DÁIL IN COMMITTEE. - AGRICULTURAL PRODUCE (EGGS) BILL, 1924.—THIRD STAGE (resumed).

Question put: "That Section 3, as amended stand part of the Bill."
Agreed.
Section 4 put and agreed to.
SECTION 5.
(1) The Minister may, upon the application of any person in the prescribed from and manner and upon payment by that person of the prescribed fees, grant to such person a licence to export the consignment of eggs specified in the licence to such consignee (if any), by such route (if any), and subject to such conditions as are stated in the licence.
(2) A licence granted under this section shall operate to authorise the person to whom the same is granted to export in accordance with the terms of the licence, the consignment of eggs specified therein.
(3) The Minister may at any time before a consignment of eggs specified in a licence is actually exported, revoke the licence relating to such consignment.
(4) If any person to whom a licence has been granted under this section contravenes any of the terms or conditions contained in such licence, or if any person falsely represents by means of a mark on the consignment or otherwise that any consignment of eggs is being exported pursuant to any such licence he shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof, to a penalty not exceeding twenty pounds.
(5) There shall be paid to the Minister by every person to whom a licence is granted, the fees prescribed in the Schedule to this Act.

I move amendment 3:—

In sub-section (1), line 42, to delete the word "prescribed" and to insert after the word "fees" the words "specified in the Schedule to this Act."

This is a drafting amendment.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move amendment 4:—

In sub-section (5), line 62, to delete the word "prescribed" and to insert in lieu thereof the word "specified."

This is consequential on number 3.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question put—"That Section 5, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
Agreed.
Sections 6, 7 and 8 put and agreed to.
SECTION 9.
(5) As soon as may be after the end of each year, the total amount of eggs exported from every registered premises during that year shall be ascertained in the prescribed manner, and the amount of the annual fee actually payable for that year shall be calculated, and such adjustment as may be necessary between the fee so ascertained to be payable and the fee already paid shall be made by means of (as the case may require)—
(a)repayment to the registered proprietor or allowance against any annual fee subsequently payable by the same registered proprietor; or
(b)payment by the registered proprietor or addition to any annual fee subsequently payable by the same registered proprietor.
(6) Every registered proprietor shall make for the purposes of this section such returns, to such persons, at such time, and in such forms as shall be prescribed.

I move amendment 5, which is also a drafting amendment:—

In sub-section (5) (a), line 35, to delete the word "the" and to insert in lieu thereof the word "such," and in line 36 to delete the word "same."

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move amendment 6:—

In sub-section (5) (b), line 38, to delete the words "the same," and to insert in lieu thereof the word "such."

This is the same as amendment No. 5

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move amendment 7.

To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:

"(9) In this section the expression "registered proprietor" shall be construed as referring to the registered proprietor for the time being save that where the premises shall have ceased to be registered the said expression shall be construed as referring to the person who was the registered proprietor immediately before the cesser of registration."

It provides a definition of the expression "registered proprietor" in the section.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question put—"That Section 9, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
Agreed.
Section 10 put and agreed to.
SECTION 11.

I move amendment 8:—

At the end of the section to add two sub-sections as follows:—

"(2) No individual return or part of a return furnished in pursuance of this Act shall be published or disclosed except for the purposes of a prosecution under this Act.

(3) The Minister may from time to time collect and publish such statistical information (including statistics derived from returns made pursuant to this Act) with respect to the extent and condition of the egg-trade as he may think fit."

The amendment explains itself and will commend itself to the House.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question put—"That Section 11, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
Agreed.
Section 12 put and agreed to.
SECTION 13.
Sub-section (1) It shall be the duty of every registered proprietor to keep or cause to be kept in the registered premises of which he is the registered proprietor a register of all consignments of eggs dispatched from those premises, and within twelve hours after the dispatch of any such consignment to enter or cause to be entered in such register the quantity of eggs comprised therein, and the name and address of the person to whom and the route by which the same was consigned.

I move amendment 9:—

In sub-section (1), line 8, after the word "register" to insert the words "in the prescribed form," and in line 11, after the word "the" to insert the words "prescribed particulars of the."

This is also a drafting amendment.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question put—"That Section 13, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
Agreed.
SECTION 14.
Sub-section (3) All eggs tested, graded, or packed in any premises registered in the register of exporters shall be tested, graded, and packed in accordance in all respects with the regulations made under this section and for the time being in force.

I move amendment 10:—

In sub-section (3), line 13, to delete the word "and," and in line 14, after the word "packed," to insert the words "and marked."

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question put—"That Section 14, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
Agreed.
SECTION 15.
Sub-section (2) The Minister may also by order make regulations prescribing the marks to be placed on every egg sold on or consigned from any premises registered in the register of exporters for the purpose of indicating all or any of the matters mentioned in the foregoing sub-section and any other matter which in the opinion of the Minister should be indicated on such eggs.

On behalf of Mr. Baxter, I beg to move amendment 10a.

"In sub-section (2), line 29, to delete the word ‘may' and to substitute therefor the word ‘shall.'"

The effect of this amendment will be to make it mandatory on the Minister to enforce the marking of eggs.

We argued this question at great length before. I only want to repeat my argument, as the matter does not seem to be quite clear. We have power to make regulations at any time in this connection. This amendment would have the effect of compelling us under all circumstances to make regulations and that, I think, for the reasons I have given before, would be unwise.

After giving this matter mature consideration, we have not changed the opinion which we formed originally, that it should be obligatory on the Minister to see that the eggs are marked, and we think that if that is not done the real purpose of this Bill will not be fulfilled. I think it is of great importance that this amendment should be accepted.

I presume the Minister is taking up the same attitude in this that he took up on the question the other evening. I know that he will say that it is hardly worth using words over.

Mr. HOGAN

I would not say that at all. I never did say that.

I am glad the Minister recognises it is going to make a serious difference. While practically admitting the weight of the argument the other evening, the Minister, as he usually does, resolutely refused to move on this. He is not disposed, I presume, to concede to us in this amendment that it ought to be compulsory. It is to be left to the Ministry in framing regulations to decide exactly what is to be done, and it is with them to make the choice. It seems to us that it ought not to be with them, that we ought to make the choice here and definitely decide that the word "shall" ought to be inserted instead of "may." I do not know if the Minister maintains his attitude and says that it cannot be so, that there is no purpose to be served by pressing the matter to a division, but it seems to us it is the proper course to adopt, and that strengthened by the law the Minister will be in a much better position than he will be under any regulations he may choose to make.

Mr. HOGAN

Apparently the idea is that the Ministry should have discretion in regard to six or seven of the matters which are set out in the section, such as grading, packing, cleaning premises, cold storage, and other matters. But for some unknown reason, which has not yet been explained, the Dáil is to decide that the Minister must and shall make regulations that every egg produced in the Free State is to be marked by the producer, because that is what it comes to. It must be remembered that this Bill is to come into operation before the 1st August, 1925. But he has to order that this is to be done straight away., They need not grade them, they need not say they are fresh, but they must mark them. I could understand the attitude if the Deputy took up the position that the Bill should be mandatory from the start to the finish, that it should be mandatory in regard to the freshness of eggs and all that. But they may be stale or they may be dirty; the Ministry is to have a discretion in regard to the other matters, but they must be marked.

I did not intend in this amendment, and the Minister knows I did not intend, that it was to be mandatory that the producer must mark the eggs while they may be stale or have many other faults.

Mr. HOGAN

I did not say that.

You left it to be inferred.

Mr. HOGAN

I left nothing to be inferred.

The eggs are taken to the exporter; somehow they get there. As I see it, if the obligation is on the producer to mark the eggs, the Minister will not, of necessity, have to make regulations about the marking of those eggs. He will not necessarily have to employ a staff to go round the farmhouses, or the small dealers, to see the eggs are marked. All he has got to do is to send to the exporters. He will discover there if the eggs are marked. If they are not marked the exporter is liable. The exporter will make very certain that he will not be liable, because he will see that the eggs will be marked when taken in to him. He will also be liable if the eggs are stale, or if they are not clean.

Mr. HOGAN

Provided we make regulations.

The Ministry are going to make regulations.

Mr. HOGAN

We may.

The Ministry may make the regulations. Under the Bill as it stands, the Ministry may make regulations about the stamping of the eggs. The Minister's arguments all along would lead one to conclude that the marking of the eggs was such a very big task that it was questionable whether it should be mandatory or not. There is no question, nor has it ever been thought of, that the eggs ought not to be fresh, or ought not to be clean. There is a feeling that it is such a big problem it would be very difficult to ensure that they shall all be marked. We want to make absolutely certain that they shall be marked, because we are satisfied that the regulations will see to it that they will be clean and fresh. The question of marking is just as important, and the question of who shall do the marking is more important even, in a sense, than the marking itself. If the obligation to do the marking is put on the exporter or small dealer the producer must necessarily suffer. In the producer's home there will be ample time to mark the eggs, and it will cost little to do it. In the case of the exporter, or dealer, it would probably mean the employment of extra labour, and the producer would, of necessity, have to pay the exporter or dealer what it would cost to get it done. We want to see to it that the producer will be saved that, by the obligation being put on him to mark the eggs before he takes them to any dealer.

I wonder does the Minister realise that the effect of having the eggs marked will be to cause the eggs to be kept clean and sold fresh, and to prevent stale or unclean eggs being sold, for the reason that if the eggs, when marked, were sold and found to be stale, or otherwise unfit for use, the offence of having sold those eggs would be brought home to the person responsible. That is our intention in making this mandatory—that any person guilty of selling eggs unfit for use will have the guilt brought home to him. Undoubtedly the shopkeeper or trader will refuse to purchase eggs from any person who continually brings in stale eggs for sale.

We hope, even if the word "shall" is not introduced, that the Minister will carry out the intention of the amendment. By placing the mark of the producer on every egg it will ensure good eggs, fresh eggs, and clean eggs. That is the best means of getting over the branding trouble, and there will be no expense to anyone. You will ensure that the provisions of the Bill will be carried out, and, to my mind, this is the only means by which you ensure it.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I beg to move:—

Before sub-section (3) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

"(3) The Minister may also by order make regulations to the like effect as the regulations which may be made under sub-sections (1) and (2) of this section which shall apply to eggs and packages of eggs not sold on or exported or consigned from any premises registered in the register of exporters."

The intention of the amendment is to allow the Minister to make regulations regarding the marking of eggs, even though they are not for export. The Minister has suggested an alternative form of amendment with a view to securing something equivalent to the same result. If he is prepared to move that amendment, I am prepared to withdraw mine.

Mr. HOGAN

My suggestion was that the amendment should be inserted to Section 18, which deals with all eggs, whether for export or for the internal trade. I gave a copy of that amendment to Deputy Johnson and perhaps we had better wait until we reach Section 18 to discuss it.

I am satisfied to withdraw my amendment at this stage and discuss the matter on Section 18.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I beg to move:—

After sub-section (2) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

"Regulations made by the Minister under this section shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after they are made, and if a resolution is passed by either House of the Oireachtas within the next subsequent ten days on which either House had sat amending or annulling such regulations, such regulations shall be amended or annulled accordingly."

I presume the Minister will be prepared to accept this amendment; at least I hope he will. It is merely a question of having the regulations made under this section laid before each House of the Oireachtas. I think that it is usual and only right. There is no question, and the Minister has admitted it, that the Bill will be farreaching in effect in interfering with trade and it is only right that whatever regulations are made—which, as I take it, are going to have a greater influence on the trade than the Bill itself—should be laid before each House so that we may see what they are before they become law.

Mr. HOGAN

I am willing to accept the amendment to effect that intention, but this amendment is to Section 15, and that is not the only section that gives power to make regulations. If it suits the Deputy, with the consent of the Dáil, we can consider an amendment such as this on the Report Stage, which would apply, not only to this section, but generally.

In view of the Minister's statement, I ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question—"That Section 15 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
SECTION 16.
(1) It shall not be lawful for any person to sell, or offer or consign for sale, on or from any premises registered in the register of exporters any quantity of eggs exceeding thirty dozen unless such eggs have been graded, tested, packed, and marked in all respects in accordance with the provisions of the regulations made under this Act and for the time being in force.
(2) If any eggs shall be sold or offered or consigned for sale in contravention of this section, the registered proprietor of the premises on or from which such eggs are so sold or offered or consigned for sale, shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof in the case of a first offence, to a penalty not exceeding ten pounds, or in the case of a second or any subsequent offence, to a penalty not exceeding twenty pounds.

I beg to move the following amendment:—

In sub-section (1), line 61, after the word "eggs" to insert the words "amounting to or," and in line 62 after the word "tested" to insert the word "and," and in line 63, before the word "marked" to insert the words "the eggs and also the packages containing such eggs have been."

There are two separate matters dealt with in the amendment. Under the section as it stands, the minimum quantity of eggs to which the section applies is any quantity exceeding 30 dozen. The first portion of the amendment would make the minimum 30 dozen, and the second portion of the amendment provides that not only the eggs, but also the packages, shall have been marked.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question—"That Section 16, as amended, stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
Section 17 was added to the Bill
SECTION 18.
Any person who sells, exchanges or barters or offers or exposes for sale, exchange or barter any eggs which are externally dirty or which are unfit for human consumption, shall be guilty of an offence under this section, and shall on summary conviction thereof be liable in the case of a first offence to a fine not exceeding ten pounds, and in the case of a second or any subsequent offence to a fine not exceeding twenty pounds, or at the discretion of the court to imprisonment for any term not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.

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

To add to the section three new sub-sections as follows:—

(2) With a view to preventing the sale, exchange, or barter, and the offering or exposing for sale, exchange or barter of eggs which are externally dirty or are unfit for human consumption, the Minister may by order make regulations in regard to all or any of the following matters, that is to say:—

(a) the packages and packing materials used for packing eggs;

(b) the method and manner in all or any respects of protecting eggs from wet, damp, dirt, or contamination of any sort while stored and in course of packing or transport;

(c) the marking for identification purposes of eggs or the packages containing eggs.

(3) Any person who contravenes in any respect any regulation made under this section shall be guilty of an offence against this section, and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof in the case of a first offence to a fine not exceeding ten pounds, and in the case of a second or any subsequent offence to a fine not exceeding twenty pounds, or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment for any term not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.

(4) Regulations made under this section shall not apply to any circumstances in respect of which the Minister is authorised by any other section of this Act to make regulations in regard to a similar subject matter.

Mr. HOGAN

The paragraphs A and C explain themselves. Paragraph (b) is meant to provide, by regulation, against the habit of people going around the country collecting eggs on wet days and putting them in wet straw. The eggs thereby get contaminated, and this gives power to the Minister to make regulations to meet that. That is a very important point, and under this paragraph the Ministry is given the power to make the necessary regulations to meet that.

I think the Minister will find, as a matter of drafting, that some further improvement can be effected and will be necessary, but the amendment itself goes a long way to satisfy what one would wish in this matter. It will allow the Minister at least to decide in favour of the marking, for identification purposes, of all eggs, if he so wills, and that that shall be done at the farmer's house. I think it will be found, on consideration, that this section will have to take three or four sub-sections. The fines will probably have to be made applicable to the whole rather than to two separate parts of the Bill. The section in the Bill relates to the word "fines," and the same thing is repeated in sub-section (3). However, that is a matter of drafting. What I want to draw attention to is that when this becomes law any person who sells eggs in the Free State, which are dirty, will be liable to a fine of £10. I am not opposing that. I am supporting it, but I think it is just as well to draw public attention to the fact that the Bill is not only going to apply to eggs for export, but to eggs retailed in the city which are dirty, and the offence is going to be considered such a one as to be worthy of a fine of £10.

Mr. HOGAN

I think that is the law already. I do not say that the fine is £10 under the existing law, but there is a penalty. In any area where a County Council has adopted the Public Health Acts, any eggs externally dirty or unfit for consumption cannot be sold except under a penalty. We, possibly, have increased the penalty.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question—"That Section 18, as amended, stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
Section 19 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 20.
(1) The Minister may by order make regulations in regard to any matter or thing referred to in this Act as prescribed, or as being or to be prescribed.
(2) Any regulations made by the Minister under this Act may relate to several matters in respect of which the power to make regulations is conferred by different sections of this Act.

I beg to move the following amendment:—

To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—

(3) Any regulations made by the Minister under this Act in regard to fees, shall be subject to the approval of the Minister for Finance.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question—"That Section 20, as amended, stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
SECTION 21.
All expenses of carrying this Act into effect shall, to such extent as shall be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance, be paid out of moneys to be provided annually by the Oireachtas.

I beg to move the following amendment:—

In line 56, to delete the word "annually."

resumed the Chair at this stage.

Will the Minister say why the word "annually" should be deleted?

Mr. HOGAN

That is a common form of provision in practically every Bill.

I thought there had been more or less general agreement that the formula for the future would include this word "annually," because it is argued that all moneys are provided, even moneys from the Central Fund, by the Oireachtas. It had been suggested, and I thought more or less approved, that the formula henceforth should include this word "annually" which would make it quite certain that it was to be an annual vote. I do not think there is any advantage in deleting it, but I think there is a probable advantage in leaving it in, and in adopting it as a regular formula.

Mr. HOGAN

I did not know that this question had arisen recently in a critical way.

It arises in the wording of money resolutions as between the Central Fund and the Estimates.

Mr. HOGAN

I do not like to say very much on this, because I do not know what the official views of the expert draftsman on it are.

Perhaps the proper word could be inserted later on.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question—"That Section 21 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
Section 22 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

SCHEDULE.

Fee on application for registration in register of exporters

One pound.

Annual fee; in respect of each package of eggs (other than eggs excepted from the application of Part II. of this Act) exported during the year

One penny on each complete thirty dozen of eggs which the package is capable of containing.

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

Where the package contains not more than thirty dozen of eggs—one penny; where the package contains more than thirty dozen of eggs, one penny on every thirty dozen or part of thirty dozen of eggs.

I beg to move the following amendment to the Schedule:—

In line 3, to delete the words "of each package," and in line 5, to delete the words and figures "Part II." and to insert in lieu thereof the word and figure "section 3," and in lines 8, 9 and 10, column 2, to delete the words "which the package is capable of containing."

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question—"That the Schedule, as amended, stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
THE TITLE.
Question—That the title of the Bill be: "An Act to regulate the export of eggs and for that purpose to make provision for the registration of premises concerned in the export of eggs and to provide for other matters relating to the sale of eggs."

With regard to the last words of the title, "to provide for other matters relating to the sale of eggs," I want to know if that allows the Ministry to make regulations for the sale of eggs that are not for export. The first part of the Title refers to the export of eggs, and I just want to be cautious for fear it may be ruled that the sale of eggs will only have relation to the sale of eggs for export.

Mr. HOGAN

It seems to me that the wording covers the point Deputy Johnson has made, but I agree that it should be put beyond all doubt. I suggest, however, that we can discuss that on the Report Stage.

Question—"That this be the Title of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
Bill ordered to be reported.