TUARASGABHAIL I DTAOBH CUR AMACH RITEACH I GCOIR BAILE ATHA CLIATH THEAS. - LICENSING (RENEWAL OF LICENCES) BILL, 1923.—SECOND STAGE.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

I beg to move that this Bill be read a second time. This Bill is also short and is necessary to get over certain technical difficulties arising out of the disturbances in recent years. It is not a comprehensive Licensing Bill, but a Bill confined simply to the question of the renewal of licences. In many areas through the country there were not available a sufficient number of Justices to deal with the question of the transfer of licences, and the annual licensing sessions were not held. Owners of licensed premises continued to trade in spite of the fact that they did not hold a certificate of renewal of their licences, but they continued to pay the Excise duty. The police then, in these circumstances did not interfere with those who had done that, but the District Justices found that they could not legally renew these licences. As there was no licence renewal, the licences lapsed. It would have been legally possible for the owners of these premises to apply to the Quarter Sessions, but that would involve considerable expense upon them and the Court might possibly refuse the application. This Bill, then, is simply a Bill brought in to remove these hardships and provides that in such a set of circumstances the licence shall be deemed to have been renewed, and to be in existence up to the present.

There is one other point dealt with under Section 3 in the Bill. Certain premises throughout the country were burned down, both in the struggle with the British and in more recent times, and it is proposed to provide that an owner opening his business in adjacent premises, provided he pays the licence duty in respect of them, in such a situation the District Justice or the Quarter Sessions shall have power to grant him a licence in favour of the new premises. This difficulty is dealt with in the Bill, and the licence is deemed to be transferred to the new premises provided that they are in the same town or village as the old premises, and provided also that any necessary alterations to the new premises requiring to make them fit for the purpose, are made within twelve months. It is our view that there is scarcely material for contention or opposition to this Bill. It is simply a measure of justice, and raises no point on which there can be any serious contention. I now beg to move the second reading of the Bill.

I second the motion.

Question put: "That Licensing (Renewal of Licences) Bill, 1923, be read a second time."
Agreed.
Committee stage ordered for Tuesday, 16th October, 1923.