SECTION 29.

(1) Subject to the provisions of any legislation already in force or hereafter to be passed in relation to trade marks or designs, every licence to use the national mark granted by the Minister shall, unless previously revoked under this section, continue in force so long as the premises in respect of which the licence is granted continue to be authorised premises.
(2) The Minister may at any time revoke any licence to use the national mark if he is satisfied—
(a) that the butter manufactured on the authorised premises in respect of which the licence is granted has ceased to be of the approved standard; or
(b) that such butter has ceased to be manufactured under the approved conditions; or
(c) that the holder of such licence has contravened any of the conditions expressed in the licence; or
(d) that the holder of such licence has been convicted of an offence under any section of this part of this Act.

I move:—

In Section 29 to add at the end of the section four new sub-sections as follows:—

" (3) The use of the national mark shall not be granted to any registered manufacturing exporter, until he has been ascertained by regular examination at specified ports for a period of not less than six months of sample packages of all consignments exported by that manufacturer that he is manufacturing consistently butter of the quality required, and there shall be provided by the Minister at such specified ports the necessary facilities for the examination. "

" (4) The whole or any portion of every consignment of butter bearing the national mark exported from the Free State shall be examined at the ports, and if the examination shows that any consignment has not reached the approved standard steps shall be taken to have the national mark removed or obliterated."

" (5) The exporter shall be entitled to receive from the inspector or examiner a certificate showing the percentage of marks awarded as a result of the examination, and, where required by the consignor, the examiner shall send a duplicate of the certificates to the consignee."

" (6) Where butter, whether bearing the national mark or not is examined at the ports, samples shall be taken for analysis, and where such analysis shows that the butter containing over 16 per cent. moisture, or is otherwise adulterated, the necessary steps shall be taken to remove or obliterate the national mark, and notification to that effect shall be given to the consignor and consignee."

This raises the whole matter that was traversed by the Minister this morning in our discussion. I think the general arguments that can be adduced on the side of this was stated broadly and, I think, dispassionately by the Minister in his general statement this morning. I think that after stating the arguments in support of the idea of grading at the ports he dismissed it without really disproving the arguments that he had brought forward.

The contention is that the national brand will be a definite assurance of the quality of the butter exported, and that it is only by grading that that can be done. A further point that was not stated by the Minister is this, that while those who urge that grading at the ports is necessary they also urge that the national brand should be given as the result of a series of examinations of butter at the ports, and not as something that would precede examination at the ports. That period of probation for examination before the right to use the brand had been given to those different creameries should extend over a period of months. The Minister stated that it would probably require a number of months to make an exhaustive inspection of these different creameries before they decided what creameries would have the national brand. The question is whether that period so spent would be utilised more advantageously and more effectively at the creameries themselves or at the ports. It is quite obvious, I think, that if a creamery has secured the right to place the brand on its products, and produces an excellent article which is exported and secures a good market, there may at some time be negligence and carelessness, and that an inferior article bearing the national brand passes through the ports from that creamery without examination. That will have a very adverse effect upon the reliability of the national brand being a guarantee of a high standard of quality of butter. Though the Minister states that he has taken all power necessary in this Bill to carry out such examination, if he thinks it necessary, and if the circumstances warrant it, the power which he is given is only optional. This amendment proposes that it should be mandatory. Once harm was done by the export of inferior butter there would then be the question, not of maintaining the reliability of the national brand, but of covering the discredit which would inevitably follow such a proceeding. I asked the Minister sometime ago what was the number of creameries likely to come under the supervision of his Department. He said about four hundred. He could not give me the number of officials and inspectors who would be available for the work of making these investigations as to the conditions under which these creameries, entitled to the national brand, worked. I think that in order to ensure conditions that would make the standard article unquestionable, the number of officials would be very numerous indeed, and would be, much more than the Minister has at his disposal at present. I wonder how many creameries one could inspect and keep an effective watch over, to see the nature and condition of the milk when received from the farmers, to inspect the pasteurising process, and the machinery through which the cream must pass, and then to test and examine the butter. If the official had to do all that, as thoroughly and exhaustively as would be necessary to secure that the butter would be of a high standard, I think that half a dozen creameries at most would be as much as one official could be expected to attend to, so as to make supervision satisfactory. If you divide 400 by 6, I think you will find that the number of inspectors required to maintain that thorough supervision would be very numerous.

Now, further, suppose a merchant buys creamery butter which was of excellent quality when purchased, but, as a result of anticipating a rise in the market, it depreciates in quality owing to storage, is there to be any security or provision in this Bill that such butter bearing the national brand will not get out of the country without being classified in its condition when exported? There is undoubtedly power to make such provision, but that power is simply optional on the part of the Minister. It may be that just at the time when there is least necessity for examination, that examination takes place, and that at the time when examination at the ports is most essential, the examination does not take place, and the inferior article gets through to the discredit of the national brand. I think, as one who only examined this question since the Bill was introduced, that it would be very difficult to answer the claim put forward by a great number of creameries. This means that every consignment of butter is examined and classified, that inferior butter bearing the national brand will not get through, or, at least, if it gets through, it will have the brand removed and will be in its proper classification. The very fact that it was certain such examination would take place at the ports would tend considerably to eliminate the element of possibility of carelessness at the creameries. I am sure that everyone here is more conversant than I am with the arguments on this subject, and, therefore, it is unnecessary for me to elaborate them at greater length. The arguments are, I think, sufficient to warrant very careful consideration before a proposal of this kind is dismissed. I hope it will not be, and I propose to urge it as strongly as I can, because I certainly have evidence before me of a matter upon which the whole effect of this Bill hinges. The Minister said that there is a possibility, in certain conditions, of this Bill making present conditions even worse. I think this is really the pith and kernel of the whole matter, and it is the most important decision which will be taken on the Bill at any stage. I, therefore, propose the amendment.

There is a slight verbal misprint. In sub-section (6) the word " containing " should be " contains." What is the force of the words " whether bearing the national mark or not?"

This intends to apply to all national butter.

What is the force of the words seeing that the penalty is removal of the national mark? These are in the first line of sub-section (6).

If there is no national mark it cannot be obliterated.

The only other point to which I would call attention is that the amendment is not proposing to substitute grading at the ports for examination at the creameries, and, therefore, I suggest, much as it may be desirable to discuss it, it cannot be discussed under this amendment. We have already decided that there should be efficient examination at the creameries. What is to be discussed is whether it is desirable, in addition to the efficient examination of creameries, there should be two things—examination and grading at the ports.

I am glad you cleared up that matter, that it is not a question of grading at the ports versus creamery supervision. It is apparent that examination and grading at the ports, and all other steps proposed to be taken under this amendment, are supplementary to the supervision at the creameries and other places where the butter is handled. The first thing that occurs to me is that the expense of carrying out this suggestion would be enormous. I have not made any calculation as to what the expense would be, but I can quite conceive, with a tremendous number of tons of butter going out, as we hope, bearing the national brand, that the examination of each individual consignment would entail an enormous lot of work. First of all, here it says:—" The use of the national mark shall not be granted to any registered manufacturing exporter, until he has been ascertained by regular examination at specified ports for a period of not less than six months." When I read that I thought that the probation period would be sufficient to establish the standard of this particular person's butter, but when we go further on it appears that not only is that test to be made of the efficiency of the person manufacturing butter, but it says later: " The exporter shall be entitled to receive from the inspector or examiner a certificate showing the percentage of marks awarded as the result of the examination, and where required by the consignor, the examiner shall send a duplicate of the certificates to the consignee " It goes on in the next sub-section to say that samples shall be taken for analysis whether the butter bears the national mark or not.

I have been examining that. We should delete " or not."

Yes, that the words in sub-section " whether or not " be obliterated.

Broadly speaking, I would be in favour of the general principle, of a thorough examination at the port, as suggested in this amendment, except that I do not think that the thing is workable, owing to the additional expense. I am always a believer in going to the root of the trouble in any question. Get down to the sources of supply and concentrate your efforts there to see that you have efficient supervision and proper scientific machinery in the creameries. The place where the butter is made is, naturally, the place where you are going to improve it. I consider that the provisions in the Bill for the control of creameries and their working ought to be sufficient, and this further examination at the ports is really redundant and would be tremendously expensive. I agree, as I say, with the principle of it We should take every safeguard in reason, but to examine each packet of butter and give certificates would entail colossal work, and the cost would be too much.

Would examination at the port be any guarantee of the keeping quality of the butter?

That is a point that I was going to make. There is one thing I would say about this question of examination or grading at the port that Deputy Milroy is dealing with, and it is that I am rather sorry it has been made such a contentious point by certain different sections of people outside this Committee. I may say that, as far as lay in my power, I endeavoured to get to the bottom of it. I am looking at the question with a perfectly open mind, and I am anxious to find out which is the better scheme. The whole thing, of course, hinges largely on the question whether examination at the port would be actually effective, and whether the examiners at the port could state if the butter, which they examined in a more or less fresh condition, would retain its quality on the English market in, say, a fortnight's time. If they cannot do that, the advantages of examination at the port would be to a great extent discounted. It is stated, on the advice of experts, that it would not be possible for them, without bacteriological examination, to state if the butter would retain its keeping qualities after being shipped across to the other side. Of course, the examination at the port would have the effect of roughly determining whether or not the butter was of good quality. There is no doubt, of course, that expert examiners would be able to make a case as to whether the butter would be of keeping quality or not. I think that Deputy Milroy's points are not valid for this reason: He refers to the cost of inspection, but as the Bill stands he does not do away with the cost of inspection, and inspection would still be necessary. I certainly would not approve of examination at the ports as an alternative to inspection. It would have to be supplemented, or outside of the ordinary inspection, and I believe that the inspection would have to be as careful and as precise as it would under the system here suggested. For that reason, I think there will be no saving in expense, but rather that there would be additional expense as a result of examination at the ports. The question is, whether it would be wise to undergo that additional expense, or whether the advantages to be gained by inspection would be justified by the expense involved. I fear there would be a great many difficulties to be encountered in connection with the actual working of that system at the ports. The amendment refers to the obliteration of the national mark. As I understand the system proposed, it is not intended that all the butter going through the ports should be examined. If that were intended, I would oppose this system altogether, because the working of such a system would have a bad effect on the Irish trade.

Such a system would mean that all the butter would have to be held up at the port for a certain number of days, that we would have to build large cold stores to hold the butter, and it would also interfere with the through rates for butter going to the English markets. Supposing that portion of a consignment, bearing the national mark, were exported, and that the remaining portion, on examination, was found not to be up to the quality that warranted the national mark, infinite harm could be done to the Irish trade. On the portion of the butter that had gone away we would have no means of obliterating the national mark, and it is quite easy to see that a dishonest trader on the other side could take advantage of that. He would be selling Irish butter bearing the national mark, though it was not worthy of that mark, and in that way an infinite amount of damage could be done to the Irish butter trade. I fear it would be very difficult to have the system proposed under this amendment worked out in practice. I think the Minister has largely met the case by taking power to examine butter at the ports if he thinks it is necessary.

I would like to point out that the Agricultural Commission, in their Interim Report, supported the idea of examination at the ports. The Report states: " This can be done without interfering unduly with the transit of the butter." It seems to me that the contention of those who are opposed to examination at the ports amounts to an admission that it is impossible to have effective guarantees of the keeping qualities of the butter. If the contention suggested is sound, that examination at the ports will be no guarantee of the keeping quality of the butter, I ask what is the value of examination in the creamery from that point of view?

You have not examination in the creameries.

Where, then, will you have the examination of the butter?

It is the word " examination " that I quarrel with. It is the general standard of the creamery that you bank on, supplemented by examination when you like.

This is the course they followed during the big war.

It was not at the creameries that the butter was examined during the war.

The last statement of the Minister is certainly a new piece of information for me. I understood that there was to be some examination to ascertain the qualities of the butter.

The Minister says it is not on the examination of the butter alone at any place that the national brand will be granted. The national brand will be granted on the general efficiency of the creamery and of the people running the creamery, and from time to time the creamery will be tested by means of an examination of the butter it turns out.

The national brand will be given to a certain article as a hall-mark of excellence, and the article bearing that brand will be regarded, wherever it appears on a market, as an indication of the high quality of Irish butter; but, supposing that through lack of supervision, a consignment of Irish butter of inferior quality gets through bearing the national brand, the reliability of that brand as a guarantee of good quality vanishes. What the Minister says about spasmodic examination of the article produced, convinces me all the more that that is an additional argument in favour of this amendment.

I would be very glad to welcome the insertion in the Bill of sub-section (3), minus one word, and that is the word " all." Deputy Milroy is a little inadvertently misleading when he quotes the Agricultural Commission's Report in respect to the practicability of inspection at the ports. The Report advocated that the brand should be " Irish Creamery Butter," and that, as the amendment proposes in the initial stages, that all such butter should be transmitted through a certain number of ports and frontier stations for inspecting " as large a number of consignments as is found practicable." The proposal in the amendment is that all consignments should be tested and inspected. What the Agricultural Commission advocated is different to what Deputy Milroy has set before the Committee. I appreciate the importance of this proposition, that butter should be tested and graded at the ports, but I want to insist that this is an entirely different proposition and proposes to do something different to that which the Bill sets out to do. It may be an improvement, and it may be desirable in every way, but it is something additional, and is not necessarily in relation to the national mark. I think we have a right to assume that when the national brand comes into operation, that all butter coming from establishments which are entitled to use the national brand, will be of a quality which the Minister suggests should carry with it 92 marks. I think we have a right to assume that all national brand butter under the scheme of the Bill will be entitled to bear that number of marks as a percentage of excellence.

Then the question comes forward, as proposed by the Deputy, that there should be an examination and grading and an allocation of marks according to flavour, taste and colour as something over and above the minimum set by the scheme of the Bill. That may be very good and very satisfactory and very helpful in marketing, but it is something over and above what the Bill provides for, and such a scheme might conceivably and quite reasonably be expected to be put into operation by an association of national mark operatives. I could understand quite well that all these firms, creameries and others who may be licensed to use the national mark should propound and put into actual operation a scheme for the grading of their own butter before shipment, and that there should be set up standards and accepted inspectors, who would be just as acceptable to the British merchants and butter factors as a Ministerial appointment would be. That is possible even under the scheme of the Bill; that such an association would set up such a grading system. It is reasonably contended that a Government scheme of the kind would be more valuable and more likely to command recognition by the English trade than a privately-run scheme. The Bill, as amended, makes it possible that such a grading system shall eventually come into effect, but it will be additional to the national mark. It will really be a scheme for intimating to the purchasers, not merely that the brand has been earned, but of degrees of excellence over and above the brand. The difficulty that would arise, I think, if this amendment were carried, is that the national mark could not come into operation until this scheme has been set in motion, and until all the arrangements made for examining consignments and the grading of consignments had been perfected. I think Deputy Heffernan has no justification for quoting the instance as to a controversy arising as to the keeping quality, because that is assumed to be provided for in the scheme of the Bill. The question that really arises is, whether having the qualifications and subscribing to all the conditions, the various creameries are keeping up a consistency of quality. I think it is essential that the Minister's regulations should provide for a period such as is mentioned in the proposed sub-section (1), a regulation as to examination at the ports of as many consignments from every firm supplying as is possible. To say " all " may be asking too much. I would not even jib at the contention that all such consignments for a period of six months should be tested, and I would like it to be made possible, and perhaps this may be done later by means of regulations, to have arrangements with the British authorities to provide that such consignments might be followed right to the consumer, so that the test would be a continuous one, that is the test as to the keeping quality would be a continuous one.

I think, though, that the difficulty which arises from the proposal is, that until you have had a period of trial and of experiment with the national brand, apart from the grading, that you would find a great deal of interference with the trade if you attempted to hold up all consignments for the purpose of taking samples of them, and waited until you proved them before you allowed those consignments to be shipped, because that is what is involved in this amendment. You say that if the quality does not come up to the standard, if it has been adulterated or contains over 16 per cent. of moisture that the mark shall be obliterated, and that the consignor and the consignee shall be made aware of the fact. That means that you are going to hold up the whole of the consignment until you have tested and analysed the samples. That would mean congestion at the ports until you have had a fairly considerable experience in examining even a sufficient number of consignments, as the Agricultural Commission suggested, to justify them in giving the brand—to prove whether there was consistency of quality in the butter sent and already examined at the creamery. Until that suggestion has been tested and experience gained, I think it would be unwise to run the risk of this mandatory provision which the Deputy proposes.

I hope, in the course of time, that the method of grading will be found practicable, and will be brought into operation. I am against holding up the scheme of the Bill and the national brand until the grading system has been perfected. I believe that the national brand will do, quite apart from the grading. I believe, when the grading system comes into operation, it will be rather as a means of assisting the purchaser in England, that is to say, the wholesale purchaser who markets the commodity, and it will be rather a process of selection of already guaranteed goods. It will be an attempt to give a mark of super-excellence for the information of the merchants. Therefore, I am not prepared to support the amendment in its present form. I would like, at least, to be assured that the scheme of sampling and testing that is suggested in the proposed sub-section (3) will, as a matter of fact, be adopted by the minister if not in the Bill, in his regulations. I do not think it will be satisfactory merely to give the use of the brand to creameries or others after examination of their appliances and the qualifications of the butter-makers, I think one would require to know whether all these material factors are being complied with and given effect to in the actual commodity. It ought to be carried out over a period of not less than six months. I think that is essential before you give the brand. You have to prove that the Civil Service grinder turns out a scholar, and not merely a person capable of passing an examination. You could get qualification; you could, conceivably, have that qualification for the national brand, and yet turn out faulty butter. That is admitted. I think there must be a test applied to see whether the qualified creameries are really acting as they would be expected to do, and turning out a brand of butter which is sufficiently good to pass any test that may be applied, and that that test shall be at least very frequently applied before the mark is continued.

Is there any necessity for insisting that that should be at the ports?

I think it would be more convenient to do it at the ports, but that will be a matter for the Government.

Deputy Johnson has cleared my mind a good deal with regard to this matter. I am almost altogether in sympathy with what he said. I agree it is absolutely essential that butter bearing the national mark shall deserve that mark, and that no butter of an inferior quality shall go out bearing that mark. I am not sure that the regulations in the Bill so far will absolutely ensure that. It is possible consignments may escape the ordinary examination and go through bearing the national mark, and, therefore, discredit the mark to a certain extent.

Do you mean the regulations to be made under the powers of the Bill or the regulations contained in the Bill?

The whole of the regulations which I expect will be made. I think Deputy Johnson's point is that, before the mark is given, every precaution should be taken to ensure that, not only did the one have the correct technical efficiency in the creamery, the correct qualifications and appliances, but that the actual butter should be such as to warrant giving it the national mark. For that reason I support the retention of sub-section (3) of Deputy Milroy's amendment, subject to slight verbal changes. That is, that there should be a regular examination of all, or practically all, consignments.

If most convenient. I think the ports are the most convenient.

We must have it one way or the other.

To get over that, I will say the ports. But I will not say whether Irish or English. It may be possible to examine the butter just as well at the English ports.

We could never attempt to do that.

I do not know if it would be outside the powers of the Ministry to make an examination at outside ports. You will have the examination free from local influences, which is of great importance. Examiners have to be above all suspicion of bias in regard to the actual exporters.

All my references to sub-section (3) pre-suppose that it will apply to all exporters who are on the register of manufacturing exporters or creameries.

MINISTER for LAND and AGRICULTURE

And whether national brand butter or otherwise?

Only national brand butter.

For people desiring national brand butter?

What about the wording of the section? We have power under the Bill, there is no doubt, to make regulations under which we will examine all butter at the ports. I suppose that is not denied. That is the effect of Section 11. As the Bill stands, we can examine all butter, not only butter bearing the national brand, but all butter. We have those powers there. That is not denied. It comes to this, that, in addition to that, Deputy Heffernan and Deputy Milroy suggest that we should insert an express provision in the Bill to see that all butter bearing the national brand should be examined over a period of six months at the port.

My intention is to see that before the national mark is granted to any manufacturer, his butter shall be examined over a period of six months.

The contention is that for six months all butter be examined at the ports?

It means that in effect.

It means all butter coming from people applying for the national brand. I suggest there will be some exporters who will not apply for the national brand.

They will have to apply first, then.

My intention is that it should apply to all butter bearing the national brand. I do not know whether it would be necessary to examine all butter. If it is not, you will have to get a statement from all manufacturers anxious for the national brand, and have their butter examined over that period. I do not know if that is possible under the Bill.

Perhaps this matter had better be cleared up. There are a certain number of creameries which are known to the Department as fully qualified in regard to equipment conditions, etc. Assuming they apply for the brand, it will be necessary still, I suggest, to test their consignments over a period of six months before they come to use the brand, so that if everything else were ready, no brand would be operative for six months. My view is—and I think it is the view of the whole of the Agricultural Commission—that the application for the use of the brand should be followed by tests and samplings for a period of six months, and that facilities at the ports would be provided, so that the examination would be at the ports. We thought it would be easier to do it at the ports when you are making that initial test of as many consignments from applicants as possible. After that it may be found that the trouble of the examination of large numbers of consignments will be too great at the ports. That is still doubtful. There was an assumption that after the six months were over the examination might be at different places—even in the creamery, after the butter was made, or en route to anywhere else—but that the examination for that initial six months should be at the ports and follow application for the use of the brand.

As that also is Deputy Heffernan's position, I want to get the issue knit. Do I take it the contention is, that, following an application for the use of the brand, there should be a compulsory period of examination, lasting over six months, and that the examination should be in regard to all, or at least some, of the consignments from every creamery applying? Is it that?

I do not hold that the word " all " is necessary.

Deputy Heffernan does.

The principle at stake is that the brand should be given as a result of an examination of the article produced.

That is not the principle at stake. We have made it definitely clear already. The question is whether it should be given as a result of this examination referred to in the amendment, plus the examination of the creameries, or in the way that is already provided for in the Bill.

We are perhaps doing an injustice to Deputy Milroy. We are now, more or less, concentrating the discussion upon sub-section (3), whereas—

I agree with Deputy Johnson's view. I must confess I am not quite sure whether all consignments should be examined. I think a portion of all consignments should be examined.

You mean samples from all?

Then, it is contended that there should be an examination of samples of all, or practically all, consignments of butter coming from creameries applying for the use of the brand, and that that examination should take place at the ports over a period of six months. I think there is no necessity to go that distance. We have power, as it is, to do that and to do more. So that there is, in one sense, very little between us. We have power to do that much at present, under the new section, the section before 11—the new Section 11.

Is there any intention of using that power?

In this way?

In this way, I mean.

Supposing it is made mandatory, as suggested, that over a period of six months we must examine some butter from every creamery that has applied for the national brand, would we comply with the desires of the Deputies? If I did pick out one first class creamery that I could conscientiously and honestly give the national brand to, that is managed as good as a Danish creamery, and picked out that for the purpose of your amendment, we would have to stop at least one consignment during a period of six months at a port and examine it. We must examine the difference between the two amendments by reference to specific cases. Take the case of that creamery: certainly under this section, leaving out the word " all," we would have to examine at least one consignment of butter at the ports, in regard to that creamery. Would that meet the case? If that would not, in regard to that creamery, you are going a little further. We must know what it does mean. It would be perfectly absurd to put in a provision in the Bill that would make it mandatory on us to examine all, or even seventy-five or eighty per cent. of the consignments, or at least ten per cent. of the creameries. It would be a wanton and gratuitous interference. We would know there was no occasion for it in regard to five per cent. of the creameries—I could not say the exact percentage, but take it at five per cent. or ten per cent. for safety. It would be absurd and gratuitous to examine seventy-five per cent. of their butter. If the idea in Deputy Heffernan's mind is accepted, we must do that. What I want to get at is whether Deputy Heffernan means, in regard to ten per cent. or fifteen per cent. of them, whatever the percentage may be, we must examine samples from at least seventy-five per cent. of the creameries.

I am afraid exceptions could not be made. If Professor O'Sullivan were to hold an examination—if he had twenty men coming forward and he knew two were absolutely certain of getting high marks, he would yet have to examine them. You could not make exceptions.

No one is denying there must be an examination, and an adequate examination, but you will agree that it will require less research to say whether one creamery is better than another. It is much easier to test one creamery than another, obviously from a surprise examination at the port or in transit, or in the creamery itself—what you know of the past history of the creamery, what you see of its working when you turn in there—all shows that the particular creamery is past reproach, and that it will get the national mark straight away. There must be examination in the matter, but there is examination and examination, and I am trying to get at what is the exact examination you want. Would you give preference, say, to twenty, or ten, or five per cent. that are first class creameries that whatever examination we may hold will show immediately to be first class creameries? Would you force us to check consignments from seventy-five per cent. of the creameries at the ports? That is the whole question.

If that is your intention you express it otherwise by saying that you leave us only the option to exempt a few. What you really intend to do is to exempt 75 or 80 of the consignments. How can you give effect to that except by specifically stating in the Bill we must exempt all for six months. So the issue is this. Either of two things. We must be content with the section that gives us power to make regulations which would change, in changed circumstances, and changing creameries, or put in a specific provision saying we must exempt every consignment, not speaking of every creamery, that applies for the national brand, for six months. There is no half-way house. I think that would be absurd, or at all events a serious interference with trade. The one very important thing, I think, is our proximity to the English market, and anything that gets between us and that is bad. I am speaking not of the 20 or so per cent. which we can be sure about as right. Would it be right to go to all this expense and all that, and then to hold up at the ports every consignment that came from every creamery in order to take samples for six months? And what good is your sample? What will you learn at the ports? Because, as Deputy Johnson pointed out, the fact that the standard of the creamery itself has reached a certain level is the only guarantee left of the keeping qualities of the butter, and of these 15 or 20 per cent. of the creameries I am speaking of do not require examination at the ports at all. You require a few separate inspections; you require to look at the file and see what the past experience has been; you require some separate inspection to examine the creamery and you will see whether it falls into that very small class. There will be no difficulty in finding out whether it falls into that class, and there you have the only guarantee you can have of the keeping qualities of the butter. So in these 15 or 20 cases you are examining the butter for taste, flavour, smell, and not for keeping qualities at all.

It would seem to me to be putting a considerable percentage of the creameries to considerable expense and inconvenience to carry out this examination in regard to every consignment because that is what it comes to, Hence, I think there is no half-way house between that amendment and the amendment such as in this section here. Now with regard to creating what we are aiming at. We are aiming at a period of three or four years when practically every consignment of butter leaving this country will be up to the standard. We are aiming at something such as the Danes have effected. There is only one class of butter leaving Denmark for export. That is what we are aiming at. If we grade at the ports we can only give one grade viz.—" choicest." The national grade is first grade if you like, we can only give another—" choicest." We may have a creamery better than that, still they will have their own name. The Killeshandra Creamery which has a reputation for turning out the choicest butter will always have a market for it but I doubt you will ever have a grade above the national brand. Possibly a number of creameries like Killeshandra, which is a very big creamery I believe, may export and grade for themselves but I do not think that experience will show the necessity for grading butter which has reached the national mark standard. They have not done in Denmark. They do not attempt to grade over the national mark standard; they have not thought it worth while and while I think there will be a bigger opportunity to turn out choice butter in Ireland than in Denmark because we are nearer to England and we are in a better position to turn choice butter that will be sold in England. As soon as practically all the butter sold from Ireland will be up to the standard the special creamery will be able to get a reputation for its name for choice quality.

I do not think I need go into the question of grading butter which comes from creameries themselves not up to the standard. You cannot do it. If a consignment comes along from one of these creameries, if you agree you cannot safely give it a national mark because the keeping qualities of the butter may not be all they should be what grade will you give it. If you cannot give a grade to butter, because it may be of a totally different grade in a fortnight, what grade will you give it? Here is a consignment of butter which in taste, flavour, and smell is according to the most competent grader worth 92 marks, it comes from a creamery that does things in a slip-shod way, no pasteurisation, and in a fortnight the bacteria may have got to work, and no one can say how far that will work in a fortnight, and although there was examination it is not worth 92 marks. But you may not care to risk giving it a grade of 92 because it may not be worth 92 in a fortnight and are you to give it 91 or 85? You cannot have a grade with safety except the grade of butter which comes from the creameries whose general standards are good enough for the national brand, and while you talk of the danger of allowing butter out without being examined at the ports, even from the creamery whose butter is up to the mark, it is nothing to the risk you run by giving a grading to a butter that comes from a creamery whose standards are not uniform and likely to be casual.

We are really discussing sub-section (3) up to the present. Has the Deputy considered 4 and 6, the length of time all butter, for the future, waiting for the national brand, may be held up at the ports.

One question of Deputy Johnson's I forgot to answer. The Bill will not come into operation until April, and I dare say it will be six months further. Inspection in that case will begin immediately, but it will require very nearly six months inspection and preparation before it comes into operation.

I do not want now to deal with the question of grading. I have said all I want to say upon that, but I feel bound to take exception to some of the arguments used by the Minister. Inspection of the conditions of the national mark will be granted, but the question of the preparatory period, whatever that period may be, before granting the use of the mark as put forward, because I think, and the Commission thought, and I believe I am interpreting their views right, that it was essential that there should be a fairly regular, if not an exhaustive, test as to whether they were, in fact, putting into the butter what they were presumed to be qualified to be putting into the butter, not only better in quality and texture and flavour, but that extra ability should apply to all applicants. A good deal depends upon this—for instance, whether we are going to make these tests—whether we are going to make the brand cheap or dear. If we are going to say that the general character of the creamery and our common knowledge that such a creamery is not only efficient in equipment, but is in practice turning out high quality butter, if we are going to presume upon that general knowledge, then I think we will somewhat cheapen the brand. It is better to say, not only does our general knowledge justify us in giving this brand, but that our practical tests over a prolonged period justify it and confirm our general knowledge. We may be quite right in, say, 15 or 20 per cent. of the creameries in giving, without question, that general character to the commodity, and marking it such as that it should obtain the brand at once so long as we know the equipment of the creamery itself is satisfactory, but I do not want the other 75 or 80 per cent. that may apply to say we selected the 15 or 20 on our general knowledge of their past record. Interference with trade is mentioned by the Minister, but we are not proposing, as a later clause of this amendment proposes, to hold up a consignment until the sample is analysed, but we are asking that the sample should be taken, examined and tested.

You are on clause3.

Do you mean bacteriological examination?

How long would that analysis take?

It would depend upon the number of examiners.

At any rate, it would not affect the consignment?

I am not asking that the consignment should be held up. We are not dealing with the preparatory period. There is no brand on the consignment. The interference is an interference that would be required to open the firkin and packets and take out a sample, and close down the firkins or packets again. You may have such interference as that in the Customs examination on the other side of the water. It is not an uncommon thing that kind of examination of consignments, and there is not going to be any undue interference with trade in that examination of consignments.

The question whether it should be at the ports is largely a question of convenience. It is partly a question of the period that elapses since the butter is made and its arrival at the ports, but as we do not want to interfere with the trade we will give it the longest time possible, which is the time it arrives at the port. That is one consideration. The other is that, dealing with a fair number of examinations, you have your examiners concentrated, and you can do it better at the ports than indiscriminately.

This is not a surprise examination. Therefore it matters little where it is effected so long as it is effected. The question of ports is rather a matter of convenience, and it would be really less interference with the trade to have the examination at the ports. Possibly I may be misinterpreting the Minister, probably everybody in the trade interest turns out good quality butter, but when they apply for the use of the brand have they to be held up until there would be six months' examination of their consignments? Supposing that was so, and supposing only one of ten of that character applied, I say the brand ought not be granted to them until a considerable number had applied and qualified. Because until you have a brand well enough known, until you are able to say that such a proportion of butter going forward is qualified to receive the brand, the advantage of the brand is going to be lost. I am fairly strongly in favour of the introduction in the Bill of some such proposition as is in sub-section (3). I want to say that I am strongly insisting that it shall be in the Bill. I am prepared to trust to the regulations, but I am a little bit shaken in that trust now because of the line the Minister has taken. I am inclined now to think that we ought insist that there ought to be something in the Bill requiring six months examination of consignments before this granting of the mark. Now, there is one other question—whether one would insist upon all consignments or a definite proportion. Well, you know that as a matter of practice, that if a particular creamery is known to have been for years sending out butter of a high quality, and that it satisfies all the requirements of the creamery itself, that if you do insist upon a sample of every consignment being taken, and I am inclined to insist upon that—one knows that the examination that would follow need not be, and would not be in practice as critical as the examination of less well known creameries and less well known brands. So that I would be inclined to say that the test should be applied for every six months' period and consignments should be subject to examination.

I am afraid we would have to consider the question of the adjournment. I only wish to say that at every creamery the butter will be tested, whether it is tested at the ports or not.

My contention was that there was no alternative to Section 11, except what Deputy Johnson has just stated, within the amendment that you have an examination of all consignments of all creameries which apply, at the ports. That is my contention. We must discuss it on that basis. If there is an alternative to that I should like to see it. It is nothing other than placing the department under the necessity of testing all creameries that apply for the national brand. My contentionwould be that it would be absurd in 25 per cent. of the cases to examine not 99.8 per cent. of their consignments but 100 per cent.

Are we going to defer the discussion on that?

If we get the full revelation of the Minister's mind and if he proposes to consider this and produce this amendment——

We have considered this long enough to ensure that there will be a larger committee in attendance at the next discussion.

If that is the Minister's mind, and if he is not going to accept that it would be idle for us to resume the discussion at the next committee meeting, and I think the most sensible course would be to withdraw it and have a committee on it——

I think we are entitled to have this examination oftener.

I do not think you will get a better discussion in the Dáil than in this committee. I think it is a mistake to adjourn it. We had a fairly long discussion and some Deputies have spoken a couple of times.

The Committee rose at 2.5 p.m. until 10.30 o'clock on Tuesday morning.