Night Work (Bakeries) (Amendment) Bill, 1981: Report and Final Stages.

Acting Chairman

This is a Seanad Bill which has been amended by the Dáil. In accordance with Standing Order 82, it is deemed to have been passed its First, Second and Third Stages in the Seanad and is placed on the Order Paper for Report Stage. On the Question "That the Bill be received for final consideration" the Minister may explain the purport of the amendments made by the Dáil and this is looked upon as the report of the Dáil amendments to the Seanad. The only matter, therefore, that may be discussed is the amendments made by the Dáil.

For the convenience of Senators the Cathaoirleach has arranged for the printing and circulation to them of those amendments.

Question proposed: "That the Bill be received for final consideration."

During the passage of this Bill through the Dáil several Deputies indicated that they would like to see more substantial penalties for offences. On further consideration of the matter I felt that their views had some validity, and I have substantially increased the financial penalties provided in the Bill as introduced. These penalties will, I believe, together with the regular inspection of bakeries, help to ensure that the provisions of the Bill will be carried out.

Submissions were made in the course of the debates in both Houses that the penalties in the Bill, as it originally came before us, were a bit light and it is good to see that they have been increased substantially.

There is no doubt that certain features of the Principal Act of 1936 were really unenforceable over the years, and it is good to see an effort now being made to tighten up the legislation in this regard. In regard to the amendment of the fines from £200 to £500 and the £100 to £250, I notice that a total fine of £600 has been written into the amendment. Perhaps the Minister would advise us as to how that maximum figure of £600 comes about, because it would appear that after each period of 11 or 12 days it would be necessary to take out a further summons to pursue the matter further.

This matter of the level of fines is something which crops up in every Bill that comes before this House, particularly in an amending Bill. If one looks at section 4 of this Bill, one can see how ludicrous the situation was over the years where an original fine of £10 stood over a period of 45 years and is only now increased to a figure of £250. I think the Government should look at this whole situation and see if there could be automatic revision upwards of fines, not only in this legislation but in other pieces of legislation, because it makes the whole situation rather ludicrous. It certainly would well pay any offender to pursue the business illegally in the light of such small fines.

I welcome the increases in the fines. Perhaps the Minister would explain why this figure of £600 has been imposed as the upper limit?

The reason for that is that the £600 is the maximum fine that can be imposed by the District Court.

That could be looked at, too.

Question put and agreed to.
Question: "That the Bill do now pass" put and agreed to.