, it is gone for all time because it attaches to the premises and no other person, in respect of that premises, can obtain a licence unless it happens to be licensed in conjunction with another premises, under section 6 of the Act. If the Minister thinks there is no analogy or that he understands the liquor law, he should read what I have said and he will find he does not understand the liquor law.

I am surprised to hear the Leader of the Opposition suggest that the Minister should have read the licensing laws.

I did not say that.

The Licensing Act attaches the licence to the place and not to the person—correct me if I am wrong. Senator O'Quigley says this Act attaches the licence to the person and not to the place. That suggestion, on the discussion of a measure to which we have devoted much time, makes it quite obvious that he has not read even the first page of the Bill. It is quite clear that the licence for a livestock mart attaches to the place and not to the person. Section 2 (1) reads:

A person shall not carry on the business of a livestock mart at any place unless there is for the time being a licence in force in respect of that place.

I do not think that could be any clearer. Not only did Senator O'Quigley not read the Bill but quite obviously he did not listen to the discussion which took place in this House during which that matter was referred to more than once. I do think if a person is proposing an amendment, is suggesting alternatives, is criticising the Minister, is criticising the Government, at least before uttering those criticisms, he might take the trouble either to read the Bill or to listen to the debate on the amendments and the discussion that has taken place already.

Having regard to what took place here within the past half hour, I must say I am surprised to see Senator O'Quigley's entire Party and the Labour Party decide that the rule of law should not run in this country for civil courts—that decrees granted in the civil courts cannot be executed in livestock marts. That was the subject of their argument.

Not at all: do not twist it.

No other conclusion is logically possible. An offence in this Bill is very clearly defined.

What will a man have to do in order to commit an offence?

All you have to do to ascertain that is to read section 6 (3):

A person who contravenes a provision or regulations under this section shall be guilty of an offence.

The Senator is still not saying what the regulations are.

Has anybody in this House ever known what any statutory regulations, any statutory orders, will be before a Bill is passed? The regulations must conform to the terms of the Bill. They must be such as are authorised by the Bill. Statutory regulations cannot possibly be made until an Act of Parliament is first in existence.

Again, we have the touching respect for the owner of the livestock mart who breaks the regulations. We have been told in the course of this debate that one aspect of these regulations will be to protect the farmers. Take the livestock mart that sells ten cattle belonging to Paddy Murphy or Paddy Ryan, the small farmer, and does not pay for the cattle. One of the regulations will contain protection for the vendors of the cattle. If we are to accept Senator O'Quigley's amendment it means that a livestock mart may go burst today and pay nobody and they get a warning which is put on their licence and which disappears from their licence in 12 months. It may go burst again next month and bankrupt a number of people and they get a further warning. It is only after they break the regulation the third time that they lose their licence and that must be done within three years. I had thought there might be some possibility that despite the lack of logic which I have heard, despite the lack even of intelligent approach to facts, there might be somebona fides in the arguments offered against this Bill until I heard what was said on the last two amendments.

It is quite obvious that a smokescreen is being created for the purpose of blinding people and making people believe that this measure is something other than what it really is, that it is something other than a protection for the ordinary farmer who is selling his stock in the mart, who wants to get the best available price for his stock and who wants to ensure that he will be able to sell his stock so long as he himself is carrying on his business in the ordinary way as an ordinary farmer.

Having regard to Senator Nash's remarks, I should like to impress on him that that is exactly what the farmers are getting at present, without this Bill. They are getting satisfaction. They are getting the best price available for their cattle—and it is not a good one. They are enjoying good conditions in relation to the sale of their cattle. This Bill proposes to interfere with all of that. Apparently it is now an offence for a farmer to auction livestock in a place that is not a licensed mart. That is proposed here.

On a question of fact, that is not so. It is an offence for him to auction his cattle in a place that is adapted and laid out as a livestock mart, if it be not licensed, and only there.

I am thankful to the Senator for his interjection. He has made the position clearer still for me.

That is a great achievement.

There is no doubt about what I have tried to say. Senator Nash has said it very much better for me and that is exactly what I am saying in relation to the farmers. It will interfere with the farmers even to that extent. I also heard Senator Nash castigate Senator O'Quigley who, I am sure, can deal with that castigation himself. I took it as a slip of the tongue when I heard Senator O'Quigley speak in relation to publichouse licences and places. However, Senator Nash took him up seriously and read out a section of the Bill relating to the place to which the licence attaches.

The Minister should deal with this Bill on the merits of the situation which he finds at the moment. He mentioned a number of Bills going back 30 years. He quoted the provisions of various Bills. The circumstances of 30 years ago are not those of the present time. Things were quite different then. We had a new Government, if you like—our own Government—trying to legislate as best as we could having regard to the needs which appeared to exist and we had not established a tradition of legislation at that time. Even if it can be argued that the legislation now proposed takes the same line as legislation of 30 years ago, that is no argument in favour of such legislation of the present time.

We must move with the times. There are plenty of examples where we have departed from tradition in relation to the framing of Bills. Having regard to all that has happened in the past 30 years, not only in this country but all over the world, in relation to the rights of the individual, particularly, and in relation, of course, to democratic rights, I do not think it a good argument that because certain clauses appeared in a Bill 30 years ago, they should continue to appear in a Bill in these times. I have said already that the circumstances of that time were not the same as the circumstances of the present time.

This Bill will have a widespread effect so far as the livestock of the country are concerned. Every beast that goes into a mart will be licensed because if the mart is not licensed, the beast may not stand in it. The Bill means that the farmers are being taken within its provisions and the conditions laid down here. Apparently, on the day the Minister issues a licence to a mart, he also issues a set of conditions. In other words, the man is convicted at the moment he accepts the licence if, in fact, the conditions are not in accordance with the regulations laid down for the issue of the licence.

I think Senator Nash made the case that marts can go broke three times before the licence is withdrawn, if we adopt the system which applies to licensed premises.

(Interruptions.)

If it has gone broke, how can it continue?

The cheques bounce.

Perhaps Senator Rooney will be allowed to continue.

The arguments against this proposal are becoming stronger as we hear the views of some of our learned Senators on the Government benches. The Minister could set out in the Bill that on the occasion of the first offence under certain regulations, a person would lose his licence. He could set out other regulations whereby the person is given a chance by the Minister if he is found to have broken a regulation. It should be remembered that breach of any regulation invalidates the licence. It is not set out in the Bill that the Minister will issue a warning to a person who is not complying with the regulations. The first warning is the withdrawal of the licence, according to the letter of the law. The Minister wants to be judge in regard to whether the licence should be issued and to be jury when it comes to the withdrawal of the licence.

The Minister should make some amendments to deal with offences against certain of the regulations. He can set out in the Bill the manner in which he will deal with a breach of the regulations and he can even insert a clause giving him some kind of optional power in regard to such a breach. Instead, however, he is taking all power to decide whether a licence should be issued or should be revoked.

I wish to support these amendments. Subsection (5) of section 3 is, in my opinion, a new departure in Irish legislation. It says:

Where the holder of a licence is guilty of any offence under this Act, the Minister may, if he so thinks fit, revoke the licence.

That certainly gives the present holder of the office ample power to deal with people who are so bold as to speak up against his policy or lack of policy. It is something that is causing grave disquiet throughout the country. Most people will have seen that the guillotine fell on another section of agriculture yesterday. If this trend is to continue, the entire agricultural community will feel themselves on a very insecure footing. Senator Nash spoke of livestock marts going "bust" as if this were an imminent national catastrophe. Perhaps Fianna Fáil Senators anticipate even greater difficulties in the cattle industry over the next few months than have been forecast by An Foras Talúntais. Will the Minister assure the House that he does not need these grave powers to save the farmers from the gloomy autumn and winter that has been forecast?

So the Senator hopes.

That is not true. As a farmer, I certainly do not hope so, because I should be at a grave personal loss and I appreciate the loss it would involve for my farmer colleagues. It is bad enough to have cattle down by some £10 to £20 a head even on last year without a further nose-dive. Surely the Minister is not really serious in bringing in legislation to guarantee, as it were, the farmers against these marts going "bust"? This is not really necessary. We have a system which is working. Very few marts have got into difficulties and in a couple of cases where chancers and tricksters acquired cattle with cheques with nothing behind them, individual farmers did not suffer because the marts committee paid them out in full.

Where did that happen?

That has happened in several marts in the midlands.

They guarantee payments.

There were marts where it did not happen. The farmers lost their money. That is the position, and the Senator knows it.

They have not lost half as much through the marts as they lost through Fianna Fáil policy.

To get away from these asinine observations that are creeping into the debate, I should like to make a final plea to the Minister not to single out the farming community in this fashion. We still do not know what a mart owner, mart committee or individual farmer must do to commit an offence, because the Minister has not given us any indication of what type of regulation he will bring in. It may be that what is commonplace today and what is considered to be proper practice will be an offence under this legislation.

He spoke for half an hour last night about the regulations, if the Senator was listening.

He certainly spoke yesterday, and more than spoke, as you can see from today's paper. Surely we should expect for the farming community the very same treatment as other sections of the community are getting. It is unfair to give the Minister power to revoke a licence for a first offence or not to revoke it. The law should be more definite, and if there is need for this power, it should not be left completely in his hands to decide. Everybody would be much happier if he would write into the Bill his intentions so that the suffering agricultural sector would know exactly what they are facing in the future.

The Labour Party agree with both these amendments. Listening to Senator Nash, one would get the impression that there was only one regulation, the regulation that cattle sold in the marts must be paid for. I would agree with the Minister revoking a licence where cattle were not paid for, but there are other sections ensuring that this cannot happen in the future. Some regulations will be more important than others. The fact that the Minister can revoke a licence in the case of a person breaking a minor regulation means that he is taking too much power in that case. Some regulations should have top priority. One could understand the Minister revoking a licence when such top priority regulations are broken, but a licence should not be revoked in the case of the more minor regulations.

I wish to support both these amendments. It is no case whatever to say there is a similar clause in earlier Acts. Two wrongs never make a right. It is only the totalitarianism creeping into our national life in the past couple of years, euphemistically called State control, that forces those of us who believe in liberty and democracy to look again and to look critically at provisions such as this, where the Minister, by merely writing something on a licence—something neither the Dáil nor Seanad ever sees—can create an offence and thereby bring the mart concerned within the scope of section 8. That is intolerable. It is intolerable that no discretion is left to the court as far as the question of making any first offence provision is concerned.

Consequently, I support very strongly the case that has been made. Indeed, I support it doubly strongly because we have been entreated to leave it in the hands of the Minister. Even last evening, listening to the Minister, we perhaps might have been cajoled into that position, believing after all that he appears to be reasonable. But when we open today's paper and see the latest scandalous example of Peter the Packer tactics by the Minister in removing all people with NFA connections from the Grain Board and the Agricultural Institute, surely we are brought back to reality and brought back to seeing that a Minister is pursuing a vindictive course aimed at nothing short of the smashing of the NFA. Rightly does theIrish Times lead the chorus of outraged public opinion at this latest act of petty, vindictive totalitarianism when it says——

On a point of order, Sir, what has this got to do with the amendments? What the Minister does about the Grain Board, has it any relevance—I submit it has not—to the amendments we are discussing?

Analogous conduct.

I should like a ruling on that, Sir.

I am not sure who wants a ruling at the moment. I rule that what the Senator has said is perfectly in order. He is showing how the Minister might act.

I thank you for your ruling, Sir.

Acting Chairman

I trust it will be a passing reference.

It is to establish the fact that we cannot entrust discretion to the present Minister. I quote from the editorial of theIrish Times:

The Minister's replacement of people like John Litton, John Orpen and Father Collins of Warrenstown lays him open not only to the predictable charges of petty mindedness and vindictiveness, but to the graver indictment that he is using his powers as Minister for Agriculture against the true interests of agriculture. Father Collins is replaced by a civil servant for the assumed crime of having sympathy with the NFA; yet the new president of the NFA can find it in his heart to say that this is "a time for bigness— bigness in action, bigness in thought, bigness in attitude."

Of course, we are brought back to earth. We should scrutinise this Bill, and every other Bill, with this frightening example before us. In other words, the easy way, the way of leaving it to the Minister, is the way that has resulted in the present frightening and paralysing state of growing State control in every sphere. Consequently, we must scrutinise again and again those provisions, and we must support the attempts made to strengthen the position of our courts here as the last refuge against a totalitarian take-over.

Make no mistake about it—that is where we are heading. We are asked to believe the Minister's hollow assurances. We were told he has no quarrel with the NFA. Surely that is the technique of Goebbels and the Communists—the big lie? Surely we are not to fall for that? Surely it behoves Seanad Éireann, in these closing days of the Session, to take a stand on Irish liberty against State control before it paralyses us, before we get into Europe in such a condition of State control that it will make the further consolidation of the problem by the bureaucrats in Brussels only too easy?

I do not know whether it is in order to describe Senator Quinlan's contributions on this Bill as hysterical. I cannot think of any closer adjective. All I want to do on this amendment is to suggest that the Minister, in listing the precedents for the provisions of this subsection, did not altogether do himself justice. He listed those previous Acts as if he were merely showing what had been done before. But, in fact, as with a good many other provisions in this Bill, he has gone well beyond them and has brought in precautions which exist in few, if any, previous Acts. Under this Bill a licence can be revoked if there is a conviction for an offence under the Bill. But under previous Acts— under the Dairy Produce Act, 1924, for instance, introduced by Cumann na nGaedheal—the Minister can at any time cancel the registration of a producer registered under that Act, if he is satisfied that there has been any contravention, whether by way of commission or omission, of this Act or of any regulations made thereunder. The Pigs and Bacon Act followed this Cumann na nGaedheal precedent exactly. In both these cases the Minister could revoke a licence if his regulations or the provisions of the Act were contravened. There was no necessity to go to court about it.

Of course, when Deputy Dillon, not 30 years ago as Senator Rooney seemed to suggest, but only about ten or 12 years ago, brought into this House as recently as the year 1955 two Bills—the Seed Production Bill and the Fertilisers Bill—he gave himself power, supported by Fine Gael Senators in this House, to revoke licences just like that. He could revoke a licence at any time. There need not be any contravention of the provisions of the Act or of regulations thereunder or anything of that kind, let alone any question of a hearing in court. He gave himself power to revoke licences at his own will and pleasure.

There is nothing like that in this Bill which, as I say, goes far beyond in catering for the rights of the individual any of those previous Acts and also there is a provision in this Bill which does not exist in any previous Act passed in the past 40 years whereby, if the Minister revokes the licence, he must lay a statement to that effect, with his reasons, before the Houses of the Oireachtas.

So I think the Minister was doing himself a disservice in merely listing those precedents. They are not really precedents. They are Acts where powers of this kind are given to the Minister but without the numerous precautions contained in this Bill which goes far beyond in catering for the rights of the subject anything contained in these Acts. It is ludicrous and hysterical for people like Senator Quinlan, who, apparently, pay no attention to the kind of legislation enacted in the past 40 years, to rant and rave in the way he has.

He did not.

There is a clear division of opinion again today noticeable in the ranks of the Fianna Fáil Party.

Do not start that again.

The Minister for Local Government takes a different view of the Bill and its effect in relation to licensing from Senator Nash.

What has the Minister for Local Government to do with it?

I constantly think of the Minister as Minister for Local Government, he was so long there; the Minister for Agriculture, of course, I mean. The Minister for Agriculture takes a different view from Senator Nash. The Minister's argument against my amendment is that if it were accepted, it would mean that any time the licence was revoked, the premises would be completely delicensed and he said the licence would be liquidated—

On a point of order, I did not hear the Minister yet speak on this amendment.

Acting Chairman

He is recorded as having spoken.

Of course, if the Senator insists upon reading books——

The book has relevance to the lack of logic in what you are saying. It is by a learned judge.

——instead of listening to the debate, he will not hear the Minister. That is why he is at variance with the Minister. The Minister quite clearly sees that the licence can be revoked and the mart still goes on. So the licence is not attached to the place; the licence is a licence to the holder. That is quite clear. Otherwise, it would be a very great disservice to the farming community if the holder of a licence having committed a breach of the regulation, the licence was revoked and the mart sat there and could not be licensed again. That would be the effect if Senator Nash were correct in his interpretation. It is quite clear that that is not correct. The holder will have his licence revoked and then an entirely different person can get a new licence in respect of that place. In other words, the licence under this Bill will not attach to the place. Under the intoxicating liquor code, it does and once the licence is forfeited under the intoxicating liquor code, it is gone and gone forever and the place can never be licensed again.

That is the reason I say we ought to be fair to the holders of these licences and to provide for a graduated system of endorsement, say, that on the first offence where you are convicted, it will be endorsed and that endorsement will last a year; on second conviction, it will be endorsed and the endorsement will last for three years, and if within that three-year period you commit a third offence, then your licence goes.

As it stands under the Bill, the Minister at any time can revoke the licence upon the first offence. I am merely extending to livestock mart owners what has been found to be fair and reasonable and to be a useful means of ensuring the observance of the intoxicating liquor laws in our society for the last 100 years since the intoxicating liquor laws came into operation. That is the clear distinction. The Minister and I agree for once and Senator Nash is still paddling his own canoe, as always.

Therefore, I suggest that the House should accept both of these amendments in order to mitigate the hardships this absolute power of revocation can impose upon the holders of licences.

Arising out of what has been said, the rule of law and all the rest of it, and the speech of Senator Quinlan, let us first be clear, without any emotion and without any hysteria, as to what exactly the Bill says and what exactly these amendments mean. Under this Bill, if it passes into an Act of Parliament, the Minister has power to make certain regulations, statutory rules and orders, as are made, as have to be made, under very many Acts of Parliament. Under this Bill, again, if a person commits a breach of these regulations, he commits an offence. He becomes guilty of the offence if, and only if, he is prosecuted in court and convicted. No person is guilty of an offence until he is convicted. Therefore, the matter has to come before the court. In court, even if he is found not guilty, it does not mean that he is innocent. Anybody who has experience of our criminal courts fully realises that at least 50 per cent of people who are found not guilty in our criminal courts are not innocent. Those of us who practise frequently and regularly in the criminal courts realise that it is right and proper that that should be so because it would be much preferable to have 99 guilty men acquitted than to have one innocent man convicted. Therefore, under this Bill, a person, first of all, has to be found guilty. If he is found not guilty, it does not necessarily mean he is innocent.

The degree of the offence may be very serious. It may be for defrauding, as I pointed out already, people who sell their cattle on the market. It may be for causing the complete economic upheaval of farmers in the locality. It may be for the very gravest offence. Evidence has to be found. He has to be convicted and then, after the conviction, and only after the conviction, the matter has to be considered by the Minister. If, then, the Minister, even at this stage, decides to revoke the licence, he has to come before both Houses of the Oireachtas and to explain to both Houses his reasons for revoking the licence.

The owners of livestock marts are not necessarily the farming community; their interests do not necessarily coincide with the interests of the farmers. Personally, I cannot see that, if anybody has the least interest in the farming community, he should not feel that, if anything, too many safeguards are here provided before the licence of the livestock mart can be removed.

Acting Chairman

Does Senator O'Quigley wish the amendment put?

Question put: "That the word proposed to be deleted stand".
The Committee divided: Tá, 27; Níl, 12.

  • Ahern, Liam.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brennan, John J.
  • Browne, Seán.
  • Cole, John C.
  • Connolly O'Brien, Nora.
  • Dolan, Séamus.
  • Eachthéirn, Cáit, Uí.
  • Farrell, Joseph.
  • Fitzsimons, Patrick.
  • Flanagan, Thomas P.
  • McGlinchey, Bernard.
  • McGowan, Patrick.
  • Martin, James J.
  • Nash, John Joseph.
  • Ó Donnabháin, Seán.
  • O'Kennedy, Michael.
  • Ó Maoláin, Tomás.
  • Ormonde, John.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Patrick W.
  • Ryan, William.
  • Sheldon, William A. W.
  • Teehan, Patrick J.
  • Yeats, Michael.

Níl

  • Davidson, Mary F.
  • Fitzgerald John.
  • McAuliffe, Timothy.
  • McDonald, Charles.
  • McHigh, Vincent.
  • Malone, Patrick.
  • O'Quigley, John B.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick (Cavan).
  • O'Sullivan, Denis J.
  • Prendergast, Micheál A.
  • Quinlan, Patrick M.
  • Rooney, Éamon.
Tellers:— Tá: Senators Browne and Farrell; Níl: Senators McDonald and Malone.
Question declared carried.

The fate of amendment No. 20 governs that of amendment No. 21.

Amendment No. 21 not moved.
Amendment No. 22 not moved.

I move amendment No. 23:

In subsection 6 (a), line 14, to delete "seven days" and substitute "one month or such longer period as the Minister may allow".

Amendments Nos. 23 and 26 go together.

That would appear to be so. When you are operating the provisions of a statute, no matter how benevolently you may wish to operate them, you are bound rigidly by the terms of what is contained in the statute. An example of that is to be found in many Acts but the most recent one is the Local Government (Planning and Development) Act, 1963. There is a provision in that Act that where the local authority give permission to an applicant applying for planning permission, those who object to the granting of that permission may appeal against it within 21 days of the giving of notice. It has been found in many cases that people have been just a day late because of the peculiar provisions of that Act whereby there is no provision for notifying the objectors, and the Minister for Local Government, no matter how much he would have liked to extend the time for making an objection, cannot do so because the Act says 21 days and that is that.

In this Bill it is proposed that whenever the Minister proposes to refuse to grant a licence or to revoke a licence because of a contravention of regulations under section 6—and in this connection I want to refer Senator Nash to what is contained in the section: it says "because of a contravention of the regulations..." not "being found guilty by a court of a contravention of regulations..."; there is no obligation on the Minister to say that you must be found guilty by a court of a contravention—he shall, before doing so, notify the holder of or the applicant for the licence of his intention and of the reasons therefor, and, if any representations are made to the Minister within seven days after the date of the giving of the notification by the holder or applicant, as the case may be, the Minister shall consider them.

The same thing applies in relation to a request by an aggrieved applicant or holder of a licence under paragraph (b). This says that... "the Minister shall not do so... and, if, within seven days after the giving of the notification aforesaid, the holder of the licence makes a request to the Minister for the holding of an inquiry... the Minister shall cause an inquiry to be held..." There is here a fixed rigid statutory period of seven days in the one case for the making of representations to the Minister but, more important, so far as it is of any use at all, for the making of a request for an inquiry to be held under the provisions of the Bill by a barrister of ten years standing.

Seven days is a very short period and it can be extremely short in the light of the five-day week. If a letter is sent on Friday, it may not reach the person being notified until perhaps the following Tuesday in the case of a bank holiday weekend and therefore effectively the applicant or the person concerned may have, in effect, only Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday— three days—within which to make up his mind and make his request for an inquiry. In those circumstances, I can well see a person being sick or away on business, or merely having three days and one could easily imagine the person concerned running to the local Deputy or Senator and asking him to make representations to the Minister. In those circumstances, the Minister will say: "I cannot do anything about it; the representations were not made within seven days."

Similar representations have been made to the Minister for Local Government under the Planning and Development Act, 1963 and there is nothing the Minister can do because the statute says in that case 21 days. It says seven days in this Bill. What I suggest in this amendment, and I think all Members of the House will know from experience the difficulties of people in keeping within time limits, that the period of seven days should be extended to one month. That, under the Interpretation Act, will be a calendar month or such longer period as the Minister may allow. That is an extremely reasonable amendment and one which, if the Minister genuinely wants to make time available and ensure that time will be made available to persons affected by this decision, he should readily accept. With these short and cogent reasons, I commend these amendments to the House.

Seven days as provided in the Bill seems to me a very reasonable length of time. A month would be unnecessarily long. I think the fears the Senator has expressed will prove to be unfounded in the operation of this Bill. It will be found that such cases as he has cited are extreme and with the competent Department of Posts and Telegraphs we have, one could scarcely envisage a letter being sent on a Friday and not arriving until Tuesday. The seven day period seems to be adequate and a month would be unnecessarily long.

The Parliamentary Secretary has not even made a case for adhering to the seven days. I am quite satisfied nobody on the opposite side of the House is intellectually convinced that what is in the Bill is a reasonable arrangement but when the Parliamentary Secretary calls in aid of his case the Department of Posts and Telegraphs, we should collapse into laughter especially when he refers to it as "the competent Department of Posts and Telegraphs". At present, I have at home numerous letters of apology from that Department replying to complaints by me for their failure to deliver letters in time. The Parliamentary Secretary says they are competent and is confident that letters will be delivered in time. Either he does not believe it or he does not know what is going on. Letters have been posted to me on a Friday evening from Castlebar which I would have expected to reach me at 3, Hollywood Drive, Goatstown, Dublin, in the morning post on Saturday morning. I have phoned Castlebar because I was expecting a letter and said that it did not arrive, and thereupon on the Saturday morning a copy of a particular brief which was required for Monday morning was sent to me and arrived on Monday morning, and the one which was posted on Friday evening did not arrive until Monday afternoon. That is the regular pattern.

We observe this because we get our letters rather late and we must have them in time. Perhaps we are more conscious of these things than others because we must have them on Monday mornings. A case is on and we are anxious for the letters to arrive. I have half a dozen letters of explanation from the Department of Posts and Telegraphs. They always take the same form. They thank me for my inquiry and say that they are trying to investigate the matter, that they are unable to discover the cause, that they apologise for any inconvenience and hope I will not be inconvenienced again.

The Parliamentary Secretary knows very well that if the letter which I spoke about is posted to a company, it will be delivered to the registered office of the company. If it is posted on Friday evening, it will be delivered the following morning, and Saturday being adies non with the five day week, will not be received until Monday and at a bank holiday weekend when the office will not be open until Tuesday, that letter will not be received until Tuesday morning and if there is any bungling by the Department, it will not be delivered until Tuesday evening. If the Parliamentary Secretary says seven days are sufficient, that is all right. He is entitled to that view. If a person says that he did not get in his request for an inquiry in time, he should be able to go to the Minister. It is not my wont to give this type of discretion to the Minister but I think that on this occasion the Minister could reasonably be given that kind of discretionary power. One of his officials could write out and say: “Your attention is drawn to the provision of paragraph (b) subsection (5) section 3 of the Livestock Marts Act wherein it is provided that a request for an inquiry should be made within seven days of the notification of the refusal of a licence by the Minister. Your request was not received in the Department within seven days. In the circumstances the Minister finds himself unable to accept your request. Mise, le meas.” I think the amendment is eminently reasonable and should commend itself to everyone.

I should like to support this amendment very strongly. In the case of co-operative marts where the marts are run by committees, this period of seven days is rather short because if they follow the normal procedure, the secretary of the mart would have to get in touch with the committee members so that the committee could review the position and decide what action they should take. That exercise in itself would further cut back the amount of time available. This period of seven days is rather short and it might well be used to penalise the marts. I would therefore ask the Parliamentary Secretary to give an extra number of days.

We should try to look at this from a commonsense point of view. From the way Senators are talking, one would think this was a case where a man had not paid his radio licence. This is hardly the case because the people who are running the marts are not halfwits. If a man who is running a mart gets a notice saying that his licence to run the mart is being withdrawn, he does not just sit around. This affects his way of living, as we have been told at length. He goes immediately and makes representations to someone. There is no question of his sitting back and letting the time run out.

Letting the three days run out.

If Senator Rooney got such a notice, he would be on the telephone to the Department inside five minutes.

What is the objection to 14 days?

The people who are running these marts are not just Tom Dick and Harry. They are people of standing and they know what is involved if their licences are taken from them. I hate harping on precedents but this is the usual time in all those Bills, except in the case of Deputy Dillon's Bill where he did not make this provision.

No time was provided: it could be any time.

Any person who is running this business is perfectly capable of making any representation he wants to within seven days.

There are two factors which should commend themselves to those who are concerned about these notices. The first is that the licence will not be revoked or refused until that period has expired. It is only reasonable that where the regulations are not being complied with, the business should not be allowed to continue for a month, as is suggested by Senator O'Quigley. At the end of this period the Minister will refuse or revoke, as the case may be. That is a very important factor.

The other factor is that there is a large volume of precedent for a period of seven days. Senator O'Quigley will probably agree that even in the appeals procedure in the courts nowhere does one find such a long period as one month. It is usually ten days, or, in many cases, four days and, therefore, I think seven days is reasonable in the circumstances. If it so happens then that anybody is compromised—Senator Yeats has for good and sensible reasons indicated that it is very unlikely anyone will be—that matter can be looked into subsequently, but I cannot see any reason at the moment why such a situation should arise.

On the face of it, Senator O'Quigley's amendment sounds very proper.

That, at least, is a step forward.

But, if this situation arises, owners of marts will get this notice and they will know very well that something is liable to happen. It will not come out of the blue, as it were, unless there is a very flagrant breach of the law. Only rarely will it occur that they may have to rush off and find a solicitor and counsel and any representations made to the Minister must have the effect of holding the case up and, therefore, they will really have their inquiry.

There is no doubt that it is extremely difficult to get any kind of reasonable approach from the opposite side. I am surprised at an Independent Senator like Senator Cole adopting the attitude he did. Senator Yeats romances, but he is not to be blamed for that, when he talks about a seven-day period operating in every statute. A month or 21 days is a very regular period under the Town Planning Act. A month is the period for notice of intention to claim relief under the Landlord and Tenant Act. Senator O'Kennedy seems to be getting the rules mixed up with regard to the four-day notice of motion in relation to appeals.

The Senator is well aware of the four-day notice of motion.

From the District Court to the Circuit Court notice of appeal is 14 days, and one can always go back to the court and get the time extended. From the Circuit Court to the High Court—I am not quite sure of this—it is at least ten days; from the High Court to the Supreme Court, it is 21 days. That has been extended under the latest rules. This amendment deals with a very important matter—the question of whether or not a man's licence is going to be revoked.

On the face of it, one would normally have considerable sympathy with this amendment if the position were on all fours with the Town Planning Act, but there is a very considerable difference. Under the Town Planning Act, a person applies for permission to erect a structure. That comes before the local planning authority. If the local authority grant permission, anybody else has a right of appeal against the granting of permission within a certain number of days.

Twenty-one days, and do not forget it.

If the applicant is refused permission, he has 28 days in which to appeal. If the appeal is not made within the 21 or 28 days, the decision of the local authority is final and conclusive. There is nothing the Department can do. There is nothing anybody can do. That is not on all fours with this appeal at all. I take it Senator O'Quigley is concerned more with the revocation of a licence than the granting of a licence.

Paragraph (b) is the more important.

Yes, the revocation of the licence. Suppose a mart owner has been prosecuted for some criminal offence and been convicted; he hopes the Minister will do nothing about it and that his licence will not be revoked. Then he gets a communication one morning telling him it is the intention of the Minister to revoke his licence. Definitely there must be some period, but there are certain offences in relation to which the quicker the licence is cancelled the better it will be. I rather think there should be provision in the Bill for the suspension of licences, pending a decision one way or the other, because I can visualise cases in which a vast amount of damage would be done every day the mart continues in operation and there must be some short period within which, if it is to be revoked, it will be revoked for the common good.

The time provided here is one month. The Minister may not revoke the licence for one month. He is tied to that, no matter how badly the mart is conducted; he must wait for a month. I think there should be provision for the suspension of a licence and, if there were such a provision, I might be disposed to agree with this amendment, but there is no provision whatsoever for the suspension of a licence. The Minister may not revoke the licence for one month and, in the meantime, the proprietor has the right of appeal to the Minister. The Minister must get notice of appeal in time to consider it, have the mart inspected again, and make further inquiries to see if, despite the fact the proprietor has been convicted, the circumstances are not such as to make it imperative in the public interest to revoke the licence. This is not something that can be done overnight. It will take some weeks at least and therefore the length of time within which notice must be given must be a considerable period before the minimum period in which the licence may be revoked; it cannot be revoked for a month and, therefore, there must be a couple of weeks, perhaps ten days, in between because, having considered, the Minister will again have to notify.

If the proprietor makes his representations within seven days, the Minister must consider, for that is what the appeal says. If he does not make his representations within seven days, the Minister may still consider; he is not prohibited from considering. In the case of the Planning Act he is prohibited completely from considering and the objectionable building, or whatever it is, may go up, despite what anyone else may do. But in this present case the Minister will still have discretion. Even though he gets notice within the seven days, he must consider it, but he need not act on it. Having got notice, he may consider it.

There is a very big difference between this and the Town Planning Act. For the entire period of one month after notice has been served, the Minister may consider whether or not he should revoke the licence and he is bound, though it is not obligatory, to receive suggestions and undertakings from the owner of the mart. This is not, therefore, analogous to the Town Planning Act. If it were, I should be in complete sympathy with the amendment, but it is not. Having regard to the fact that there is no provision for suspension, I think a month's notice is a long time to let a badly run mart continue because its operation could do harm to the general public and to the farming community. For these reasons, I could not support the amendment.

It says "If any representations are made to the Minister within seven days after the date of the coming of the notification..." Is it sufficient for the owner of the mart to say: "I am appealing against this"? Must he, within those seven days, have his complete case laid before the Minister? What are representations?

Written or verbal; either would suffice.

Three days go in before it is delivered to him and two days to carry a reply back to the Minister. That leaves only two days, which is not a long period for preparing representations in support of his case.

Business suspended at 1 p.m. and resumed at 2.30 p.m.

Before the luncheon interval, I was dealing with the point made by Senator Nash. During the interval I was reminded of the scene recounted in Virgil'sAeneid where Aeneid is eventually in sight of the goal for which he had roamed the seas for so long and the phrase comes back to me, jam tandem Italiae fugientes oras prendimus, now, at last we grasp the fleeting shores of Italy, and what has been eluding and evading me during this long debate on the Livestock Marts Bill is within my grasp. The object of my grasp is none other than Senator Nash. At last I am going to have somebody who will come into the lobby with me on my side because Senator Nash said before lunch, if he was persuaded that the period was as short as seven days, then he would have sympathy with my amendment and would support it.

And that it was factual and constructive, and analogous with the Town Planning Act.

If we want to be even more specific, we can refer to it as the Local Government (Planning and Development) Act, 1963.

The Town Planning Act.

It is not any longer: that was repealed by the 1963 Act. However, the Senator sought to convince the House of the reasonableness of the present Bill, as it is drafted, and he gave the impression—certainly it was conveyed clearly to me—that one has not only seven days but the month preceding that.

He did not say that.

That is what the Senator said.

I did not.

He said that therefore the time within which a person could request an oral hearing by the arbitrator was not limited to a mere seven days.

Is that in this Bill?

That is what is in the Bill. The Bill says that whenever the Minister proposes to revoke a licence—this is the one that is important to me—he shall not do so until the expiration of one month after the date of giving notification by the applicant and if within seven days of the giving of the notification the holder makes a request for an inquiry, the Minister shall cause an inquiry to be held. So the request for the holding of an inquiry is within seven days of the first notification of the revocation of the licence; in other words, that is how the Minister interprets it. Senator Nash said before lunch it was a month and within seven days.

He did not.

Indeed he did.

I beg your pardon.

That is what Senator Nash said, and if it were like the Town Planning Act, he would have some sympathy with me.

That is not what the Senator said. The record will show what he said.

The record will make that clear later on. I was listening to Senator Nash with much greater care than those engaged in conversation on the other side were.

We were listening very carefully.

According to the Bill, if a person does not make an application for the holding of an inquiry within seven days of the notification of the revocation of the licence, that is the next seven days, which could be reduced in the case of a bank holiday to at least three or four days, it will not be considered. I say in this amendment that we ought to have regard to human frailty, ought to have regard to errors made and ought to have regard from experience of such things as the Town Planning Act that people will not make the request within the time prescribed by statute. If it is not made within that time, the Minister can say: "I am very sorry but seven days is the limit. That time has expired and I am not doing anything."

It is eminently reasonable to suggest that we allow a month. I would be prepared to compromise with 14 days or 21 days for the period within which requests to the arbitrator should be made. I would be prepared to leave it "14 days or such longer period as the Minister may allow", but, if we want to be fair to people who may find themselves in the situation that their licence will be revoked, we should allow a longer period than 14 days, having regard to the deficiencies of our postal system and to the difficulties that will attend on anybody trying to interpret this Act.

I am giving here something that might appear to be contrary to what I said earlier in this debate. I want to give this power to the Minister. That power would certainly relieve the anxiety of people and ensure that no injustice will be done. I cannot for the life of me see why a reasonable amendment of this kind will not be accepted by the Members opposite.

Senator O'Quigley ought to be very careful not to disclose his reasoning. He has no case at all and did not have a case right through this whole discussion. He has now reached the stage at which he says that Senator Nash made a point which he did not make. The point Senator Nash really made, as I understand it, was that under the Bill the Minister must have regard to representations made within seven days, but he is not precluded from accepting representations made later, whereas, in the Town Planning Act he is precluded unless the representations are made within the specified time. I understood this to be the point Senator Nash intended to make and I do not know where Senator O'Quigley got the idea that he was adding a month to seven days. This did not appear to me to be in Senator Nash's argument. It seems to me that Senator O'Quigley is now scraping the bottom of the barrel.

The barrel would be empty at the start.

I want to clear one matter. There may be some doubt because the Senator who has just spoken may not have had the Bill before him when the matter was being discussed. The point Senator Nash makes that he has not only seven days relates to representations under paragraph (a) of subsection (6), but there is a paragraph exactly analogous to the prohibition in the Town Planning Act contained in paragraph (b) of this Bill and if the request for this halfbaked form of arbitration is not made within seven days, it cannot be granted thereafter. In that respect paragraph (b) is exactly analogous to the rigid provisions of the Town Planning Act and no amount of attempted recounting of what Senator Nash said, or did not say, can get over that fact.

What I said is quite clear. There is no analogy whatsoever between the time limit here and the time limit in the Town Planning Act. I made it very clear that in the Town Planning Act what happens is that a decision is as given by the local planning authority. Unless there is an appeal against that within 21 days by one party or 28 days by the other party, that decision is final and conclusive. It cannot be altered by any court, by any Minister, by any Department. In this case there is no analogy whatsoever. If the person whose licence is being revoked makes representations within seven days, the Minister must consider the application. If he makes them after seven days, the Minister may still consider the application. There is no prohibition on his considering it. In the Town Planning Act, he is prohibited from considering that. The Minister may consider any application made to him right up to the actual revocation and the revocation cannot be made until the expiration of one month from the sending of letters to the party concerned.

Question put: "That the words proposed to be deleted stand."
The Committee divided: Tá, 29; Níl, 10.

  • Ahern, Liam.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brennan, John J.
  • Browne, Seán.
  • Cole, John C.
  • Connolly O'Brien, Nora.
  • Dolan, Séamus.
  • Eachthéirn, Cáit, Uí.
  • Egan, Kieran P.
  • Farrell, Joseph.
  • Fitzsimons, Patrick.
  • Flanagan, Thomas P.
  • Honan, Dermot P.
  • McGlinchey, Bernard.
  • McGowan, Patrick.
  • Martin, James J.
  • Nash, John Joseph.
  • Ó Donnabháin, Seán.
  • O'Kennedy, Michael.
  • Ó Maoláin, Tomás.
  • Ormonde, John.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Patrick W.
  • Ryan, William.
  • Sheldon, William A.W.
  • Teehan, Patrick J.
  • Yeats, Michael.

Níl

  • Conlon, John F.
  • Crowley, Patrick.
  • Fitzgerald John.
  • McDonald, Charles.
  • McHugh, Vincent.
  • Malone, Patrick.
  • O'Quigley, John B.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick (Cavan).
  • O'Sullivan, Denis J.
  • Rooney, Éamon.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Browne and Farrell; Níl, Senators MacDonald and Malone.
Question declared carried.
Amendment No. 24 not moved.

I move amendment No. 25:

In subsection (6) (b), to delete all words from and including "because" in line 19 down to and including "Act" in line 21.

This is an amendment to delete the words "because of a contravention of regulations under section 6 of this Act prescribing any matter specified in paragraphs (e) to (i) of section 6 (2) of this Act". The reason this amendment is put down is that the Bill, as drafted, seems to me at any rate to enable the Minister to revoke a licence because of a contravention of regulations which may not amount to such a contravention as would secure a conviction in the District Court.

The Bill, as provided, creates, as I understand it, three separate sets of circumstances in which a licence may be revoked. Of the three separate categories of offences, the first is breach of a condition attached to a licence, and I have said enough about that without saying anything more at this stage. The second is a breach of paragraphs (a) to (e) in subsection (2) of section 6, and the third category of offence is a breach of paragraphs (e) to (i). Paragraphs (e) to (i) are concerned in the main with the physical aspect of a livestock mart; (a) to (e) are concerned more with the conduct and the acts of the owner, his servants and agents in relation to the business of a livestock mart. But the Minister's inquiry, or the right of a livestock mart owner to have an inquiry by a barrister, is limited merely to an inquiry in relation to the contravention of paragraphs (e) to (i), that is, an inquiry in relation to the contravention of regulations relating to the physical aspects of the livestock mart.

Therefore it seems to me that if we are to mitigate the hardships and the evils the Bill will create, we should exclude the words which confine livestock mart owners to asking for an inquiry only in cases of breaches of the regulations relating to the physical aspects of marts. The House should agree it is reasonable to say that if the licence of a mart is being revoked for a breach of one set of regulations, in relation to the other set of regulations, the owner equally should be entitled to have an inquiry also.

This amendment, if accepted, would extend the inquiry by a barrister to a proposed revocation for contravention of any regulations under section 6. The Bill as it stands provides for the inquiry only where contravention of technical regulations — design, cleanliness and so on — is involved and the Minister is required to wait a month between the giving of notification and the revocation, if revocation is being put into effect. If any inquiry is being held, the licence may not be revoked until the Minister has considered the report. The Minister indicated in his concluding speech on Second Reading in the Seanad that he was not prepared to allow an inquiry and so delay a decision in regard to revocation where a contravention of regulations under paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d) of section 6 (2) is involved because the contravention might involve a case of unfair discrimination where it would be necessary to act quickly.

The Parliamentary Secretary's reply to what I had to say was substantially in accordance with all I had to say. He merely endorses that my interpretation of the section is correct. One would imagine that discrimination is something that applies only to owners of livestock marts. Do we not have discrimination every day by Ministers of State? Did we not have the Minister for Education say that, other things being equal, a member of the Fianna Fáil Party will get preference? Is that not the kind of discrimination that determines whether a fellow is entitled to get a job as a cleaner in a vocational school or as a messenger in the Government service or as a dispensary doctor? But when discrimination is apprehended in the case of a livestock mart, the matter becomes one of urgency and importance. It is clear the Fianna Fáil Party have lost their heads completely if they think that because there is a suggestion people could sell their stock at one mart, that the livestock mart ownership——

Would the Senator clarify his reference to dispensary doctors?

I referred to a statement by the Minister for Health, Local Government or Education—he was former Minister for Health—that, other things being equal, Fianna Fáil Party members and supporters will get the jobs.

When did he say it?

He said it in Dáil Éireann.

Let us have the reference.

I will not. Let the Senator look up the Official Report of the Dáil debates.

Give the reference.

I will not. It is now common property. That is discrimination. Does Senator Nash have such high views of the Fianna Fáil Party that he thinks it unlikely the Minister for Education said that?

Give the reference.

I will not. It is notorious, typical of what the Minister for Education says.

He is confusing it with the little effort of the Coalition Government in South Tipperary in 1957——

The Parliamentary Secretary will have to elaborate.

The Parliamentary Secretary read out too quickly what he said in reply to the amendment. I want to talk about the discrimination the Fianna Fáil Party practise and the Minister for Education says, in relation to the giving out of Government contracts——

What about the discrimination of Fine Gael on the morning they were kicked out of office? Would the Senator like me to chant chapter and verse?

There were hundreds of jobs unfilled all over the country. That is the kind of discrimination Fine Gael practised.

After that interlude, would the Senator get back to the amendment?

What about the big fire in 1948?

Would Senator Rooney allow the debate to continue?

I thank you. One would imagine there was not any such thing as discrimination.

We are back to it.

Because there is the possibility of discrimination it becomes of tremendous urgency that the matter must be investigated without delay. What about people charged with murder? Do we not have considerable delay and do not the police authorities not tell the courts they will continue their investigations and that they want adjournments? There are continued delays and delays are often very necessary for the proper administration of justice. However, in this case the dictator will say: "There has been discrimination; the licence goes", and it is gone. That is to be the new system of administration of justice which Fianna Fáil propose in this Bill and it is well the public should know that is the new start for the administration of justice. I commend to the House, and to Fianna Fáil Members in particular, that if they have any sense of what justice demands, they will support this amendment.

It is regrettable and unfortunate that a debate should follow this line of abuse, innuendo and scurrility. There is nothing as disgusting or revolting as what I might describe as the planted lie, repeating an objectionable thing about somebody, repeating something dangerous to his character, saying it often enough, saying it under the protection of privilege in this House, repeating it again and again under the privilege of the House, having it published in the press and thereby carrying out the technique of what I deliberately describe as the planted lie. To my mind, that is one of the most unfortunate aspects of Irish politics.

On a point of order, is the Senator saying these words were not used by the Minister?

You could not quote them.

Will the Senator please let me make my speech?

Certainly.

That is one of the most unfortunate aspects of Irish politics. I know politicians of all Parties in the county councils, in this House and in the Dáil. My experience of politicians — I say it irrespective of Party — is that, by and large, practically without exception, they are people who give of their time, their energy and very often of their money in the service of the community.

This type of statement discourages so many people from entering into politics who would be such an asset to the Irish political scene. They feel they would be subjected to this type of scurrilous abuse, this type of slander from which there is no defence. It is most regrettable. Any amendment we are dealing with on this Bill should be dealt with on its merits, should be dealt with on principle and should be dealt with only on the principles involved. It should be considered only on the basis of whether or not it will benefit the general public or whether the Bill as it stands, without that amendment, is more suitable for the common good of the community.

I do hope that, for the remainder of our discussion on this Bill, we shall try to deal with it on this basis because only on this basis can we do something really effective, really constructive, in the hope of helping our farmers. We have had too much of a smokescreen right through. We mix up the cattle marts with the farmers. If there is a protection for the farmer against the cattle marts doing an injustice, and if there is something in the Bill for that, we are told we are leaning on the side of the farmers.

The whole purpose of the Bill is to get for the Irish farming community a method of disposing of their stock to the best advantage without fear or hindrance, without undue pressure by anybody. Let us, please, deal with it on this basis and forget what I again describe as this planted lie. There is nothing which brings politics and the political scene in this country into greater disrepute. Now, on the amendment——

On a point of order, is Senator Nash suggesting that I am guilty of a planted lie? I do not mind his saying that but, if he is saying it, I should like him to be quite specific as to what that lie is.

The Senator is always scurrilous.

I am addressing the Chair.

Perhaps Senators would confine themselves to the matter properly before the House.

On a point of order——

The Chair regrets very much the use of certain words and certain phrases but the Chair must not express its resentment. It is a matter for Senators themselves, largely, to decide their code of conduct.

May I inquire if it is in order to impute a planted lie to me, as Senator Nash is clearly doing?

It is as much in order as innuendo.

And corruption.

I made charges in this House last year about corruption. I was asked to withdraw them: I withdrew them. Is Senator Nash entitled to imply that I am guilty of a planted lie? I have always understood that to impute a lie to any Member of the House is unparliamentary language.

Senator Nash.

With regard to the amendment——

The Chair refuses to rule, apparently.

More discrimination.

If I felt like it, I could make a case that Senator O'Quigley is guilty of a planted lie, not one but thousands of them. I just do not want to do it.

What I said was said with a full sense of responsibility attached to it.

Is the Senator imputing to an individual the planting of a lie?

No, not to an individual. I am putting it to the whole method by which this Bill has been opposed in this House — the charges of discrimination, the charges that nobody can be appointed a dispensary doctor unless he is a member of a political Party, the charges that — I have written down the words — nobody can get a Government contract unless he is a member of a political Party, the charges that nobody can be appointed even a cleaner in a vocational school unless he is a member of a political Party. That is the type of thing I am dealing with. Those are the types of statements and the types of charges that should not be made under the privilege of this House and should not be made by anybody who has respect for the parliamentary procedure of this country— and that is all I have to say on it. Now we shall deal with the subsection. I am sorry I had to depart from it. I felt I had a duty to do so.

Under this subsection, there are certain conditions for which there is no inquiry. First of all, before a licence can be revoked, the person must be guilty of an offence under this section 6. A person is guilty of an offence if, and only if, he is charged with that offence before a court and found guilty.

That is not what the subsection says—"contravention of a regulation".

We are dealing with the revocation of a licence without the holding of an inquiry.

This speaks of contravention of a regulation, which is different from being found guilty.

Senator O'Quigley should control himself and make his speech later.

The party must first be prosecuted in court and found guilty. He is then guilty of an offence. Despite that fact, the offence might be something small, relating to hygiene, for example, and coming within subparagraphs (e) to (i) of subsection (2) of section 6 which deal with requirements in relation to design, maintenance, repair, cleansing, and so on, of buildings, the accommodation provided at such places, veterinary inspection of livestock marts, and supervision of auctions by health authorities as well as hygiene and veterinary requirements all things upon which there could be a technical conviction. Those are all things upon which different people might have different views. Even though he is convicted in court, the person might have good justification. He might have been doing his best to comply with these conditions in relation to hygiene and so on. Therefore, in those circumstances, the Minister says, for example: "Well, if this man has representations to make"— this is what the measure provides —"and if he wants an inquiry, all right. If he gives me notice within seven days, I am bound to hold an inquiry. The person who will hold that inquiry, despite the fact that this man has already been convicted, will be a barrister of ten years standing. He will then report to me and I shall consider that report". That is the substance of that, as it stands.

But if this man is convicted because he refuses to accept cattle into his mart, because he takes advantage of the monopoly he holds and refuses to take the cattle of people with whom he does not agree for one reason or another, people whom he dislikes, people with whom he does not agree, politically, religiously or otherwise; if he does not hold his auctions in an ordinary, decent manner and he has bogus bids or rises or is buying himself, in those circumstances, if he is convicted of those things, there is no necessity then for the Minister to hold an inquiry. He can make up his mind himself whether this man or this company, whether it be private or otherwise, to whom he granted a licence to run a cattle mart is or are deserving of holding a licence, having been convicted of such an offence. I think that is eminently reasonable. There are certain offences for which the licence should be removed forthwith on conviction. I do not think it should stand for one month or one day. This Bill, if it goes too far in any direction, goes too far in favour of protecting the cattle marts, possibly at the expense of the farming community.

From what Senator Nash said, I think somebody is going to be very busy if every complaint from a cattle mart is to be brought to the Minister's notice. A person selling cattle in a mart must enter those cattle and it is quite possible he will enter them a week or two before the date on which he intends to bring them to the mart in the hope that he will get a good number or that they will be sold earlier. If he finds that he does not get this number, that can be a cause of complaint. You can also have the situation in which a person brings in a friend or two, people who in the trade are known as puffers, who will bid for those cattle. A good salesman, knowing these people, will possibly refuse a bid from them. Again, that can be the cause of a complaint and an inquiry. The Department will have a big number of complaints not only from people with real grievances but from people with imaginary grievances.

It is very difficult to avoid replying to some of the things Senator Nash said because he dripped and oozed hypocrisy and sanctimoniousness and, having said that, it is unnecessary to say any more. He is trying to suggest that the Minister for Education did not say that other things being equal, Fianna Fáil supporters would get jobs.

That has been said often enough and there is no need to repeat it.

TheIrish Times wrote an editorial on it.

Give us the reference in regard to when it was said in the other House.

Get Senator Yeats to get it. He is very good at research. Senator Nash is quite in error when he says that a condition precedent to the revocation of a licence is a conviction. The Minister can revoke a licence or refuse to grant one so that there can be no question of a breach. Subsection (6) (a) states: "Whenever the Minister proposes to refuse to grant a licence or to revoke a licence because of a contravention of regulations..." The man, in the Minister's view, has not complied with the regulations. He has put in his plant but has not yet complied with the regulations and there is no question of a prosecution——

This has nothing to do with the amendment.

In the case of an application for a licence there cannot be a conviction because the licence is going to be refused because of a contravention of the regulations. That is clear from paragraph (a). Let the Senator continue with his research into the Irish twilight. Equally, there is paragraph (b) of subsection (6) where the Minister proposes to revoke a licence because of a contravention of regulations. Again, used in the same context as the Minister refusing to grant a licence, that can only mean there has been no conviction. Therefore, the Minister is satisfied in his mind that there has been a contravention of the regulations and decides to revoke. In the case of the revocation he decides to hold an inquiry. If, as Senator Nash naively thinks, or refuses to recognise, that the Minister would direct an inquiry to be held when there was already a conviction on record, what would be the necessity for having an inquiry if a man had been convicted of contravening the regulations? It would be absurd to say that you have a criminal conviction that is, with all certainty, proof beyond reasonable doubt, and that the Minister would direct another inquiry of this spurious character, with a barrister of ten years standing, to find out if the man had been guilty of a contravention.

(Interruptions.)

Senator Yeats is back in the 1920s and the pre-1920 period and let him stay there. It is clear that the Minister is going to decide without a conviction that there has been a contravention of the regulations. The inquiry should apply in the case of contraventions of all the regulations, from (a) to (i) if there is to be an inquiry at all. Therefore, I suggest that the words proposed in the amendment to be deleted should be deleted and I do not intend to say anything more, no matter what anybody else says.

Question put: "That the words proposed to be deleted stand".
The Committee divided: Tá 26; Níl, 11.

  • Ahern, Liam.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brennan, John J.
  • Browne, Seán.
  • Cole, John C.
  • Connolly O'Brien, Nora.
  • Dolan, Séamus.
  • Eachthéirn, Cáit, Uí.
  • Egan, Kieran P.
  • Farrell, Joseph.
  • Fitzsimons, Patrick.
  • Flanagan, Thomas P.
  • McGlinchey, Bernard.
  • Martin, James J.
  • Nash, John Joseph.
  • Ó Donnabháin, Seán.
  • O'Kennedy, Michael.
  • Ó Maoláin, Tomás.
  • Ormonde, John.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Ryan, Patrick W.
  • Ryan, William.
  • Sheldon, William A.W.
  • Teehan, Patrick J.
  • Yeats, Michael.

Níl

  • Conlon, John F.
  • Crowley, Patrick.
  • Fitzgerald John.
  • McDonald, Charles.
  • McHugh, Vincent.
  • Malone, Patrick.
  • Murphy, Dominick F.
  • O'Quigley, John B.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick (Cavan).
  • O'Sullivan, Denis J.
  • Rooney, Éamon.
Tellers:— Tá: Senators Browne and Farrell; Níl: Senators McDonald and Malone.
Question declared carried.

I move amendment No. 26:

In subsection (6) (b), line 24, to delete "seven days" and substitute "one month or such longer period as the Minister may allow".

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 26a:

In subsection (6) to delete paragraph (d).

This subsection of the Bill was discussed at great length yesterday in conjunction with some other amendments. I am afraid the arguments put forward in favour of my amendment of deletion could be summed up as falling on pretty deaf ears, and I am sure any argument I could put forward here this afternoon would fall on equally deaf ears. Because of the length of the discussion on it yesterday, I propose to be as brief as possible. At the same time, I want to place on record my disagreement with the argument put forward by the Minister when he seemed to indicate that a barrister of ten years standing could not possibly be subject to pressures from outside. The fact is that, while I have the greatest respect for them, barristers are no different from anybody else and, especially, I would be afraid, where there might be a borderline case, they would tend to lean towards the Establishment and an injustice would be done.

I feel very strongly that the Minister in making the change from the original Bill as introduced from having an appeal made to the Minister to having it made to a barrister of ten years standing, should have gone the whole way and given it to the courts. Not only do we want justice to be done but we want justice to be seen to be done.

I should like to support the amendment because there is no justification, and certainly no case has been made, for creating these special powers in order to deal with the farmers. The farming community have always been the most stable element in our society and they should be allowed the protection of the courts. It is for that reason that I support the amendment. It is reasonable and one that would deal with a matter that is causing grave anxiety throughout the country.

Amendment put and declared negatived.

I move amendment No. 27:

In subsection (6) (e), line 42, before "notice" to insert "and to the officer of the Minister making the complaint to the Minister".

This is what one might call a matter of additive law. If we are going to have an inquiry conducted by anybody, the person conducting the inquiry should have all the evidence before him. It is for that reason, then, that I move this amendment that not only should the aggrieved person be entitled to make his case to the arbitrator whom we refer to hereafter but that the Minister's officer or officers upon whose report the Minister has acted up to that point should be there and should be available to be cross-examined, if necessary.

It may well be that the tribunal that is to be established under this section will not, indeed, as the tribunal at present sitting in Cork city, have the power to subpoena witnesses and—it is very difficult to continue while people converse in this disorderly way.

Perhaps Senators will maintain some order and allow the discussion to proceed.

It is usual in all these cases where one is providing for the establishment of a tribunal of inquiry in various enactments to specify in some detail the powers which they will have. It is manifest that under this particular legislation this barrister of ten years standing conducting his inquiry will have no power of subpoena, no power to compel anybody to attend. If a Minister of State through his officers makes a complaint, these people should be available before the person holding the inquiry and should be subject to cross-examination.

It is for that reason that I suggest, in amendment No. 27, that the notification be sent to the officer of the Minister making the complaint and I think I might at the same time, if I may, discuss amendment No. 28, if that is in order.

Yes, I think so. The Chair suggests we take amendment No. 28 with amendment No. 27.

Amendment No. 28 reads:

In subsection (6) (e), line 45, to add at the end:

"The Minister shall make available to the person holding the inquiry all such evidence, documents and papers as in the opinion of that person are necessary to enable that person to hold a full and proper inquiry."

The Minister may have secret reports, in some cases, maybe anonymous letters, sent in to him which may influence his mind which in the course of an inquiry, as very often happens in these cases, may be found to be incorrect either in substance or in detail. If the person conducting the inquiry has not got these documents available to him and if they are not examined for their accuracy and as to their truth by whoever is conducting the inquiry with the assistance of whoever is presenting the case for the appellant, it may well be that there will be a miscarriage of justice.

In inquiries of this kind, the difficulty is to get all the facts and then try to assess them and see what weight should be given to them. If there is not a specific provision of this kind in the legislation one would hear of a Minister of State having resort to this mediaeval principle that is enshrined in our law and continued here and much resented by the judges in many cases of a Minister of State claiming privilege for documents of every kind in respect of which privilege should not exist. There is, of course, an area in relation to the security of the State, in relation to certain State secrets, where the certificate of a Minister of State that these relate to the security of the State or relate to State secrets should be accepted by a court and the courts are quite prepared to accept these certificates of Ministers given responsibility in relation to these things.

But we have the position in relation to the most unimportant documents that were essential in dealing with cases before our courts where a Minister comes in and claims privilege. We had the Minister yesterday referring to the fairs and markets and raising the emotions of people by referring to these as things given under the charters of foreign kings and queens, and so on, and the same Minister of State in a High Court action in this country where he himself was a witness was well delighted to go into the witness box and in relation to certain documents say: "I claim privilege", and to invoke the same privilege as was invoked by the mediaeval kings when the principle was that the king can do no wrong.

That is a mediaeval procedure and a principle of law which has long since been thrown over in royalist England and here in Republican Ireland we continue to honour this mediaeval concept that the king can do no wrong, the king now being the Executive Council and the Government of Saorstát Éireann. I do not want that kind of situation to arise.

The Government of what?

I do not want that situation to arise in relation to the administration of this Bill.

The Senator is back in the 20s.

I am not. I am dealing with something that happened in 1956.

The Senators will allow Senator O'Quigley to continue his speech without interruption. If we are going to have these continued interruptions, it is clear that the House will have to continue, not only tomorrow but on Saturday.

Sic transit the five-day week if we are going to continue on Saturday. At any rate, what I am talking about is not something that happened in 1924 but something that is part of our existing law which has been got rid of in royalist England and here in this country we maintain solemnly the doctrine that the king can do no wrong. Under the Adaptation of Enactments Act, the king originally meant the Executive Council and now it means the Government under the Constitution. That is the kind of thing I want to guard against under this Bill, that the king, in this particular case the Minister, will not claim privilege in respect of these documents.

I want to ensure that this legislation in 1967 will ordain that if an inquiry is to be held, it will be a full inquiry with all the documents available to the person holding the inquiry, so that he can make his assessment and his report thereon to the Minister of State. That is why I urge that, in the absence of the power ofsubpoena, if this inquisitor——I shall not dignify this by describing it as a tribunal—is to be established under the section, we should give the specific power to have the Minister's officer there and to make available to the inquisitor, as I have set out, all such evidence, documents and papers as in the opinion of the inquisitor are necessary to enable him to hold a full and proper inquiry. That seems to me to be an eminently reasonable suggestion, giving some flesh to the skeleton inquisitor as is being gestated in this subsection.

This amendment is not acceptable. It can be presumed that the Minister will notify officers dealing with the case of the inquiry and, indeed, it would be in his own interest to have all such officers, as would be from time to time involved in any case, present at such inquiries in order to give full light to his case and to show clearly the justice of the case being presented by the Minister. Amendment No. 28 is also unacceptable. It can be presumed that the Minister will act reasonably and fairly. The Senator proposing the amendment knows full well that this has always been the practice where Ministers of State have had specific powers vested in them; if anything, they had erred on the side of being more than fair, because when they are the final arbiters, they must ensure that there are no grounds for any allegation of unfair or unethical practices. In relation to the holding of an inquiry of this nature we want to ensure that all relevant and important information will be made available to the person conducting the inquiry. If such a person felt he was not being supplied with all the relevant information, he would have the power to report this in his findings. Surely this meets the Senator's wishes and, therefore, makes the amendment unacceptable and unnecessary.

There would be no need at all for this if we were able to ascribe all classes of fairmindedness, justice, and political virtuosness to Ministers of State. However, Ministers of State are flesh and blood, they are subject to error, and it is the duty of the legislature to surround them with as many safeguards as possible, and not alone that, but not to rely upon any Minister in particular but to rely upon the written word in the statutes, for ultimately what is contained in the statutes is what will protect a particular situation which is being dealt with by statute.

I am not prepared to presume anything in favour of any Minister of any Government, because, as I have already pointed out to the House, Ministers of State have a wide variety of duties to perform. They are members of a Government. They have Government meetings to attend. They have to think in terms of national policy. They have Departmental meetings to attend to. They have to meet deputations in connection with the running of their Departments. They have to attend the Dáil. This all occurs in every week. They are Deputies in their constituencies. They are party organisers in their constituencies. They also have to attend to the general running of the Party.

Will anyone tell me that a Minister who has all of these duties to perform can be at the one time concerning himself with a matter relating to livestock marts, at another time thinking about what he is going to do about the price of cattle; at another time what he is going to do about the price of pigs; or what he is going to do about the EEC? It is clearly impossible for a Minister to do all of these things, however well-intentioned, honest and upright he may be. Therefore, in this case it is not what the Minister of State will do—because he just cannot do these things—but what the person conducting the inquiry is entitled to demand by virtue of the powers given to him by statute which will determine the value of the inquiry being held. I presume nothing in favour of even the most virtuous Minister in a matter of this kind. If one wanted to talk about a particular Minister, one would be disheartened to read the editorial in this morning'sIrish Times.

The Parliamentary Secretary talks in a general way about what is done at the inquiries. With all respect, may I say the Parliamentary Secretary has little experience in relation to inquiries of this kind. I have had some experience in relation to inquiries held by the appeals officers under the Social Welfare Acts. We have had a Minister of State and his chief appeals officer under the Social Welfare Acts going the distance into the High Court saying he was entitled to rely upon a letter written by the Department of Finance to the Minister for Social Welfare as stating particular facts without ever having inquired into those facts himself. The Minister and his advisers and the Attorney-General tried to argue that the letter from the Minister stating certain facts bound the person holding the inquiry. In the case of McLoughlin and the Minister for Social Welfare, reported in the Irish Reports, it went the whole distance to the Supreme Court, and it was established quite clearly that the appeals officer under the Social Welfare Act of 1952 was bound to make his own inquiry and his own assessment of the position and was not entitled to delegate or to derogate from the powers that were conferred upon him by statute.

Therefore, when the Parliamentary Secretary tried to assure us with the miserable consolation that the inquisitor will make all the necessary inquiries, my experience forbids me to rely upon officers making inquiries under a statute, because I know what has happened in the past, and I know the position in the case of McLoughlin and the Minister for Social Welfare. I know also, of my own knowledge, that Departmental officers have continued to act in a way contrary to the rules laid down by the Supreme Court in that case. That is officialdom and there is no appeal from it. Very few people have the money or the disposition to appeal from decisions of the appeals officer. What they do is come whinging to a Deputy or a Senator, making appeals and trying, by huggermugger, to get what should have been granted to them in the first case by an appeals officer conducting a proper inquiry. That is why I suggest to the House that if we want to make anything of the inquiry that is to be conducted by the Grand Inquisitor—or perhaps I should not say Grand Inquisitor but puisne inquisitor because that is what he is—we should invest him with some powers that will give him some reality.

Question put: "That the proposed words be there inserted".
Tá, 13; Níl, 28.

Carton, Victor.Conlan, John F.Crowley, Patrick.Fitzgerald John.McAuliffe, Timothy.McDonald, Charles.McHugh, Vincent.

Malone, Patrick.O'Quigley, John B.O'Reilly, Patrick (Cavan).O'Sullivan, Denis J.Prendergast, Micheál A.Rooney, Éamon.

Níl

Ahern, Liam.Boland, Gerald.Brennan, John J.Browne, Seán.Cole, John C.Connolly O'Brien, Nora.Dolan, Séamus.Eachthéirn, Cáit Uí.Egan, Kieran P.Farrell, Joseph.Fitzsimons, Patrick.Flanagan, Thomas P.Honan, Dermot P.McGlinchey, Bernard.

McGowan, Patrick.Martin, James J.Nash, John Joseph.Ó Donnabháin, Seán.O'Kennedy, Michael.Ó Maoláin, Tomás.Ormonde, John.O'Sullivan, Ted.Ryan, Eoin.Ryan, Patrick W.Ryan, William.Sheldon, William A.W.Teehan, Patrick J.Yeats, Michael.

Tellers: Tá, Senators McDonald and Malone; Níl, Senators Browne and Farrell.
Question declared negatived.

I move amendment No. 28:

In subsection (6) (e), line 45, to add at the end:

"The Minister shall make available to the person holding the inquiry all such evidence, documents and papers as in the opinion of that person are necessary to enable that person to hold a full and proper inquiry."

Amendment put and declared negatived.

I move amendment No. 29:

In subsection (6) (f), to delete all words from and including "the Minister" in line 47 to the end of the paragraph and substitute "a Taxing Master of the High Court shall think proper".

This is an amendment which I think should commend itself to all persons in the House who wish to establish a tribunal that will, so far as possible within the limits of this Bill, be fair and have the appearance of being fair. I cannot continue if there are to be other disorderly discussions around the House.

Perhaps Senators will allow the discussion to proceed.

Thank you. This is an odd kind of procedure in which an inquisition is to be conducted and the person who is the prosecutor, the person who is making the decision against the person who looks for the inquiry, has the power to appoint and select the person who will make the inquiry as between him and the person to be affected by his decision. That seems a very odd situation.

In the Transport Acts, it was provided that the Chief Justice would nominate a barrister of ten years standing. That was getting somewhat closer to a tribunal of a judicial character. At least it started off with an appointment being made by a judicial person. That is a provision contained in all the Transport Acts since 1924, 1944, 1950 and 1955. Here it is proposed that the Minister is to appoint a barrister to inquire into a dispute between himself and a livestock mart owner. That is redolent of the kind of thing done in the People's Courts in Soviet Russia—in places where there is no independent judiciary such as Rumania, Hungary and Russia. People's Courts are appointed to give a semblance of the administration of justice, and that is what is in this Bill. Senator Stanford recalled yesterday that we have all the paraphernalia of a totalitarian regime any day any one wanted to put it into operation full steam ahead. We have it in a suppressed form at present.

I always think that the important test is who pays. Here it is provided that the Minister will appoint a barrister of ten years standing and the Minister will determine the pay of this inquisitor. That is going a little too far. I suggest in this case that the remuneration of the inquisitor should not be determined by the Minister—"with the consent of the Minister for Finance" is put in to ensure that it is kept as low as possible—but that it should be determined by a person who is expert in that type of field, that is, a quasi-judicial official, a Taxing Master of the High Court.

Judges regularly refuse to interfere with the discretion of the Taxing Masters because they are expert in regard to the appropriate fees to be paid to solicitors and counsel for the various legal duties they perform. It would be far better and would inspire some minute particle of confidence in the skeleton tribunal proposed in this Bill, if we were to provide that not the Minister but some outside person would determine the remuneration to be paid.

That is the substance of this amendment. It is one which, if the Minister is sincere in his affirmation that he will accept any reasonable amendments, he should have no hesitation in accepting. It will rid him of the difficulty of deciding on the remuneration of the inquisitor, and will give the inquisitor some semblance of impartiality which will be absent if the Minister is not only the prosecutor before him but also his paymaster.

Does the Senator wish the amendment to be put?

Yes, indeed, but before that, I want to make the observation that the Minister is now adopting the attitude that he will not even reply, or say whether he agrees or disagrees. I want to have that on record. The Minister is here and does not wish to reply. This is the Minister's approach to what he might regard as——

That has not occurred.

The Minister has not said anything. I did not hear the Minister say anything. I want to have it on the records of this House that the Minister is here and refused to deal with what I consider, and what everyone must consider, a reasonable amendment. It is perfectly all right. I am not that enamoured of the Minister's voice—on the contrary.

Question put: "That the words proposed to be deleted stand".
The Committee divided: Tá, 28; Níl, 10.

  • Ahern, Liam.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brennan, John J.
  • Browne, Seán.
  • Cole, John C.
  • Connolly O'Brien, Nora.
  • Dolan, Séamus.
  • Eachthéirn, Cáit Uí.
  • Egan, Kieran P.
  • Farrell, Joseph.
  • Fitzsimons, Patrick.
  • Flanagan, Thomas P.
  • Honan, Dermot P.
  • McGlinchey, Bernard.
  • McGowan, Patrick.
  • Martin, James J.
  • Nash, John Joseph.
  • Ó Donnabháin, Seán.
  • O'Kennedy, Michael.
  • Ó Maoláin, Tomás.
  • Ormonde, John.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Ryan, Patrick W.
  • Ryan, William.
  • Sheldon, William A.W.
  • Teehan, Patrick J.
  • Yeats, Michael.

Níl

  • Carton, Victor.
  • Conlan, John F.
  • McDonald, Charles.
  • McHugh, Vincent.
  • Malone, Patrick.
  • O'Quigley, John B.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick (Cavan).
  • O'Sullivan, Denis J.
  • Prendergast, Micheál A.
  • Rooney, Éamon.
Tellers: Tá: Senators Browne and Farrell; Níl: Senators McDonald and Malone.
Question declared carried.

I move amendment No. 30:

In subsection (6) to add a new paragraph as follows:

( ) The report of the person holding the inquiry shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas by the Minister not less than 21 days before the Minister complies with subsection (7) of this section.

The purpose of this amendment is once again to try to give some reality and make more effective the appeal proposed to be provided under this section. The section as it stands provides in subsection (7):

Wherever the Minister revokes a licence, he shall cause a statement of his reasons for doing so to be made before each House of the Oireachtas.

That seems to me like merely furnishing the death certificate when the patient has died. I do not think that will serve any purpose whatever. What I propose in this amendment is to let a little light in on what has been going on in relation to the revocation of a particular licence, the first being that the report of the inquisitor shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas, and that it shall become public and will not become another of those secret documents in respect of which a Minister can claim privilege in pursuance of this mediaeval right the Minister exercises at the present time but that it shall be laid before the public in the same way as if it had been a decision of the court. If it were a decision of the court, it would be done in open court and everybody would know why a person lost his licence. A publican's licence and an auctioneer's licence at the present time are dealt with in open court and the matter can be debated. There is no point in putting it in in the manner provided in subsection (7), that is, when the decision is taken.

What I propose is that it shall be public not less than 21 days before the Minister exercises his powers of revocation, that before the Minister announces his decision to revoke, the report will be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas. Then if the party affected wishes, he can make representations to his parliamentary representatives, which is a much more desirable way for people who wish to have things done by a Minister for Agriculture than to have alarms and excursions and long marches and that kind of thing. That is the kind of thing we would all wish to have seen in recent times, the parliamentary processes used to the full by people who have representations to make to the Government. If they want to do that in this case if this amendment is accepted, they will have an opportunity of doing it before a decision is taken and before the Minister makes up his mind and lays the report before each House as provided in paragraph 7. I feel that that will make some sense of the provision in the section that the report is to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas.

This is merely a thought—I think I can describe it as an afterthought—on the part of Senator O'Quigley to try to make what is good better and in the effort to do so, would make it very much worse. I have an earlier amendment which was not forced on me by public opinion generated by the Senator and his Party, as he has asserted here, which freely and voluntarily brought about a situation wherein we have made this situation unobjectionable and certainly much more fair and if one wants to have controversy in the House of the Oireachtas about these matters, a far better opportunity for that than is in all the other Acts, which I shall not repeat, but which provide for revocation of licences without any obligation on the Minister to give his reasons for so revoking.

If I might also refer to the causes for which this inquiry might be held; these would be matters specified in (e) to (i) of section 6 (2) of this Act. Does the Senator seriously suggest that there would be any question or difficulty in the mind of any responsible, intelligent member of the public in determining them from the Minister's statement to the House by way of informing the House why he revoked a licence under this? It is laid down that we may:

(e) prescribe requirements as to the size, design, maintenance, repair, cleansing, cleanliness, ventilation, heating and lighting of any buildings in which such auctions are held,

(f) prescribe requirements as to the accommodation (including washing facilities and sanitary conveniences) provided at such places,

(g) prescribe requirements as to and provide for the veterinary examination of livestock at such auctions, the veterinary inspection of livestock marts and the veterinary supervision of such auctions,

We could go on right down to (i). I shall read out (i), if you like.

(i) prescribe hygienic and veterinary requirements and standards for such places and such auctions.

There is nothing that I can see there that could be mentioned by the Minister in his information furnished to the House of the Oireachtas that could be put in such a context as to make it incapable of being understood by the ordinary member of the public. That being so, I cannot for the life of me see what all this mystery is that would be provided if those who held the inquiry were to lay the result of the inquiry before the Houses of the Oireachtas in advance. Does Senator O'Quigley seriously assert that if that were the case and if his amendment or the amendment of his group were to be carried and the report was to be laid before the House of the Oireachtas—does he seriously expect us to accept that he, for instance, contributing on such a report would elucidate it in any way or make it more understandable to the public whom we are all here to serve, or would I be more correct in thinking that if it could be confused and he did not agree with it, he and others like him who take that line in these things of merely obstructing for obstruction's sake would confuse it to the degree that in fact nobody would understand what the officer had reported?

I cannot see anything in this amendment except that it would upset what is a good arrangement provided for by an earlier amendment brought in by me to the Dáil which gives this information to the Houses of the Oireachtas, stating the reasons for revocation in such cases as these. Surely this cannot be held to be wrong. Surely it cannot be held to be anything but good practice and surely it cannot be held to be other than an improvement, particularly from Senator O'Quigley's standpoint as he has enunciated here over the days, an improvement on that which has been practised under earlier Acts, none of which has been complained about by any person concerned down the years since the early 1920s.

That reminds me, too, that Senator O'Quigley has, to my mind, made an amazing admission here today. He has given us to understand, if I took him up correctly, that it was only because of the circumstances of today that certain matters in this Bill were brought to light; in other words, by inference, we can take it that the Acts that went before were not read by those who put them through the two Houses, were not understood by them if they were read and that if they were read and understood, in fact they did not bother their backs about them. They let them go through although they did not agree with them. This is what the Senator has said. He said that if it were not for the circumstances, strained relations, crises between the Minister and the NFA, according to him, they would not have seen these things in this Bill. Yet he expects us to listen to him advocating changes in a measure which he has been forced to read and which he has not yet understood because of certain circumstances which are figments of his own imagination.

We have this sort of amendment which, as I say, is born of desperation on the part of the Senator and his colleagues which they want us to believe could be regarded as an improvement to this Bill and is seriously being put forward here at great trouble and inconvenience to the Senator. We are expected to accept this as a good alternative, something which would bring about a change in the Bill. I do not think the Senator is really serious in his attitude as has been apparent all day, and on that basis I do not think we should seriously take this amendment to our hearts even for further examination because it does not help. It would hinder rather than help what is quite a good improvement on things gone before.

The Minister's line, of course, in dealing with various amendments which I and members of my Party, members of the Labour Party, Senator Stanford and others have moved is to get away from the substance of the amendment and to talk about persons, motives, attitudes and so on. Of course, that is a very good line for a Minister when he does not want to come to grips with the situation. I recollect here yesterday afternoon when he was dealing with an amendment by the Labour Party —it is the group of amendments which included amendment No. 11—and also with the amendment by Senator Stanford and Senator Quinlan, many of his remarks were directed at arguments put forward by me, and Fine Gael. Fine Gael, if you please, were being blamed when the Minister was dealing with certain amendments suggested by the Labour Party. The Minister is profoundly disturbed, it is quite clear, by the great new power Fine Gael have and are wielding so successfully that even in today'sIrish Times we were able to get an article condemning the Minister. He is concerned about this.

You were defeated six times here today.

We will be defeated again before night but that does not matter. We will assert the principles we believe in and the only way we can assert those principles is in the division lobby. We will not have the Minister going about afterwards, if people are agreeable on any side, talking about the Livestock Marts Bill and saying that there was no division on those amendments. That will not happen again as far as the Minister is concerned. In addition, it is well known to anybody who wants to consult the record, and if Senator Yeats wishes to exercise his considerable talents for research in regard to things that are long since past he will find——

But highly relevant.

——that the Minister, the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs and the Minister for Local Government, Deputy Boland, are amongst Ministers who regularly refuse to accept amendments. They very seldom accept amendments in this House or in the other House. Some Ministers are built that way. The Minister is such a person and it is not a bit surprising that he does not find many of those amendments acceptable.

I am trying to make sure in this particular amendment that the public, Deputies and Senators will have not the Minister's reasons but in addition to the Minister's reasons and before the reasons for the revocation of a licence are given, the inspector's report. That is the document we should like to see. I think there was a document which had to deal with the milk costings commission at one time about which there was a great deal of huggermugger. I do not believe that document has ever seen the light of day. The Minister would not like to disclose it. It is, of course, confidential but that is the document which we should like to see. Members of Oireachtas Éireann would certainly like to see that document. That is why we are anxious to know whether the Minister's reasons, as stated in the document which he will submit in compliance with subsection (7), have any relationship with the facts found and the recommendations made by the inquisitor. That is why we want to see that document.

We want to see that document in anticipation of the Minister's reasons and there does not seem to me to be anything wrong with that. That is a document which we should all see but it is one which the Minister will guard very carefully. There is no provision in the Bill to ensure that a copy of that report will be sent to the livestock mart owner or a person who is applying for a licence, a prospective mart owner. That report will never be given to that person. It will be a secret document, and we will not know whether the Minister will have acted in accordance with the recommendations of the inquisitor or completely ignored them. That is why I want to press this amendment.

The facility with which Senator O'Quigley can change feet amazes me. It is only possibly today or yesterday—I do not remember which because it is somewhat confusing listening to him—when it suited him, he was against setting up an inquiry and now it becomes the most sacred cow. The Senator is standing on his big toe now, not on one foot. If you take your big toe away you will fall. Mind you, the Senator has a great facility for changing from one foot to another in the same day and from one part of the day to another in regard to the same amendment. He has particularly changed during the Committee Stage of this Bill. There is no doubt about it that I was given the impression that this person who would be engaged in this sort of inquiry was not to be trusted, that the whole thing was just a farce in the eyes of Senator O'Quigley. I was given this impression after listening to the Senator. Therefore, it is difficult for me to reconcile the reading of what he said already with what he now says. It now appears that he attaches very great importance to the actual report and the recommendations that may be made by this barrister of ten years standing, who may be chosen and handpicked by the Minister from some selected compliant barristers who would have their eye on promotion, that they would be in the hands of the Government in the future.

Surely the Senator cannot really expect an ordinary mortal such as myself to comprehend his outlook from those two apparently contradictory statements. If I find it difficult, I am quite sure it is much more difficult for quite a number of other people. Again, let me try to assure the Senator that where a Minister will have revoked a licence, he will be obliged under this particular enactment to give his reasons for so doing. The Senator must surely be aware, if he reflects on it to any great degree, that those reasons will undoubtedly have to be of very great validity and when they are given to the Dáil and the Seanad, if they are at all unfounded and without any foundation, the Minister so making those reports to the Dáil and the Seanad would find himself in a very queer position, to say the least of it.

He would not mind that.

I know Senator Rooney would not mind much anyway, so long as he is here, even here. The point is that Senator O'Quigley has really let his imagination run away with him in his antagonism to every line of this Bill, in saying that a particular Minister for Agriculture could place legislation before the two Houses of the Oireachtas for reasons that are untrue and without foundation. I think the Senator must be trying to protect himself against that other figment of his imagination, that a Fine Gael Minister for Agriculture of the future—and that he has to make preparation in his Party for this imaginary job—will be silly and stupid enough to give a reason that did not exist, or which was false or without foundation, for revoking a licence. Surely the Senator must have some spark of commonsense left in him yet. This is a true picture instead of his spurious arguments which are not only contradictory of the Senator's opinions in regard to this inquisitor, as he describes him, but just do not make sense. They make nonsense of the first degree. If there are degrees of nonsense, this would get first place.

The Senator chided me a while ago for not speaking. In fact, one would be very constrained in a case like this not to speak. When dealing with a matter such as this, presented in the ridiculous way in which it has been presented by the Senator, it would perhaps be a far better thing for the Minister here today not to speak and to even suffer the jibe of the Senator that he had nothing to say because he could or would not answer the Senator.

Again the Minister starts not by directing his arguments against the amendments but by directing them all the timein persona. That is the Minister's tactic and it got rid of a particular difficulty. The Minister has not yet said what is wrong with the amendment and he is not in a position to do so. I want to make this observation and then I will sit down. I am proposing this amendment to a section of the Bill with which I do not agree. We have already indicated by what has appeared on the Order Paper and on this sheet of amendments what we want in relation to the revocation of licences and the granting of licences. We have it set out clearly. We have—and this may be difficult for the Minister to understand—intelligently anticipated that there would be a majority against us and we have provided for that and asked ourselves, in the light of the majority being against us, what is the best thing we can do with the section as drafted. We have put down these amendments. The Minister is unable to grasp that because he is very tired and wants a holiday. Perhaps in time when the Minister has a clearer brain, when the winds blowing through the hills of Donegal have cleared his brain a bit, he will be able to understand the simple concept of, first of all, putting down positive amendments to a Bill of this kind and saying: “That is the way I want the Bill drafted.” The House then says: “Not that way, but we will amend the section.” I do not subscribe to the provision that an inquisitor shall be appointed under paragraph (d) of subsection (6). I want to improve on that and that is what the Minister cannot understand. I wonder could the Minister try not to cudgel his brains, for your dull ass will not mend his pace by beating. I say to the Minister: “Cudgel thy brains no longer for your dull ass will not mend his pace by beating.” Do not try, I say to the Minister; do not cudgel your brains; do not try to understand.

Thank you.

It is obvious that the Minister is correct in saying that he is bound, which no previous Minister has ever had to do, to report to the Dáil and the Seanad his reasons for revoking a licence. There is a point which in his theoretical approach to this matter, has not yet occurred to Senator O'Quigley. What will happen in this case is that the inquiry will be held into the private business affairs of a particular individual or group of individuals. It is an inquiry that would be held not merely into their private business affairs but into all the things that have gone wrong over the years.

Does it not happen in court every day in criminal cases?

In criminal matters if a man has broken the laws of the State, he is liable. This is not a criminal matter.

This is a matter where a man in his own interest has asked for an inquiry. It is a case where a mart is not concerned. An inquiry is being held into a man's business affairs. The suggestion is that all the things that have gone wrong, detailed matters extending perhaps over years, between him and inspectors of the Department, and so on, should be published. It is very unlikely that the people immediately concerned would want their private dirty linen washed in this way.

Cudgel thy brains no longer, too.

Senator Yeats is imagining things. If he reads the section he will see that the inquiry is only in relation to the offences under subsections (e) to (i) of section 6. Requirements are prescribed as to size, design, maintenance, repair, cleansing, and so on. It is not really business affairs. There is provision for the inspection of such things and the supervision of such auctions by health authorities and their officers. Hygiene and veterinary requirements and standards for such places and auctions are prescribed. The Minister is appointing a barrister of ten years standing in regard to this proposed inquiry. He does not allow an inquiry but the aspects of an inquiry where it would be useful. The Bill subsequently excludes those. I do not think an inquiry is of much importance but if this be held, the person conducting it is conducting a function of the Minister, and the Minister in turn is responsible to the Oireachtas. I think when the person is conducting a function for the Minister, his report should be made available to the Oireachtas and that is where I think, even though the scope of the inquiry is not of much value, the report should be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas as suggested in this amendment.

Question put: "That the proposed new paragraph be added".
The Committee divided: Tá, 15; Níl, 29.

  • Carton, Victor.
  • Conlan, John F.
  • Crowley, Patrick.
  • Davidson, Mary F.
  • Fitzgerald, John.
  • McAuliffe, Timothy.
  • McDonald, Charles.
  • McHugh, Vincent.
  • Malone, Patrick.
  • Murphy, Dominick F.
  • O'Quigley, John B.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick (Cavan).
  • O'Sullivan, Denis J.
  • Prendergast, Micheál A.
  • Rooney, Éamon.

Níl

  • Ahern, Liam.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brennan, John J.
  • Browne, Seán.
  • Cole, John C.
  • Connolly O'Brien, Nora.
  • Dolan, Séamus.
  • Eachthéirn, Cáit Uí.
  • Egan, Kieran P.
  • Farrell, Joseph.
  • Fitzsimons, Patrick.
  • Flanagan, Thomas P.
  • Honan, Dermot P.
  • McGlinchey, Bernard.
  • McGowan, Patrick.
  • Martin, James J.
  • Nash, John Joseph.
  • Ó Donnabháin, Seán.
  • O'Kennedy, Michael.
  • Ó Maoláin, Tomás.
  • Ormonde, John.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Patrick W.
  • Ryan, William.
  • Sheldon, William A.W.
  • Teehan, Patrick J.
  • Yeats, Michael.
Tellers: Tá, Senators McDonald and Malone; Níl, Senators Browne and Farrell.
Question declared lost.

The Chair suggests that amendments Nos. 32, 33 and 34 be taken together.

I move amendment No. 32:

To delete subsection (8) and substitute:

"( ) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act a person or an unincorporated body of persons who carries on the business of a livestock mart and who, or whose immediate predecessors in title, at any time in the year preceding the passing of this Act, carried on the business of that mart, shall, if in relation to that mart the regulations under this Act are complied with, be entitled to be granted an unconditional licence in respect of that mart".

The view has gone abroad that all existing livestock marts, or the owners of them, will get licences, and there may be people who will not be thankful later on when they come to discover that they will get licences only if they comply with the regulations to be made. One of the Senators opposite, Senator Nash or Senator Yeats, asked how could we possibly know what the regulations are until the Bill is enacted. My concern is that people who have been carrying on their business in a way that up to the present time offended nobody should not find themselves put out of business by reason of their being unable to fulfil certain regulations which may have to do with physical aspects of their business.

For most people, regulations which would be made under paragraphs (a) to (e) of section 6 (2) would not concern them — they are regulations relating to the proper conduct of a livestock mart and all owners will say: "That will present us with no difficulty. We have always been conducting our business in a proper way." The regulations they will have difficulty with are those relating to the physical aspects of their business. The Minister appeared to indicate that time will be given to them to comply with those regulations. I do not agree. If marts were able to carry on successfully for a period of eight years up to the present time, there is no reason why they should not be able to do so from now on. We refer in this amendment to a person "who carries on the business of a livestock mart and who, or whose immediate predecessors in title, at any time in the year preceding the passing of this Act...." Our purpose is that such a person be given an unconditional licence, that he will not be obliged to embark on the expenditure of extra capital and that he should have to comply only with regulations made under paragraph (e) to (i) of section 6 (2).

In relation to amendment No. 34, again it is a question of setting out in the legislation what we want to be done. We are here endeavouring to proceed by analogy with the contents of the intoxicating liquor code under the 1960 Act, a new and useful provision introduced by the Minister for Justice enabling a person who intended to build premises to which he wanted a licence attached — a hotel or a new premises in respect of which an application would have been made to transfer the licence of an old existing premises — to go to the courts with plans and specifications of the new buildings, to advertise that fact in the public press, serve notice on the local chief superintendent, the local district justice and the county registrar and, having publicly advertised that fact and having deposited plans, he goes into court and if people say the hotel or premises will not be suitable for some reason but that if certain alterations are made it will, he can get a certificate if he builds his premises according to the plans. He can comply with the licence requirements.

The 1960 Act wisely took account of the variations between the plans and the building and provided in section 17 that when the person comes back to the court to get the licence, having made earlier application, if he can establish that the new building is in substantial accordance with the building for which he received approval in the court, then the new licence will automatically issue unless there is some character objection against the applicant.

What I am seeking to put into the section is a kind of alternative. If the Minister does not accept the first of these amendments — I do not want to tire his tired brain unduly with these complex matters about alternative amendments — I ask for indulgence in the case of an existing mart owner that if he complies substantially with the regulations, though not in all details, as in the case of a publican he should be given his licence.

That is the substance of amendments Nos. 32 and 34. They are designed to ease the situation for existing livestock mart owners. There will be no use whatever in Fianna Fáil members afterwards, if a fellow finds himself unable to comply with the regulations, saying: "We did all we could. We will see what we can do with the Minister." The Minister may find himself bound by the regulations. My purpose in these amendments is to give scope so that if the mart complies substantially with the regulations, the licence will issue. I think that is an easing of the situation. I think it is not unreasonable to ask for it. It is the kind of thing that has already been done by the Legislature, very wisely, in the Intoxicating Liquor Act, 1960.

The Senator described one of his amendments as a kind of an alternative. I think that this could be a fair description of many of his other amendments — kinds of alternatives. Do we need an alternative? This is really the question for which an answer must be sought. The Senator should himself have sought to get the answer to that question if he was to do justice to the kind of alternative he suggests one of his amendments is.

Subsection (3) of section 2 provides:

"subsections (4) and (2) of this section shall come into operation on such day as the Minister may appoint". That means that, on such day as the Minister may appoint, licensing can be brought into force.

We go on, then, to subsection (8) of section 3 which is the one now under the discussion. Despite what the Senator says, the bringing into operation of the licensing provision which is in subsection (2), the regulation about which he talks so much and which he visualises as creating so much unnecessary and indeed unjustified difficulty for mart owners is subject to this particular stop, as it were.

In subsection (1) of section 6, the first words are "The Minister may..." Reading down that subsection, we see that the Minister may make general regulations. Then, subsection (2) goes on to refer to dimensions, size, lighting, and so on: "without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) —"— that is the one that gives me power to make general regulations —"—of this section, regulations under this section may —" and we list them right down the line. Here is "may" and "may" again. The Senator seems to have missed these two little words in both subsection (1) and subsection (2) which, I think, will, to any reasonable person, suggest, and indeed imply and make very clear, that the Minister is not obliged to make regulations, either generally or specifically, either under subsection (1) or subsection (2) in relation to any or all of the things that are covered there. He certainly is not obliged by anything in this Bill to make these regulations before a certain date. However, he is empowered — going back to where I began — to bring in the licensing provisions of the Bill under subsection (3) of section 2 and this, in fact, is what the Minister proposes to do.

If it should be that there are certain things that might not lend themselves to clear elucidation in advance of the bringing into effect of the licensing provisions, that is, in relation to regulations in regard to some of the more minute things in subsection (2) of section 6, the Minister is not obliged to bring in regulations either to obscure the Act as a whole or to make it unworkable from the point of view of any of those who will come to be licensed after the day he has nominated for the licensing provision to come in, that is, the people now in business and operating at present.

The Senator foresees difficulties in regard to the regulations from the point of view of people who will be entitled to get their licences — people who are now in business and in operation. Surely those people need not suffer from any of the disabilities the Senator talked about. The Minister is under no obligation to tie the mart-owners or himself up in knots by unnecessary, unwieldy or stupid regulations. We are not obliged to do any of these things and we shall not do them in that way. Therefore, I can assure the Senator, in relation to all his worry and fear expressed in regard to this difficulty about regulations, and how they would affect people who are already in business, that these need not necessarily affect them in any degree immediately and, in fact, they need not even be made if it is found, on examination, that this in itself would make things difficult or unwieldy of operation.

These are the matters that will have to be considered and in consultation with the two marts associations and, indeed, with anybody else who has any information that can add to our knowledge and who can help us to make better regulations under the provisions. If the Senator looks at the matter in this light, he will realise that his fears are groundless in so far as this particular section that he would have deleted is concerned and, indeed, that his substitution of another for this section, again, does not necessarily improve it in the slightest degree.

I shall go on to amendment No. 34 which we have here as well. Even if the first amendment to delete subsection (8) of section 6 is not carried, even if amendment No. 33, which would be the substitute, as it were, for subsection (8), is not inserted then the third leg of the treble would be to add the word "substantially" before the word "complied". I say that this word "substantially", put before the word "complied" in subsection (8), line 56, would not make for anything other than some vagueness and I think that this is a reasonable interpretation of what "substantially" added in as suggested would do. Criticism of this Bill has in many cases taken the form that it is too vague and, by its vagueness, that it is too embracing. Here we have, as I say, a word proposed to be inserted here before the word "complied" that would, I think, without a doubt make for vagueness.

It would make for a lovely argument in the courts.

It would not come before a court at all, from your point of view.

It would be quite a natty one to get around when you think of all the forms this might or might not take. To find out what is complied with is one thing but to find out what is substantially complied with would make for vagueness of the terms rather than be of assistance to anybody.

The whole effort, I have no doubt, is to improve the Bill. On an earlier stage, on being asked by Senator FitzGerald whether I was prepared to consider and indeed, if necessary, to accept amendments, I said, and I still say, that if the amendments were of a sensible and reasonable nature, if they would contribute something to the Bill, I should certainly give them the fullest consideration and, if necessary, to improve this very useful Bill, accept them which would imply the recall of the Dáil. What I should have added, of course, and what probably might and should have been understood, was that, in this event, the Party sponsoring such an amendment and having it carried by the weight of their arguments as to the improvement it would bring about in this Bill would of course, when the Dáil was recalled, come to the Dáil to confirm that amended improved form. So far we have not had that sort of amendment, or if we have had it, it has not been argued with the lucidity and conviction that has got across to convince anybody looking at it that it was an improvement.

As I already said, amendments Nos. 32 and 33 are somewhat of the same nature. I do not want to be regarded as stonewalling in this matter because there has been no more reasonable Minister in so far as the acceptance of amendments is concerned than the Minister before you. The records of the Dáil will show this to be true. I have accepted more amendments in the past nine years as a Minister than most other Ministers ever accepted in the history of the State. That is a fairly big statement. I have not checked it and I do not intend to.

Senator Yeats will do that.

There is no necessity to do it.

It might be held to be something of an exaggeration if it were checked, but I am prepared to say from the record, as distinct from the likes and dislikes of the Opposition, as far as I as a person am concerned, that if the number of amendments I have accepted, in my various Ministerial capacities, from the Opposition, is checked, it will be found that my batting average is well up to the best.

I do not agree: that has not been my experience.

I did not expect the Senator would, or that he would even keep his ears open to hear what I was saying, once he knew what it was about. However, for what it is worth, I am leaving it there and what remains of the long hot summer, if there is any of it left when we finish——

How many amendments did the Minister accept on the Housing Bill?

I have not counted them.

They should be easily counted.

I will tell the Senator about one Act in which he could count the amendments, that is, the Planning Act. That is worth looking at. It is a very interesting Act and it will show Senator Fitzgerald how reasonable I have been in this matter of accepting amendments. I will say, having accepted them, that either they did not harm the Bill or improve it, but I certainly do not believe, even for the sake of becoming popular with the Opposition, in accepting amendments that will do damage. I stop at that; even I will stop at this.

If it comes from the Opposition, it must damage the Bill.

Not at all. This would be totally unfair to the Opposition's competence to draft amendments which could improve it.

All these amendments would damage the Bill?

If I accepted that bagful of amendments, it would be the greatest godsend which the legal fraternity in this or any other country had ever known. If you took all these amendments at their face value and said: "The boys must be right; they are very assiduous. After all, they worked hard and they must be right", then this would be the greatest money-spinner of all times. At times I do not mind letting fellows in on money-spinners if it takes no skin off my back, but at the same time I do not think legislation of this kind is to be used in that way.

Getting back to where I left off, amendment No. 34 makes for vagueness, No. 33 improves nothing and No. 32 would, in fact, deal a blow to the usefulness of subsection (8) as it stands. All in all, the amendments are misconceived in that the fears which obviously inspired them are not really well grounded. The fears expressed by Senator Fitzgerald would not have to come about in the manner he referred to. I can assure him that they will not come about in the manner he suggested. I hope he has been reassured to some degree that the amendments he is sponsoring or supporting are not helpful and would not do anything for the Bill, and that is being charitable.

The subsection with which we are dealing refers to persons who are already conducting the business of a livestock mart and to my mind it smacks somewhat of retrospective legislation because it does not guarantee that people conducting the business of livestock marts will automatically be allowed to continue in business.

It is a pity the Minister is going.

It is a pity, but I will be back.

I was hoping to get some guarantee from the Minister in this matter because it is important. The subsection says:

Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, a person who carries on the business of a livestock mart at any place and who, immediately before the passing of this Act, carried on that business at that place, shall, if in relation to the place, the regulations under this Act are complied with, be entitled to be granted a licence in respect of the place.

There are some words in that subsection to which I wish to draw attention. For instance, so far as complying with the regulations under this Act is concerned, the only reference to regulations is in section 6 which says that the Minister may make such regulations as he thinks appropriate and paragraph (b) of subsection (2) states that "provided that entries for such auctions shall not be refused except in circumstances prescribed in the regulations".

There have been allegations that auctioneers in certain marts, in pursuance of the NFA campaign, did refuse to accept bids on certain occasions. I do not know whether that is true or not. If it is so, it provides one reason why it is necessary for the Minister to step in to control the situation in a just manner. In regard to (b) this is one of the matters covered by an earlier subsection where the Minister's sole judgment operates and there is no question of an inquiry. If he thinks that somebody has transgressed or contravened in this matter his licence shall be withdrawn. If somebody, following the drawing up of these regulations, is convicted for not complying with them the Minister may withdraw his licence.

I am now talking about complaints of transgressions alleged to have taken place before this legislation was introduced at all and before any regulations were drawn up. If the regulations are complied with, would the Parliamentary Secretary give me a firm guarantee that there will be no retrospective judgment in matters like this. In other words, that he will not say: "I am satisfied that last May the operator of this mart refused to accept bids; I am now saying he has not, in fact, complied with the regulations——

You cannot break regulations that do not exist.

Right, but the subsection says regulations.

They do not exist.

That is what I want a firm guarantee about.

You do not need a guarantee: it is a fact.

Would Senator Yeats stop using his imagination? That is no good to me. I want a firm undertaking. Does Senator Yeats object to my making this point? Is there some special reason why he wants to cloud the issue?

The Chair frequently thinks many Senators are trying to do that.

It is an unusually silly point, even for this debate.

Thank you. I do not know if that is your judgment on your own contributions. It is a matter of importance to the people operating cattle marts. I should like to have an undertaking from the Parliamentary Secretary that there will be no retrospective judgment in matters like this, that he will not go back and say those people have not been behaving properly in this matter and he will not grant them a licence.

I think the Senator can be assured that, if in relation to the place, the regulations under this Act are complied with, they will be entitled to be granted a licence in respect of that place.

How can we judge that?

When the regulations are made.

If, when the regulations are made, a person offends in respect of any matter, he can be prosecuted and have his licence withdrawn. But I am talking about the operators at present.

It states here, and I am sure the Senator is more than conversant with it:

Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, a person who carries on the business of a livestock mart at any place and who, immediately before the passing of this Act, carried on that business at that place, shall, if in relation to the place, the regulations under this Act are complied with, be entitled to be granted a licence in respect of the place.

That clearly points out that, if the operator of the mart complies with the regulations which will be brought in as a consequence of passing this Act, he will be entitled to a licence.

Are complied with? How are you going to judge that in respect of (b)? A man may, in fact, have offended in respect of this matter previously. He may have refused to accept a bid. It has been alleged certain people have done this.

If he refuses a bid for sound commercial reasons, if it is a man of straw who bids, then he is quite entitled to do so.

Ah, no: do not confuse this issue. There have been allegations that in pursuance of the NFA campaign certain marts refused to accept bids and that there has been discrimination. I say that is wrong. But I am against retrospective legislation. I do not want to have the situation that, having brought in this legislation, the Minister may decide — he has discretion in this matter — he will not grant a licence, and he is not obliged to state the reasons.

Is the wording not "complies with the regulations"? That does not seem to involve retrospective legislation. It is the present time.

You cannot comply with something in retrospect. The regulations are not there at present.

Maybe I am being a bit pernickety.

I am sure it is with the best of intentions.

I have no particular interest in it except to see that justice is done. Will the Parliamentary Secretary assure me that, in fact, the people who operate at the moment, whatever about complaints in respect of previous experience, will be given licences?

Yes, if they comply with the regulations.

In other words, there will be no retrospective judgment on those?

The other matter about which I am a little unhappy — again this may be only a matter of detail — is the word "person". It says "a person who carries on the business of a livestock mart at any place and who, immediately before the passing of this Act, carried on that business at that place..." Most marts are cooperatively owned, but some of them are owned by individuals. Supposing that person dies in the next month or so and is no longer carrying on that business when the Act comes into operation, would it be the Minister's intention that whoever inherits the business would, in fact, be given a licence?

His heirs, yes.

Another aspect. Suppose a person carrying on the business at the moment decides to sell in the meantime? Unless he has an understanding about this, it would affect the value. Supposing he wanted to sell out, could he be assured, providing the regulations are complied with, that the new operator will be given a licence?

Certainly.

First, I should like to apologise to Senator Murphy for interrupting, because I know he does not interrupt very much himself. I was prompted to do so in the hope that I might clear up the situation, but it is not one that can be cleared up by interruption. It is not a case of a ministerial assurance that any offence committed before the passing of the Act will not be brought up. The Minister will have no power to make regulations which will go back before the passing of the Act. Until this Bill is passed, you cannot make regulations under it. The regulations have no force and no legal effect without the Bill. Therefore, it would simply be utterly impossible and contrary to law to try to bring in regulations which would go back before the date of the passing of the Act. Therefore, no matter what the Minister might want to do, there is no question of his having power to cover the matters referred to by Senator Murphy.

I do not agree with you.

Although there are marts of various types, broadly speaking, they follow a definite pattern. It could happen that the Minister would bring in regulations prescribing a certain diameter of sales ring. You could have a small mart in a small town completely demolished in order to comply with the minimum requirements. The Minister could also bring in regulations prescribing the cubic air space for each individual attending marts. Under these, many of the existing marts could be put outside the law. I am not suggesting that they are bad but I know that in most of them the main building comprises, shall we say, the basic structure of an ordinary two or three-span hayshed. If the Minister through his regulations deems this not to be sufficient, he can impose grave hardship on mart owners by prescribing more elaborate buildings which are completely unnecessary.

If I may put the Deputy's mind at rest, the Minister has already stated to the mart people that he will discuss in full detail with them the regulations.

But since he said that, we have seen the marts people writing to the newspapers as if they are not altogether happy about the position.

Nothing of that nature.

I think so.

I am sorry the Minister is not here because he was getting a little less cocky and a little less vituperative than he had been during the day. The debate was taking a more sedate and orderly turn and the Minister had changed from attacking me and talking about one personality to talking about himself. I grant you that is not the most engaging thing the Minister can do from my point of view but certainly it is an improvement on the situation that he has talked about himself and his own personality rather than spend his time attacking me. I should like to have observed that to the Minister if he had been here.

Maybe you would return the compliment?

Indeed, the Minister went the distance of almost complimenting us on this side of the House by saying he thought, yes, we could draft amendments that could be useful but that these particular amendments — and he said it certainly more in sorrow than in anger and with no spite whatever — were not an improvement on the Bill, although he was prepared to concede that they were designed to improve the Bill. He did concede that. That is a substantial change in the ministerial attitude. How long it will last remains to be seen but that is not the most important transformation.

Is there any change in your attitude?

That is not the most important change that occurred. When one gets the debate and reads it as intently as I listened to the Minister, one will begin to find out that there is hardly any need at all for this Bill in relation to existing livestock marts. Some people would say straightaway that what I am going to say is not correct. They did not attend to what the Minister was saying with the proper diligence that they should have because the Minister began to deal with the various aspects of this Bill and, let me say straightaway, the Minister is a far better politician than he is or ever would be a lawyer.

That invites comment but we will say nothing.

The Parliamentary Secretary can make any comment he likes upon that.

By all means — it is a free assembly.

When he was dealing with the definition section, all he could do was say: "Well, that is what I am advised" and today he made bold to try to analyse the different sections of the Bill and relate them to one another, with disastrous consequences, because what he did say was that the Minister would be, first of all, entitled to bring in section 2 by order and then he went on to deal with the conditions which he could revoke or amend under section 3, and then went on to deal with subsection (8) of section 3, failing to distinguish between the absolute obligation that will lie upon a mart owner, existing or future, to comply with the regulations — that obligation is absolute and not to comply with them is an offence under the Act— he failed to distinguish between that and failure to comply with the condition. The Minister can make a condition and he can revoke and alter it and he may say in relation to a particular livestock mart: "No, you do not have to fulfil that condition and I will revoke it", but the livestock mart owner must comply with the regulations and that is what subsection (8) says, and it is a condition precedent to obtaining a licence by an existing mart owner that he has complied with the regulations.

The Minister saw the difficulty there and he is alive to the difficulties we have been talking about in relation to the physical aspects of the existing marts and he then tries to water that down, and it is at this stage that we get to this particular point that we have the great revelation that this Bill is not really necessary at all because he then went on to deal with section 6 and he said — and there were two important words in this section — the Minister may under subsection (1), for the purposes of the Act, make regulations, and he then went on to subsection (2): without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) of this section regulations under this section may provide for various things; and then he went on to say, and I have noted it down, that the Minister is not obliged to make these regulations at all, and said: "We do not know; we may not make them".

So that, as of now, the third day of the Committee Stage debate on this Bill, it emerges that the Minister has brought in a Bill providing among other things for the making of regulations which he now says it may not be necessary to make at all. What is the necessity for the Bill then?

Why are you worrying about it, so?

Do not interrupt. This is disorderly interruption. What is the necessity for the Bill if the Minister says that we may find it may not be necessary to make these regulations at all? What is the necessity for the Bill?

To get at the farmers.

To look after the marts and the orderly sale of livestock.

We are sick and tired listening to that.

They have that.

This is what the Minister said, as anybody who attended to him closely would have heard. He said: "We may not make them at all", and then he saw that he was being caught and very quickly he said: "But we need not make them immediately and they need not have effect immediately".

That is what he said, yesterday, too.

But he said that yesterday in relation to a different matter but he did not say yesterday: "We need not make them at all," and he went on to say: "We do not know what they are going to be. I will have to have consultations with the livestock marts associations."

It was for the purpose of getting out of the rigidity imposed on him by subsection (8) of section 3 that he said: "We may not make them at all." So that it now transpires that all this legislation, all this assumption of power, is not for the purpose of dealing with livestock marts as they exist, because he says: "We may not have to make them at all." It is for some other purpose.

That is the reason why we have been opposing this Bill all along. There never was any real reason or any great necessity, as the Minister has confessed, for the bringing in of this Bill and I think it was Senator Yeats or Senator Nash who said today: "We do not know what these regulations will be until the Bill is enacted." Surely, the Minister must know why he wants to make regulations, what evils he wants to get at, what standards he wants to bring about when he is putting provisions in a Bill saying that he shall be entitled to make regulations. Now we can see where the confusion is. We have the Minister at this late stage, in order to get over the difficulties and to by-pass the arguments for a little more freedom of movement for himself, saying that the regulations are not necessary or may not be necessary.

Business suspended at 6 p.m. and resumed at 7.15 p.m.

I had said nearly all I had to say. The only thing that remains to be said now is to give the reference for which I was asked earlier in the day. The reference is column 1892, volume 226, of the Dáil Debates of 23rd February, 1967, where the Minister for Education said:

I have no hesitation, all things being equal, in supporting people who support me or us.

The Senator should quote the rest of it.

I do not intend to take up any more of the time of the House on that.

In relation to amendment No. 33, I wish to ask the Parliamentary Secretary if I would be right in taking from what he said to Senator Murphy before the adjournment, that where marts may not have been operating in accordance with some of the regulations prior to the passing of the Act, they will receive a licence, that if marts that have gone out of business during the past year, for one reason or another, were re-opened in the near future either under the same management or under new management, they will also receive a licence.

If a mart has gone out of business within the past 12 months for such a reason as failure to meet its commitments, then there would be no good reason for ensuring that the Minister would be obliged to grant such a mart a licence. However, if valid reasons were presented to the Minister, for instance, that there had been a new financial structure in the company or that different personnel were in charge, the Minister, all other things being equal, and having viewed the matter in the light of new circumstances, would, I am confident, grant the licence, provided it were abona fide application and not merely an attempt to resurrect a mart that would have been shown, by its monetary structure, to be highly likely again to go by default and leave farmers short of their money or customers of one sort or another at a loss as a result of its operation.

I can see the Parliamentary Secretary's concern in this matter but suppose the mart went out of business because of monetary problems and had since been taken over by a group on a co-operative basis and, in other words, went under completely new management but the mart had not been in operation on 1st January and might not be in operation on the date on which the Act became law, what would be the position?

In those circumstances the Minister still has the power to grant a licence if such an application is made.

It would not be automatically dealt with as in the case of existing marts?

No, because it would not be, in fact, existing at the time.

As a mart, it is in existence but it is not operating. The building is there.

Surely the Senator appreciates that existing means operational.

I understand that regulations will be laid down — I think that is what Senator Malone means— and whoever takes over a mart will apply for a licence, and if they comply with the regulations as laid down by the Minister obviously no difficulty will arise for the new company or the new owners in getting a licence to carry on business in that mart.

On the basis of what the Senator has said, I would not envisage any difficulty, provided the financial structure is in order.

I think the financial structure will be covered in the regulations made under the section. At least, we hope it will.

In other words, I understand that this would be regarded as a completely new application for a new mart.

It would have to be so regarded.

Except that it would be in respect of the same place. All this talk about satisfactory structure of marts is a plausible excuse for bringing in this Bill. The mart Senator Dolan has told us about is quite frequently used as an excuse but all this talk is presenting an image of shaky marts. My knowledge of marts is that they are the guarantee for payment to any person who sends in his livestock to be sold. In other words, the livestock are sent to the mart; they are sold and the owner of the cattle gets a cheque from the mart owner in respect of the sale. The purchaser of the cattle gives his cheque to the mart proprietor. It is the mart proprietor who is left at a loss in the event of an RD cheque and not the farmer who sold his cattle. I think it is wrong that this image should be built up in respect of the marts. One might think the Bill was being steamrolled through the Seanad now as it has been steamrolled through the Dáil because the country is at present covered with marts in a shaky financial position. Everybody knows that the procedure is that when a man sends his cattle to a mart, the proprietor pays that man for his cattle and the purchaser pays the mart.

Question put: "That the words proposed to be deleted stand."
The Committee divided: Tá, 28; Níl, 14.

  • Ahern, Liam.
  • Brennan, John J.
  • Browne, Seán.
  • Cole, John C.
  • Connolly O'Brien, Nora.
  • Dolan, Séamus.
  • Eachthéirn, Cáit Uí.
  • Martin, James J.
  • Nash, John Joseph.
  • Ó Donnabháin, Seán.
  • O'Kennedy, Michael.
  • Ó Maoláin, Tomás.
  • Ormonde, John.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Egan, Kieran P.
  • Farrell, Joseph.
  • Fitzsimons, Patrick.
  • Flanagan, Thomas P.
  • Honan, Dermot P.
  • McGlinchey, Bernan.
  • McGowan, Patrick.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Patrick W.
  • Ryan, William.
  • Sheldon, William A.W.
  • Teehan, Patrick J.
  • Yeats, Michael.

Níl

  • Carton, Victor.
  • Conlan, John F.
  • Crowley, Patrick.
  • Davidson, Mary F.
  • Fitzgerald, John.
  • McAuliffe, Timothy.
  • McDonald, Charles.
  • McHugh, Vincent.
  • Malone, Patrick.
  • Murphy, Dominick F.
  • O'Quigley, John B.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick (Cavan).
  • O'Sullivan, Denis J.
  • Rooney, Éamon.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Browne and Farrell; Níl, Senators McDonald and Malone.
Question declared carried.
Amendment No. 33 not moved.

Amendment No. 34.

Not moved—I shall put it down again for Report Stage.

Amendment No. 34 not moved.
Question proposed: "That section stand part of the Bill".

On the section, I do not think it is necessary to say any more than that, if some of the amendments we proposed had been accepted, the section would still be unacceptable. In its present form, it is absolutely unacceptable and, for that reason, we propose to vote against it.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 29; Níl, 13.

  • Ahern, Liam.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brennan, John J.
  • Browne, Seán.
  • Cole, John C.
  • Connolly O'Brien, Nora.
  • Dolan, Séamus.
  • Eachthéirn, Cáit Uí.
  • Egan, Kieran P.
  • Farrell, Joseph.
  • Fitzsimons, Patrick.
  • Flanagan, Thomas P.
  • Honan, Dermot P.
  • McGlinchey, Bernard.
  • McGowan, Patrick.
  • Martin, James J.
  • Nash, John Joseph.
  • Ó Donnabháin, Seán.
  • O'Kennedy, Michael.
  • Ó Maoláin, Tomás.
  • Ormonde, John.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Patrick W.
  • Ryan, William.
  • Sheldon, William A.W.
  • Teehan, Patrick J.
  • Yeats, Michael.

Níl

  • Carton, Victor.
  • Conlan, John F.
  • Crowley, Patrick.
  • Davidson, Mary F.
  • Fitzgerald, John.
  • McAuliffe, Timothy.
  • McHugh, Vincent.
  • Malone, Patrick.
  • Murphy, Dominick F.
  • O'Quigley, John B.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick (Cavan).
  • O'Sullivan, Denis J.
  • Rooney, Éamon.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Browne and Farrell; Níl: Senators Rooney and Malone.
Question declared carried.
SECTION 4.

Amendments Nos. 35 and 68 go together since they are cognate, but separate decisions may be had, if desired.

I move amendment No. 35.

To delete subsection (3) and substitute:

"( ) An exemption under this section may be withdrawn by order made by the Minister, but where such order is proposed to be made, a draft thereof shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas and the order shall not be made until a resolution approving of the draft has been passed by each such House."

The Minister in this Bill and under this section is providing for the granting of exemptions, and no doubt there is a case for the granting of exemptions in respect of certain events and circumstances. The RDS has been mentioned as one of them and agricultural shows as another. I should prefer if in the case of a Bill of this kind, and especially a Bill that has aroused so much controversy, that a little more care would be taken in providing the means by which these exemptions from the operation of the general law would be set out. One way of doing it would have been to put in a Schedule to the Bill containing the variety of things that would be exempted, for instance, RDS sales, sales at agricultural shows, dispersal sales and so on, and then at a later stage, if it was desired, because of new developments taking place which it was right and proper should be covered, to add to it. We have that in the case of the State Guarantees Act. Orders have been made here and in the other House adding to the Schedule or removing from the Schedule to the State Guarantees Act certain companies which are to be made liable to the provisions of the State Guarantees Act.

In this Bill because of the vagueness surrounding its introduction and because the Minister's mind is not clear as to what is required, because he does not yet know in detail what he wants to put in regulations, he has of course to provide a section which will enable him to exempt certain operations, certain types of operation, from its provisions. If we are to have such exemptions, we ought to follow the well established principle—which, to my mind, better conforms with parliamentary procedure—which ensures some surveillance by the Houses of the Oireachtas over acts of Ministers. The method I propose is that before an order is made exempting certain categories from the operation of the Bill—and in effect it is almost an amending of the Act every time you add a category or make an order in respect of a particular category—it ought to be the subject of a draft to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas and should not come into effect until the draft has been approved.

That happens in relation to quite a number of statutes at the present time. One finds under the Social Welfare Act, 1952, that in relation to regulations excluding particular employments or classes of employment from the first part of the Schedule or adding to the employments they can be exempted by order but the order must first be laid in draft before each House of the Oireachtas and be approved. That seems to me to retain parliamentary control over what otherwise means a setting aside of the Act by ministerial order in respect of a particular category.

It is to be noted that the Minister had second thoughts about the provision in relation to exemption between the time he introduced the Bill and the time he got it through Dáil Éireann. There is a limited safeguard provided in subsection (4): "The Minister shall cause particulars of any grant or withdrawal of an exemption under this section to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas." I feel the House should go further and say: "No; before you decide to exempt that, you lay a draft of the order before each House and have it approved." In that way it will be quite clear to everybody what the position is.

The section, as we have it before us and to which amendment No. 35 would relate, contains subsection (3). This is provided in this section for the purpose of avoiding loopholes in the application of the Bill itself. To wipe out, as is suggested, the subsection would not be in the interest of the application of the Bill as a whole. If the amendment were accepted, it would make the Oireachtas, as it were, start running the day to day affairs of the administration under the Bill. I do not know whether anybody thinks that this would really be a good idea in relation to such a matter as we are discussing at the moment. It would certainly appear to be a peculiar procedure, if not to say a cumbersome one, and while the peculiarity and the cumbersomeness of it might be excused on the ground that it was really doing something worthwhile, I very much doubt it.

In regard to section 10 which it is proposed to amend by a new section coming before it, the existing provision in section 10 is a normal one in such a case as this. Generally, this is a normal type of provision in this type of case. I cannot see how amendment No. 68 would improve it in the way possibly that it is thought it might. As I say, it is there and it is not unusual. It is not a new type of section. Indeed, it is a normal one in such a case as this, generally speaking.

I want to put this point to the Minister. This is the section dealing with exemptions. Senators can already see that the Minister would have discretion in regard to the operation of this Act to refuse a licence immediately on any issue but as I said this section enables the Minister to exempt a particular business or any particular class or kind of business. In the latter case it can be a very general one. I should imagine that if the Minister in those circumstances, the general sort of exemptions, withdrew the exemption and brought that particular business within the ambit of the legislation it would be a matter of such importance that I cannot see it being done very easily or lightly.

I am rather concerned with the individual case because it says here "in respect of the carrying on of any particular business". In other words, a particular business may be exempted from the provisions of this measure and because of that the business may be enabled to be carried on but then the Minister may suddenly withdraw that exemption. In such a case there is no question of a provision whereby the Minister would be obliged to give notice to the individual concerned. He is not required to give any notice. There is no provision for any appeal or any investigation by any barrister or anybody else. The Minister simply withdraws the exemptions. The Minister may say: "Any order I may make in respect of that must be laid before each House of the Oireachtas" and he merely points to section 10 where it says that any such order may be annulled within the next subsequent 21 days which the House has sat after the order or regulation is laid before it but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.

I am trying to get across to the Minister the point at which he may withdraw the exemption. The individual firm or business which, because of this exemption, has been able to carry on in the meantime may suddenly find itself having to close down completely. It is not very much good to be able to say that any House of the Oireachtas may within 21 sitting days thereafter annual that order. That is not any consolation to that business which may have gone out of existence in the meantime. It has no redress and no appeal. That is why I would ask the Minister to look at this again and see if there might not be some validity in providing the safeguard suggested here in amendment No. 35, that is, that in such case he will have to lay the draft of the order before each House of the Oireachtas before the order would actually be made and become effective.

That is not an unreasonable safeguard. I know the Minister may assure us that he will be reasonable but we are dealing with the law and the laying down of what the law shall be and I suggest to the Minister that this is not an unreasonable amendment. It will not make the measure any more difficult to operate. If the Minister proposes to withdraw the exemption there would be this period of notice, that it would have to be laid on the table of the Houses and the persons involved in the particular business, involved in the exemption or the withdrawal of the exemption, would at least have some notice. If that person had a complaint he would at least have an opportunity of having his case ventilated before the Minister made a decision.

We all know that a Minister in any Government is pretty sure of getting a majority if any order is challenged in either House. A period of grace should be provided and it is not unreasonable to ask that. This would be of great benefit to a person who might go bankrupt after the exemption was withdrawn and he might find himself out of existence altogether. As I said, it would be no consolation to that individual to find that 21 days after the Dáil or Seanad had annulled the order made by the Minister and he has no claim to damages. That person should not have to suffer because of anything done up to the time the order was annulled. That is a wrong situation. Maybe it might never happen and maybe it is a very exceptional case but, as I said, we are dealing with law and the making of law which we will have to stand over and it should be as good as we can make it. I would ask the Minister to look again at this amendment to see if he can accept it.

I should like to support this amendment. Even though the Minister gave an assurance early on that annual shows and sales will be exempt, acceptance of this amendment would put these annual bull shows on a more permanent footing if farmers knew they were going to be exempted and if they had this amendment to safeguard them. The Minister will agree that these annual events are of tremendous importance to the industry because they foster the rearing of pedigree and quality animals. They are also important to the people who wish to buy these animals because they go to specified sales with the intention of buying. It is more convenient than taking a chance on getting one of these animals at the ordinary mart. It is very important to the industry that these shows should be preserved and acceptance of this amendment will give those societies more security. I also support Senator Murphy's plea that the marts in general might be exempted, in addition to those societies to which I have referred.

I think one has to look at this matter from the point of view that the system of control proposed under the Bill provides for the granting or revocation of licences and for the granting and revocation or withdrawal of exemptions. The amendment proposed would against that background have the peculiar effect of bringing the Oireachtas into this matter of operating in detail on the whole, whereas it would not exercise the same jurisdiction over the whole. To suggest that it should do so in regard to a minute part of it does seem somewhat peculiar. Even more peculiar is it when we realise that what we would really be doing in the withdrawal of an exemption is allowing the terms of the measure as a whole—in other words the control that was always there—to be re-applied.

Let me explain. We get control of revoking licences and of granting and withdrawing exemptions from the terms of the licensing provisions. Therefore, this amendment seeks to treat the withdrawal of exemtions in a rather extraordinary manner. The effect of this really is that we give this extraordinary treatment to a function that in effect merely means a re-application of the terms of the licensing power in this Bill. We are merely re-applying it. Naturally, having already exempted it, we could not withdraw the exemption. We exempt, therefore, certain controls in the Bill and we merely allow the control of the Bill to apply. We already would have in the Bill, if it becomes law and as we have gone so far with it, the power and control to grant and revoke licences, the power to grant exemption from the licensing control contained in this measure. Then we would set aside this withdrawal of exemption from the application of the licensing effects of the Bill and say to the Dáil: "You do this; this is the job you will do and do it in detail."

No; that is not right.

If the Senator does not see it, it is because I cannot get it across.

They do not necessarily take any action. It is a detailing procedure.

The possibilities would appear to run in the direction that they would not take any action. That being the case, would there be anything in making the change? When the Minister will in any event withdraw an exemption already granted by this Minister, or some other Minister, he shall cause particulars of such withdrawal under the section to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas.

You are already bringing the Houses of the Oireachtas into it.

Not in the manner of hiving over a detailed matter, as it were, to the House for the exercise of a different function from that which they are already being given in regard to the Bill as a whole. It is this which is peculiar and I have already gone so far as to say that it would be cumbersome because the net effect of it would be the re-application of the provisions of the Act in particular cases. This is really what is peculiar about it. By withdrawing the exemption, we would be merely re-applying, or allowing the powers of the Bill as a whole to be re-applied, to particular cases; in other words, back to where it was.

We are not doing something; we are taking away something we had done to exempt a particular case, or grouping, or particular class. We propose now to take that away. We propose to take away the exemption. There may be reasons why, quite ordinary reasons; certain events may, in the interim since the exemption was granted, have taken place that would now make it no longer a justifiable procedure to exempt this particular class. Really what, in effect, is to be done by the withdrawal of that particular case, or cases, is that, because of a change of circumstances from the time the exemption was granted, we withdraw it and the power under the control of the Act reverts to that particular class, or classes, as if no exemption ever existed.

This is a reason for or corollary to the main operation of the Bill and I do not see that there is anything wrong with it. The fact is that a matter of which the Minister shall cause particulars to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas leaves him open to the same vetting as in the case of the rights or wrongs of what he has done in the revoking of a licence.

Damage could be done.

There always could be cases and I am sure there may be where damage could be done if the withdrawal did not take place.

Surely you would have already exempted them. I cannot visualise that urgency about withdrawing the exemption.

As I said—and I do not go back on this—the necessity for this in a main sort of way could be to prevent a loophole developing as a result of the exercise of the exemption clause. If, by exercising the exemption clause, one might leave some part of the operations under what is intended to be controlled by this Bill open to loopholes or abuse, then would not it weigh heavily with the Minister in giving exemptions to be much more stringent if in fact the manner in which he could only withdraw them was that he had to go through this whole paraphernalia of this particular part of the Bill, as distinct from the even more important parts passed earlier?

But even where you have licensed a mart and you propose to revoke the licence, at least you are providing some notice and you are providing, to a limited extent, an appeal before the actual revocation comes into operation. Withdrawing the exemption is basically the same thing, is it not? You could be putting somebody out of business by doing it.

The Minister was correct in one respect; I was misreading amendment No. 35. I was misreading it in the sense that I was visualising a situation —which again I would advocate to the Minister—in which you propose to withdraw an exemption when that withdrawal would not come into operation until the Houses of the Oireachtas had an opportunity— which they need not necessarily avail of—of raising the matter, by rejecting or seeking to annul the order. I do not know if I am making this clear; I do not know how one would best express it legally, but I would rather see a situation in which, if the Minister were proposing to withdraw an exemption, either from a particular firm or particular class of business, he would make the order, and that order would not become effective until after 21 sitting days of the Houses of the Oireachtas. If the Houses of the Oireachtas do not take any action on it, it automatically comes into effect, but, at least, there is that time lag, that safeguard, which I think is not unreasonable. That is not exactly what is in the amendment and, rather than persuade the Minister, I might persuade Senator O'Quigley to withdraw that amendment——

And I will accept an amendment thereof.

I would ask the Minister—I do not want to keep slagging at him; it is the easiest possible thing, I think, to raise the ire of the Minister——

I assure you that the lot of you put together, if you stayed here for the next month, would not raise it if I did not want it raised.

I really should like the Minister to look at this aspect of it; it could be, and may be, an extreme example, but we as a Seanad must have regard to what could happen in such circumstances. You have a business in operation, in operation because the Minister has given it an exemption, for good reason. It is exempted from the control of the regulations he proposes to make under the Livestock Marts Bill. To exempt it, he will have to be satisfied such exemption was desirable and in the best interests of the farming community and all concerned. If he then withdraws the exemption, it could mean, particularly if there is no time lag or no warning for right of appeal or representation, shutting down the business. If he withdraws the exemption and says: "From today, the exemption is withdrawn", it could mean that tomorrow that business could not open; it is out of existence.

As I already said, there is not much consolation in telling an individual so affected: "Well, the Dáil or Seanad may within 21 days, by a majority vote, annul that order by the Minister". He is already broke, has already gone out of existence. Senator Nash points out to me it is without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder—I think that is the accurate situation. As I said, that may be a very extreme example but it could happen and I do not think the Minister would want that position to obtain.

As I have already pointed out, under section 3, the Minister is at least giving the right of appeal and notification to a business where he proposes to withdraw the licence. Again, withdrawal of the licence could mean the business going out of existence, and he provides for notice, and, in certain cases, the individual in the business will have the right of appeal to a barrister. The result of that inquiry will be considered by the Minister. It is only then he will take action—there is at least this time lag. Granted, the Minister has the control; he has the discretion at the end of it all. He makes the decision but, at least, the person affected by it has some opportunity of kicking up a row and doing all he can to try to safeguard his interests. In the other case— the withdrawal of an exemption—he has no right at all; it could mean he is out of business immediately, and nothing can be done about it.

What is this thing about being out of business; can the Senator help us a little on that?

There may be provision that the Minister may, if he thinks fit, grant exemption from the provisions of this Bill in respect of the carrying on of any particular business, or business of any particular class or kind. The Minister knows better than I what class of business he would have in mind in granting exemption.

I am saying he would have a better idea than I and he would have decided it is fit and right that he grant that exemption. What we are saying is: "It is not good enough that having granted it, you can suddenly withdraw that exemption, which could mean putting the business out of existence." What we suggest in such circumstances is that, on balance, there should be this time lag, that where you are already providing you will give the Houses of the Oireachtas information as to any grant or withdrawal of an exemption—where an exemption is concerned—you allow that time lag, so that the person concerned can seek or make representations, can ask the Houses to take some action, can argue the points out and seek annulment of the order. That is all we are asking here and I do not think it unreasonable. Perhaps the Minister might look at this again between now and Report Stage?

I should like to know if all the safeguards asked for by Senator Murphy, all these unusual exemptions and the curtailing or revoking of exemptions and all that, are contained in section 10 of this Bill. The 21 sitting days provision is in it and, evidently an order cannot come into effect until after the 21 sitting days. That is the way I read it and I should like to know if I am correct in so reading it.

Senator Connolly O'Brien is not correct in her reading, because the regulations and orders tak effect immediately, but they can be annulled or set aside if a resolution is passed by either House of the Oireachtas within 21 days. The point Senator Murphy has been making is that if there is a business in respect of which there is an exemption, that business could be closed down by the withdrawal of the exemption by the Minister. The order for the withdrawal of the exemption can be annulled but if the order were made on 31st July, in ordinary circumstances, the Houses might not meet until October.

What Senator Murphy said is that before withdrawal of an exemption takes effect, there should be some notification to the business or businesses concerned. The truth of the matter is that we have got a good deal of information here about what this Bill is intended to do and the problems that allegedly it is intended to deal with. Earlier, we had the Minister going the distance of saying that the regulations to be made under section 6 need not necessarily affect immediately the people concerned—indeed that they need not even be made if it is found on examination that this would make things difficult or unwieldy to operate. That is how I understand the Minister this evening. The truth is that at the present time the Minister is groping in the dark and does not really know what will go into the regulations. Senator Yeats was horrified—or was it Senator Nash? —that we should seek to know what the contents of the regulations were before the Bill has been enacted.

What I said was that the regulations could not be made until there is an Act under which to make them.

They could not be made but they could be drafted, and Ministers have told us on different occasions what draft regulations would contain. In the case of one Bill being introduced by the Minister for Justice, the Act was passed today and the regulations had already been drafted.

The Minister has promised he will not do that.

I am talking about the feasibility of drafting the regulations but the Senator would not understand.

Senator O'Quigley spent half an hour on the subject earlier. This is repetition.

I am talking about the difficulty of assenting to legislation providing for regulations when we cannot get even a hint of the broad principles on which these will be framed. We heard the Minister saying that if the regulations become too difficult or unwieldy to operate, he might not bring them in at all, a most extraordinary statement by the Minister. In the circumstances, it seems to me we must do everything to slow down interference by regulation with the business of people who are going about their lawful way of life.

The purpose of this amendment is to provide that, some time before the person is put out of business or before particular events are brought within the ambit of the Act, the draft order withdrawing an exemption will be laid before each House. It is to be noted that the amendment does not seek to have a draft order granting an exemption laid before each House, because if the Minister cannot grant an exemption to everybody, including livestock marts, that would dispense with the effective operation of the Act and it would leave us not entirely happy but a great deal happier. The more people who do not come within the ambit of the Bill the better. It is the people to whom the Act will be applied with all its vigour that I am concerned with.

For that reason, the amendment as drafted is good. I agree with the Minister that section 10 of the Bill as it appears before us is the common form of sections of that kind in other legislation, and indeed one would probably say that it is all right in this Bill, if it were not for the fact that we have so little information as to what the Minister proposes to do with the regulations and what kind of regulations he will make, and if it were not for the further fact that this Bill has been introduced and is being pushed through in the circumstances which we all know.

Senator Murphy has made what would appear to be a considerable case but he made the point that by exemption granted by the Minister, a man might be put in the way of carrying on a business and that if the exemption were withdrawn, it would take it away from him, leaving him without a livelihood. He said that would be unfair. First of all, the intention is generally to pick out the cases here and there that may be, through the overall definition in the Bill, brought in not necessarily inadvertently but possibly because of difficulties encountered in drafting—cases which we would rather have out. Such cases could include clearance sales at individuals' premises throughout the country. There could be cases involving show societies or breeders' societies who would hold annual events throughout the country.

They could not be regarded as being businesses in the sense of a man's livelihood being tied up in them. Nevertheless, they are very important from the point of view of the particular event, or the time or the place. Supposing that within that general framework, an exemption was given to some group or individual. Many of these events often start off as the responsibility of voluntary committees. They are very local. Ultimately, there might be one man left. He may think of the time and the effort he has devoted to the thing in the past. It is now going to fold up but he may think there is a future in it. It could develop that eventually the thing comes under exemption for a casual sale, associated, perhaps, with a local show. Having developed into sole or joint ownership, the person could say: "My neighbours are not interested in this any more. I am holding the baby alone. Why should I do it? I shall organise it into a business which will be good for the community as a whole".

He proceeds to develop it from maybe what might have been an annual event, an annual sale associated with some local show or society, to become one, two, three, four in the year, a dozen in the year, four in the month. At this stage, if he is operating and would apparently be in the business of cattle marketing, as such, his future should well be directed towards the getting of a licence, not just an exemption. It could well be that he would say: "All right, but, if I do that, I shall have to pay a little more than I have got away with up to the moment with regard to my premises, and so on" because probably this started as an annual or a bi-annual event only. He may say: "Why not? The installation is there. I got it fairly handily. This is going not so badly. Let us go on from there." However, he is now going into competition with the licensed mart as such that is adhering to the regulations that have been made within the terms of the licensing Act.

At this stage, he may continue under the exemption and be entitled to do so, as far as the wording is concerned, and not want to go for a licence because it may be very onerous on him. What do we want to do? Do we want him to go ahead or do we want the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries to say: "I shall withdraw that exemption" and then proceed to take the necessary steps to do it and thereafter submit the particulars of the withdrawal to the Houses of the Oireachtas for their information? If they find fault with what he has done, no doubt the Minister will hear more about it.

Even if it is true that the Minister of the day would have the support of his Government, thereby commanding a majority in the House, whether it be in either or in both Houses of the Oireachtas, this point has been made and therefore this matter of informing the Dáil has no validity and carries no weight. I think this is wrong. The fact that you bring the matter before the two Houses of the Oireachtas, the fact that it is brought here and as a result, that any Member of either House is invited to get up and to say what he or she, in a particular personal way, may know about the background of the case means that, if the background is bad, if spurious reasons have been given, if it is clearly wrong then it will not help the Minister or his Government or his majority in the two Houses if such can be shown during the debate that would arise on that information supplied to this House or to the other House.

Those who make the statement: "If you are in the House and the Government have a majority and they still retain it you will get your way" are wrong because that does not clear a Minister or a Government. "Getting away" is not the only thing. You have to be seen to have been reasonable and not to have been unjust in the case and not, for some political motive, to have done somebody down. If those things can be established in either House, the Minister is in trouble and so are his Government and if they do not have to pay for it on that day they will have to pay for it when they have to go to the country. An accumulation of these cases could force the Government to go to the country. If one case were a big enough blunder it would be enough to put the Government out of office. The majority enjoyed today would not save the Government tomorrow if such a case could be brought to light by the vigilance of an Opposition even though, at other times, they may be asleep.

This is a fact of political life. A majority in itself does not save a Minister in regard to something he has done which can clearly be shown to have been wrong, unjust or done purely for political spite or other political motives. In this particular matter of coming to the House about a case, it is necessary, and Senator O'Quigley would very much reckon that it is necessary, that it be a sufficient deterrent to any erring or would-be erring Minister that he has to come and tell the two Houses of the Oireachtas what he has done. This will ensure that that would-be erring Minister will be very careful not to err so as to avoid having to report to the two Houses. That fact is not sufficiently appreciated.

I do not think the Opposition have given the present Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries the kudos for putting this particular obligation on himself and his successor to report to the House in regard to the making of exemptions and the withdrawal of exemptions and in regard to the refusing of licences and the revocation of licences. I do not think the Opposition have been fair at all——

That is what makes the Bill look innocent.

He is being very accommodating.

I am beginning to get this sort of philosophy, after quite a few years of being over-innocent, that when one——

A man may smile and smile and be a villain.

That is true, and Senator O'Quigley is smiling and smiling and smiling. The philosophy that is being forced upon me in this regard is that leaning over backwards to accommodate the Opposition, merely for the sake of accommodating, results in a position where, having brought along and agreed to and even recommitted Bills and parts of Bills and having brought in amendments to meet them, they are not even then satisfied. As soon as a Minister of Government agrees to do something, then, in the eyes of the Opposition, it is no longer as good as it was and they want something added.

The Minister is now back again talking about Fine Gael.

The two are not to be confused in this House: the Opposition and Fine Gael are not synonymous. Fine Gael exist but their opposition does not. It is a fact. The past few days prove it. The records of the House show it with votes such as 28 to 2; 28 to 4; 29 to 7.

They are away on holidays.

What can we do with six university Senators?

They are away on holidays: this is the measure of Fine Gael. They are away on holidays and you are back. It is nice to see somebody coming back but Fine Gael are obviously on holidays, and the Bill is not as important as their holidays.

None of the farmers can afford a holiday.

There are 28 or 30 of our people who are not on holidays and there are some Labour Senators who are not on holidays. I do not want to seem over-generous in that direction but Fine Gael are on holidays and they should be on holidays and they should stay there and the rest should go and join them. With reasonable people such as we have in the Labour Party, we should all be capable of going on holiday at this stage, had Fine Gael all gone on holidays at this time rather than leave a little garrison behind to fight a rearguard action on something they set out to oppose, not knowing what it was about, and now they have to put up a show and be beaten by votes such as 28 to 2.

The people down the country will want to know what has come over the Opposition. I have been getting requests from people to tell them what is happening the Opposition. I cannot answer those queries. I now know that Fine Gael are on holidays. The people down the country will be interested to know that they are on holidays.

The Minister has taken leave of his senses.

Acting Chairman

Would the Minister come back to the discussion of the amendment?

We have been on holiday. Surely Fine Gael, on this occasion, can——

The farmers cannot go on holidays.

Acting Chairman

There is no point in my asking the Minister to come back to the discussion of the amendment if other Members of the House try to provoke him away from such discussion.

It is more enjoyable——

Acting Chairman

I shall take notice whether or not the Minister does.

In regard to this amendment, Senator O'Quigley said that the more people who do not come within the Bill the better. As well as the holiday business we have been talking about, this is very important. This is a revelation which I spotted a number of weeks ago, that this is the essence of Fine Gael's help and assistance in regard to this amendment, that the more people who do not come under the Bill the better. Yet we are led to believe that these amendments, including Amendment No. 35, are intended to make the Bill more workable and yet——

No, to mitigate the evil effects is what I said, and I repeat it.

The advice the Senator gave me some time ago should be taken by himself. The Senator is becoming weary, confused and mixed up.

He is not.

He has truly let the cat out of the bag in regard to this amendment. I want to say something but I do not want to say it in the same terms, because that would be out of order, so I shall put it another way. Having, by the passing of the earlier sections, given me what I sought from the House, their approval to the licensing of cattle marts, and having given their approval to the granting, withdrawal and revocation of licences, it appears as if they will give approval, by virtue of the absence of any amendment, to my right to make exemptions under section 4. There is no amendment by the Opposition to section 4, although at an earlier stage the power therein was deplored and all sorts of political skulduggery were suggested as not only being capable of being carried out under the exemption section, but that the section was designed simply to make way for political skulduggery of all kinds which only my friends over there could prompt me to think of. This was the case the day before yesterday with Fine Gael, and, indeed, two or three weeks ago with their Party in the Dáil. Why is it now that they want to protect those who would have got those exemptions for base political motives? They want to protect those who enjoyed them under Fianna Fáil political skulduggery by making it more difficult for the Minister to withdraw exemptions given——

No, we are not making it more difficult.

Indeed, you are. You are making it practically unworkable.

The Minister is romancing.

At times I may not appear to be listening, sometimes I may not appear to be awake, and sometimes I may not be here physically, but my recollections of what Fine Gael said yesterday, and the day before, or last week, or last month, are fairly good. I have a fairly good idea of what all this was about and if when I am talking on amendment No. 35 I seem to be romancing it is merely because of the fact that what was said yesterday, or the day before, or last week, or last month, is so far removed from what Fine Gael are saying about it today that I do not blame anybody for thinking I am romancing. However, the records are there as are the newspapers. Some Senators have chosen to quote copiously from the newspapers and if they care to read them they will indicate, as the records of this and the other House will also indicate, that I am not romancing when I compare the contradictory stands taken by Fine Gael in the long and in the short term in regard to this Bill. I am very serious about it and it does perturb me that an old Party like Fine Gael—

A young Party.

What was it? You would not have anybody over 50, was it—

(Interruptions.)

However, they got their fingers burned. My statements are not contradictory and I am surprised—

What this has to do with the amendment is another day's work.

I am quoting the Senator as saying that the more people who do not come within the Bill the better.

If nobody comes within it, the better.

This is the cat out of the bag on this amendment and it is really the answer—

We do not want anybody to come within the Bill.

Fine Gael are here to try to improve the Bill, to make it a workable piece of legislation. They wanted so to make it that it would not only conform with the desires and wishes of the House but would be a practical instrument and within the law, something of which the Incorporated Law Society could be proud, which would stand the test of the Supreme Court. This was their job and if we were not going to do it they were going to do it, yet the cat comes out of the bag when the Senator says the more people who do not come within the Bill the better. I will leave it to the Senator to explain that.

We in Fine Gael have said we object to this Bill in its entirety. We say that when we are in Government we will repeal this Bill and we will do so because we do not like it from start to finish. We do not want anybody to be caught by its provisions and the more who are outside its scope the better pleased we would be. We would wish to have everybody outside it. As far as trying to put down amendments to the Bill is concerned, we, accepting the fact that the majority of this House would vote with the Government, and that the Bill was likely to go through, put down amendments which we thought were fair and reasonable, but even the extension of the seven-day period to 21 days, or to a month, would not commend itself to Senators opposite. No amendment we put down has been acceptable. What we are trying to do is to mitigate the evils of what seems to be an absolutely unmitigated disaster. That is what we are trying to do and what we shall continue to do, even though our numbers will not be so strong as to defeat the Government. I had hopes in the earlier stages that the "optional extras"— the Taoiseach's eleven — might on some occasions come our way but the "optional extras" decided to remain part of the Fianna Fáil machine.

My admiration for the Minister grows but I have this feeling. God help the farmers between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael because every time some reason comes into the debate, slanging also comes into it. He finds himself unable to meet the argument I put up.

I did; I had a go at the Senator.

Is this to confuse the situation again?

Only the Senator.

I put the case that here we had the section which gave the Minister authority to exempt a business or a class of business from the Act at his sole discretion. He had to be satisfied. But then he could withdraw the exemption. I was making a perfectly reasonable case.

The Senator is developing a reputation as good as the others.

I will listen to the Senator when he likes to contribute to the debate. I made the perfectly reasonable case that the withdrawal of the exemption can put an individual out of business, can be a disaster for him, and that the Minister was leaving no safeguard at all for that individual or business. He was not, as he is in other sections, giving leave for appeal, allowing representations to be made and in certain instances leaving the matter to an inquiry by a barrister.

The Minister tried to explain it away by saying: "You may have a group in a village or town who come together and hold some sort of sale or function annually or biannually. Over the years individuals drop out and eventually one individual is left holding the can. He carries on this sale, but the stage is reached that it no longer is the type of function proper for exemption. It would be desirable that that individual should secure a licence." I am going along with the Minister here, but I think he is proving the point that in such an instance there is no urgency about it.

All I am saying is that, before the Minister withdraws exemption, there should be some time lag. He should make the draft order and leave it before the Houses of the Oireachtas. Unless it is annulled by the Houses of the Oireachtas within 21 days, it would be automatically effective. It gives the individual the safeguard of being able to make representation and have the matter raised in the Dáil or Seanad if it is important to him. I do not think it takes away from the authority or power of the Minister in any way. All it means is that, instead of reporting to the Houses of the Oireachtas subsequently what exemptions he has withdrawn, he is giving them the opportunity of coming in before the withdrawals become effective. That is not an unreasonable suggestion.

What is wrong with the Minister is that he is finding perhaps there is some sense in it, but he does not want to accept that the Seanad could contribute anything to this piece of legislation. He does not want to go back to the Dáil with any amendment, in spite of his protestations this afternoon that he was prepared to look reasonably at sensible suggestions and amendments. I am still suggesting to the Minister that between now and Report Stage he would not close his mind to it. I would hope some Fianna Fáil Senators would see there is some little reason and sense in this. It is not unreasonable to ask that the individual should have a measure of protection, instead of being put out of business, and have the opportunity of the Houses of the Oireachtas annulling the order before it becomes effective rather than subsequently when, as I said, it is no good to him. Before it becomes effective the order should lie on the Table of the House so that he could, if he so wished, make a case and the Minister could answer it. If it is not annulled, it automatically comes into effect.

I hope Senator O'Quigley, on the one hand, would be agreeable to withdraw his amendment and that the Minister, on the other hand, would between now and Report Stage look at this aspect of it and see if he could accept an amendment which would provide this rather reasonable safeguard. He may say it would not happen except in very exceptional cases. Maybe so. Still, as I said, we are enacting legislation that should be good legislation.

I am wondering if I am misreading the amendment. I hope Senator Murphy will correct me.

What I am saying is not in accordance with the amendment. If Senator O'Quigley withdraws his amendment——

That I do.

Acting Chairman

Amendment withdrawn?

For the purpose of putting it down on Report Stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Acting Chairman

The amendment has been withdrawn.

Question proposed: "That section 4 stand part of the Bill."

I should like to hear Senator Nash. He is a legal man.

Section 10 says:

Every order and regulation made by the Minister or the Minister for Justice under this Act shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made and, if a resolution annulling the order or regulation is passed by either such House within the next subsequent twenty-one days on which that House has sat after the order or regulation is laid before it, the order or regulation shall be annulled accordingly but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.

In other words—

The business has been closed.

The business has been closed. Supposing an order is made withdrawing the exemption. The Minister for Justice must immediately lay before each House of the Oireachtas a draft of the order. Is that not right? Either House immediately, on the very first day it sits, must pass a resolution annulling it. Is that not right?

Not the draft.

In effect, the order is laid before the House. But on the very first day it meets after that, either House of the Oireachtas may pass a resolution annulling it. Is that not right? There seems to me to be every protection there. Perhaps I am misunderstanding or misreading the section, but I cannot possibly see what more can be done.

Supposing Senator Nash's own business was involved in this? Supposing on Monday next an order was made withdrawing the exemption under which he was operating up to then? He is out of business on Tuesday. The House may meet the following week, or it may not meet for two or three months after that. It is not much good to him that two or three months afterwards the Dáil or Seanad decide to vote against the Minister and annul the order. He is bankrupt and out of business. That is the point I am making.

I feel my sympathies are more with the farmers than with the owner of the mart. If an order is made withdrawing the exemption, it is made for some particular purpose — because the mart is being badly run, because injustice is done to some farmer, because rules and regulations regarding hygiene and so on are not maintained.

Not at all — completely wrong.

If that order is not made, it does mean that, in the interval during these three or four months, people are taking their cattle to this mart over which there is no control regarding hygiene——

You do not suggest that the Minister would make an exemption for such a situation. surely.

An exemption has been made. We have been told of the case. I know of many cases where an auctioneer starts up. He holds a sheep sale once a year. He has his annual sheep sale well-known in the local town. It becomes a great success. He then begins to hold it twice a year. It multiplies into three or four or five times a year. At once a year I can quite understand that that man is entitled to exemption. Now he has multiplied it and taking advantage of his exemption and having sheep sales every month or every fortnight, and the circumstances in which he is holding his sheep sales are such that should not be allowed and other people who are taking their sheep to that sale or buying sheep at that sale are suffering as a result and injustice is being done to them. I must say my sympathies are with those people who are either taking their sheep to the sale or buying at the sale, and not with the man who is having the exemption withdrawn unless he complies with certain conditions because, in the ordinary course of events, he is going to be informed that he is not carrying out his sales properly, that there is a risk of damage to the people selling at his sales or who are buying at his sales, and unless he complies with certain conditions, the exemption given to him will be withdrawn and he will be told the conditions he must comply with.

Supposing that such a thing happens next Monday when the Houses are not in session. I would have far more sympathy with the farmers to whom injustice would be done in the meantime than I would have with the auctioneer who would have to stave off his sales for the next three or four months.

Senator Nash probably made a better case than the Minister but might I suggest that the Minister would be very foolish if he made an exemption for a situation which started with an annual sale and then built up to weekly sales? I should imagine that any exemption made by the Minister would be in respect of a particular business of any class or kind. Surely, if he were exempting in circumstances such as Senator Nash stated, he would describe it in the exemption as an annual sale? That is sensible. Even if he were not sensible enough to do that, we are talking of a situation where it is eventually built up to a weekly sale and the Senator says the farmers may be suffering injustice by reason of the fact that they are going along to this weekly sale — freely, I presume — or other people who are freely going along to buy at the sale are suffering injustice and immediate action must be taken.

Look at the other sections we have already agreed and that Senator Nash has provided for, where the person has a licence and breaks the regulations under which he holds the licence. He is first prosecuted, I presume through the courts. We provide that in a later section. That is not done overnight. He is prosecuted, goes before the courts; he argues his case and is convicted or fined. I do not know if he can get a term of imprisonment. But it is only after that — and rightly, I think — that the Minister comes in and notifies him that he proposes to withdraw the licence. In certain cases he gives him a notice. Even then there is still a stage further. Within seven days, the individual concerned can say to the Minister that he wishes to appeal against the Minister's decision to withdraw his licence. The matter goes then to a barrister of this famous ten years standing. He eventually reports to the Minister and the Minister, at his discretion, then decides to withdraw the licence. This is what Senator Nash and his Party have agreed to and this could take six to 12 months. He is objecting to my suggestion which would give some time lag, not necessarily 21 days, but some time lag, between the decision of the Minister that he is going to withdraw the exemption and that withdrawal becoming effective. I am saying that it is not unreasonable that there should be this time lag, that the individual concerned should have some opportunity of arguing his case. That is all I am asking.

I am not making the point that what the Senator says is unreasonable. I have not at any stage made the point and I should be sorry to think that the Senator should think I did. With regard to his amending of Senator O'Quigley's intention, which would be to withdraw this sort of improvement of an amendment, as the Senator would have described something earlier this evening, and substitute something sensible in its place, I am not saying that what he is advocating would be unreasonable. What I am at pains to get across to the Senator and to the House is in regard to this complaint about taking away a man's business. I take it we would have to have compassion for this person who would be losing his livelihood.

To come back to the Senator's own interpretation, as he has expressed it, he suggested that if an exemption were given by the Minister, it would have been an annual sale exemption. In quoting the example which I tried to give, which might not be the best one, but which will do fair enough, the Senator says, would not the Minister mention in that exemption that it was for an annual sale. Yes, this would be the type of sale that in the normal way will come to be exempted and, indeed, the purpose of the exemption section is for that sort of occasion.

Let us deal with Senator Murphy's fears again, keeping to that alone. How, in respect of an annual sale, could a man be said to have lost his business, his livelihood and his all by the withdrawal of an exemption? This is the sort of exemption the Senator said I would be making and, of course, I would say that it was an annual sale.

Remember what you said.

You started off with an annual sale.

I did, yes.

And eventually, you said, probably an individual might be left as the sole survivor who might build it up and you might find him having more frequent sales and then he might have weekly sales — that is your own example — and, at the point of the withdrawal of the exemption, he is having these weekly sales. That is when you talked about withdrawing the exemption and the reason for it.

Is the Senator's point that I, being a sensible Minister, would not make this sort of exemption? That is number one. I will give him two alternatives and I think there are two in this case, and only two. Exemption in respect of an annual sale would be so stated and, therefore, he could not, presumably, legally, grow into a weekly sale. Is this not the point?

Then that case does not arise. He cannot have his business, his livelihood and his all taken from him. Then what sort of example would the Senator give us where a person would be participating, under exemption, frequently and regularly, say, at regular intervals to the degree that it was his business, his livelihood and his all and the withdrawal of the exemption was taking this away from him? If you do not have it my way, my fellow cannot grow into a weekly sale because a sensible Minister will have said that the exemption was only for an annual sale and even Senator O'Quigley would know that you cannot have 52 annual sales in a year, not legally under an annual sale exemption.

What about the pig sales to which I referred yesterday?

Do not confuse the pigs with the cattle and bull sales.

They are all animals.

This would be too much for me at this time of night. Senator Murphy and I are dealing with the operations which would have been allowed to take place occasionally by a specific exemption under section 4 of this Bill. As he rightly points out, they could not develop into a weekly sale if they are exempted as being an annual event. I agree with that. All I am saying is that with a sensible Minister, which you must recognise you have at the moment, there is no question of an exemption for an occasional sale, which is what the exemption section is really intended for, developing to the point where it would involve the livelihood of a person, possibly to the degree of wiping the poor fellow out if the exemption is withdrawn. That is what I cannot understand. Possibly Senator Murphy could elucidate that point in his example to me, and maybe then we shall see eye to eye.

I shall try: I did not give any examples.

The Senator did, by inference.

The Minister knows better than I do what he intends. When I went through the Bill, I put down a question mark after section 4, because I did not understand its purpose. The Minister gave examples. He spoke about a group who started the occasional sale, and he ended up by referring to the individual increasing the frequency of the sale. It was he who gave that example. Senator Nash gave another example. He spoke about the injustice to the farmers. Again that is understandable. He spoke about the annual sale which developed into a weekly sale, and it was in reply to him I made the suggestion that the Minister would hardly be doing his job if an exemption allowed an annual sale to develop into a weekly sale.

I do not know what sort of sale or business is envisaged under this section. All I am saying is that the section gives the Minister the right if he thinks fit, to grant exemptions from the provisions of this Bill in respect of the carrying on of any business of a particular class or kind. If any business has been carrying on under exemption granted by the Minister at his discretion, and if he then withdraws the exemption, that business has to go out of existence. The Minister is then saying that when he withdraws an exemption, he will cause particulars of that withdrawal to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas. That is no use to the person whose exemption has been withdrawn. It is too late in the day. What I am suggesting to the Minister is that it is reasonable that he should so arrange matters that before the withdrawal becomes effective, some time is given. That is all that concerns me. I do not intend to start an argument with the Minister as to the type of business, occasional sales of what have you. The Minister knows better than I or anybody else what kind of business to which he would give exemptions under the section.

I still have the greatest hope that Senator Murphy and I can see eye to eye about this, despite, possibly, a bad choice of examples or the distortion of these examples unwittingly in the course of coming and going across the House. If somebody is in the business of marketing livestock as an occasional happening, such as a show — the RDS would be a good example, although there are others throughout the country — or if there is a sale of stock on a man's farm, these would be examples of the type of sale which we do not want to come under the provisions of this Bill and which we propose to utilise section 4 to exempt. It is also possible that under an exemption this sort of operation could become habitual.

An autumn sale and a spring show. You could have two in some places.

That is quite possible, and you might have three or even four that would rank for exemption. What I am trying to allay is the fear of Senator Murphy that somebody who is enjoying an exemption and who will have developed a business to the degree that taking away the exemption — I know what the Senator is going to say, that "business" is stated here; all right, but what has been implied by the Senator is that taking away the business by the withdrawal of exemption would be very unfair and could put a man out of business. When we talk about a man being put out of business, we mean that a man is hard-hit and has lost a substantial part of his income or livelihood. What I am trying to get across is that if the operations of a mart business have been developed to the point that the livelihood of the man is involved, then we should at that point sit up and take notice and possibly suggest to him: "You may have started in the business under exemption and continued up to this point, but you are now participating habitually in the business of livestock marketing, and we shall not allow you to continue under exemption." That is fair enough at that stage. Supposing we say then: "We are withdrawing that exemption", then what I am empowered to do here — and I wish to keep it in that form——

The Minister is empowered to withdraw the exemption? That is not what he said. He said he was empowered to say he was withdrawing the exemption.

There is nobody preventing me from saying it. Remember, that I could have been the Minister who gave the exemption to that class or category, and now I see reason why it should be withdrawn. Supposing, as the Senator has expressed his fears, some person in this class or category has now developed the business to the point that it is a habitual business, and he is now an ordinary operator of a livestock mart. He now comes into competition with other livestock marts, and even if I do not give him notice, which would be very far from the fact in a matter such as this, and even if I said that from tomorrow or from next month — and I could say six months — I was withdrawing this exemption — there is no obligation to withdraw it on the day I give the notice of intention to make the withdrawal — the person concerned has an immediate remedy, that is, to apply for a licence for a livestock mart which licences are held by those who are now in competition.

And which the Minister may at his discretion revoke.

Certainly, subject to all these other things we have been talking about for days past. But it is true that if he does get into the livestock mart business, whether accidentally or intentionally, through operating under exemption, the withdrawal of that exemption is not an unfair thing. It need not be done on the day notice is given. In fact six months or 12 months notice may be given to him.

Write that into the Bill.

Then I could not do it in a lesser time and there may be cases in which it would be desirable that I should withdraw the exemption in a shorter time.

What about the person who has been convicted in court, and has been fined having broken the regulations? He is given time. It does not happen overnight to him but it may so happen to a fellow who has committed no offence.

No; this is a misunderstanding. There are three methods of dealing with the revocation of a licence. First, in certain circumstances the licence can be revoked and the licensee told that it is revoked henceforth. Secondly, seven days notice may be given of intention to revoke and thirdly there is the case arising in certain instances that would place revocation, or the thought of revoking in the Minister's mind, and then there will be brought into play the barrister of ten years standing to report to the Minister and the Minister will be obliged to consider that report before arriving at his decision and after which in all cases he will furnish to the Dáil and Seanad the reasons for any or all such revocations.

Is the Minister not omitting one stage, where the person has been prosecuted and found guilty?

Acting Chairman

Which section are we on? I do not want to go back on sections that have already been dealt with.

We are on section 4 and the Minister is dealing with the appropriate points.

I am saying that there are opportunities for the man who becomes a habitual mart operator, even though it may accidentally or intentionally have been made possible for him through exemption, if he loses the exemption by means of a withdrawal. He can apply for a licence and if he is up to the standard I shall give him a licence and that is the answer. If a provision regarding giving six months or 12 months notice could be written into the Bill it would be good if, by so doing, it did not prevent the Minister in cases where shorter notice would be merited, giving shorter notice. In the normal course the intention to withdraw exemption — probably the longer the exemption has existed the more definite this would be — the person affected would be given notice as ample as the circumstances warranted. This would be the normal procedure in this sort of case and it will not be departed from by me or by anybody else who succeeds me.

Briefly, on the section——

We have been two hours on this. I think we have talked this section out.

Briefly, I just want to say on the section that it is provided that the Minister shall cause particulars of any grant or withdrawal of an exemption to be laid before each House. Could the Minister indicate what form these particulars will take? We have been on this section, as Senator Ó Maoláin rightly said, for two hours, and the Minister has occupied no small part of that time. More power to him and to Senator Murphy and those who took part in this debate but it does show how necessary it is to have quite an amount of debate on this Bill. It has taken the Minister that length of time in his efforts to convince Senator Murphy.

I do not want to weary Senator Ó Maoláin or the House and I shall not spend much more time on this. I am not quarrelling with the Minister about giving him power to withdraw exemptions. Equally, I accept the point he makes that the person affected by the withdrawal of an exemption can apply for a licence. What I am still worried about is what would happen in the meantime. The Minister, towards the end of this last contribution, was giving the House, I think, some sort of undertaking that normally a person affected by this withdrawal would get reasonable notice. I should like to see exactly what the Minister did promise in that direction and come back to the point, perhaps, in the course of the Report Stage if it did not adequately meet the situation because I still think that with the withdrawal of Senator O'Quigley's amendment there is room for improvement in the section to protect the rights of individuals who might be caught by the withdrawal of exemption.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 30; Níl, 10.

  • Ahern, Liam.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brennan, John J.
  • Browne, Seán.
  • Cole, John C.
  • Connolly O'Brien, Nora.
  • Dolan, Séamus.
  • Eachthéirn, Cáit Uí.
  • Egan, Kieran P.
  • Farrell, Joseph.
  • Fitzsimons, Patrick.
  • Flanagan, Thomas P.
  • Honan, Dermot P.
  • McGlinchey, Bernard.
  • McGowan, Patrick.
  • Martin, James J.
  • Nash, John Joseph.
  • Ó Donnabháin, Seán.
  • O'Kennedy, Michael.
  • Ó Maoláin, Tomás.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick (Longford).
  • Ormonde, John.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Patrick W.
  • Ryan, William.
  • Sheldon, William A. W.
  • Teehan, Patrick J.
  • Yeats, Michael.

Níl

  • Carton, Victor.
  • Conlan, John F.
  • McAuliffe, Timothy.
  • McDonald, Charles.
  • McHugh, Vincent.
  • Malone, Patrick.
  • O'Quigley, John B.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick (Cavan).
  • O'Sullivan, Denis J.
  • Rooney, Éamon.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Browne and Farrell; Níl, Senators McDonald and Malone.
Question declared carried.
SECTION 5.
Question put: "That section 5 stand part of the Bill".
The Committee divided: Tá, 28; Níl, 9.

  • Ahern, Liam.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brennan, John J.
  • Browne, Seán.
  • Cole, John C.
  • Dolan, Séamus.
  • Eachthéirn, Cáit Uí.
  • Egan, Kieran P.
  • Farrell, Joseph.
  • Fitzsimons, Patrick.
  • Flanagan, Thomas P.
  • Honan, Dermot P.
  • McGlinchey, Bernard.
  • McGowan, Patrick.
  • Martin, James J.
  • Nash, John Joseph.
  • Ó Donnabháin, Seán.
  • O'Kennedy, Michael.
  • Ó Maoláin, Tomás.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick (Longford).
  • Ormonde, John.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, William.
  • Sheldon, William A. W.
  • Teehan, Patrick J.
  • Yeats, Michael.

Níl

  • Carton, Victor.
  • Conlan, John F.
  • McDonald, Charles.
  • McHugh, Vincent.
  • Malone, Patrick.
  • O'Quigley, John B.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick (Cavan).
  • O'Sullivan, Denis J.
  • Rooney, Éamon.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Browne and Farrell; Níl, Senators McDonald and Malone.
Question declared carried.
SECTION 6.
Amendments Nos. 36 and 37 not moved.

Amendments Nos. 38 and 39 go together.

I think there are others that could go together. They are all in relation to the regulations under section 6 — Nos. 38, 39, 45 and 46.

Amendments Nos. 45 and 46 would go together anyway, but not amendment No. 42.

I move amendment No. 38:

In subsection (2) to delete paragraph (b).

Paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of section 6 reads:

provide that entries for such auctions shall not be refused except in circumstances prescribed in the regulations,

and paragraph (c) reads:

prescribe the manner in which such auctions shall be conducted.

I should like to hear from the Minister what exactly he has in mind here because "provide that entries for such auctions shall not be refused" brings me back to the point I raised earlier regarding people who may fall foul of the mart proprietors and whom the mart proprietors feel should not be allowed to enter stock at the marts. Should they refuse to accept their entries they may be complained of to the Minister and may then be in serious difficulties. Paragraph (c) reads:

prescribe the manner in which such auctions shall be conducted.

I am completely at a loss to know what the Minister has in mind here. Paragraph (e) is as follows:

prescribe requirements as to the size, design, maintenance, repair, cleansing, cleanliness, ventilation, heating and lighting of any buildings in which such auctitons are held.

This is a real gem because I can see in the provincial papers of the future notices that sales will be held at the luxury mart of so and so. The marts will come into competition with each other in design and layout. The seating will be such as we are accustomed to in the Seanad, they will be air-conditioned and existing marts will be found to be inadequate in design and size. The whole thing leads one to believe that this section is put in in a manner designed for the future instead of for the present because the marts at the moment follow a similar pattern in all places. As I pointed out on Second Stage to the best of my knowledge — I am not familiar with marts in all parts of the country — the marts are by and large very well run as far as cleanliness and sanitation are concerned and certainly they are very far in advance of what the farmers were accustomed to in the old days of the fairs when they had to stand for hours on end on the streets waiting to sell their cattle.

Paragraph (f) of his subsection reads:

Prescribe requirements as to the accommodation (including washing facilities and sanitary conveniences) provided at such places.

It is reasonable to expect in this day and age that sanitary conveniences and washing facilities should be provided. To the best of my knowledge, they certainly are in any marts that I am familiar with. However, the one regulation that says "prescribe the manner in which such auctions shall be conducted" and that which says "provide that entries for such auctions shall not be refused except in circumstances prescribed in the regulations" certainly leave me at a loss to know what the Minister has in mind with regard to them.

I feel that subsection (1) of section 6 is sufficient in itself without the additions this group of amendments propose to delete. As Senator Malone said, the number of regulations that any Minister could introduce under these broad headings could certainly strangle any mart or industry. For instance, with subsection (2) in, what is to stop the Minister from prescribing that all marts should be conducted through the medium of Irish? There is nothing wrong about that but it would not suit in many parts of the country. It is these wide powers which this subsection is giving to the Minister that are causing grave uneasiness in the country.

Paragraph (e) which prescribes requirements as to the size, design, maintenance, repair, cleansing, cleanliness, ventilation, heating and lighting of any buildings in which such auctions are held is causing grave concern to mart owners. Those buildings are only used in the main once a week. They all provide at least a minimum of comfort and amenities and I feel that subsection (1) is sufficient guarantee that the mart owners or proprietors will provide reasonable comforts. I do not think it is necessary for any Minister of State to have the power to dictate to voluntary organisations or to private business concerns the actual design, the size and the ventilation of these premises.

The big question as far as paragraph (e) is concerned is the fact that so many of the co-operative marts are built on a voluntary basis. A group of individuals come together, invest their own money and go to the bank in nearly all cases for sizeable overdrafts. These people put up an economic type of building but it certainly serves its purpose and gives a reasonable amount of protection from the weather and comfort to the vendors and buyers. I feel this is sufficient. If the Minister is going to prescribe grandiose buildings or is going to insist on introducing regulations which may succeed in having some of those places closed, I do not think it will help the cattle industry in any way. Any business which has dealings with the public must of necessity have regard to cleanliness, ventilation and heating to a certain extent. These people will look after these items where they are required.

Practically every mart that I know of has a canteen for the convenience of customers, including a bar in many cases. These voluntary organisations and businesses have done a marvellous job in facilitating the farmers and the people in the livestock trade by providing those services and amenities. They have done so without any kind of State aid and they have done quite a good job. The big point, especially in regard to the co-operative marts in which you have many small shareholders — in many cases the place has been built on an overdraft which they are now trying to pay off — is whether the Minister is going to think up some nice plans, calculate air space and what have you for the individuals in those marts and thereby altogether inflate the cost of providing those buildings and put them out of the reach of the ordinary co-operative group.

We are in danger of having the entire livestock industry put in jeopardy. Cattle account for some £15 million a year and that is a sizeable industry. I can see in this subsection the Minister making regulations which may channel this entire industry into the hands of two or three big marts. That is undesirable and it is something we should resist as strongly as possible.

Paragraph (b) provides that entries for such auctions shall not be refused except in circumstances prescribed in the regulations. I should very much like if the Minister at this stage could give us some indication of what he wants to do as far as those regulations are concerned. I cannot think of any reason why the Minister should want to regulate this at all. I know in all the marts that I personally frequent the cattle are accepted as you enter. If you enter them early, you will have a high number and if you go late you will have to wait. That is a very fair system and I do not think the Minister should try to change it.

Why must the Minister have regulations in regard to this activity which by and large has been working very satisfactorily? Those people are doing an excellent job and I do not think there is any need at all for State intervention in this industry. The section of the cattle industry that most needs attention is external marketing, the selling of our cattle abroad. I would have dearly preferred if the Minister, instead of regulating the sale of cattle at home marts throughout rural Ireland, had employed his draftsmen and the personnel of his Department to get to the pros and cons of improving the export of cattle.

The Senator will confine his remarks to the amendment before the House.

Paragraph (f) of this subsection prescribes requirements as to the accommodation, including washing facilities and sanitary conveniences, provided at such places. The Minister can correct me if I am wrong but I think there is sufficient legislation, without recourse to paragraph (f) at all, on the statute book to satisfy his desire to see that those facilities are provided. We have many sections in the Health Acts, as far back even as the 1878 Act right up to the 1962 Act, in which officers of local authorities are empowered to investigate any situation which might be a danger to public health. There are many Acts — the Minister knows them as well as I do — to regulate this matter and there is no need good, bad or indifferent, for the inclusion of the subsection in the measure. The powers of health inspectors are quite sufficient to safeguard public health without paragraph (f) and for that reason we feel it is superfluous as far as this section is concerned.

The Minister.

From what has been said by the previous speakers, it frightens me slightly to speak.

I should like to answer those questions rather than have Fine Gael saying that I am not answering them.

Senator Carton.

I am not talking about anybody except myself. There is just a point I should like to raise. In the earlier sections of the Bill you are going to license marts. I do not know that any talk about this will change that attitude. I am accepting the fact, that the various regulations you propose are to achieve uniformity over the country as a whole but I am concerned about the earlier points in the Bill where it is said that licences will be granted to existing marts. What has been said before sort of makes me fear that that would not happen. That is what I am concerned about.

What I want to get across to Senator McDonald so that he can get a bit of sleep tonight and not be worried about the export of cattle, which he mentioned is that subsection (1) — I will be concise on this — provides for the making of general regulations. I should like to call the attention of the House and particularly Fine Gael to the fact that the Minister may make general regulations. Subsection (2) says "Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1)," and again the Minister may make regulations concerning all those other things that follow on.

In regard to those things that follow on in paragraphs (a) to (i) it is usual in legislation of a type similar to this to specify in detail some of the main matters which will be covered in general regulations. In other words, what follows in subsection (2) in some detail could be regarded as the main matters but not the only matters that may be covered by the provisions in subsection (1). In both cases in subsection (1) and in subsection (2) the emphasis surely must be placed on the word "may". Paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (d) in subsection (2) are, in effect, quite clear. They relate generally to the manner in which business is carried on in marts and it is proposed in the first two amendments taken in this group that (b) and (c) should be dropped, leaving (a) and (d) to stand.

Play has been made here on the manner in which entries for auctions may be accepted and prescribing that they may not be refused. The real purpose here is to ensure that the good practices, and the fair and just practices outlined by Senator McDonald, will not only continue in the marts which are now practising but that they will continue in every mart in the future, whether a new mart or an existing mart. I do not think anybody would take offence at that position. That is with regard to (b) and (c).

We go on to (d), but I am only giving a run down on this and perhaps I should move on from (d), as (d) goes with (a), (b) and (c) on the general manner in which business should be carried on. Paragraph (d) was inserted by way of amendment in the Dáil in order to try to improve the Bill still further.

We then have (e) and (f) which relate to the physical aspects of the buildings. They are very clearly stated in these two parts of the subsection. Subsections (e) and (f) refer to the physical aspects and the making of regulations in relation to these physical aspects. There is nothing airy-fairy in this, although Senator McDonald seemed to think that we might possibly instal maple floors, spring cushion seats and air conditioning, individually controlled, at these auctions, and so on. It is possible, however, while that may be said in jest, that it may yet come to pass, but I do not feel at this juncture that I will be impelled to include that sort of exotic surroundings in the regulations in so far as (e) and (f) are concerned. If it is the fear of the Senator that these two subsections (e) and (f) may be used for the purpose of providing exotic surroundings and rather lavish accommodation, this, indeed, is not the intention. But, who knows, we may have all these things in the future. If we should have a Fine Gael Minister for Agriculture no one knows what might be prescribed; but, even if that should happen, there will always be available a sensible Opposition.

As we have now.

If that should ever happen, there is always the stabilising action. Do not worry; we do not intend to have carpets, maple floors and this sort of thing.

In so far as the end of this and other parts of subsection (2) are concerned, they deal with veterinary and hygiene requirements and standards for such places and such auctions. We will use our power to make regulations in regard to this aspect in so far as it is in the interests of the cattle industry and the farmers with whose wellbeing the cattle industry deals. These are the requirements of the section and the subsections, and the spelling out of these things, to which objection possibly is taken because they are highlighted, is for the reason, as I said at the beginning, that it is usual in legislation of this nature, where you have a general power given in subsection (1), to spell out, or in other words, to highlight, the main items likely to be covered, or will be considered for covering, in the regulations.

This is not in any way an exclusive list. In other words, things other than this may if the occasion arises be also regulated. But we do as a usual practice in drafting a measure such as this give that sort of highlighting at the beginning to things we are dealing with in this and the other House which are likely to be dealt with by regulation.

These things mentioned are the likely things to be dealt with and I have indicated how, in the different groups, they will be dealt with and the manner in which we will continue to make regulations that will be acceptable and sensible and related to the wellbeing of the marts, the people who run them and the people who frequent them, all in the interests of doing better business in a better way in so far as our livestock are concerned.

This is the whole purpose of the Bill and is particularly the purpose of these regulations under section 6. All parts of it are designed in common for this is their primary objective and the taking out of words as is proposed by the four amendments does not really improve it. Taking them out does not remove the possibility that they may be covered. I feel the paragraphs should remain in, to highlight this matter of entries and the acceptance of entries in a fair and just way and to prevent people from refusing entries in an unjust manner.

Paragraphs (b) and (c) of subsection (2) are not only good but it is necessary that these matters should be highlighted, as in every similar Bill, so that everybody can understand that they will be dealt with. We deal with them to ensure the good and the normal practice that obtains in a large number of the marts, to ensure a fair and just placing of entries and their numbers and the manner in which they will be called on the auction day. We want to ensure that this practice will continue in the marts already in existence and in any new marts that may arise and be licensed in the future.

Taking out (e) and (f), as is proposed in amendments Nos. 45 and 46, would mean taking out something that has to do with the physical aspects that we may determine by regulation. In regard to all these regulations, as I have said repeatedly on other sections, we will have the promised co-operation and the advice of the marts associations and, undoubtedly, we will have available to us, as Senator Quinlan said, the fund of knowledge assembled and available as the IAOS headquarters. This is not something that will be used by a few people alleged not to know the marts or anything about the operation of marts or, as is said of them, who have no practical experience of running marts.

These regulations will be drawn up and drafted and put into final form with the assistance and advice of the two associations represented by and large, by the mart operators today and all the knowledge and experience they have which has been promised to be put at my disposal in the drawing up of these regulations. The IAOS can contribute in this way and I think we can do not only a good job under this particular section but an excellent job with the help and guidance accepted by me from the two marts associations.

For that reason I commend this section. The generality of subsection (1) covers all that is there and highlights these things so that people will know about the things we want to cover and which we will cover.

The Minister has again overstressed that "the Minister may", for the purpose, introduce regulations, and he has time and time again stressed this word "may". If it is merely an afterthought, or if there is just a slight possibility he may introduce regulations, why are we all here and what is all the fuss about this Bill?

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.
The Seanad adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 10.30. a.m. on Friday, 4th August, 1967.