I move amendment 57 :—
To insert before the First Schedule a new section as follows:—
NATIONAL DAIRY COUNCIL.
" 42. (1) Before any part of this Act shall come into operation, there shall be established by the Minister a National Dairy Council, the functions of which shall be as follows:—
(a) To make representations from time to time to the Minister on any or all of the following matters, so far as they affect the dairying industry in Saorstát Eireann:
(i) the improvement or safeguarding of the industry;
(ii) any proposed new legislation or proposed amendments of existing Acts;
(iii) any regulations proposed by the Minister in connection with any Act relating to dairying;
(iv) Any matter arising out of the operation of any Act, or of any regulation made under an Act;
(v) the appointment of examiners of butter, and other officers to be appointed by the Minister in connection with the inspection of registered premises or dairy products;
(b) to enquire, either by itself or in conjunction with any person or persons appointed by the Minister into the progress, policy, and development of dairying in other countries;
(c) in conjunction with the examiners appointed by the Minister, to examine either at the ports or elsewhere samples of butter where considered desirable, with a view to advising the Minister or other department either generally or in any particular instance in connection with the examination of butter;
(d) to investigate the operation of any Act affecting dairying, or the operations of any clause or schemes under that Act, with a view to advising the Minister;
(e) to advise the Minister generally on any matter affecting the industry.
(2) The Council shall be constituted of twelve members to be appointed by the Minister from persons nominated in such manner as shall be provided by regulations under this Act; in the first instance by the manufacturing exporters of butter, and afterwards by the persons and firms whose names appear for the time being in the registers kept pursuant to Section 13 (1) of the Act. The Minister may remove any member of the Council.
(3) The Council shall, subject to the approval of the Minister, appoint its own officers, and provide for the carrying out of its own clerical work."
This may be regarded as very important, and probably those whose enterprises are affected by this Bill will regard a section such as this, or the setting up of the Dairy Council, or Advisory Committee of some kind, as one of the most important parts of the Bill. The Minister, on the occasion of the last meeting of this Committee, stated that everything would depend on how this Act was to be administered; that it was within the range of possibility that this Act, if its operations were not wisely administered, might make things worse than they are at present. I do not know what is the Minister's attitude towards the setting up of a Dairy Council, but an outstanding feature of this Bill, as it stands, seems to be the extraordinary, comprehensive and drastic powers which are given to the Department over this particular industry. In fact, if the industry itself was nationalised, I think it would hardly have wider, more comprehensive and more detailed powers over it than by the Ministerial Department that is provided for in this Bill. However, the industry is not being nationalised. Private interests and private enterprises are concerned, and the livelihood of many people is concerned. Therefore, I think it is necessary, in all fairness, that those whose occupations and enterprises are so closely and comprehensively affected, should have some provision by which they can be protected or safeguarded against the effect of unfair or unwise official action in this matter. As the Minister stated several times in various ways, he has taken power under this Bill to do many things, especially in regard to examination at the port. I said, when discussing that proposal, that it is important that the decision as to when such an examination should take place should be influenced by a council of men who are concerned with the industry and who would be represented upon such a body as is proposed in this amendment. When I speak of a National Dairy Council, or when I consider the Advisory Committee—I think that is the proposal of Deputy Heffernan—we want something more than a body that is summoned on the sweet will of the Department, that will call them together once in six months or three months to give them the appearance of being in existence—a body that will have within itself a considerable degree of autonomy, that will have their own officials, and that will be called together, not by an official of the Department, but at suitable times on their own decision and by their own official, who will not be a mere official of the Department. If the proceedings and the meetings and the operations of such a council were simply to be decided on and controlled by an official of the Department, it would defeat the very object for which this amendment is made; that is to set up a body representative of the people concerned in this industry for the purpose of securing that there shall be safeguards against unfair official decisions and official actions. That is largely the point I wish to make on the matter. I do not know what the attitude of the Minister is towards this thing, but I do want to make it perfectly clear that what I have in mind is not something that is a mere subordinate—it will be subordinate, of course, in the real sense of the word, to the Ministerial authority, but in no way subordinate to mere officialism; that it will have autonomous powers with limits within which it can operate, and that it shall be competent to give advice on the various matters affecting the industry, in regard to which the Minister has taken power to make certain regulations, and take power to avert repetition of official interference which I think are on record and which I think have been calamitous to a considerable extent to the industry in the past.