SECTION 36.

(1) From and after the commencement of Part III. of this Act, the word " creamery," if applied to any butter sold or offered, exposed, or consigned for sale in or exported from Saorstát Eireann, shall (subject to the exception hereinafter contained) be taken to be a trade description signifying that the butter has been manufactured in premises registered in the register of creameries and has not been subsequently blended or re-worked.
(2) The application of the word " creamery " or any colourable imitation of the word " creamery " to any butter which has not been manufactured in premises registered in the register of creameries or which, having been manufactured in such premises, has been subsequently blended or re-worked or has been brought on to any premises used for the manufacture or treatment of dairy produce for sale which are not registered in the register of creameries shall (subject to the exception hereinafter contained) be taken to be a false trade description of such butter within the meaning of the Merchandise Marks Acts, 1887 to 1911, and the provisions of those Acts, including the penal provisions, shall apply accordingly.
(3) Nothing in this section shall apply to or prevent the application to butter imported into Saorstát Eireann of the word " creamery " in conjunction with a word or words clearly indicating that the butter was imported into or was not manufactured in Saorstát Eireann.
(4) For the purposes of this section the word " creamery " shall be deemed to be applied if it is applied within the meaning of the Merchandise Marks Acts, 1887 to 1911.
(5) This section shall come into operation at the expiration of two months from the commencement of Part III. of this Act.

I beg to move the following amendment to this section:—

At end sub-section (3), line 60, to add the words, " provided that if any such imported butter is exported the provisions of this sub-section shall not apply."

This section deals with the application of the word " creamery." As it stands the section would allow New Zealand creamery butter into the country. Of course the fact that it is called creamery butter on the New Zealand package could not obviously come within the definition of this Act, because we are not able to say whether or not in was manufactured in a creamery from pasteurised cream. Unless some words are inserted in the sub-section which would limit the use of that butter to consumption in the Saorstát, it might be possible to take that butter and export it, and it may be called Irish creamery butter or creamery butter from Ireland, which would be a distinct breach of the intentions under this Bill. It could be sold as creamery butter from Ireland on the English markets, and it could easily be proved that it came from Ireland by the consignment note. I want to indicate by the insertion of the words in my amendment that all butter coming into the country is coming in for consumption in the country, and that it should not be allowed to be exported from the country, and run the risk of being sold as creamery butter which comes from Ireland.

A most important point is raised in this amendment. Practically all the Irish creameries import a large quantity of New Zealand butter every winter. They rehandle this butter and sometimes they blend it with a very small amount of butter that is produced here. They then send it off to England and sell it with the brand of their creamery on it. We know that up to �450,000 worth of butter is imported into this country every year. That butter is not used here, but it is sent by the creameries to their customers in order to keep them in touch with their customers until they have their own supplies of butter in the spring of the year. That is a point that is worthy of very serious consideration.

I think the idea contained in the amendment is sound, but I think the amendment itself may require some improvement or alteration in the drafting.

I want to use an example closer to us than that of the New Zealand butter. This Bill may make conditions which are not applicable to the creameries in the North of Ireland. We may find that the value of the national brand and of the word " creamery " as defined by this Act will enhance the value of Irish creamery national brand butter in the English markets. In Northern Ireland the butter is not of the same value, that is to say it has not undergone the same kind of inspection, but it may find its way into the Saorstát to be stored and then be sold. It may go through all the processes, so far as transportation is concerned, that any of the Irish creamery butter would undergo, and I suggest it would be difficult to persuade the English buyer if he were supplied with this butter, that he was not getting Irish creamery butter. I would press on the committee the importance of making provision to prevent imported butter from being re-exported as Irish creamery butter unless it has undergone all the conditions which we are applying in this Bill to Irish creamery butter.

Deputy D'Alton has left but there is one point I wish to make in reply to what he said as regards the blending of butter and the sending of it by creameries to their customers in the winter time. Sub-section (1) of this section forbids the blending of imported butter and sending it out as creamery butter. If the imported butter has been blended or re-worked it cannot be exported as creamery butter.

I am not quite clear whether Deputy Johnson would contemplate allowing foreign creamery butter, say Danish, which had passed all the tests applied here being exported to England without the word " Danish " on the package—with nothing to show that it was imported butter, provided the tests were all right.

I want to guard against butter going out from the Saorstát with the word " creamery " attached to it which has not been submitted to all the conditions which we apply under this Bill.

Even with the words " Danish Creamery " on the package?

I dissent from that, because the word " Danish " or the word indicating the foreign character of the butter could be easily removed. Nevertheless, the butter would go from here with the term " creamery " on it, and it could quite honestly be described as creamery butter. The very fact that it had come from the Saorstát would justify any merchant in England in saying that it was Irish creamery butter and that it had come from Ireland. I think you are opening the way to a possible depreciation of the value of Irish creamery butter if you allow creamery butter to be imported into the country, and then allow it to be exported. The foreign mark may be on the box when you send it out from this country, so I think there you will find a certain amount of difficulty in your administration. The foreign mark may be on the box when you export it. If you begin to depreciate the value of butter going out from Ireland with the word " creamery " on it, through the use of your legislation, you are inviting the merchant across the water to say " Certainly; this is from Ireland; here are the consignment notes; this is Irish creamery butter." Therefore, this foreign butter which you export is going to get the advantage that has accrued to Irish creamery butter through the operations of this Act. If you do that, you may allow that kind of trade to be encouraged. You may be saying that Ireland is a good place from which to send good butter, and you may be telling the Dane and the Siberian to send his butter to Ireland for the purpose of exporting it to England, thereby enhancing its market value in England, because it has the Irish brand on it. If our hopes are going to be fulfilled by this Bill, that certainly will be an important consideration. I, therefore, think that we must not allow butter to go out from Ireland with the term " creamery " applied to it which has not been subjected to all the conditions that we are applying to Irish creamery butter.

Would not re-working come within re-packing? If butter was re-packed from foreign packages to Irish packages, would not that be re-working, and is it not already covered? You cannot export foreign butter to England without re-packing?

Deputy HOGAN

Australian and New Zealand butter is packed in square boxes. Irish butter is in pyramid boxes, and it would be absolutely impossible to re-pack that butter in Irish boxes without re-working.

If my anticipations are well grounded, this Siberian or New Zealand butter exported will take on the character of Irish butter because it will be sent out in packages corresponding to Irish.

The foreign butter would come on the market as Danish creamery butter or New Zealand butter, as the case may be, and that would be written plainly on the packages.

Why should it?

It would be under the section. Under the section no butter can be imported as creamery butter unless there was a description making that quite clear.

In 36 (3) the intention was to make it quite clear what the particular creamery was. Probably the word indicating the origin was to be put in, and if it was not clear we should make it clear.

Deputy Johnson's difficulty is that when you export butter, the words showing its foreign origin may be deleted.

If that is so, it is badly drafted. I am quite clear the intention was that in the case of foreign creamery butter it could not be exported without the word indicating that it was foreign.

But the argument is that it is creamery butter from Ireland. You do not say it is Irish creamery butter, but you may convey that.

Bear in mind that we are not in a position to control the English wholesaler, or the English merchant, or the English shopkeeper, and this sub-section is clearly intended to apply to butter which is intended for consumption in Ireland.

No, the section may have been badly drafted, but that was not the intention.

My first desire was to put in words so as to ensure that it was butter for consumption in Ireland. This is an invitation, and apparently from the Minister's explanation it is the expectation, for a through trade and through traffic. Let us consider the position. If a particular trade imports Danish, Siberian, New Zealand or Canadian butter into Ireland, you are then using Ireland as a distributing centre. You have made provision regarding Irish creamery butter. You put in many limitations to secure the quality, taste, flavour, keeping value of Irish creamery butter, but you say that so far as butter branded from Denmark or Canada or Siberia it may come into Ireland provided it is from Canada or Siberia or any other country indicating its foreign origin and that then it may be exported. Let us suppose that the Bill is adequate and improves the value of Irish creamery butter, you have all these different countries using Ireland as a distributing centre. They send butter into Ireland in boxes shaped like Irish boxes. The only condition then to be imposed is that as these boxes leave Ireland they should have some mark upon them that they were originally imported into Ireland.

And on the packages as well.

I am assuming it is bulk butter and that it is coming into Ireland in bulk packed in boxes shaped like the Irish boxes, and the only indication then that it is not Irish creamery butter is that it has come form Canada, or Denmark or Siberia or you allow it to go out as Irish creamery butter. Your only protection is that people in England will retain on the boxes the indication that it was made in Canada or Siberia. I suggest that much of that butter will be sold over the counter in shops and will not be sold in boxes. They do not show the brand and if they could show that it had been invoiced and consigned direct from Ireland and invoiced to them as creamery butter, there is no evidence even in so acting of any intention to do wrong, and the people in Ireland associated with that transaction are in the same position as the people in England selling it. I believe we ought not to allow foreign creamery butter to go out in our boxes, or if we can prevent it, we ought not to allow it to be so invoiced if it is likely to deteriorate the value of the brand. Unless we make provision against that, and unless we make provision against allowing any colourable imitations either of the kind of packages or in the shape of the packages, or in the terminology on the packages, or anything else that would suggest the imported butter as Irish creamery butter, the Bill will be a failure. Of course, I realise that my argument has led to much more than I have provided for in this amendment, but I am trying to get the views of the Committee as to whether we should so limit the operations of this import trade in butter so as to prevent butter going out from Ireland with the term " creamery " attached to it when such butter has not undergone inspection and it is not Irish creamery butter under the Bill.

I was going to suggest a verbal addition to sub-section (3), but I think in view of what Deputy Johnson has said it would not quite cover it. I was going to suggest that the words should be added to subsection (3)—" and if such butter is re-exported it shall bear on each package the brand indicating the country of origin."

That does not cover it, because Deputy Johnson is referring to bulk butter. The boxes must bear the brand, but Deputy Johnson says that is not much good. I see the full force of what Deputy Johnson says, but in the winter time the best of the creameries are supplied by getting first-class Danish butter or first-class creamery butter and sending it to their customers. We think we can hardly prevent them doing that, at least for the first years in any event. Probably as the trade develops there won't be any necessity for it. But we wish to make it quite clear that in a sense that that butter is additional upon the trade of the country, and from that point of view we put in that section, which means that the consignment of butter imported into Ireland, and that goes out of Ireland again as creamery butter, must go with the brand " Danish " or " Dutch " or " New Zealand " butter attached, as the case may be. However, there is the point Deputy Johnson mentioned about bulk butter, and I do not see at the moment how it is to be met. What I do see is that if we accept Deputy Johnson's amendment it will be quite impossible for the creameries in the winter time to export even the best butter as Irish creamery butter at all.

Is that to any extent?

I cannot possibly see how it can be extended as all the Danish butter that comes to Ireland is imported from England. Why not get it from English sources as well as Irish sources? In the South there is practically no business at all done that way.

I am afraid I do not agree with Deputy Hogan on that point. I know creameries that get New Zealand butter in every year, in order to keep in touch with customers. Perhaps that is not so in his immediate neighbourhood, but it is in our district. I agree with the Minister, but I cannot see what can be done at present. I believe when Deputy Milroy has his programme of Protection advanced next year that you will have a tariff on New Zealand butter coming into Ireland. That will make the Irish people do what they should do now, and which they must do eventually, have cold storage. They are getting rid of a lot of their stuff in the summer, whereas if they had cold storage they need not be paying �400,000 for butter and �300,000 for cheese.

It seems to me that Deputy Johnson's point is that we should examine foreign butter just as carefully as we examine Irish butter, to see if it conforms to the standard before allowing it to be exported as creamery butter.

No, I would not allow butter to go from Ireland with the word " creamery " unless it was made in an Irish creamery.

What would happen then is that no creamery could export this butter. We could not export factory butter. From the information I have, the creameries will be very hard hit if they could only export creamery butter.

This matter, apparently, is of very much more importance than I anticipated. The object of the Bill is to enhance the value of Irish creamery butter. It is now proposed to give facilities to Irish creameries to use their trade name to export butter which is not their own make.

No. The intention is that they would export it as Danish or whatever butter it is.

Yes, become merchants and not manufacturers. They become sellers of Danish butter. That is not Irish creamery butter. Do you want to encourage a trade in Ireland which would mean the export from Ireland of foreign-made butter under the term, " creamery " butter. You may try to insist that it shall be marked with the country of origin. Will you insist that it shall be packed in a package which is not the established Irish package? If it is true that Danish, Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand butter comes into Ireland in different shaped boxes, will you insist that it shall go out in the same boxes, or that the packages will be distinct from the Irish packages? By that means you will be going some way towards meeting my point. I am afraid the facilities which we seem to think necessary to enable Irish creameries to merchant imported butter—not Danish butter, which happens to be a higher price—but New Zealand, perhaps at a lower price, or Siberian, or any other imported butter, under the Irish brand, not the national brand, but under the term, " Irish Creamery " or " Creamery from Ireland," is, I think, likely to reduce the value——

I am afraid we have been wasting time on a fallacious argument.

Deputy Beamish is very frequently telling other people they are wasting time.

Yes, quite right.

On a point of order——

I withdraw anything I said. Deputy Johnson is so charming that I would not like to say anything.

My point is that it is disorderly for Deputy Beamish to get up here so frequently and tell other Members that they are wasting time.

I suggested that the argument was fallacious for this reason. I was in Sweden working as a pupil, and the enormous score they have there over Irish creameries was that they were able to supply a uniform amount of butter in both winter and summer. The difficulty of the Irish creameries was that they had not enough butter in winter, but had an overflow in the summer. To a certain extent there was partial freezing of butter to keep it over to the winter, but there was not enough. Irish firms had not got a supply of butter for their English customers over the winter. In that way there is an enormous loss, to which I direct Deputy Johnson's attention. You cannot keep English customers on hands owing to the lack of butter in winter. If we sell butter, Danish or Siberian butter, when we have not got it ourselves, we keep customers in England on hands, at any rate, when you have not any butter of your own that you can sell. I venture to suggest that it might be a fallacious argument to say that we should stop Irish dairies becoming factors for other butters when they have not sufficient to carry on.

To a certain extent I agree with Deputy Johnson in the amendment, but I cannot go the whole way with him. There is no doubt that an enormous amount of foreign butter is shipped into this country, but it is blended in our creameries. There is no doubt that that butter is shipped to England as Irish creamery butter. We get an increased price for it by blending it. I do not know whether the practice should be allowed, but under the circumstances, and having regard to our position at the moment, I will ask Deputy Johnson not to press the amendment. By doing so you are going to injure trade to a certain extent in the winter and injure agricultural interests. I agree that it is not fair, but it has to be done at present.

The only thing I would point out is that that butter cannot be exported as Irish creamery butter.

My idea with regard to Deputy Johnson's proposal is that it cannot be fulfilled unless you prohibit the re-export of any butter that comes into the country. I think it would not be legal to export butter from New Zealand as Irish creamery butter. I take it that that would break the ordinary law and that there could be a prosecution.

There is no question about that.

The term " creamery butter from Ireland " could be used. If you allow imports and re-export them, you cannot stop that butter being sold as creamery butter from Ireland. I think the only way that you could possibly meet the point is by prohibiting the re-export of creamery butter from Ireland. I agree with Deputy Hogan that there is practically no foreign butter imported and re-exported in the same condition. I knew that Danish and New Zealand butter were being imported, but that butter was graded and blended in Ireland and then exported. Under the Bill, as it stands, that cannot be done.

If Deputy Heffernan is right, and I do not pretend to be absolutely certain of the point, that only a negligible quantity of foreign creamery butter is exported we can deal with that. It is a very important point, and as it rules the whole question we must investigate it before the Report Stage. If we find that we cannot stop the exports at once of creamery butter that was imported into Ireland we would have to consider whether we could not go a little further than we have gone in Section 34, where we attempt to say that all foreign creamery butter before export shall have the words " foreign " quite clearly on the packages or boxes. We may be able to go a little further in Section 15 (2). We can consider between this and the Report Stage what further regulations we should make, if necessary, to allow the re-export of this butter. To come to Deputy Johnson's other point, that this butter might come over in boxes with the words " Danish Creamery Butter " on them, and that it could be put into pounds and sold as creamery butter from Ireland in the provincial towns of England——

I am inclined to press the amendment. I am not laying as great stress on the term " creamery " as the Minister seems to do. We do not know whether butter coming from Canada, Australia or Siberia is creamery butter or not. We are assuming that it is. Perhaps we are justified in assuming that it is. We do not know and if we are going to establish by practice under this Bill a standard which will apply to the word " creamery " we ought to be quite sure it is a standard that has been complied with. We cannot do that in respect of imported butter.

Amendment put: Tá, 5; Níl, 4.

Tá.

  • Tomás Mac Eoin.
  • Micheál O hIfearnáin.
  • Tadhg S. O Donnabháin.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (Limerick)
  • Pádraig S. O Dubhthaigh.

Níl.

  • R. H. Beamish.
  • Seán Mac Giolla ’n Riogh.
  • L. J. D’Alton.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (Galway).
Amendment declared carried.
Question: " That Section 36, as amended, stand part of the Bill," put and agreed to.

I desire to ask whether this would exclude Macamore? If I am not mistaken, the Minister decided to introduce some definition system, and I want to be sure about it.

It was definitely agreed that it is to be considered. I think that was already decided on Section 2. I have a recollection that the Minister undertook to frame some provision that would meet the point mentioned by Deputy Heffernan.

No. I think he agreed to consider the point. I do not know how far he went, but we cannot discuss it here.

I do not wish to re-open the discussion now, as I do not think any useful purpose would be served, but I rather understood that the Minister was going to give consideration to some alternative on the Report Stage.