THIRD SCHEDULE.

FEES.

Fee on application for registration in any of the registers kept in pursuance of this Act

One pound.

Annual fee; in respect of butter to which Section 9 of this Act applies exported during the year

One penny on each complete twenty-eight pounds of butter.

Fee on grant of licence to export, on each package of butter to which the licence relates

Where the package contains not more than twenty-eight pounds of butter—one penny; where the package contains more than twenty-eight pounds of butter—one penny on every twenty-eight pounds or part of twenty-eight pounds of butter.

Deputy HOGAN

I move:—

In the second column, lines 8, 15-16 and 16, to delete the words " one penny " and substitute therefor the words " one halfpenny," and in lines 9, 14, 17-18, 19-20 and 21, to delete the word " twenty-eight " and substitute therefor the word " fifty-six."

Looking at the proposed charge of 4d. per cwt. one would think it would not be a very heavy burden on the creamery, but if you examine into the conditions of creameries at present you will find that it would be very hard to place this burden on them. The average cost will be about £50 or £60 a year. One would not think that would be much, but the circumstances of the creameries financially are not in a good condition, because they are practically all working on overdrafts. They incurred a big debt for the months of December, January, February and March, and for the balance of the short season they are trying to wipe out that debt. In my opinion 4d. per cwt. is too much for the present, and until the creameries will get some results from this measure and the creation of a national brand for Irish butter. That will take some years. It will take a year or two before we get our customers in England familiarised with the brand. I think it would be advisable to reduce the charge from 4d. to 2d. per cwt., and then, if we get the results from the Bill that I believe we will, the matter can be reconsidered.

I support Deputy Hogan on this. There is no doubt whatever that in many cases the total charge that a creamery will be asked to bear might not be very heavy, but there are individual cases where the charge will be extremely heavy. One creamery in my county would be paying on their present turn out about £9 a week if the charge stands as it is. We know there are people who are objecting to to this measure, and perhaps there is a reason for their objection. We have creameries that are turning out butter up to a very high standard, and I am doubtful if, under this Bill, they will surpass the present standard of the butter, even when they are using the national brand. Their objection is that we are interfering in their business, although they have no guarantee that we are going to improve the prices we are getting at present in some cases. It is yet to be determined whether the prices for our best creameries may be improved or not. We are putting upon them a fairly heavy charge in order to enable us to exercise the right of interfering in their business. That certainly will be a bone of contention. Some of our creameries have a strong case when they say that this Bill is not going to benefit them. It seems to me Deputy Hogan is right, and until the national brand has definitely established a reputation for our butter, the cost to the creameries for inspection ought to be the lowest possible figure, particularly when we take into account that some of our creameries probably might have to bear the heaviest share of this cost. Maybe creameries which are to-day turning out butter practically as high as when they shall have the right to use the national brand, which brand would do more to benefit other concerns than to benefit some of these important concerns. I think the Minister would be well advised to accept the amendment.

The cost under this charge would be .035 per lb., which is practically nothing, only about a fraction of a farthing in the lb. If benefits are to be derived by the Government making vital improvements, as we all believe they will, as regards creameries, then the creameries must themselves to a certain extent, be willing to pay a portion of the cost of inspection, as inspection will eventually create a better market. Considering the benefits to be derived, the proposed charge is a reasonable proportion to ask the creameries to contribute. I do not want to put an undue burden on any creamery, but they must have some burden under the circumstances.

With regard to that I think you would be in a much better position to discuss the matter properly if we had an estimate from the Minister as to what the actual cost of inspection would be, and if we also had an estimate of the actual amount expected to be realised by this charge. In the absence of these figures, in my opinion, we are largely in the dark.

In discussing the question of payment on the last day, I referred to payment being made in advance. Some creameries are heavily handicapped by debts, and by perhaps bad management at a certain period, and that handicap they have not been able to get clear of. Overdrafts in the bank or otherwise have not been cleared off, and some creameries have complained that they have not been able to help the farmers as much as was required. We have to consider what are the advantages in the whole of this scheme to the dairying industry. If it is going to place Irish butter where it was at one time, at the top of the market, then the individual creameries will have to help. I think the Minister for Agriculture should press on the Ministry of Finance for a larger grant on the whole Agricultural Vote, and that a larger proportion of the grant on that Vote should be given for this industry. I think the Minister for Agriculture has pressed the Minister for Finance to meet the expenses which will be incurred in the carrying through of this Bill, to a greater extent than he has done. We all know that the Ministry of Finance is very careful about all financial matters. To make him loosen the strings of the purse of which he has control we have found to be a very serious matter, and in nine cases out of ten we have failed. I agree with Deputy Heffernan that we should be put in a position to know more about the cost of the scheme. It may be found that the Minister may have to incur a greater expenditure than he calculates, if he intends to make the scheme the success he wishes. The estimated figure may be the maximum cost, and it is quite possible it will be the minimum cost. He may find that in running this measure successfully that a bigger financial effort must be made, and that liabilities may occur which we have not taken into account at the moment.

I estimate that the special cost of the administration of this Bill will be at least £15,000 per annum. I started with the belief that we could administer the Bill for between £9,000 and £10,000, but the more I considered it, and the more new expenses began to show themselves, and as a result of further consideration, and as a result of all the debates that have taken place here, I have come to the conclusion that we will find it necessary to do considerably more inspection than I had supposed in the beginning. I think I am fairly optimistic when I say that we can do the work for £15,000. It certainly cannot be done for less than £11,000, and if we really mean to take adequate precautions, and we must do so to safeguard our national brand, it will take at least £15,000 and possibly more; but I hope we will be able to do it for £15,000. It is very hard to make an estimate. We are exploring a rather new field, and we are not sure of the difficulties we may meet. A lot will depend on the co-operation of the trade itself. If we do not get that co-operation our difficulties and expenses will be increased. I think that we would be doing well if we take adequate precautions to safeguard our national brand, and do all the inspection that is required for £15,000 per annum. At first I thought we should be able to do it for about £10,000. It is quite easy for anybody to check the figures I am going to give. A penny on every 28 lbs. would bring in about £10,000 a year; that is to say, while the export of butter remains as it is at present.

Half a millon cwts.

400,000 cwts. go out, and it is a penny for every 28 lbs.

500,000 cwts.

It was 500,000 cwts last year, but it does not look like 500,000 cwts. this year.

Where would that be exported from?

That is from the Free State last year.

That would be a little over £8,000?

I am hoping that we may get in between £9,000 and £10,000. By the way, that is only an estimate. It is very hard to get the exact figures. If you make a calculation you will find, as Deputy Johnson points out, that the export of 500,000 cwts. will give you annually a little over £8,000. But a very small increase would make up the difference, and I am taking it that the charge will bring us £9,000 or £10,000 a year. I must say that the signs up to the present have not been very healthy, because it does not appear as if there is any increase in the quantities of butter exported as compared with these figures. The estimate I have made is a generous estimate. The charge will hardly produce more. I am giving the benefit of the doubt to the people who want to increase the figures when I say that it will produce between £9,000 and £10,000. Very well, then; we collect, say, £10,000. It will cost at least £15,000 to administer the Act, and the proposal of the amendment is to collect say, £2,500——

No, a halfpenny for 28 lbs.

Very well, £5,000. It is going to cost £15,000 to administer the Act. Who is going to pay the difference?

May I point out that the amendment says: " In the second column, lines 13, 15-16 and 19, to delete the words ‘ one penny ' and substitute therefor the words ‘ one-halfpenny.' and in lines 9, 14, 17-18, 19-20 and 21 to delete the word ‘ twenty-eight ' and substitute therefor the word ‘ fifty-six.'" If the amendment is carried it does mean dividing by 4.

That is the position under the amendment.

(to Deputy Hogan): Do you mean, Mr. Hogan, by your amendment that the " halfpenny " should apply only to lines 8, 9 and 10?

And that the 56 pounds apply to the following part?

Deputy HOGAN

Yes.

May I make a little explanation. I was present at the drafting of the amendment, and I think the intention was to divide it into two—to substitute one halfpenny for a penny, and to substitute fifty-six pounds for twenty-eight pounds. It was meant to be twopence a cwt., anyway.

Your idea is to delete lines 15-16 and 19 in the amendment?

So that it is one halfpenny for every twenty-eight pounds?

That is £5,000. And the administration of the service is going to cost at least £15,000. Before we examine the merits of that proposition, let us first of all see the measure of the burden involved in our claim that they should pay one penny for every £2 turn over. That is less than ¼ per cent. on the total turn over; and as Deputy Beamish pointed out, it is an infinitesimal portion of the price of a pound of butter, .003 per cent. off the price of a pound of butter. It is about a charge of £25 a year on the average creamery. Will any man here who knows the expenses, the overhead charges of a creamery, just consider what proportion £25 would bear to any one of the substantial charges. He must admit that it will be one of the smallest charges in connection with the creamery. And the intention at least of the Bill is to increase the value of our exports of creamery butter by millions and millions a year, and we hope that we shall be able not only to increase the value by millions, but to increase the quantity by 100 per cent. I know something about how difficult it is to run a business that is not paying, and to run a business that is in debt. The creamery that is going to find this particular charge a really serious burden might, I think, as well be closed. Such a creamery as that is in a bad way. Even a creamery in a shaky position could bear it. Deputy Baxter speaks of a creamery that will have to pay £9 a week or over £400 a year. Well, such a creamery must have a tremendous turn over. The average creamery will pay about £25 a year—£25 in a turn over of between £13,000 and £14,000. This is a Special Committee, and we all know a little about the running of creameries and business generally, and I put it seriously to any business man here: is it a serious proposition for any creamery that is well run to pay this ¼ per cent, on its turn over? Is this charge a serious proposition in itself as compared with any of the other overhead charges that exist at the present moment?

If the Bill is to have any benefit at all it ought to make up the amount of the fee to every creamery immediately, and in the very near future it ought to save three, four, ten times the amount of it to any creamery. In our main scheme we are asking the taxpayers of the country to find £5,000 a year for the creamery business. And remember further that we have our creamery inspectors and our dairy schemes costing about £20,000 at the present moment. And it is the taxpayer—largely the farmer, I agree, but the small farmer of the west, the store farmer as well as the dairy farmer—who is paying that charge of £20,000 at the present moment for the administration of the creamery services. And but for the fact that we are inspecting the creameries and doing other work in connection with the creameries at the present moment it would cost us a great deal more than £15,000 to run this Bill. If the services of the Department of Agriculture in connection with creameries ceased in the morning it would cost, I should say, about £25,000 to administer this Bill; but when we are making the existing services fit in with this particular additional service it will cost about £15,000; and the taxpayer under our scheme will have to pay £5,000 of that £15,000, and £15,000 extra if you take into account the whole cost of running the daily services, that is, even under the scheme of the Bill. If we accept Deputy Hogan's amendment the position will be that, first of all, the taxpayer will have to find the cost of the present dairy services of the Department of Agriculture, and will have to find £10,000 the extra cost of this service, and that the creameries with a turn-over of £4,000,000 at the present moment—a figure which, I hope, will be £8,000,000 in six or seven years—will find £5,000. It is not a good enough proposition. I know that it is a very easy thing to concentrate on this particular item, and to make it as small as possible, and instead of making it one-halfpenny for every 28 lbs. to make it one-halfpenny for every 100 lbs. That would be a very nice and easy thing to do, and this proposal of one-halfpenny for every 28 lbs. is almost as indefensible as the proposal of one-halfpenny for every 100 lbs. And I should be inclined to say that the soundest thing for the farmers would be to endeavour to pay the whole cost of this service—it is easily collected and the burden is small—and to allow the taxation that would otherwise go to it, to be reserved for other services, the cost of which it would be difficult to collect in this fashion. There was one point made in connection with this which I think is sound. As the years go on and the scheme is running, it may be that we shall find that the volume of butter will have increased, and that some of the difficulties in connection with this scheme will disappear. We shall probably get more co-operation, and possibly we shall not require the same amount of inspection. People will do more for themselves. And in three or four or five years time it may be found that 4d. a cwt. would be too much. But as the Bill stands we have no option, we must charge it. When the Bill was being drafted I was under the impression that the cost would be £10,000 or £12,000. My opinion now is that it will take £15,000; and if I was drafting the Bill now I would not make the same case for the Minister for Finance. I would be willing to accept an amendment—and it is the only amendment which I think I could accept with fairness—to the effect that no more than 5d. per cwt. be charged. If experience showed that it was necessary to relieve the taxpayer, If experience showed that the creameries were getting all the value which we hope they will get out of the Bill, such a proposal would enable us to increase the fee to 5d., or, on the other hand, to cut it down to 3d. or 2d. if the circumstances would justify it.

I look upon this from a different level from that of those who have spoken, and I am going to risk a charge of inconsistency. The Act will have to be in operation for a considerable time before any benefit is obvious, and it will be always difficult to prove—as a matter of fact it will always be a contentious matter—that any improvement that does take place is, as a matter of fact, in consequence of the application of the Act. That will always be a matter of contention, though, I think, that unprejudiced people will probably give credit to the application of the Act. The Bill is going to apply to all exported butter—creamery butter and other butter. There is nothing to show that there will be any direct benefit derived from the Bill in reference to butter other than creamery butter. There will be, no doubt, inspection of butter-producing places other than creameries. It is true, I think, to say that the cost will have to be borne as to one-third by that part of the dairy butter trade which is exporting non-creamery butter. The sum of £8,000 or £10,000 has been mentioned. There are a very considerable number of creameries—500 or 600 creameries——

The exact figure is 420—creameries, 270; butter factories, 100; non-manufacturing exporters, 50. That does not include the cream separating stations.

In these 420 establishments you have a very large number of people, and a proportion of them—I will not say how great a proportion—are interested in the management of the creameries. They are always brought face to face with the fact that they are being charged 4d. per cwt. on the butter, and a considerable number of people will feel irritated. They will say that this is a great burden upon the industry and that they do not see what benefit they are getting, and I question whether the benefit that we hope to get from this £8,000 or £10,000 and from the operation of the Bill would not be to a considerable extent lost by the fact that you would have got this irritation all over the country in every creamery in the country, with the managers blaming the operation of the Act for their failure to do better. I suggest that the same amount of money could be obtained by placing the burden of payment upon the exporting concerns—the railway companies or the shipping companies. They could collect it more easily, and it could be collected weekly, instead of quarterly or half-yearly, and the collection of it would not be noticed. The railway company or the shipping company might have to bear some of the burden, and properly so. There are competitive routes. But whether that is so or not, I suggest that you would be able to collect the fees amounting to £8,000 or £10,000 from the shipping company as proper freight paid by the consignee or the consignor. But it should be collected from the transport agency. It would be easier for the Revenue Department and it would avoid a great many of these little pin-pricks and would remove some of the grit from the machinery. I submit that for the consideration of the Minister.

From my point of view this is, as the Minister for Justice constantly has reminded us, a matter of angles; and it is very difficult to arrive at a proper conclusion about it. I am largely in sympathy with the Minister's idea that the ideal to be aimed at is that the larger portion of this cost should be borne by the industry itself. That theory is very fine, were it not for the fact that the farming industry in general has to bear so much of the general taxation of the country arising from that and the other matters which are financed by the State, and it amounts to this, roughly, that the people in the industry probably feel that they would be acting in a weak and foolish manner if they shouldered a large proportion of the burden of this matter, when they are not being relieved by the State of any great portion of the burden which they have to bear generally towards the State. We in the agricultural industry to a certain extent are not keen on State interference, and our idea would be really—my own idea at any rate, would be that the State should, to a certain extent, clear the decks and let us go ahead free from any very large amount of taxation and burdens and all that kind of thing, and we should then be prepared to bear the burden of such matters as this. That cannot, however, be done. In modern forms of Government the tendency seems to be that the State should bear more and more, and that the people should pay more and more taxation. That being the case, I do not say that we should in this particular instance take a self-sacrificing point of view and agree to bear a large portion of this cost. At the same time, I am aware that the fact that the creameries will have to bear a fair proportion of the cost will give them a keener interest in the industry in which they are engaged. I think it is to be hoped that as a result of this Bill the price of butter will definitely increase and that there will be a considerable gain to the creameries. That result is also to be hoped for from the cow-testing stations, which I hope the Minister will give a little more aid to.

There is another matter which the farmers should pay for themselves.

That is a matter of angles again. It is to be hoped that the butter exported will increase. I believe it will increase, but I am a bit uncertain about the figures. I have some figures here which show that 40,000 tons of butter were exported in 1916, from all Ireland, I presume. That would be 800,000 cwts. That would indicate that the export has decreased considerably since 1916.

I see no reason why it should not increase. I believe that the tendency will be that it shall increase. The people themselves have taken more to the system of dairy farming, and I think it is very advisable that they should do so. There are certain first-class creameries in existence at the present time. I will not mention particular ones, although I have particular ones in my mind, which do obtain as high a price for their butter as the Danish creamery butter secures in England, and those creameries will have to bear their proportion of this cost, while they feel that they have nothing to gain by the Bill. The managers of these creameries will be satisfied that if this Bill was never passed they would do as well, and they would have to contribute to the rest of the industry. That being so, I think the Minister ought really to take a chance on this amendment. We may hope that there will be an increase in the quantity of butter exported and a decrease in the cost of inspection, which, I think, will be very definite in a few years. I think the cost of inspection in a few years will be a trifling affair. If the Minister will accept the amendment it will save a lot of criticism and the rest of it, throughout the country, and a great deal of objection. For these reasons, I think the Minister ought not to be too adamant in his refusal to accept the amendment for reducing the actual charge.

I should like to make a few remarks with regard to the points made by the Minister and other members of the Committee. I will take the outlook of the ordinary farmer or creamery manager. He will say that the Government have subsidised the boot industry, because boots are made in Ireland, but that the Government, instead of helping the butter industry by putting a tariff on imported butter, are actually putting a tariff on exported butter. With regard to that point, I do not see that the taxpayer of the Free State can complain. The industrial portion of the taxpaying community certainly cannot. With regard to those figures that the Minister compiled, the Minister stated that the co-operative creamery farmers would reap the benefit of the Bill in better prices. What was the average price paid to the farmer for his milk last year? 6¼d. a gallon. Will anybody say that 6¼d. is an adequate price for carrying the milk to the creamery five or six miles every day and going back again? It is not. The Minister referred to 500,000 cwts. of butter, and he referred to the possibility of the export being exceeded. I do not think it will be exceeded. The season is bad, and the herds of cows are getting smaller and smaller every year. In addition to this charge on the creamery, you will have the cost of the pasteurising plant. With regard to the cost of the pasteurising plant the Minister said it would be £150. I said it would be from £400 to £500, and I am right.

Plant for heating and cooling. I can get plant for heating for £100 or £150, but it is absolutely no good unless I have the chilling plant alongside it, and the cost of the plant will be £350 to £400. So that you will have the tax arising from this charge in the Bill and the tax on a capital expenditure of from £300 to £450; and that is a very considerable item in the case of small creameries which are running on an overdraft. The returns show that you have creameries closing up here and there. Mr. Beamish said, and so did Mr. D'Alton, that some of those creameries are run badly. Are they? You had one of the biggest concerns in the South of Ireland, a concern doing a tremendous trade—Cleeve Brothers—and they closed down, though they had the utmost commercial backing. They went into liquidation. That was not due to bad management, but it was for the simple reason that the price of butter is so very low.

It was bad management that produced the liquidation.

Deputy Hogan has stated that I said that some of those creameries had turned out badly because they were badly managed. I did not say so. What I did say was—I have the figures before me—that there were four that showed a loss, and that those four have shown a loss owing to bad management and some other causes. In other words, they went too deeply into debt. My remarks have been wrongly interpreted. I did not say that the creameries are being run badly, the majority of the creameries are being run well. Those which are not are the exceptions. I did not say that the creameries were being run badly, and it would be wrong to say it.

The price for last year was 6¼d., and the farmers were so badly in want of money for the last four years that they paid their maximum price. One-half per cent. on £30,000 turnover is all that the creamery managers dare keep or the committee will not allow any more. They have to keep a certain amount for depreciation and renewal of plant, and I think the Minister ought to take into consideration that the meaning of the whole Bill is to increase the number of cows.

And the profits; but there will be a certain interval between the burden being placed on the farmers' shoulders and the increased price for their butter. The Minister certainly ought to take that into consideration.

I suppose the effect of my next amendment will be silenced by this. It is unlikely if the Minister refuses this that he will accept mine. Therefore, I want to support this amendment. In the first place, I think the Minister's theory of the matter is quite wrong: that this industry should bear this burden or should be expected to bear it, or should be singled out from other industries to bear a large proportion of the cost of the administration of this Bill. There are such things as factory laws, which cost something for administration. These factories which are regulated by these factory laws have not to bear the cost of the administration of these laws. What is the purpose of this Bill? It is not so much for the benefit of the creameries as for the benefit of the community in general and for the consumers, rather than the producers. My survey of the analysis of this Bill gives me the most melancholy idea of the benefit the producers are going to get. The one outstanding feature of it, as they see, is that it means more official interference in the conduct of their enterprise. So far as I can see, there is no evidence in any provision of the Bill that there are going to be certain substantial advantages to the producer. If there is anyone likely to derive any benefit, it is the consumer and the community at large rather than the producer. The charge of the administration should, therefore, fall on the community in general, just as the cost of the administration of any other service which affects the community in general does. I think the amendment is moderate, but I would prefer that the one which I have down would be accepted. It reduces still more the fee, because undoubtedly even the modified scale of charges proposed by Deputy Heffernan puts a burden on some creameries which will be very severe. If there are any creameries that will derive any real advantage from the Bill it will be those which have the national brand. Those who do not get the national brand, for the life of me, I cannot see where they are going to profit in any direction. Why they should be called upon to bear the same charges as those who do get the national brand, I cannot see. I think there should be a differentiation of charges somewhere. I think the amendment is reasonable, and the Minister, considering all the circumstances, if he does not agree with the amendment, should give it some further consideration at a later stage.

I am sure the farmer will be glad to hear that Deputy Milroy is a convert to the view that any schemes——

I am only expressing opinions I have always held.

That any schemes for their benefit should be paid for by the taxpayers generally, I want to repeat that, so that every farmer will realise it and will not forget it, that Deputy Milroy would have it that any schemes for the farmers' benefit should be paid for entirely by the community at large.

I do not want to be misrepresented. I want that on record.

I want it on record, too.

That is only your opinion of me.

He is of opinion that the Bill is going to do no good to anybody, with the possible exception of the creameries that will get the national brand. I am glad my eloquence, or the eloquence of someone else, has persuaded him that the advantages of the national brand will be so immense, as compared with any other possible regulations we can make, that it would be worth 3d. per cwt. for the use of the brand as against 1d. per cwt. for those who will not have the brand. I cannot accede to that amendment at all. If we presume that this Bill is not going to have big advantages for the creameries it is not worth while charging anything for it. I think, on the other hand, no matter what fees we should pay, we have to make up our minds as to what the farmer, and especially the dairy farmer, will get out of it. It is no use discussing the view that the Bill is going to be of any service to the dairy farmer. With all respect to Deputy Heffernan, there is no use taking up the position that we are forcing this Bill on the up-to-date, efficient creamery manager, that it is simply the modern craze for interfering in other people's business, and saying: " We have a first-class business here, doing a first-class trade, and competing successfully with our rivals in other countries, and now the State comes along and forces this Bill upon us." That is not the position. The fact is that there is no farmer, no intelligent farmer or creamery manager, who does not know that the creamery business is in a very shaky condition, and that does not equally know that the creamery business of our most important rival, that has not anything like the advantages we have, is in a healthy and flourishing condition. Everyone knows that, and it is no use stating the opposite, and there is no use pretending that we are forcing this Bill on the farmers against their will, and that the State is doing something for the love of interfering. This Bill is an attempt to change the conditions under which Irish creamery butter is being produced, at the present moment, at a loss, and to bring about such a state of affairs that the production in the future of Irish butter will be at least as profitable as it is in other countries where they do things better. Further, it is absolutely unsound, and it shows that the real position is not appreciated, to say that the creameries are not going to make anything out of this, or that the good creameries will make more out of this than other creameries. What is happening? We have said it often that creameries in this country, and a not very inconsiderable number, a fairly substantial number, are producing better butter than is produced in any other country in the world. But they suffer from the name, " Irish Creamery Butter," and from the inefficient and second-class methods of their neighbours. The object of the Bill is to grade up Irish butter as a whole, and change that unfortunate state of affairs in which a good creamery, that is turning out better butter than Denmark or any other place, is being penalised by the bad butter that is produced by other creameries. This Bill is a Bill to prevent good creameries being penalised by bad ones, and I am perfectly certain no creameries will welcome this as much as the good creameries. Deputy Hogan pointed out, and pointed out quite rightly, and I will take his figure as being fairly right for last year, or the year before, that profits are about half per cent. on the whole turnover. What are the profits in Denmark and New Zealand and other countries—

I would like to know what are the prices the farmers are getting in these countries.

I was speaking of the profits. Profits depend upon the price, the overhead charges and one hundred and one other things. Is this Bill going to increase the profits? If it is not it is useless. That is the whole aim of the Bill. It is welcome from that point of view. Every section is provided for from that point of view. Deputy Johnson would express that in another way. That is the aim of the Bill, and the question is, is it worth while to pay something for that increase in profits. It is not fair to say that the profits in a particularly bad year are only a half per cent., and are you going to charge one-fifth per cent. of the turn-over for services in connection with this Bill. Why not, if you are going to double your profits? I do not expect they will double profits immediately. Better times will double profits. If the Bill is to increase profits and that is its aim, somebody must be expected to pay. I put it to the farmers that it is not sound, from their point of view, to say that the cost of this Bill should fall on the general taxpayer, or that a substantial proportion of the cost should. Why? Because as things are going on at present, it does not make any difference to the farmer if we raise the whole of this £15,000, as the farmer will pay the most of it directly or indirectly.

The dairy farmer or the other?

The farmer who is a producer. I would say the dairy farmer—but probably it is too dangerous to go into that question. The farmers will have to pay the most of it indirectly—

They would not feel it that way.

We ought to get past that stage when we say " we wont feel it that way." When any new service that costs money is put forward, they think that the money is to be collected by a side-wind and allowance made so that they do not feel it. I did hope we got away from that. Deputy Johnson said the Bill is going to cost very little. That is quite so. It is a pity this irritant should be there in view of the fact that £15,000 is a very small sum.

The cost to fall on the farmer is estimated at £10,000.

That is so. I am talking of the whole cost at the moment. It could be collected in another way, but the farmer would still pay it. They would certainly pay if it was collected from the shipping or railway companies, and I am afraid what would happen is that they would pay a little more. You know what happens when a particular duty is put on. Somebody takes advantage of it and charges twice as much. That would be so if, for instance, this money were collected from the railways. The farmers would pay a little more for it. The farmers should face the position and see what their charges are, and what charges they are willing to bear and what they are getting value for. I suggest that whatever this Bill is going to cost, the farmer should be collected directly from him so he would know where he is, and not indirectly, as Deputy Johnson suggests. And, on the other hand, he should pay as much of this service as possible, provided he is satisfied the Bill is going to give him real benefits. He should do that, because the machinery of collection is simple. You can collect more this way with less hardship than in any other way I know of, and, further, afterwards you will be better entitled to ask the taxpayer to pay for services, which I could name for you, if you have done your duty in regard to a matter like this, if you have shown you are quite ready and able and willing to pay a fair quota in connection with a matter like this. The more I examine this schedule the more I am satisfied it is not right to have it too rigid. If exports increase from four million lbs. to eight million lbs. we will have too much money, and I am willing to accept something that will leave some scale. What I would accept would be that we charge not more than 5d. per cwt. If it can be done for 2d. or 3d. so much the better, and it should be remembered that Parliament is always there and the merits of the case can always be debated there. As regards butter factories, I may say, before the Bill became contentious, for other reasons, that this was the least contentious portion of the Bill. The butter factories thought it was too small.

The butter factors are practically proprietors and they do not pay the fee at all. They transfer it to the farmers.

I would like to reply to the Minister when he says that no one would benefit more than the good creameries. I may point out that these creameries will be compelled to pay high prices for inspection. I know one creamery which will pay about £300 per year under this Bill. The Minister argued that no creamery will benefit so much as the good creamery, and I might point out, that no good creamery, will benefit at all. These creameries are maintaining a reputation for butter and are able to get very high prices for butter throughout the year, and it is questionable if the standard of butter produced by these creameries will be improved under this Bill. That creamery, and other creameries like it, will not benefit much by this Bill.

I have a great lot of sympathy with the Minister's statement, and I know from experience that it is very advisable that the farmers should be made realise that they are paying themselves to the different services. They do not actually see money going out of their hands to any individual service, and they do not realise they are paying for it. Anyone endeavouring to organise farmers realises it is almost impossible to get them to pay a subscription for any movement for their advancement, and it is one of the things that is hampering them in their work. It is all very fine to say you are dealing with the farming industry exclusively, but you must realise that you have to deal with the whole national question and the whole national conditions. I think Deputy Hogan's argument with regard to the advantage which certain classes in this country are going to get from Protection is very important. There is no doubt they are going to get a definite advantage for business at the expense of the taxpayer or the consuming public. It simply amounts to this, that we feel we ought to have a share of what is going. We might as well be honest in these matters. That is what it amounts to. I appreciate comparisons with other countries, but they are carried too far, and there is actual harm done by carrying them too far. We are not in the same position as Denmark, and we do not compare with Denmark either. It is almost exclusively producing dairy products and eggs and poultry, whereas this country has other important products besides dairy products, and it is not because of the inferiority of our butter that we are not getting the price. One of the main reasons is that there is no continuity of supply. In winter there is no exportation of Irish butter, with the result that the Irish factories lose their trade in winter, and in spring and summer they have to start again. It involves another matter, winter dairying. It is generally acknowledged that it is not expected that winter dairying will be taken up largely for a considerable time in Ireland.

I do not really anticipate that we will obtain, even with this system, as high prices as Denmark. We cannot hope to get close to them owing to lack of continuity. We may aim to do so, but we hardly will succeed. A very good point by Deputy Johnson is that at first there will be no definite results in the way of increased profits or the gross amount received. It will take two, three or four years before there will be increased profits. Meantime the creameries will be paying out this money, and I suggest that the State bear the larger portion in the beginning until it has been proved that the Bill is a success. Let the amount paid by the creameries be increased rather than diminished as the time goes on; that is, reverse the process suggested by the Minister.

It is impossible under your own amendment.

The Minister has been very accommodating throughout, and I do not think he means to hold us to the exact wording of amendments. We are dealing with general principles rather than the exact words of the amendment. I am sure Deputy Hogan will withdraw his amendment if the Minister makes an alternative suggestion.

I am very glad that those who believed in a certain form of Protection have succeeded in making a convert of Deputy Heffernan to-day. We have got a convert each way. Deputy Heffernan complains that the lack, or want, of butter in Ireland, due to the want of winter dairying, is a very great loss, but the farmers do not see their way at present to go in for winter dairying. If you had £400,000 of butter from New Zealand and £300,000 of cheese imported from Canada would not Deputy Heffernan be prepared to have a tax put on this imported butter and cheese?

What would Deputy Johnson say to that?

I am not one bit troubled about Deputy Johnson. He is a man of broad mind and vision, and when facts are put before him I know he weighs them upon their merits.

Deputy Johnson should get up and bow.

He does not need to. He knows I have an admiration for his abilities. If a tax be put on butter or cheese you would improve your winter dairying. It would give a certain amount of employment in the country, but I know Deputy Johnson is not opposed to that. It does not interfere with the policy of Free Trade. It does not mean Protection. If you have a small tax on imported butter and cheese it would give——

Is this in order, Mr. Chairman?

I think it is relevant on account of the line of argument of Deputy Heffernan.

Make it relevant immediately.

I will. I think it is possible that farmers will see the importance of winter dairying and holding the market all the year round. They are losing at that time of the year simply because they have not got material to place on the market.

I quite agree that they are not in a position to till land at the present moment for winter dairying, but if they made use of cold storage, they would be able to hold their butter over for the winter. They have the cold storage but they are not using it. Some creameries are not in a position to put their butter into cold storage, simply because at present they are overtaxed and overburdened; some of them are heavily in debt in their banks, and they cannot afford to leave all this butter in cold storage. It is rather an important point. One reason why I would say that the Minister should consider this amendment in a mood of better accommodation, not exactly on the lines of Deputy Hogan, is that numbers of those creameries will have to put in pasteurisation plant. Some of the best of them have pasteurisation plants already, but numbers of them have not. They are not in a financial position to make changes in their plant, which will be found absolutely necessary in many of those creameries. There is no good in trying to get over the fact when an inspector reports that those creameries cannot turn out satisfactory butter, or that they have no pasteurisation plant, they cannot easily face the two things with the certainty that they will have to make improvements of one sort or another. This tax is rather high, and for that reason I would ask the Minister to try and find some half-way house to meet Deputy Hogan in this matter. I think such a way would be possible, because I do not wish to have an undue burden placed on certain creameries that are not in a position this year to meet it.

Might I ask a question. If, as I trust, the Minister will absolutely hold firm on this question, and if to-day he is beaten on this amendment, which apparently as it means money into the pockets of certain creameries, will probably happen, how can we reopen the question, or are we bound by the decision of this committee?

Oh. no.

We can re-open the whole question in the Dáil.

The question, of course, that has been discussed is very largely a question of direct versus indirect taxation—whether taxationad hoc and the proceeds remain for a specific purpose and which involves a very considerable question of constitutional practice. The Minister’s argument leads to the conclusion that the whole of the cost of the administration of the Act should be levied upon the trade. He does not suggest that that should be done, and he is prepared to say of that estimated cost of £15,000, that he is going to be content that it will range from say £8,000 to £10,000. Then the question arises as to what should be the cost to be levied directly by the industry—whether it should be half or a third, or a fourth or three-fourths. Now the argument has been directed as if it were a matter of profits for the society or the firm. In the case of proprietary creameries, I think that is unsustainable, but in the case of ordinary co-operations I don’t think it is the right way to approach this matter, and the Minister had in his argument rather spoken of the benefits of this Bill to the country and the people who are engaged in agriculture, because of its indirect as well as direct value merely on the butter produced—its indirect value on the general level and standard of the agricultural industry. I am a little doubtful as to the wisdom of trying to make the industry indirectly pay the cost of this particular service. I don’t think that the analogy of factory and factory legislation is at all fitting, but I do think that the analogy of the cost of technical education is fitting and if we say that the cost of education in plumbing or the textile business or anything of that kind should be borne by the industry, then there is inconsistency, but we do, as a matter of fact bear the cost of technical education which is directly intended to promote the industry. My chief object in this is, that I think the amount to be gained by the imposition of this toll is going to cause more friction amongst a very large number of people than will be commensurate with the sum, and I would like to reduce that as much as possible, and it is that which induces me to favour the amendment, because I am inclined to think that the lower the sum directly charged, the smaller the amount of that friction will be. I am doubtful whether the contention is a good one, that we should make the industry pay the cost of this administration, but let me put this point to the Committee that if the industry is going to be made bear the cost of the administration that strengthens the case for not merely an advisory committee to help to advise and assist the Ministry in administering, but it strengthens very greatly the case for that committee having a certain administrating authority. If you are going to make the industry pay three-fourths of the cost of the administration then I submit by all the canons of political justice and democratic practice that the people who are paying for this administration, should have a very definite controlling voice in the administration, and not merely an advisory voice. I think that the contention will be found very strong that the greater the proportion of the cost that is to be borne directly by the industry, the more force there is in the argument that they should have a more definite voice in the administration.

That applies not only to the dairying industry but to every other industry, and if you carry that analogy far enough, the people should have a say in the administration of Home Affairs. The same applies to Local Government, and to Industry and Commerce. Take Industry and Commerce. The people of the country as a whole, are paying for it. Do the people as a whole administer it? They don't. The people administer it through Parliament, or the Civil Service that has charge of it. If the argument is sound then there should be another Civil Service set up apart from the Civil Service that is at the present moment constituted by the Government and responsible to the Parliament that the people as a whole has elected. The whole country is interested in Industry and Commerce. The taxpayer pays for it. It is administered by a Civil Service. This Civil Service is appointed by the Government; the Government, of course, is elected by Parliament, which is responsible to the people as a whole, and if Mr. Johnson is sound, then not only should the people as a whole have this Parliament with its control over the Civil Service, but there should directly be set up a Civil Service to run the Industry and Commerce of the country.

That is going a little bit astray, and I suggest that the Minister is quite false in his arguments.

I wish to make a suggestion for the reason I have already given, that this burden of a 1d. on 28lbs., or 4d. per cwt., would fall heavily on some of those creameries that are in the least good position to meet it. The good creameries that are fully equipped have not to meet what I have already mentioned—the renewing of plant, putting in pasteurisation plant, and so on, and if the Minister could see his way to have for this year a tax of only a 1/2d. on the 28lb. box, for the reason that there is a heavy burden to be borne by those creameries this year, and for this year only, the tax should, I think, be only a 1/2d. on the 28lb. box.

I hope the Minister will stand by his proposition. This proposition is a speculation. Perhaps next year there will be a new Ministry, and we will have a softer Minister than we have at present. Then there is another thing. We have heard a great deal of these poor creameries and their want of machinery and so on. I was surprised to hear all this here, but what does it mean? It means to let us try and humbug ourselves with had machinery and irresponsible managers for our creameries—let us try and humbug ourselves that we are as good as Denmark, who are exactly the opposite, and know how to make butter, and bring up the price. It means that if we are to bring up the price, we are not going to pay anything to those who administer that rise of price, and so let us put it off for one year so as to ensure getting it off for ever. If the Minister is beaten here, we will see it through in the Dáil.

I would prefer to have left this out, but there is no question whatever, if the Minister is going to insist that three-fourths of the cash for the carrying of the administration of this scheme is to come directly from the creamery, the Minister will find himself in a difficulty by and by, because there is every reason for the people down in the country to say, that if they put up three-fourths of the money they can claim three-fourths of the administration.

They can have as much representation as they like. Under this amendment you pay £5,000 out of the £15,000.

The amendment is: " In the second column, line 8, to delete the words, ‘ one penny ' and substitute therefor the words, ‘ one half-penny,' and in lines 9, 14, 17-18, 19-20 and 21, to delete the word ‘ twenty-eight ' and substitute therefor the word fifty-six.'"

I would prefer if you would leave it as it stands.

None of the argument has been based on the amendment as it stands. It reads: " In the second column, line 8, 15, 16 and 19, to delete the words ‘ one penny ' and substitute the words therefor ‘ one-halfpenny."" The amendment stops there. It amounts to exactly the same thing.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 8; Níl, 4.

Tá.

  • Deputy Baxter.
  • Tadhg O Donnabháin.
  • Deputy D’Alton.
  • Micheál O hIfearnáin.
  • Deputy Mac Eoin.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (Clare).
  • Seán Mac Giolla ’n Riogh.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (Limerick).

Níl

  • R. H. Beamish
  • Pádraig S. O Dubhthaigh.
  • Cristoir O Broin.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (Galway).
Amendment declared carried.
The following amendment in the name of Sean MacGiolla 'n Riogh was, by leave, withdrawn:—
62. To delete in line 9, second column, the words " twenty-eight " and substitute therefor the words " one hundred and twelve," and after the word " butter " in line 10, add the words " Applicants for or users of the national mark to pay three pence per cwt. extra," and to delete in lines 15-16 and in line 19, the words " one penny," and substitute therefor the words " one farthing."

The question now is that the Third Schedule, as amended, stand part of the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

I desire to move amendment No. 63:—

To delete the Title and substitute therefor a new title as follows:—

" An Act to make provision for the regulation of the production, manufacture, marketing, and export of dairy produce with a view to improving the general standard thereof, and for that purpose to make provision for the registration of premises engaged in the production or sale of milk, and the manufacture or sale of dairy produce, and for the marking of such produce, and for other matters conducive or incidental to the objects aforesaid."

It does not make very much difference in the appearance of the Bill, and it may make a considerable difference when we come to the Report Stage. I hope to be able to induce the Dáil to accept an amendment extending the powers of the Bill, or at least, not excluding the control and regulation of the milk from the scope of the Bill. The object of the amendment to amend the title is to allow that to be possible.

I think it is a misdescription of the Bill. Had it been in the body of the Bill I would move It out of order.

Amendment by leave withdrawn.
The Title of the Bill put and agreed to.

This is a draft report that we will submit to the Dáil:—

" 1. The Committee was set up and the Bill in question was referred to it by order of the Dáil, dated 20th June, 1924, and the quorum of the committee was fixed at five. By further order, dated 25th June, 1924, the committee was instructed to report back not later than the 9th July. The following Deputies were at the same time nominated on the committee:—The Minister for Lands and Agriculture; Deputies O'Sullivan, Beamish, D'Alton, Johnson, Egan, P. K. Hogan (Limerick), P. Hogan (Clare) Milroy, J. Cosgrave, Duffy, Heffernan, Baxter, C. Byrne, and Donovan.

(2) The committee has taken the Bill into consideration and has made amendments therein. These amendments and the proceedings of the committee are shown in the Appendix to this Report.

(3) A copy of the Bill, as amended by the Special Committee, is herewith laid on the Table of the Dáil."

I move that the draft report be adopted as the report of the committee to the Dáil.

Motion put and agreed to.

That finishes the proceedings of the committee.