What does the " special licence " mentioned in Section 11 actually mean? What can be exported, and why?
There is at present a trade in certain butter containing over 16 per cent. of water. We have not decided whether we must stop that at once—we take powers to stop it by regulation—or let it go on for a limited period of time.
Then I need not repeat my argument. You know what my argument is.
Your argument on the last proposed section is relevant, so far as this section is concerned.
I only want to warn the Minister that those are the dangers to the deterioration of our brand.
The section says that " The Minister may upon the application of any person in the prescribed form and manner grant . . . to such person a special licence." Will that licence be for each consignment? Or will the party who consigns the butter get a block of licences? Has he to apply for a special licence for each amount of butter turned out in the week or otherwise?
He would have to apply for a special licence with regard to the consignment.
Suppose you have an exporter of 150 or 120 cases, and supposing he is passed and registered because his butter is up to a certain standard?
Then he does not require a special licence if he is exporting butter from registered premises.
With regard to the man who has 120 cases of his own and exports butter which is up to the standard and can get a licence, has he to get a special licence for each consignment to the consignee?
No. He can get registered as a butter factor.
With regard to sub-section 3, what will be the grounds which would justify the Minister or warrant him to revoke the licence referred to?
Let me take one case. There is a fairly considerable amount of butter exported containing more than 16 per cent. of water. The miners of the North of England like it, and a considerable quantity is sold—firkin butter. The question is: Should we stop that by legislation or take power by regulation to stop it gradually, or let it go out under special conditions?
It is proposed to prohibit the export of any butter not properly packed or marked?
That is Section 12.
I presume that the fact that butter was not properly packed would be one reason why the licence should be revoked?
A licence is something given for a special purpose. Every butter factory or creamery or non-manufacturing exporter will be registered, and will export as a matter of course. You give a licence under special circumstances for a special purpose to export butter which, under the rules as set out in the Bill, could not otherwise be exported. The Bill prohibits a man exporting butter which contains more than 16 per cent. of water. Under special circumstances you can give him a licence to export that butter. That has nothing to do with registered premises, with factories, or non-manufacturing exporters. Once they register and comply with the ordinary conditions they can send out their butter as a matter of course.
When are we to discuss the question of the export of butter containing over 16 per cent. of water?
I think you can discuss it under this section.
Then I beg to state that I am totally against the export of any butter containing over 16 per cent. of water whether from Galway or Clare. The argument for slashing was partly that it wasted out the injurious flavours of bad butter, and partly that brine would be a greater preservative for butter. We clearly came to the conclusion on a Committee that examined into the matter that three or four per cent. of salt would be an equally good preservative of butter as the hot slashed brine. That was proved distinctly in the Munster Dairy School; and on that evidence partly, we came to the conclusion that the slashing of this hot brine was really done not to improve the butter or to keep the butter, but in order to sell it quietly in England with 60 per cent of water. That was one of the great crosses against our ordinary brand of Irish butter; and it was practically understood at that time that all butter from Ireland should, with very few exceptions, contain 16 per cent. of water and no more, as a greater quantity tended to no good. If it tends to no good, why allow a wrong practice to exist? If butter can be kept down to 16 per cent. of water, why encourage twenty-four or even thirty per cent. of water because the miners may like it? The miners do not like it. They like the strong taste of salt in the butter, but that does not mean slashing with brine water whereby they are compelled to buy 60 per cent. of water instead of 16 per cent. It is with a view to the protection of our butter brand that I am so strong on the question. Then comes the question of mixing in Manchester. We send out butter with thirty per cent. of water and also our branded cask of butter, and the two are mixed in Manchester, and, perhaps, sold in the branded cask under circumstances that it would be difficult to detect. Slashing is not required. Those that did it thought they were very clever in selling butter with an abnormal quantity of water. Who is to prevent the Manchester merchant mixing?
I presume all bad butter does not come from Ireland. What is to prevent the Manchester merchant getting bad butter from elsewhere, mixing it with your good butter, and putting it back in the cask that you provided for that good butter?
I quite agree. But why add another temptation to the very naughty man in Manchester?
I do not know whether Deputy Beamish is serious or whether he really understands what he means. I presume that he understands what he is at. But does he recognise that if the Bill was framed in the way he would like, thousands and thousands of our farmers would not be permitted to export their butter at all? That is really what it would amount to.
I say it would. He ought to know before he gets up to argue a point that would have such a serious effect on our industry. All our farmers are not organised as they might be; and the effect of such legislation would be to prohibit them exporting and selling their butter at all. I do not think that our butter with the brand will have anything to fear from this butter. If the business men across the water are so bad, it will be our business to have somebody there to prevent what Deputy Beamish suggests being done. We want our butter raised up to the standard by economic influences rather than through the pressure of legislation of this kind at a time when farmers are not in a position to fit themselves out to do the work in the way that legislation seeks to make them do it. And the necessity of farmers sending their milk to the creameries or sending their cream in such a way that the product will get the national brand will be much more effective in compelling farmers to follow the good example of their neighbours, and much better for the State than prohibiting the export of this butter. The fact of one man getting a higher price for butter with the national brand will induce the other man to raise himself up to that standard. It is a better thing to get a man to raise himself up voluntarily than to do it by pressure from the State.
I am glad that Galway has been mentioned. I will leave the burden of speaking for Galway to the Minister. I do not know if the Deputy thought that it was possible to fill a firkin with butter containing only 16 per cent of water. It is not possible. And the conditions in the county where brine-slashed butter is manufactured and where such butter is the principal product for export do not permit of the immediate organisation of the farmers so as to put themselves in a position to prepare butter that will be capable of exportation with 16 per cent of water. There is no fear whatsoever, as far as I know, that this butter will interfere with the creamery butter. As the chairman has very rightly pointed out, there is nothing to prevent the Manchester merchant mixing bad butter from any other country with Irish butter. Why we should pick out this class of butter, which is a source of income to thousands of farmers, and say that it will be used to adulterate good butter, is more than I can understand, when there are so many sources from which had butter can be got outside. One thing you cannot do by legislation—you cannot change the economic outlook of any county in a day or a week, or a year. You must give the matter time to mature. It is rather by a certain kind of outside pressure, by education, by showing the farmers the benefit that would accrue to them through organisation and preparing themselves to be in a position to manufacture butter with 16 per cent of water—it is rather by these means that you can bring about the desired result. These two or three points will dispose of Deputy Beamish's remarks. You cannot prepare firkin butter with 16 per cent of water.
You can. You can prepare it down to 12 per cent. of water. On a point of order, this gentleman does not know much about butter.
Well, I know as much about butter as the Deputy knows about order. The second point is that you are trying to alter by legislation the economic outlook of a county which is not organised to accept that immediate reorganisation and alteration.
As a matter of fact there is little between Deputy Baxter and Deputy Beamish. They both agree that butter containing more than 16 per cent. of water should not be made, and that it would not be made if economic conditions were just as efficient as they should be. And they both agree that we should get away from that as soon as possible—gradually, but as soon as possible. Well, butter containing more than 16 per cent of water is being made, and we must recognise that fact, and we must also recognise that we could not in a Bill like this, which is to regulate a very important industry and a very big volume of trade, bring suddenly to a dead stop a particular line of industry which has been conducted for a very long time. We are all agreed that it should be stopped gradually, and that we should turn the people's activities in another direction. That is why we take powers to allow the export of such butter, but only under licence. By education, by increasing the number of farmers' organisations, by increasing the number of creameries, we will get away from the present position and reach a point at which farmers will not make butter of that sort at all. They are making today butter with over 16 per cent. of water. We can make our regulations, and we can make it more and more difficult to export such butter; and, on the other hand, we can allow them to export butter under stringent conditions until such time as we think, in all fairness to them, we could alter that. This simply leaves us time to reach the stage when I hope we may be able to say that no butter containing more than 16 per cent. of water should be exported. This allows us to approach the matter gradually. You cannot stop the wheels of trade suddenly. We have power, under this provision, to do things gradually, and go on to the end of stopping the exports of such butter if necessary.
I must say that this is not a first warning. If it is true that there are thousands and thousands of farmers breaking the law every day——
On a point of explanation, they are not breaking the law; they are exporting butter containing more than 16 per cent. of water, as they are entitled to do.
I understand that. We have been twenty-seven years trying to get this water out of the butter, and they have been warned for twenty-seven years. Why do they not do it? Because the lower price that they get for the highly watered butter is really a better price than is got for the good butter. They put more money in their pocket by adding water, and therefore they do not wish to make the change. You will find that this gentle way of handling people, who know that they are humbugging you, will not succeed.
I want to support Deputy Baxter. The Minister, to my mind, has got the whole situation clearly before him. He contends that it is impossible to do certain things in Clare and Galway ——
Not Galway—Clare and Kerry.
The Chairman will object now when you introduce Kerry. The thing cannot be forced. We ought to get them to the desired end by degrees. If you would put a certain number of people out of dairying and deprive a certain number of people of their income all at once, it is a very false idea. We shall have a show in Tipperary on the 15th and 16th of August, and the best butter will be exhibited there. The butter show in Tipperary 11 years ago, was the largest in the world. There is better butter in the Tipperary Show than in Denmark. Experts of the Department and the I.A.O.S. agreed that nothing has been produced in Denmark like it. That is an answer to the idea that butter-making has not improved. Ireland has simply walked away from Denmark. I approve of Deputy Baxter's idea. It is the Minister's idea, too. Do not legislate in a way to force things at the wrong time.
I move :—
Before Section 13 and in Part II. to insert a new section as follows:—
" Non-compliance with any of the provisions of this part of this Act shall not entitle the Minister to prevent the exportation of butter from any registered premises, unless such butter has been proved to be adulterated."
I think that the discussion that has just taken place more or less justifies this amendment. Before I proceed, I should like to know is the Minister going to accept it.
I cannot accept that. That would mean that all the conditions of cleanliness, packing and marking would be ignored, and we could not stop the export of any butter from a creamery that would be ignoring them.
What is meant by butter " not properly packed "?
We have power to make regulations in regard to the packing of butter. You want to know what these regulations would be?
What is the regulation on the question of packing?
The regulations are not, of course, prepared.
Do you not think the penalties for breach of any of those regulations would be quite adequate without preventing export except on the ground of adulteration?
Certainly, the penalty for the breach of any single regulation need not be prohibition of export. That would certainly not be making the punishment fit the crime. But the point is that if you put in a provision of this kind the creamery could ignore your regulations and export. It could ignore your regulations with regard to marking, for instance, and drive a coach-and-four through the Bill. If this Bill is not administered intelligently, It could be made a terrible nuisance. It would be out of the question to prevent the export of butter for an ordinary breach of the regulations. That would be outrageous, and nobody intends it. But the real point is that if you inserted a provision like that any factory could consistently ignore all regulations, except the regulations in regard to adulteration, and still continue to export. It could ignore the regulation with regard to marking, and you would have no means of finding out who got the butter.
The grounds of prohibition of export will be, I hope, specifically set out?
I withdraw. So long as persons know what they are confronted with, and that they will not be at the whim of any inspector. I am satisfied.