SECTION 11.

I move:—

To insert before Section 11 a new section as follows:—

(1) The Minister may, if and whenever he is satisfied that such order is necessary or expedient in the interests of the butter industry in Saorstát Eireann, by order (in this section referred to as an examination order) require that all or any particular class of butter proposed to be exported, or all or any butter proposed to be exported from any particular premises or class of premises, or any particular consignment of butter consigned for export, should before the same is exported be submitted for examination by the prescribed officers with a view to determining whether such butter is suitable for export, and the Minister may by such order prohibit, either absolutely or on failure to comply with conditions the export of any butter which on such examination is found to be unsuitable for exportation.

(2) The Minister may by any examination order or by any subsequent order make regulations in respect of all or any of the matters following, that is to say,

(a) the method of submitting butter to which an examination order applies for examination, including the submission in suitable cases of representative parts only of the butter,

(b) the officers by whom the examination is to be made,

(c) the method of making the examinations and the places in which the same is to be made,

(d) the conditions with which the butter must comply in order to be suitable for export,

(e) the conditions under which butter found unsuitable or unrestricted export may be exported.

(3) An examination order shall remain in force for such period as shall be stated in the order and for such further periods as may be prescribed in any subsequent order, and where no such period is stated in the order the order shall remain in force until revoked by the Minister

(4) Any person who shall export or attempt to export any butter in contravention of an examination order or of any regulation made under this section shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall on summary conviction thereof be liable, in the case of a first offence, to a fine not exceeding twenty pounds, and in the case of a second or any subsequent offence, to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds or at a discretion of the court, to imprisonment for any term not exceeding six months or to both such fines and such imprisonment.

The object of this amendment is to give the Minister power, whenever he wishes to examine a consignment of butter, either on the way to the creamery, at the port, or any other place he desires, in order to see that it is fit to be exported, and to make sure that there is nothing wrong with it. I dare say all of you, like myself, have had a good deal of literature from people connected with creameries—managers of creameries and so on in reference to the desirability of examining consignments of butter before they come to the port; and it appears to me that there is a good deal of suggestion that a consignment of butter should be liable to be examined at any stage of transit—either at the creamery or on route to the port, or at the port, because I think it will be agreed that every conceivable check should be employed to see that the butter is kept up to the standard of the trade mark. The object of this amendment is to give the Minister power to see that all butter that is being exported is up to the standard of the national trade mark. I do not think there is anything more I wish to say.

We have got to be very careful with regard to this. We are given to understand that butter containing over 16 per cent. of water could, under special circumstances, be exported from Ireland to England. I think that is so. In the western counties of Ireland brine slashing was very prevalent, giving a product of 60 per cent. of water and 40 per cent. of the original butter. But that has decreased. We had those enquiries in Manchester the result of which was that we worked out 16 per cent. of water with the British Government. I was one of those connected with it. I think it is vital to the Irish farmer to keep up the brand in England, and that is where this question arises. If we could export from Ireland butter containing over 16 per cent. of water—call it 24 or 30 per cent. in round numbers—and I am a merchant in Manchester and being English am a rogue, and suppose I get this slashed butter containing 30 per cent. of water and get another consignment of this carefully made butter, beautiful and good, containing sixteen per cent. of water and I mix them together in my Manchester house, 30 and 16 make 46, I divide that by two, and I get a mixture containing 23 per cent. of water, what is to prevent me putting that mixture back in the brand box? I am drawing the attention of the Minister to dangers that I want to avoid.

On a point of order——

Are you discussing this particular amendment?

Yes, because if we examine butter that has 30 per cent. and it is allowed to go to England on the amendment——

No. On a point of order, this is really not relevant.

As far as I can follow you, up to the present you have not yet made your remarks relevant. Personally, I cannot see how they are relevant. You are really discussing whether or not a license should be given to export butter that contains more than 16 per cent. of water.

Butter with 30 per cent. of water can be passed under this inspection. Is not that right? Good butter can also be passed under this inspection. The object of this new section is to stop bad butter being exported as good. But butter with 30 per cent. of water is under special circumstances good butter——

On a point of order, this proposal does not specify what are to be the tests—whether 30 per cent or 150 per cent., if that were possible. The proposal deals with the principle of giving the Minister power to make examinations to prevent export.

I quite agree.

You are speaking for or against this amendment, not for or against another amendment?

I cannot see the relevancy.

Very well, then. I will sit down. I can bring it up at the Dáil.

I rise to support this amendment. I think there is sufficient of substance in the amendment. Two arguments have been advanced when the Bill was in the Dáil. One is that there ought to be inspection at the ports only. The other is that there should be inspection at the creameries, and when the butter is on the way to its destination. And the question is what we can do to get the best out of both suggestions. It seems to me that Deputy Egan's amendment will get us that. I believe myself that examination at the port alone will not be sufficient to enable us to raise the standard of our butter. I do feel that it is necessary and essential that we ought to have regulations that would enable us to examine at other places as well as at the port. This proposed section will give our inspectors the right to examine the butter at any place—at the creamery, at the port and during transit. And I think that if later on we found it necessary to do anything like establishing a system of examination at the port it would be essential to have such a section as this embodied in the Bill.

I should like to know whether the discussion on this amendment precludes discussion on my amendment to Section 29. I do not think it does. But I should like to be sure, so that when we come to Section 29 I shall not be told that the matter has been more or less dealt with.

I do not see how it does.

Section 29 does not provide for the mandatory examination of butter with the national brand. I want to be clear on that point.

Does not Section 10 cover that? Does it not give power of examination at all times?

A point of order has been raised by Deputy Milroy. I think this amendment is sufficiently distinct to allow of a discussion on Section 29 as far as I can see.

I approve of this amendment on principle. But it seems to me that Section 10 practically covers the same thing. I may be wrong. Section 10 allows for inspection at all places. If that is so, what is the need of additional powers for inspection?

Possibly a judge may hold that it does. The idea of the new section is to put it beyond doubt. We wanted to be quite sure that we had ample powers of examination that experience should show to be necessary—examination of butter everywhere we liked to examine it, whether butter having the national brand, butter going out on licence, or butter going out from other than a registered creamery. There are people who say that you cannot give the national brand to a creamery on the general standard—that you cannot give a licence to export on the general standard of that creamery, and that to make your scheme watertight you must have power to examine every consignment of butter that leaves each creamery. There are people who take up that attitude. Experience may prove that they are right or partly right. If experience does prove that, then we have this section and we can examine any butter anywhere and under any circumstances.

I take it that the adoption of this new section will not prejudice in any way the situation so far as examination at the ports is concerned. If the Minister decides that there should be such an examination we give him power to carry it out without the need for new legislation.

That is the purpose of the amendment as far as I understand it.

The combination of the two sections would be rather clumsy, and I would suggest that they might be made more easily understandable. If Section 10 and this new section are embodied in the Bill they may give rise to some confusion, inasmuch as they cover very much the same ground—not so much confusion as difficulty in understanding them, and in their being easily read.

You may say things twice, but it is better to say things twice than to leave things in doubt. Possibly, it may be drafted differently, but what I was concerned with was to make it abundantly clear that we have power of examination at all places; and we have that power under the two sections.

My reason for the suggestion is to make it as easily understandable as possible to the ordinary man in the street; and I do not know that you make it any more simple by the two sections.

Question—" That the new section stand part of the Bill "—put and agreed to.