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Seanad Éireann debate -
Thursday, 3 Jul 1986

Vol. 113 No. 14

National Lottery Bill, 1986: Second Stage (Resumed).

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

Before lunch, I had referred to the fact that I was not opposed to the concept of a national lottery. My concern was with section 5 and the amended section 5 of the Bill. I referred to the fact that, in my opinion, section 5 (b) was equal and similar to section 5 in the original Bill, that is, that it contains the following clause:

Such, if any, other purposes and in such amounts as the Government may determine from time to time.

That kind of clause has caused concern and fear among Senators on the other side of the House. Senator Deenihan in particular said he would be putting forward an amendment. I hope he does and certainly we would support him. I made the point that the amended section 5 (1) (a) was an improvement. It includes an item now on the matter of the health of the community. I was making the point before lunch, that I assumed — and I am sure the Minister will clarify this — that what is meant there is not payment of salaries to nurses or the payment of general hospital or community care expenses but that it would go in some way to the Health Education Bureau to create an awareness of the importance of physical fitness in our lives. We should have healthy living habits and generally help to prevent illness in the community. If that is what is envisaged it would be something I would welcome.

Many of the contributions have dealt with sport in our community, its importance and the role of sport in Irish life. That is understandable in a Bill like this though that is not what the Bill is about totally. I am glad the Minister with responsibility for sport is here on this Bill because, as I said, sport is very much part and parcel of the Bill. I can recall another occasion when he was in this Chamber with us. I was hoping that he would be here for this type of legislation. He was sitting in on an amendment Bill on that occasion.

I have no doubt that the idea of a national lottery was intended primarily for sporting, recreational and leisure facilities, but this was never properly defined. Was it meant to cope with the national situation or could it be for local communities, a football pitch, a hall or basketball or badminton? Certainly sport was clearly to be the main benefactor of such a lottery. It was suggested by Deputy Donal Creed when he was Minister that the national sports centre would be financed from this national lottery, not alone the actual erection of the centre, or whatever goes with it, but the running costs and the losses — unfortunately we know that there are losses in these ventures. This was very much to the fore and in the mind of Deputy Creed and the Government at that time. There is no doubt about it but that an investment in sport, leisure and recreation is a good investment. We find now that people have more and more leisure time. Hopefully, more people will become involved in some form of sport, such as simple jogging, squash or swimming. What better way is there for the people of our nation to develop a healthy interest in such sports? It is not clearly defined in the Bill that many of the minor sports that are operating in this country — less fashionable sports which have not large spectator attendances and have no turnstiles to go through in the same way as football, hurling, soccer, rugby and Gaelic — would benefit from such a lottery. I am talking about canoeing, rowing, basketball and athletics to some degree. Unless they have a major international meeting they will not have large crowds. There are many other sports that would clearly like to benefit from such a lottery. We have a great sporting tradition.

We have a very high standard of sporting achievement in this country. We have won much success on the international field from a handful of athletes. We have won and performed very well in the international arena. For example, going back to 1956 we had Ronnie Delaney, recently Eamon Coughlan — known as the chairman of the board for obvious reasons — Marcus O'Sullivan, Frank O'Meara, Ray Flynn and athletes of world reputation who can compete with the best. The common denominator of all of these people is that they had to go to America for their coaching to achieve the high level of excellence they now enjoy. If our athletes can get proper coaching and proper facilities they can be equal to the very best in the world. In cycling Stephen Roche and Seán Kelly can match the best in the world because they have had proper facilities and coaching. We would have great athletes and sports persons given the right opportunities. Our footballers, such as Frank Stapleton and David O'Leary, had to go to England for proper coaching. Our best youngsters are picked up by English scouts. Most go on to become top class footballers. If we could provide proper facilities our footballers could get the proper training and coaching at home.

Senator Deenihan referred to the importance of the national sports centre for the future of sports. He was advocating very strongly the case for Limerick. Many other centres throughout the country are anxious to have this vital and important facility. With regard to such claims, Athlone has a stronger claim than its competitors. From day one, we, as a local authority, were concerned when the advertisement for the national sports centre appeared in the newspapers on 15 November last year. Submissions were to be with Cospóir before 28 November. As chairman of the council I called a meeting. It was attended by all sporting representatives. We made a first-class submission. The point I am making is that we were the only local authority to have our submission in before the required date. Athlone is the very centre of Ireland. We have 70 acres of land in public ownership and an excellent road network. It is easy to get to Athlone from any centre.

Senator Deenihan referred to a water sports centre for Limerick. In Athlone we have rowing, canoeing and yachting. We have the second oldest yachting club in the world. We have a rowing course which is almost 2,000 metres. This year most of the adult championships of the Irish Rowing Union were held in Athlone. There is a lake and facilities for water sports. I regard Athlone as the natural place for the national sports centre.

Many people fear the impact which the national lottery will have on the existing lotteries operated by various volunatry and charitable organisations will affect them. The Government, when announcing the national lottery, indicated that consideration would be given to this problem and that they would introduce changes in the existing legislation governing prizes in the hope of ensuring the continuation of existing lotteries. Nonetheless many of these groups are concerned.

I would hope that the lotteries run by Rehab and the Irish Wheelchair Association will not be affected by the national lottery. I would also hope that the efforts of groups such as the Lions Clubs, the Round Tables and the Soroptomists, who are doing great work for charitable organisations and are contributing enormously to the overall health services, will not be interfered with. These groups are very hard pressed at present for funds. They will need every help. I would hope that all voluntary groups who help to collect funds, whether they be Gael-Linn, the Mater Hospital Pools or the Rehabilitation Institute will continue to operate without any loss of revenue.

The national lottery may also have an effect on local charities, where a group come together in a village or town to collect for an important local cause. The Irish people have a great awareness of problems. They are generous to charitable organisations. I hope such groups will not be affected by the national lottery.

The positive aspect of the Bill is that An Post are to have a major input into the lottery. A subsidiary company of An Post will be set up to run the lottery. This is the proper approach to it. An Post are not referred to in the Bill but the Minister referred to it in his Second Stage speech. An Post are well suited to run this lottery because they have 2,000 or more suboffices. If it is to succeed, then the organising company, An Post, will have to embark on a major promotion programme. Can they sell tickets in America and Canada and such places or will sales be confined to Ireland? The Minister might comment on this.

The Bill provides that tickets may not be sold to persons under 18 years of age. This might be very difficult. The Minister in his Second Stage speech made the point that if a person under 18 receives a present of a ticket then that would be satisfactory. Let us assume that a 16 year old, not knowing the law regarding the National Lottery Bill, buys a ticket and wins a prize. Will he be asked for his birth certificate? Will he be denied his prize? That would be a very harsh attitude. I know the Bill provides for that, but it should be looked at again. It is not like drinking or gambling. It is somewhat different. The age limit might be lowered but, if it is not, what happens if, through lack of knowledge, a 16 year old buys a ticket and wins first prize? Can they take the prize home with them?

I welcome the fact that these will be an annual report. It is important that the lottery will be controlled properly from this point of view. I hope that the reports will not be delayed for three, four or five years as often happens with local government accounting and so on. I hope that we will have it as quickly as possible after the 12 month period.

The fact that there is an independent Ombudsman who will examine and oversee the operations of the Bill is welcome. There may be a lot of complaints, particularly in the early years.

Section (2) states:

The total value of the prizes distributed in the National lottery in any financial year of the Company shall... be equal to not less than 40 per cent of the total moneys received by the Company in that year in respect of the sale of National Lottery tickets in that year.

It is amazing how influenced people are by the size of the first prize. The more money one has in the fund to distribute the greater the number of people who will participate. The 40 per cent level should be increased if the lottery proceeds as we all hope it will.

Section 34 (2) states that:

If in any respect any difficulty arises in bringing this Act into operation, the Minister may by regulations do anything which appears to him to be necessary or expedient for bringing this Act into operation...

Perhaps the Minister might comment on what exactly this means. One could suggest that the Minister is overruling an Act of Parliament and I am sure that is not the intention.

I am not opposed to the concept of a national lottery. I like to have a flutter on the horses and dogs or participate in a raffle and maybe I am biased a little towards it from that point of view. My biggest criticism of the Bill is in relation to how the funds will be fully allocated. Other Members have mentioned this. Section 5 (1) (b) is the provision I would be most critical of. My worry is that the money collected would be spread through each Department for a multiplicity of causes. Hopefully this will not happen. That is something we can discuss on Committee Stage.

I welcome the opportunity to speak on this Bill. The idea of a national lottery is not a new one. The Minister in his Second Stage address cited the fact that State lotteries exist in many of our European partner countries and internationally in some 80 countries plus. In many ways, it is surprising that we have not already established what other countries have found to be a very lucrative way of generating revenue. There have been discussions on the concept of a lottery. From a personal perspective, I have no difficulties at all with it.

Senator Brendan Ryan had some critical comments to make on the line that the lottery is some sort of poverty trap created by the Government, particularly for people on low incomes who he contended are predisposed to gambling a disproportionate amount of their income. I reject the paternalistic approach that says that people with means can go to races, to the dog tracks or squander money as they please, but people on low incomes or those dependent on social welfare should somehow have to be protected from such foibles. The same sort of logic often comes into play when we discuss liberalising licensing laws, that people on low incomes or in a poor socioeconomic status somehow have to be protected from themselves because they are predisposed to being reckless with their meagre resources. People are entitled to dispose of their incomes as they please. There is an Irish trait — Senator Fallon touched on it very well — that we like the occasional flutter and on different aspects of gambling. It is all the better if the profits that accrue from such flutters can be channelled for the good of the community generally. The idea of a national lottery is something I have no difficulty with.

I looked at the specific proposals in the Bill. Most of the Bill is of a technical nature, as it must be, to set up a mechanism for establishing the national lottery. It seems as if it is long overdue and I welcome it. The revenue from it could well be used in the variety of ways that have been touched on by other Senators, and which I will touch on later.

I welcome the fact that a subsidiary of An Post will be licensed to operate the lottery, at least on an initial basis. The history of An Post, their record of service, the quality and dedication of the personnel employed by them and the fact that they exist in every village makes them the ideal vehicle for implementing this operation. I do not know whether each post office will be a franchise holder and will sell tickets. Obviously other high street locations will be looked at; I have no doubt that it will be a combination of both. I commend the Government for selecting An Post. I know that there were other commercial and semi-commercial parties who were anxious to gain this licence. I welcome the decision of the Government that it should go to An Post. They are a successful State company whose record of service to the community at every level is very high.

Section 5 states that:

Moneys paid into the Central Fund pursuant to section 8 of this Act shall be applied for

(a) the purposes of such one or more of the following, and in such amounts, as the Government may determine from time to time, that is to say, sport and other recreation, national culture (including the Irish language) the arts (within the meaning of the Arts Act, 1951) and the health of the community,


(b) such, (if any) other purposes, and in such amounts, as the Government may determine from time to time

Senator Fallon was very critical of (b) and said that the Government would have control over the fund and could channel it to any Department of State that had a deficit. There is a genuine fear that Governments would be tempted to dissipate the revenue that is gained from the national lottery and use it in a way other than is politically intended by the Government in their statement of intent. We should ensure that the funds are not dissipated or used to deal with normal day to day expenses of Government. They are a new and fresh resource available to help in the development of the twin areas of the arts and sport.

Both these areas are obviously sadly lacking in funding. Most speakers concentrated on the sporting aspects. There are lots of sporting clubs catering for a variety of sports. They manage to survive on resources that they generate from their members and supporters. What we do not have is a central sports facility. I know that, like myself, the Minister of State was fortunate enough to visit Australia and see the national sports centre there. Some time ago, prompted by the rivalry with their neighbour, New Zealand, they found they were not doing as well in sport, particularly in the Olympics, as other countries. Australia decided to sit down and analyse why. They are a sporting and athletic people with a very favourable climate for outdoor activities and pursuits. Yet they did not seem to be as great achievers in the realm of competitive sport as their neighbours.

They decided that the reason that this was so was that they had not got any central training centre where they could bring in young athletes at a very early stage and nurture and develop their talents through the growing years. They have done that now. They have created what can only be described as a magnificent sports complex which covers the whole gamut of sports. They sent out experts in each of the sporting areas to identify young developing talent in the schools and bring those of particularly high talent into the central training centre. We do not have that facility. As a people it is doubtful if we can provide that out of normal central funds. It is doubtful if we could ever afford such a facility.

This lottery is our golden opportunity. Unlike other Senators, I do not think that we can do everything with this meagre resource. I do not think it is possible to assist a variety of clubs on the ground or to assist each county. We should be courageous on this and make a decision in the national interest. There is no doubt that different interest groups will scream that they are not getting their little slice of the cake. I appeal to the Minister responsible for sport to be rigid in this decision. We need this facility if we are to be in the ball game internationally and if we are to give our athletes the resources, backup and coaching that every other developed country has. If we miss this golden opportunity we will not get another because no Government will be able to gather together the resources that are necessary to provide such a facility. The Government should not be tempted to spread the resource around the country and allow everybody to feel a little better off. It is an ideal opportunity. If we miss the boat this time we will not get another chance.

Senator Fallon repeated the eloquent plea for Athlone. Obviously, it is centrally located. Senator Deenihan made a similar plea for Limerick. No doubt I am expected to say something for Wexford. The location is not the central issue. Resources in terms of land can be found. We must provide the facility and not allow sectional interests on a regional basis to act the begrudger and take from what will be a marvellous national resource.

In terms of the allocation of resources from this fund the arts will benefit. To be parochial, I come from a part of the country that is well endowed in terms of promoting the arts with very meagre resources. My home town of Wexford boasts the Wexford Opera Festival which is one of the few cultural events that literally puts Ireland on the map. It is renowned throughout Europe and the world. Events like that, which are so important to this country, find themselves ticking over on a day to day basis not knowing for certain whether they will be in operation in 1987. That is appalling. For the British to allow Glynebourne not to exist would be unthinkable. Yet this is our cultural heritage. We have show case pieces of Irish culture that we do not fund. We allow the community to work together and then threaten to pull the rug at a moment's notice. It almost happened this year in Wexford. We must have some resources that allows international festivals to survive. They are expensive but the amounts involved are paltry in comparison to the other international festivals with which they are regarded as equals.

The south-east is well endowed with art centres. My local authority, Wexford Corporation, provided a magnificent premises, our former town hall, for the Wexford Arts Centre at a very nominal rent. Luckily, we were in a position to do that. It is a focal point for the community. In conjunction with Wexford Corporation and Wexford County Council it sponsors a myriad of cultural developments in the town and the surrounding areas from street carnival and street theatre to painting wall murals. It is a focal point and even operates as a coffee shop where people can see marvellous exhibitions. We need focal points like that in every community but we do not have them. We are culturally starved. As a people with great soul we need to address this and we need resources to do it. I am a great believer in the development of local groups and talents. Thankfully, in the last 12 months in my home town, two new theatre companies have been developed both operating on meagre resources. They operate mainly with people who were formerly unemployed. Some now operate under the various schemes of the Department of Labour, for example Teamwork or the social employment scheme. There is one professional theatre and one developing theatre: Wexford Theatre Co-Op and the new pocket theatre which has just opened. There is much enthusiasm in the communities and immensely talented people. What is needed is financial encouragement.

Much lip service has been paid to the development of our national culture and it is specifically stated in the Bill that resources could be used for the development of national culture, including the Irish language. Despite all the rhetoric we did not, until very recently, make a proper analysis of how the Irish language could be made to be a living language in the community. This can be done by community groups embracing the Irish language, not only in the Gaeltachtaí but in the Galltacht as well, places where Irish has ceased to be spoken as a medium of communication for a very long time, including the south-east of Ireland. We can replant that seed because there is tremendous goodwill towards learning the Irish language. What is needed is the structural support that we have failed to give in the past.

There are powerful and compelling reasons why the arts and sport areas should be funded and supported. The Houses of the Oireachtas are the dispensers of resources. We dispense hundreds of millions of pounds to the Departments of Social Welfare, Education and Health. We do not have enough money at the end of the day to fund what is just as much a community need as the health services and what is just as important to human development as schools, that is an artistic and sporting infrastructure in our communities. We are beginning to do that now. This is a vehicle to provide the resources to do that. I am hopeful and optimistic that we will not allow those resources to be dissipated but will insist on them being focused on the areas that I have touched upon which will be of greatest benefit to the next generation.

One of the fears that many Senators expressed during the course of this debate is the impact that this legislation will have on other charities and their fund raising. Senator Deenihan referred to the top-up provision whereby charities which could prove that their fund raising was adversely affected by the national lottery could apply for financial compensation from the fund. Like Senator Deenihan, I would be wary of that because many very well-intentioned, important charitable organisations could seek funds from the national lottery. This would dissipate the limited resources which would be available for sport and art. An assurance is given that every effort will be made not to impact adversely on charitable events and fund raising. I believe that this will be done.

I welcome section 33 which allows the Minister for Justice to lift some of the out-dated restrictions on charitable fund raising in relation to the prizes that can be advertised and awarded. That is long overdue.

The Bill provides a mechanism that has been carefully thought out to belatedly generate funds and channel them into under-funded resource-starved areas that are vital to the health and well-being of any community. The infrastructure seems to be very good and well thought out. It takes account of experiences in other countries. I welcome the appointment of a scrutineer and the fact that an annual report will be published. If the operation of the national lottery proves to be in any way defective and if amending legislation is required I have no doubt that the Government of the day will take whatever corrective action is required.

I warmly welcome the Bill. I hope that my trust is well founded and that the resources will not simply be another pool of money to be poured into central funding and dissipated withour specific effect. I appeal to the Minister to stick to his guns on the national sport centre and to consider the development of community art centres as a vehicle for developing the soul of the community.

The purpose of the Bill is to provide for the holding of a national lottery, and the purpose of the lottery is to raise money. Section 5 of the Bill specifies the purposes for which the proceeds of the national lottery will be used. The first reaction of most people to a proposal to spend money on sport and other recreation, on national culture, including the Irish language, and on the arts would be very favourable. These are areas which are starved of finance at present and the expenditure of resources in these areas would not doubt have very beneficial effects as far as every section of the community is concerned.

It has been suggested that some of the proceeds of the national lottery would be used to provide a national sports centre but this is not specified in the Bill. I wonder why this is so if it is the Government's intention to provide such a centre. As Senator Fallon has mentioned, Athlone has already made a detailed and comprehensive submission outlining their case for the location of the proposed national sports centre in Athlone. Senator Fallon outlined the range of amenities which exist in the Athlone area which would make it an ideal location for such a national sports centre. I want to put on record that the local authority of which I am chairman, namely, Roscommon County Council, fully support the case made by Athlone Urban District Council in this regard.

I suppose so does the Minister.

In addition to the purposes which I have already mentioned which are specified in section 5(a), there is one other purpose specified and that is the health of the community. Like other Senators, I wonder what is intended under this heading. Is it intended that some of the proceeds of the national lottery will be used to subsidise the health services or to provide moneys which should be provided in the Health Estimate? Or will the moneys be used to finance the anti-smoking campaign, which the Minister announced recently? If that is the case, I am quite sure that the majority of people would not be in favour of the proceeds of the lottery being used for such purposes. If, however, it is intended that the money will be used to promote and support activities which help towards the ideal of mens sana in corpore sano, I suppose that is a different matter.

Section 5 (b) has been referred to by practically every Senator who has spoken. This subsection is a different kettle of fish: it gives absolute power and discretion to the Government to use some or all of the proceeds of the national lottery for any purpose the Government may decide from time to time. This subsection gives the Government power, if they so wish, to use the funds raised through the national lottery to subvent the Estimate of any Government Department, or indeed to provide inducements to the electorate in the run-up to a general election or in a by-election situation. The Minister should reconsider this subsection and either agree to delete it or amend it drastically.

I now want to get on to another point which I wish to make in relation to this Bill. We should not fall into the trap of accepting that, even if it could be argued that the purposes for which the proceeds of the lottery will be used are commendable and praise-worthy, then the holding of the lottery to raise these funds is fully justified. Senator Brendan Ryan and other speakers referred to this. While I would not go as far as Senator Brendan Ryan went, I certainly would not dismiss the possible consequences of the holding of a national lottery as flippantly as Senator Howlin did. However, commendable the end may seem to be, in certain cases it may not justify the means and I believe we should examine very carefully the possible adverse effects or consequences which the proposed national lottery may have.

Over the past months we have heard much discussion and much soul-searching in relation to the whole issue of marriage breakdown. A general consensus was that there is a lot of economic pressure on many families today and that this is a factor which contributes to marriage breakdown. There is no doubt about it — it will be the lower paid and the poorer sections of the community who will be most strongly attracted to the national lottery. While I accept the fact that having a flutter on a horse or a flutter on a greyhound may be a very pleasant pastime and may not lead to compulsive gambling, at the same time we must accept that there is a situation where that type of gambling has an impact on the standard of living of lower-paid workers and lower-income families and social welfare recipients. I am sure that, as public representatives, we all know people who spend an undue proportion of their income on gambling and on one-arm bandits and on bingo and consequently the standard of living of such people is affected.

It has been stated that the franchise for the national lottery has been given to An Post. I assume that An Post will use the outlets which it has for the sale of the national lottery tickets. I am referring in particular to the post offices. We must take into account that the post offices are the places where old age pensioners and social welfare recipients and many persons in the lower income bracket receive their pensions and social welfare payments. The fact that those tickets will be on sale for the national lottery in those outlets will provide a temptation for these people to spend possibly a greater proportion of their meagre allowances on the purchase of lottery tickets than they would spent if those tickets were not available in those outlets. Furthermore, I would like to ask if it is intended that other employees of An Post would be engaged in the sale of the national lottery tickets. I am thinking in particular of postmen. In rural areas especially, I know it would be very difficult for many people to refuse to purchase a lottery ticket from their local postman, if requested to do so. If it is intended that postmen would be involved in the sale of lottery tickets, then I would assume that they would receive a commission on such sales so that this would be an inducement to them to sell as many tickets as possible. Consequently, they may be in a position to exert undue pressure on the households and the persons on whom they call every day in connection with their duties as postmen.

These are just a few of the reservations which I have about the national lottery. Section 7 (4) states that a person shall not sell or offer for sale a national lottery ticket to a person under the age of 18 years, or invite from such a person an offer to buy a national lottery ticket. I wonder whether or not that subsection of the Bill will be enforceable. Secondly, I would like to draw attention to the fact that there are no penalties laid down for a breach of that subsection. Therefore, that subsection will be totally ineffective and it does not add anything to the Bill. The legislation, when enacted, would be stronger and better if that subsection were deleted altogether.

A reference has been made by a Senator to the fact that the prizes in the national lottery would be tax free, but this is not stated in the Bill. I wonder if the Minister, when replying, could indicate what the tax position is in relation to prizes in the national lottery, whether or not those prizes will be tax free.

Reference has also been made to the effect that the national lottery will have on Irish Hospitals Sweepstakes and the consequences for their employees. I feel a considerable amount of sympathy with the employees of Irish Hospital Sweepstakes who will undoubtedly and inevitably lose their employment as a result of the introduction of the national lottery. The national lottery will interfere to some extent, and detrimentally affect to some extent the fund-raising activities of other charitable organisations.

I have these reservations about the Bill. I am happy that the safeguards, which are written into the Bill to protect the public interest and the integrity of the national lottery, are quite good. The appointment of an independent scrutineer to oversee the operation of the lottery will underline public confidence in the fairness of the lottery. The Minister referred to that individual as "an independent scrutineer who will ensure the integrity of the lottery and guard against fraud".

I would like to see section 5 being amended at Committee Stage or paragraph (b) of subsection (1) being deleted. Subsection (4) of section 7 should be deleted also.

I wish to address this Bill very briefly. In doing so, one should stress at the outset that this is a very important enabling measure which provides for the holding, by or on behalf of the Minister for Finance, of a national lottery. As such, the Bill is, in great measure, a technical Bill and much of its contents can more appropriately be addressed at Committee Stage.

The most important section of the Bill is the section which defines those bodies which can benefit from the moneys or funds raised by the operation of the national lottery. Section 5 is the section which deals with the application of the net proceeds of the national lottery. Section 5 (1) (a) provides:

the purposes of such one or more of the following, and in such amounts, as the Government may determine from time to time, that is to say, sport and other recreation, national culture (including the Irish language), the arts (within the meaning of the Arts Act, 1951) and the health of the community, and...

The Minister and the Government have got the balance right in determining the matters which should benefit from the proceeds of the national lottery. It is interesting to remark in passing that the purposes specified here are not dissimilar from the purposes contained in the old Elizabethan statute, defining general charitable purposes within the meaning of the Charities Acts. The purposes specified in the old Elizabethan statute — the Statute of Charles I as applied to this jurisdiction — are not dissimilar from the purposes specified in section 5 (1) (a) of this Bill.

I do not propose to address myself to the question of sport because that has been done in a substantial and reasoned way by my colleague, Senator Deenihan. I propose to address myself to the question of the need to apply moneys, whether they come from the national lottery or otherwise, to the advance of national culture and the advance of the arts within the meaning of the 1951 Act. Before doing so, I would express, in passing, the amazement which I seem to be developing on a daily basis, at the concern which the principal Opposition party have for the morality of the nation. We have seen that concern expressed in a negative, sit-on-the-fence situation in the recent past in relation to one particular issue, the family. We now see this newfound morality paraded today, without blush or blemish, without embarrassment or without difficulty by Senator Mullooly and others. Indeed, we have seen it paraded in the other House of the Oireachtas.

We see this concern for the lower income groups who might be contaminated or endangered in some way by this legislation. Quite frankly, I find that concern to be without foundation. I find it to be a little chattish, bearing in mind the history of the principal Opposition party and the lack of concern shown by them in relation to those they now appear to be so concerned for. It is quite amazing to see this concern shown when a Bill of this nature comes before the Oireachtas, and how the concern that could have been expressed for those who are in a difficult situation in our society was not expressed when other measures were going through both Houses. I would hope that this new concern would see itself extended and expressed in more meaningful ways when we come to deal with other legislation in this House in the months ahead. Perhaps it is a conversion which is welcome; certainly it is a conversion which should be expressed in a balanced way and not in the narrow way that has been shown here today and when this Bill was debated elsewhere.

I want to express my concern about the need for the State to apply funds for the development of the national culture and for the development of the arts in general. In times of substantial although diminishing unemployment there is a need for the State to address itself to the problem of providing recreation on a broad basis for our citizens. That recreation can be within the sporting field, but it can also be within other fields. This is one problem that we, as a State, have failed to address ourselves to in the past. We have recently enacted the National Archives Bill, but we have done nothing in a realistic sense to preserve the various archives existing within this country. We speak on this Bill today at a time when there is taking place in Castle Hacket, County Galway, an auction where a vast and valuable library — principally of genealogical works and a collection of family papers of historic interest to this nation — is being put under the auctioneer's hammer. Yet, it has not been indicated to me that this State, through any of its organs, is in a position to provide money to buy in either the historic documents which are being sold or the books which would be of very definite interest to the Chief Herald's Office or indeed the National Library. We must face, realistically, the needs which we are not answering. What is happening today in Castle Hacket is one indication of our failure to address ourselves properly to that problem.

If one looks at the recent report of the committee concerned with the outflow of works of art, which produced a good report under the chairmanship of the President of the High Court, Mr. Justice Liam Hamilton, one sees the need for new legislation. We can speak of new legislation on the one hand, and we can legislate, but we must, on the other hand, provide a mechanism whereby this State can buy in the things which are leaving this country. Legislation, on its own, will not do it. The implementation of this Bill and the proper application of the net proceeds of the national lottery can have that effect. It is distressing to read all too frequently that valuable paintings, old Irish silver, old Irish glass and old Irish furniture made by crafstsmen who are particularly renowned, are leaving this country because we, within our national institutions, do not have the funds available to buy these things in for the benefit of the entire community.

I can be local in this sense when I refer to the diminishing collection existing within Westport House, the home of the Earl of Altamount, I can express sorrow publicly when I see items from that house, which have an international and a national significance, leaving this country to be sold in London. I can express that regret all the more because, whereas we talk about legislation, we are talking about empty legislation unless the State has funds available to save what is leaving our land. I believe that section 5 (1) (a) provides a mechanism whereby that problem can be tackled.

Speaking of Westport House — and I would be parochial in doing so — I would earnestly hope that the substantial collection of family papers existing there, running to over 10,000 in number and being different in nature might be protected for the benefit of this State and for people who wish to study them within this State by funds which might be made available under section 5 (1) (a) of this Bill. One has to be also realistic because by doing so, and by addressing ourselves in this way to this problem, we are providing within this State a potential which will be available to students from abroad, to tourists and to people who have an interest in examining what we save. If we are to develop one aspect of our tourism we must provide for our tourists and visitors things which will make visiting this land attractive. Unfortunately, many of these things are leaving the country because we do not have the funds available to keep them within our own country.

In the same sense one can comment on the work done by organisations like An Taisce or the Irish Georgian Society; one can commend the work done by them and one can commend it all the more because it is done with very limited funds. I would hope that the State can increasingly get involved in funding and in assisting organisations of that nature to protect within this country our heritage. Indeed, it is an amazing thing that we sometimes comment unfavourably on many developments in the six northern counties of this country but one area where we cannot comment unfavourably is their attitude since the foundation of that statelet to the protection of the arts and, indeed, the protection of things of cultural interest there. The fact that the National Trust of Northern Ireland has been supported by the State in a way that does not exist down here is a sad reflection on our own care of things which are of cultural and artistic interest down here.

The fact that the director of the National Gallery has had to express disappointment publicly at the lack of funding available to that body to buy in paintings and works of sculpture which would be of benefit there and of interest to people visiting our National Gallery is something that cannot be forgotten. I would hope that section 5 (1) (a) will have the effect operationally of making available in greater measure works of art for the National Gallery.

I want to refer once again to the report of the committee concerned with the outflow of works of art. Paragraphs 16, 17 and 18 of that report state:

Tax incentives should be provided to stimulate donations of works of art, manuscripts and heritage material of such quality as to merit a place in public collections, to national cultural institutions or other designated bodies where the works would be on public display.

The State should accept such works of art, manuscripts and other heritage material in lieu of taxes.

Owners of historic properties accessible to the public should benefit from tax relief in relation to the upkeep and development of the collections in their properties.

In paragraph 53 of that report under the heading, "incentives", it is stated:

The Committee is aware that many of the older collections are in the hands of private individuals or families, struggling to maintain properties and who have a diminished asset base to support them. This naturally often leads to the disposal of works of art and the breaking up of collections, to meet running costs, taxation and other circumstances. As the economic circumstances of these properties seem unlikely to change significantly, the Committee urges the Government to take action to encourage the preservation of these important collections, by providing incentives for their owners.

Certainly, incentives can be provided within the Finance Act and within the existing tax code. But the State must go further and I would like to see, in relation to heritage houses and in relation to heritage gardens and properties generally, a greater sense of partnership between the State on the one hand and the owners of these collections on the other. This is an area where this Bill can operate in a constructive sense by providing that type of partnership; and, if that type of partnership is provided, we will have maintained within these Houses, first, a personal interest and also a State investment. It will have the effect of ensuring that these properties are retained intact for the benefit of this State and for the benefit of people who visit this State while at the same time retaining within them sufficient interest to allow them to be developed in a proper sense. That can be done if the moneys which the national lottery can raise are made available in the way I suggest.

I want to come now to another aspect of national culture which is extremely important and that is the protection generally of national documents and national records.

I think it is a gold mine we want, not a lottery.

Even within what can be made available by this lottery we can do a lot. We in this State in achieving independence and in developing our own identity decided that one of the best ways of doing it should be to burn the records of our past. In the difficult years surrounding the foundation of this State we decided to burn our major public buildings and — a more important thing — we decided to burn the documents contained within them. That was done in the national interest. We lost the Custom House and we lost a tremendous collection of documents there. We lost the Four Courts but, luckily, not very much of a documentary nature was contained there. We lost the Public Records Office and we lost a great deal there. It is incumbent on any Government of Ireland to try to ensure now that archival material is recollected. There are many documents, collections of papers and records in private hands which if collected can provide a very sound basis for the type of national archive which is envisaged in a basic sense within the recent Act passed in this House and which I hope we will see developed.

I would like to see the funds made available by section 5 (1) (a) of this Bill being used to purchase collections of documents and records which are in private hands and also being used to collect and store in a more meaningful way records which are in public hands but which at the moment are being retained in really appalling conditions. If one examines the various public offices and one investigates what is retained there one finds that there is a vast collection of records and documents going back to the early part of the last century scattered throughout this country and they are so scattered because we have not had the resources available to collect them.

I want to depart from the few general remarks I made to refer to two sections of the Bill. One is section 7 — I think it has been referred to by other speakers — the section dealing with the sale of national lottery tickets. I simply want to express a certain sense of amazement at section 7 (7), that is the subsection that restricts the ownership of tickets. I cannot understand why persons who are involved with the company should be deprived from the right to own tickets. I can see why such an idea might have come to light but I cannot see that such an idea has any realistic or sound basis. I would ask the Minister of State to reconsider section 7 (7) (a) between now and Committee Stage. Furthermore, I am a little unhappy about the phraseology of the subsection. I will be addressing myself to that on Committee Stage. Section 7 (a) reads as follows:

None of the following persons shall be entitled to own a National Lottery ticket that has been purchased for value or awarded as a prize in the National Lottery or any part of such a ticket.

What do the words "to own" mean? Are we talking about legal ownership or are we talking about the beneficial interest in a ticket? I believe the words "as specified" indicate legal ownership as distinct from the beneficial interest in a ticket. While I disagree with the intent, it is being deprived of its meaning by the use of the words "to own" in section 7 (a) of the Bill. Certainly, it is my belief that if the Bill is enacted with those words it may give lawyers a field day in the High Court and in the Supreme Court. There is every other reason I should welcome the Bill. It is one I think the Minister might not be happy with although the Minister of State might not altogether disagree with my comments in that regard.

Section 15 is the section which deals with the election either to one of the Houses of the Oireachtas or to the Assembly of the European Communities of a director or a member of the staff of the company. The format of this section is one we have debated in relation to many Bills but a defect which existed in many previous Bills seems to exist still in relation to this section. It would appear that nomination to this House is sufficient to deprive one of a directorship of this company. Of course, one must bear in mind the fact that one can be nominated to contest a Seanad election without one's consent. I should like the Minister to look at that section between now and Committee Stage.

As I said at the start I was going to be brief. I want to conclude by saying that I welcome the general tenor and thrust of the Bill. I believe it is a good Bill. It can do a lot to develop and improve areas of Irish life which have been neglected over the years and in welcoming it I fail to understand, as I say, the concern shown by members of the Opposition for the weaknesses or the alleged weaknesses of sections of the Irish community. This is a Bill which, on balance, is a measure which should be welcomed and supported.

I am glad to get an opportunity to make a few general comments on this Bill and I will be very brief. I should say with regard to the last speaker that I am somewhat at a disadvantage as to what exactly he was critical of.

I am critical of the ambivalence shown by the Senator's party for the morality and the protection of the morality of the Irish people. I make no distinction between your party and yourself.

I am not convinced that there is any need for this Bill. I have not been convinced by the Minister's introduction and by any of the Members who spoke in favour of the Bill. In my contribution I am making a few general comments from a very personal point of view as well. I was in this House this morning for most of Senator Brendan Ryan's contribution and I want to say I was very impressed by it. His sentiments, by and large, would represent my views as well.

I have said in this House and elsewhere on many occasions that I believe the abuse of alcoholic drink to be the greatest curse of this country. There are very few Members in the House who in their own experience either in family relationships or in the social areas in which they move could not recount many situations where talents and lives were wasted because of the abuse of alcohol. Perhaps, it is not an appropriate place to go into that in any greater detail but I think that very few people and very few Members of this House would disagree with me.

I think also that gambling is one of the great evils of this country. If it is not the second greatest evil, it is certainly coming close to the tape at the finishing line. Alcoholics Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous have been referred to. Tributes have been paid to these organisations for the great work they do. There are many people of course, who do not benefit from them and I suppose the greatest protection of all is to see that people do not have to avail of them. I could quote statistics with regard to drink. I could quote statistics with regard to gambling and I have done so before and I do not intend to repeat those figures.

In a sense gambling could be considered a greater evil than drink because the amount of drink or poison that any individual can imbibe is limited but with gambling it is different. There is no restraint and think of the human being — I have said this before — by making a comparison to the old steam engine. I was very familiar in my time with working steam engines, threshing mills and the like. I am sure there are very few now who had that same experience. The steam engine was fed by coal or fuel of one kind or another: the more fuel thrown on the fire the faster the engine went and there could be a danger that it would go out of control but to prevent that happening, there were two metal spheres which were attached to a central axis and they were called governors. As the speed increased, the radius of the governors extended and this was a control on the engine, a very important one. The human being needs a control of this kind whether we call it a governor or common sense or tact or cop-on or gumption or whatever it is, it is very important in the make up of any individual's character. Unfortunately, there are many people who do not have this restraint and I am concerned about them. It is the duty of all of us to be concerned about people who suffer in this way. Senator Deenihan, referring to Senator Brendan Ryan's contribution, made the point that people who have the inclination to gamble have plenty of facilities at present and that this Bill, when it comes into operation is not going to make matters any worse. Senator Deenihan misses the whole point of the situation. It is the atmosphere that is created by this Bill that is wrong — the Government are stepping into this area, in a sense making use of this weakness that is inherent in the people.

Senator Brendan Howlin was critical also of Senator Brendan Ryan. He said it was a paternalistic approach to say that people of low means need special protection. I feel that often people, when they are trying to be helpful, are inhibited by tabs that are unfortunate, ill-considered and improper. That is the position here. People, and, above all, people of low means need to be protected from, for example, advertising. It is very difficult for anybody at present to cope with the power of advertising on our television screens, in the drawing room, in the papers and all those areas.

Senator Howlin said that people should be free to do whatever they like with their own money. In a sense, it is hard to refute that. By and large, when they get their pay quite an amount of it is kept back in taxes; so, for a start, they do not have any control over that. Leaving that aside, what we are concerned with here is the area of social engineering where we have an ideal situation in mind. We strive for that; we try to bring about that shift in emphasis. People, like Senator Brendan Ryan, are aiming towards that. It is important to have success in this area of social engineering. There probably will be conflict, but in the long run, whether you say it is a paternalistic approach or whatever, if it is successful, in my view it is to be welcomed. I think alcohol has a special regard in Irish culture. That is one of our great problems. It has a root in song and story. The strong drinker has a great appeal to everybody, except to his wife and family.

I believe that we were to have important changes in the drinking laws with regard, for example, to extensions on Sunday nights. I also believe from the media that the Government has made important changes in this area. I will not go into that in any detail. We will have an opportunity later on to do that. I feel that what it does show is that the Government are not prepared to grapple with the problem. I feel that the commitment of the Government in that respect is in doubt. I certainly would question it.

The gambler has been portrayed more or less the same as the drinker — a brave individual. I can think back to the time when pitch and toss was very popular. The man who was prepared to put everything he had on a pair of pennies was considered a brave man. The man who was not prepared to do that was considered cowardly. This is the kind of atmosphere I believe the Government is encouraging. I believe that in many ways, through advertising and other means, every attempt will be made to make this lottery a success. The more successful it is, the more the people are losing out in this regard.

What some of the Members have said is correct. There is scope for gambling at present. We have bookies shops all over the place. Many of the people who frequent them are in no position to spend money in that way. With regard to marital breakdown, it would be interesting to know what amount of it springs from gambling and drink, from horse racing and the amount of money that is spent on bets. We have Sunday meetings now. I have no strong opposition to them, but that is a further opportunity and encouragement for people to spend more money. People should be able to be happy and spend their Sundays in family situations together without going to Sunday racing.

Bingo has been a craze for some time. I certainly do not have any objections to bingo. It did serve a purpose to bring out people who are working hard, to get them out for an evening. Even crosswords and fashion contests could be considered as a lottery in many ways. I remember Kavanagh's Weekly in 1952. He had a send up of crosswords and fashion contests. To make the point that there was no expertise involved in one particular issue, he promised that the following week he would have a crossword puzzle and the following week he stated in Kavanagh's Weekly that the artist who was to draw the little squares let him down but he proceeded nevertheless. He gave one clue and the following week he had another problem. He said they had decided that the person who won the crossword competition was a titled lady and when they checked her solution, they found there was no such word in the dictionary. He had the same send up with regard to fashion contests. He did not include any fashions he just gave the numbers.

These are all areas of chance of one kind or another. They are harmless in themselves and give pleasure to very many people. What I ask with regard to this Bill — and the Leas-Chathaoirleach asked the same question — is: does the end justify the means? Is it possible to make virtue out of vice? If it is wrong to participate in this way, does the fact that work, or whatever else the Minister promised, will follow, make it acceptable? If 80 other countries do likewise, as Senator McMahon said on an earlier Bill, so what? Why do we have to follow slavishly what they do in other countries?

The Government should encourage thrift. In my young days at the national school we had savings stamps. I believe they were a success at that time. The Government should follow on those lines again. People should be encouraged to save and not leave their happiness and future to chance of one kind or another. In this respect I believe that the Government have a great responsibility to provide opportunities for young people so that they can work, save, build a house, get married and have whatever happiness in life they aspire to. With regard to the Government entering into this area also, I see problems with regard to people who, for example, would want to licence gaming machines of one kind or another. I could just mention that in my own town of Kells at present the urban council is rescinding the Lotteries and Gaming Act because of a second amusement centre that was opened in the town. I have personally inspected that centre. It is very well conducted, very clean, very proper. I can find no fault with the premises, the people who run it or as an amenity in the town. I do know that many lives have been wasted through gambling. In the media recently we got picture after picture, one more depressing than another. I know that situation. It is very difficult to convince people who run these establishments and run them well that we are against them because of the common good when on the other hand they see that the Government seem to be cashing in on the situation.

At present there are many calls on people's resources, church gate collections every Sunday, at places of employment there are collections almost every week. Sport and recreation are most important because many people have time on their hands and are not trained to cope with it. In many ways the Government could bring about training in this area, through the Health Education Bureau and other organisations.

I should like also, in passing, to refer to the great work done by the Irish Hospitals Sweepstakes. Are prize bonds still a success? The same applies here as would apply to what I have said as to the Bill. In the case of prize bonds, the money is not spent; the initial £5 can be reclaimed.

The Minister told us with regard to helping existing lotteries to compete, that the Minister for Justice has in contemplation new prize limits of the order of £3,000 for lotteries under permit and £10,000 for lotteries under licence. This is very welcome particularly by organisations which are trying to raise funds. The national lottery will make gambling more attractive. It is introducing this kind of competitive edge. It is bringing about an ambience where those things are far more acceptable and this aspect of chance and gaming is more or less taken for granted. This is unfortunate.

Lottery tickets may be sold only by the company or by sales agents and may not be sold to anybody under the age of 18 years. The Minister informed us that the purchase of tickets on behalf of those under 18 years, for example as presents, is not, however, to be prohibited. It will be impossible to prevent people under 18 years of age purchasing tickets. They could get somebody else to purchase tickets for them.

With regard to the purposes for which the Government may determine from time to time to give money, the Bill is rather open-ended. While areas are specified in section 5, nevertheless, the Government can vary them. The fact that this will have to be published in Iris Oifigiúil will not make any appreciable difference.

With regard to the 40 per cent in prizes, the point has been made that this is a minimum and that it could be varied. The minimum will be the actual amount. I could not envisage a situation where more than 40 per cent would be paid.

I am not convinced of the need for this Bill. I am not convinced that, overall, it is for the benefit of society that we would have a Bill of this kind. Because other countries have lotteries which are paying, I am not convinced that we should also have one. It is unfortunate and regrettable. I am saying this from personal conviction and not, as Senator Durcan might feel, being in any way vindictive. I hope that time will not prove me right in this respect.

I should like to make a brief contribution on Second Stage. I will not discuss the principle of the national lottery which has been adequately covered by other Members.

I should like the Minister to consider the situation arising in respect of the fundamental change which he proposes to make in the Gaming and Lotteries Act, 1956 under the provisions of section 34 of this Bill. Section 22 of the Gaming and Lotteries Act, 1956 which deals with banning advertising of lotteries, says:

No person shall print, publish in any newspaper or periodical publication, exhibit on any cinema screen...or cause or procure any such notice or announcement to be so printed, published, exhibited or broadcast or knowingly circulate...

In respect of lotteries for which a licence has been granted that will mean that they will be able to advertise that they are being held and advertise the results. Bingo halls, for example, may be able to advertise the fact that they are having bingo on a particular night. The proliferation of these forms of advertisements relating to things that have absolutely nothing to do with the national lottery will be a feature. For that reason I would ask the Minister to look at restricting section 34. I will have something to say on this on Committee Stage.

I do not see the purpose of such a Bill. The Minister said the establishment in Ireland of a national lottery is not in international terms a very unusual step. He stated that state lotteries exist in over 80 countries. That is not a valid reason for introducing a national lottery here. We do not have to copy other countries. Proof of that is that the attempt to introduce legislation through a referendum last week to keep in line with other countries was flatly rejected by the people.

I would be concerned that the national lottery would affect the voluntary organisations who organise their own lotteries to raise funds, especially organiations such as the GAA and Macra na Feirme and so on who organise draws to raise funds to provide amenities and facilities for their members. This is their only way of raising funds. They are limited by law in regard to the amount of prize money they can put up and where they can sell tickets. A person has to become a member in order to participate in this draw. The Minister said and I quote:

Extensive discussions have taken place with those voluntary organisations, charities or umbrella groups that had earlier expressed disquiet at the possible adverse effects of the National Lottery on their fund-raising.

Specific measures have been provided in the Bill to help existing lotteries to compete. Section 33 will enable the Minister for Justice to improve the prize limits at present specified in the Gaming and Lotteries Act, 1956, for lotteries operated under Garda permit or licence...

Lotteries are being organised at present. I know of one organisation, Cappamore GAA Club, who have organised a lottery where someone sold tickets illegally. The Garda and the law can be very strict on people who are spending much time and money, completely voluntarily, going from place to place selling tickets in order to purchase a field or to provide amenities. It is something that Government should be doing. These people find that they are harassed by the Garda authorities. One-armed bandits and slot machines are in pubs illegally and Garda turn a blind eye to these. The youth and the poor are spending their savings on these machines and families are suffering as a result. I would like to see legislation to counteract that, to ensure that we do not have such attractive methods of gambling in places like public houses. As much as £100 can be spent in half an hour with no return. It is a disgrace. Legislation to eliminate or to cease that type of operation is more necessary than the legislation we are discussing today. We should be concerned in introducing new legislation about creating employment. The operation of the new national lottery will do nothing to create extra employment. I understand that the franchise for bringing in this lottery has been given to An Post who have their own staff to operate it and probably will make extra earnings. I am sure that there will be some monetary reward or commission for An Post so as to ensure that it will be a success. Many people will be put in a situation where they will have to join the draw who may not be in a position financially to do so.

There are prize bonds, the purpose of which is to create money for the Exchequer. The Minister said that no profit from the proposed draw will go to the National Exchequer. Will the voluntary bodies benefit from the lottery as envisaged in the Bill? Those who will be relied on to make the national lottery a success are the lower paid and poorer sections of the community. They are the people who will be attracted to the lottery. Tickets will be on sale in places such as post offices. Those in receipt of social welfare will be drawing their money in the post offices and will feel obliged, although they should not, to purchase tickets or get involved in the national lottery, which will definitely affect their income and eventually their standard of living.

I have reservations about the need for a national lottery. The organisation of lotteries should be left to the voluntary organisations who are doing tremendous work in providing amenities, recreational facilities for the community and especially doing great work for the youth. There are more problems to be tackled on the lines of gaming and lotteries laws, especially in the area of the one-armed bandits, which are being operated illegally throughout the country.

I am not going to delay very long on this legislation. There has been much controversy about it which has ranged over a large number of areas concerning the morality of the State being involved in lotteries, the way in which the moneys will be disbursed and the manner in which the operating company will organise itself. We have had a long history of lotteries being run for charitable and social purposes in Ireland. There is no doubt that the Irish Hospital Sweepstakes which was a worldwide innovator of lotteries did a tremendous amount of work for Irish hospitals and for employment and indeed ran a very professional lottery for many years. It is a pity that after all the years of service they have given they will not be involved in the organisation of this new national lottery. It is only a new national lottery. The Irish Hospital Sweepstakes was a national lottery except that it was not run by the State, neither did the profits go to the State. There was a certain private interest and no doubt many private individuals took money out of the receipts from the Irish Hospital Sweepstakes. Nevertheless, when we are setting up a national lottery we must first of all decide on maximising the gain to the bodies who will get disbursements from the fund. I am glad to see that there is a maximum limit set on the expenses that can be incurred, whether by way of salaries, wages, commissions or organisation. It is good that that should be written into the legislation in the beginning.

I am disappointed by the vagueness of the Bill. It is stated that the fund will be used for sport and cultural purposes, including the Irish language, the arts and health. This "and health" bit is a worry to me. The Minister said that it can be disbursed to charitable organisations who are involved in the health area. I am wondering what the Minister means by supporting those charitable and voluntary organisations which operate in the health area. It would seem to me that these charitable and voluntary organisations at present are involved in lotteries of their own and there is absolutely no doubt that one of the effects of this national lottery is that there will be less money available to the various charitable and voluntary organisations who are running lotteries at present in support of health and hospitals.

The Minister states that the prizes to be won in this lottery will be tax-free. Would a group such as the fight for sight campaigners come under this Bill? If they did, would moneys be given to them to fund such equipment as the laser machine which they have purchased and on which there is a £15,000 VAT attachment? It would be a ludicrous situation to give £65,000 to a group like the fight for sight campaigners to purchase a piece of equipment and then have the State taking back £15,000 in VAT.

The initial reasons for a national lottery were given as being in support of sport. Now that the Government have decided that sport and recreation are not going to be the only beneficiaries the lottery will have less effect. I hope the moneys brought in by this lottery and used for the items mentioned will not lessen the amount of moneys the State is giving to these areas at present and that the lottery will not be used in total to support operations which are at present being supported from the Central Fund. Under the Bill there will in effect be no change because the moneys taken in by the lottery will not be kept in a lottery fund. These funds will go into the Central Fund and there will be disbursement from that fund as the Government see fit. This is very dangerous because we could end up with a similar situation to that of the road tax on motor vehicles which was to be used to improve roads. However, the moneys collected from road tax go into the Central Fund and the Government do not provide enough to provide the roads which are necessary. This bill could be used as a tax collecting option for the Government because section 5 says:

Moneys paid into the Central Fund pursuant to section 8 of this Act shall be applied for—

(a) the purposes of such one or more of the following, and in such amounts, as the Government may determine from time to time, that is to say, sport and other recreation, national culture (including the Irish language), the arts (within the meaning of the Arts Act, 1951) and the health of the community, and

That is an extremely broad area and the Minister should be more specific about how these moneys are to be disbursed.

The morality of the State being involved in lotteries has been addressed by other speakers and I am not going to follow that up but there is much concern throughout the community at present because of the amount of money being spent on gambling. Much of the gambling is illegal. There has been an attempt to break away from this but illegal slot machines and gaming machines are still being used throughout the country. Adequate concern is not being paid by Government to this problem. There will be an increase in gambling because the lottery will be an easy way for people to gamble. People will not have to go into halls to play bingo or into pubs because tickets will possibly be sold at counters in post offices. Old people going in to collect their pensions can buy these tickets. According to the Minister there will be instant prizes available. It is optional whether one buys these tickets or not but when people have easy access to them they will buy them. The people who have no disposable income or little disposable income are the ones who will delve in to try to gain extra benefits by winning a small or big prize in an instant bingo game.

From a Government point of view not enough money is put into sport. Most of the money which goes into sport comes from voluntary subscriptions to clubs from companies and sponsorship. There is a need for a much larger input by Government into the sporting and recreational areas. If we had more sporting and recreational facilities we would have less need for hospitals and for the huge spending on health services we have at present. Research has shown that we in Ireland do not spend enough money in preventive medicine. Sport is a very big preventive medicine.

We are hypocrites when it comes to the funding of sport. We do not allow advertising of cigarettes on our national television stations but we allow Carrolls to advertise for four days on RTE during the Carrolls golf tournament. During motor car racing Marlboro and JPS cigarettes are advertised continuously. It is hypocritical that these people are allowed to use our media to advertise cigarettes on a continuous basis when the law does not allow cigarettes to be advertised. This will have to be addressed by Government sooner or later. It is ludicrous to think that because a golf tournament is sponsored by a cigarette company they can have four days of free advertising from RTE. This is an amoral way of getting over the constraints that are put on cigarette and tobacco advertising.

There will be a major impact on existing charities. The Minister has said that if these charities suffer they can apply for disbursement from the fund which will become available from the lottery. It is more probable than possible that all of the major fund raisers will have to go to the lottery for assistance. In the end the State lottery will take over from the many fine voluntary organisations which are running lotteries for charity and for health schemes at present. The cost of running the national lottery will be much larger than is anticipated at present. Some countries have been spectacularly successful in promoting national lotteries but other countries have not been successful.

My comments have been made in the knowledge that this Bill will be enacted. Many people are afraid this Bill will supplant the present funding by Government of sport and the arts and cultural bodies. In the end there will not be much more money available but there will be a different source through a different taxation system which will be called the National Lottery.

I thank Senators on all sides of the House for their contributions. I observed that there were some reservations expressed by various Senators but in general there is welcome for the principle of the lottery. A number of specific points were made which would probably be better teased out on Committee Stage.

In closing on Second Stage, I want to touch on some of the general issues which have been raised in the course of this debate. A number of Senators on both sides of the House have expressed concern about the use of the surplus of the lottery. I want to specifically reassure Senators that there is no intention to use lottery funds for general Government purposes. All the proceeds, after expenses and prizes are met, will be devoted to beneficial uses as announced already by the Government.

Senators will probably recall that the Bill, as originally circulated, did not include the specific purposes outlined in the Government announcement. In the light of the discussion in the Dáil, I introduced an amendment to section 5 — the relevant section — which is now more specific as to the purposes for which the lottery funds will be used. These purposes, as already announced by the Government, are sport and recreation, national culture, including the Irish language, the arts and health.

There will be provision of course to extend the list of purposes, should the Government so decide. A number of Senators have expressed reservations about that particular point. There is no need for fear among Senators that lottery funds will be subsumed or absorbed into general public expenditure purposes. Any addition to the list of purposes contained in the Bill will have to be published in Iris Oifigiúil. As I see it the legislation needs to allow for extension of the purposes in order to cater, for example, for arrangements which may become necessary in relation to the existing charitable and voluntary lotteries when the national lottery becomes operational. A number of Senators have touched on the possible dangers of existing charitable lotteries losing out because of the establishment of the national lottery. In case there are grounds for those fears surely it is necessary that we have the flexibility within the Bill to be able to accommodate requests for what we might term loosely, compensation, from such bodies. If the Bill were framed in a very tight and inflexible manner, such requests could not be accommodated at all. There may be the possibility also of other beneficial community purposes which might have large scale endorsement but which could not be accommodated if the Bill were too inflexibly drawn. While I accepted the point in the other House that it was proper to amend section 5 to specify the general purposes already announced by the Government, I still consider it necessary to retain power to add other purposes, with the safeguards regarding publication, etc.

Some Senators have raised the question as to who is going to get what? I do not want to be like Santa Claus — spending money I do not have. There is no money there yet. Even if one was to talk about specific percentages being spelled out, this, certainly in the context of the Bill, would introduce unwarranted rigidities into the Bill and would not be appropriate. The House is entitled to know in general what the possible expectations are. The possible surplus, as I understand from advisers, is that after payment of expenses and prize money there could be a figure of the order of £10 million in the first full year of operation of the lottery. We cannot be certain of that, we cannot be certain what the pattern will be. Therefore, to specify percentages at this stage would be quite foolish, it would be working in the dark and, worse, it would be raising false hopes among the possible beneficiaries.

Another major point was the position of the voluntary and charitable bodies. I know that some of them are fearful of the effects of the national lottery on their fund raising activities. These concerns have been expressed here by the last speaker, Senator Lanigan. There have been extensive discussions between such bodies and the officials of my Department and the Department of Justice on this point. They have made certain suggestions and I have been able to take some of these suggestions on board, specifically the changes in the prize limits under the Gaming and Lotteries Act, 1956, the raising of the £300 figure under the Garda permit to £3,000 and the raising of the £500 figure under the District Court licence limit to a figure of £10,000. Those figures are not in the Bill but the Minister for Justice will be authorised to raise the figures by way of regulation. These new figures I am mentioning are in contemplation at present.

Senator O'Leary developed an interesting point in relation to the lifting of the advertising restrictions. He focused on how this would affect the bingo situation. The lifting of the advertising and publicity restrictions was done specifically to benefit voluntary bodies. The first point to be made is that bingo is very often run by voluntary and charitable bodies. So, although the prime purpose is to cover the situation in relation to lotteries, in some instances voluntary bodies will be affected in relation to their bingo operations.

Senator O'Leary is correct in saying that bingo operates under licence, usually under section 28 of the Gaming and Lotteries Act and could accordingly, benefit from the lifting of the publicity and advertising restriction. However, the prospects of a large scale expansion in bingo are limited due to a number of factors. There is a natural limit on the participation in bingo due to the size of halls. A rejoinder could be introduced to suggest that there could be a link up between different bingo games. This has been looked at in the past by bingo operators and has been discovered not to be a very attractive proposition. The evidence we have is that participants, usually people in local communities such as housewives, are not interested in paying higher entrance fees for prizes that may not be won on the night in the same hall. There is a considerable social aspect to bingo as opposed to the prospect of winning prizes.

There is also a suggestion by some of the experts that bingo, as a recreation, has probably reached its high point but that is a subjective opinion. In so far as the national lottery would be providing competition for charitable lotteries it would also be providing competition for bingo, certainly from the point of view of attracting some of people's disposable income. While Senator O'Leary — as I would expect from somebody with his legal training — focused directly and correctly on the target and highlighted something which is quite correct, I believe that any fears which might follow on from that correct interpretation of the situation will not be realised.

I was developing the point earlier in relation to the position of the voluntary bodies. I am firmly of the opinion that whatever the prize money on offer, essentially, those who support voluntary and charitable bodies are not primarily interested in prize money. They do so to support those bodies and the prize money is incidental. But in so far as the prize money is a factor we will be taking the necessary steps to put them in a more competitive situation. Essentially, it is the appreciation of the work of the voluntary bodies which attracts the support. I have also made it clear that in the event of the national lottery affecting the situation of those bodies who hold existing periodical lotteries that, pending satisfactory demonstration that they had been adversely affected in their receipts, the Government are prepared to take steps to make funding available to them from the lottery surplus.

A number of Senators focused on the question of sport. I understand the enthusiasm of the proponents' point of view that a large proportion of proceeds of the lottery should be devoted to sport. Senator Deenihan, in particular, made a very strong plea on behalf of the sporting bodies. I can reassure him that the proportion of the lottery fund to be devoted to sport will be significant. The needs of sport are very much to the fore in Government thinking when drawing up plans for the lottery, so I am very convinced that we will see in due course substantial support from the lottery fund for sporting and recreational projects.

It also has to be borne in mind that a strong case is being made for arts and national culture. There have also been calls for support for other charitable and voluntary organisations which operate particularly in the health area so what the Government have done is to examine all these various areas and to come up with what represents the balance of deserving causes to be given assistance from the lottery.

I want to cover one other aspect and that is the moral aspect, as was raised in particular by Senator Brendan Ryan and a few others. Senator Ryan referred to the possible ill effects of lotteries in encouraging young people to gamble. This whole thing has to be put in context. The latest figures I have are for 1983. They show that in that year more than £200 million was spent on on and off course betting. We have looked at the situation in other countries and the evidence available to us is that State lotteries are regarded as a harmless form of legalised gambling. There was a recent UK Home Office study in gambling and that concluded that there was evidence to show that lotteries and pools which provided a natural limit on participation were unlikely to be a significant potential danger to the participant. I can put the Senator's fears at rest on what I loosely term the moral issue.

I want to mention one point in regard to the timetable for the launch of the lottery. A number of Senators will be interested to know when it is going to get underway. When An Post applied to the Government to be allowed to run the national lottery, they made much, in addition to their many undoubted qualifications, of their ability to bring the lottery into operation at an early date. This, indeed, was one of the considerations which influenced the Government to award them the franchise. I understand that a detailed timetable for the launch is now under preparation in An Post, which puts the starting date at about six months' time. I can reassure Senators here who are concerned and disappointed that I will be ordering An Post to secure the earliest possible start compatible with proper business and public interest criteria, so that tickets can be on sale, if at all possible, well within this target date. I will be monitoring progress towards the launch carefully to ensure that no delays occur.

A number of other points have arisen in the course of the debate. It might be more appropriate that these would be dealt with in detail on Committee Stage and, accordingly, I will conclude at this point on one note — I genuinely believe that the decision to endorse the national lottery by this House is in the interests of the country. I am anxious for that endorsement and I am anxious to get the national lottery under way straightaway so that the many areas I mention can benefit as soon as possible.

Question put and agreed to.
Committee Stage ordered for Tuesday, 8 July 1986.