Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 19 Jun 1924

Vol. 7 No. 27


Motion made and question proposed —"That this Bill be read a Second Time."

The Dáil will remember that last year a Bill was passed through this House which the Seanad had not time to consider before the Dissolution. I have been glancing over it. It is a Bill of six sections and it dealt with very little more than the question of hours. Section 1 of that Bill laid down the opening hours as from 9 o'clock in the morning until 9.30 in the evening for week-days. In that Bill there was no distinction between Saturday and the other week-days. That Bill, as I say, did not become law owing to the dissolution of the Dáil, and we find ourselves now considering again this question of the licensed trade and certain matters in connection with it.

The Bill which Deputies are asked now to consider is somewhat more comprehensive than last year's measure. It is divided altogether into five parts.. Part I. deals with hours; part II. with licensing, part III. with clubs, and then there are two parts dealing with illicit distillation and methylated spirits. In preparing the Bill we had, of course, very numerous conferences with all the interests concerned, whether concerned in a direct personal way or through temperance enthusiasm or otherwise. On the 12th of last month a rather large Conference was held, at which I brought together representatives of all the interests—temperance associations, of which there are four or five; representatives of the licensed trade throughout the country, and the city traders; representatives of clubs; representatives of hotels, theatres, and so on. Something that perhaps might be expected happened at that Conference. There was not unanimity. It is scarcely a caricature of what happened to say that the temperance people abused the clubs; that the licensed traders abused the temperance people and the clubs; and that the clubs abused the licensed traders and the temperance people.

Did anyone abuse the Minister?

Perhaps it would not be untrue to say that I distributed a certain amount of abuse impartially. I thought really it would have an educative effect on all sections to bring them together in that way and let them hear what the other people had to say. It was useful, too, for me. What I aimed at was to strike a reasonable mean between the conflicting views. There will, of course, never be unanimity on a question of this kind. There is no unanimity this year; there was no unanimity last year; and if a measure of the kind were introduced next year, or the year after, I think the miracle would not happen. We regarded it as our duty to endeavour to strike a fair and reasonable mean between the conflicting views, to endeavour, as it were, to get the mentality of the average elector who would not have any special vested interest involved, who would simply be out for ordinary decency of life in the country.

We have in this country 15,000 licensed establishments. In other words we have a publichouse for every 200 head of our population—men, women and children. In England there is one to every 400, and in Scotland one to every 695 inhabitants. So that in that respect, if in no other, we seem better catered for than the inhabitants of the other island. I think that is far too many licensed establishments, and I do adhere to the belief that the real trouble with regard to this trade is that there is scarcely enough legitimate trade to go round, and that there is always a scramble for the crumbs.

For the drops.

For the drops, exactly. And that the people in a smaller way are led into lapses and breaches of the law and so on, in an endeavour to pick up something from their more substantial competitors. I would like to see, and I hope to see, a Commission established to go into the question of how best the number of licences might be reduced. On such a Commission, of course, there would need to be adequate representation for all the interests involved—and this is a trade and this is a subject matter in which there are many interests involved. It is not a question merely of the licensed traders on the one hand and temperance enthusiasts on the other. There is the question of the producer right back to the farmer.

And the Minister for Finance.

From the farmer to the Minister for Finance, as Deputy Johnson says. It is a question that would need to be gone into most carefully. But I think that we would all agree that 15,000 public-houses in the Saorstát is something far in excess of the reasonable requirements of the inhabitants, and that the traders themselves would welcome an investigation with a view to a very substantial reduction.

In the meantime, this measure purports to be a reasonable measure of temperance reform. There is nothing in its 28 sections that does not seem to us to be an interpretation of what the average reasonable elector would wish on this question. We have avoided, of necessity, matters which would involve, or which might be considered as involving, the question of compensation. There are bigger questions than are dealt with in the Bill which must be left over to the consideration of some such Commission as I have outlined. In the meantime you have this Bill. It deals in the first instance with the question of hours. In that matter the Bill of last year, which was passed by the Dáil, laid down the opening hours be from 9 a.m. to 9.30 p.m. In this measure it is proposed that the opening hours be from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., except on Saturday, when the closing hour shall be 9.30 p.m. There is no change on Sunday, except one that I think is a reasonable and a proper change, that drink shall not be sold between the hours of 7 a.m. and 1 p.m.—in other words, between the hours that might be considered as the hours of Divine Service. There are provisions dealing with special days—Good Friday, Christmas Day, and St. Patrick's Day—on which complete closing is provided for.

With regard to the question of theatres, I enquired into that matter rather closely, and am not disposed to make any alteration in their hours, beyond laying it down, as Deputies will see by sub-section 3 of Section 1, that people shall not be admitted to a theatre after the hours of 9.30 in the evening, unless they have previously engaged or paid for seats in the theatre, or are employed therein. Theatres have a limited kind of licence, which involves permission to sell drink from half an hour before the performance until half an hour after the performance. I am satisfied that interference with that would lead to irregularities within the theatre, such as people drinking out of bottles in the corridors, and that kind of thing. There is no serious case for any interference with the existing position, beyond seeing that people do not resort to theatres after the licensed establishments have closed, for the purpose of obtaining drink. The Bill provides for that.

With regard to clubs, it is proposed to have the same hours for the sale and consumption of drink in clubs as for licensed premises. Of course there will be two views about that as about many other aspects of the Bill. There are those who hold that the club is an excellent institution, meant for the social and moral upliftment of its members, or possibly for their physical development; that the sale of drink there is the merest sideline, and that there is no case for the State stepping in and saying that they shall have the same hours, in respect of the sale of drink, as the licensed trade. Such investigations as we have made do not point exactly to that ideal state of affairs. For instance, a club on the north side of the city whose average monthly purchase is twenty barrels of stout and fifty-two barrels of porter, is doing a rather hefty sideline in the sale of drink. The view is put up that it is very much on a par with people drinking in their own homes; that a number of citizens come together, form themselves into an association, and that there is no case for State interference. There are matters in which people have to be protected from themselves, and the consumption of drink in clubs is not on a part with the man drinking in his own home. I am inclined to believe that many men consume far more drink in clubs than they would consume in their own homes, or that they would be allowed to consume there. In any case, a thirteen-hour-day for the consumption of drink is not so bad, and if people make the most of it they will find they will be able to get outside quite a lot of drink.

I do not pretend to be unaware that in this document, as in another document, Article 12 is the most contentious portion.

It is not a Treaty.


Another Boundary question.

Section 12 provides:—

From and after the 25th day of September, 1925, it shall not be lawful to carry on any business (except the businesses hereinafter expressly authorised) in the same building as that in which the business of the sale of intoxicating liquor by retail for consumption on the premises is carried on, unless the portion of the building in which such sale of intoxicating liquor is carried on is structurally separated from and has no internal communication with any portion of the building in which any other business (except as aforesaid) is carried on.

Now, I put that to Deputies as a proposal, and with regard to that section, if I cannot convince the majority of the Deputies, voting freely and without party ties or obligations, as to the propriety of that portion of the Bill, I am prepared to drop it. That is not a new decision on my part. It is an arrangement which I came to four or five weeks back with the party which gives habitual support to the Government. I put that section in the Bill because I want to argue it with the Dáil, and it is a matter which I am prepared to argue and discuss very fully on the Committee Stage. Now, I will see on the Order Paper when the Committee Stage comes, an amendment to delete that section, and I would much prefer an amendment purporting to deal with cases where the application of the principle would involve undoubted hardship. My complaint is that with regard to this matter there is a tendency to exploit the hard case. I would sooner have the principle examined on its merits, whether at this hour of the day, whether in the year 1924 the public are satisfied that a system should continue by which women and girls going into shops for a package of tea, or a pound of butter, or half a pound of rashers, must, as it were, force their way in, past men standing over their pints; or, put it in another way, whether at this hour of the day it is considered proper that a man going in for a pound of nails should be subject to the temptation of wasting—I will not use the word "wasting" because it is partisan—of spending his time and money in a different way to that which he intended. I think it is a fair thing to say that a man going in for a drink should go in for a drink, and that a man going in for a pound of nails, and should go in for a pound of nails, and there will not be that inducement of spending that time and money in a different way to that which he originally intended. Extravagant statements have been made as to the expenditure that this would involve, and people have spoken as if it were a three-foot wall that would be necessary between one portion of the establishment and the other. Deputies know, of course, that a lath-and-cardboard, or a lath-and-plaster partition would meet the requirements of the Bill, that all that is asked is that the two portions of the shop shall be separate. If the principle is right, if at this hour of the day the public are entitled to be better served, then let the hard cases not be exploited. I am well aware, and was well aware when I asked that that section be written into the Bill, that there are cases in which very considerable architectural difficulties would arise, cases in which the question of light would be somewhat difficult if the owner of premises would be expected to divide them in the way suggested in the Bill.

Very good; let us, by amendment, deal with the hard cases but let the hard cases not be exploited to defeat a principle, if that principle is right and sound, or, if it is a question that September, 1925, is too near and that the time should be extended, let that, too, be argued. I will ask Deputies on the Committee Stage to agree with me that this system of a mixed trade carried on in the same room is bad in its sociological aspect; that, first of all, that is not the way that people should be served, that women and girls and children should not be expected to go in through a public house for the purchase of their groceries and other household requirements, and, there is also that other aspect, that temptation should not be there for a man going in for some requirements for his house or for his farm to spend his time and money in a different way. I am told that it would really mean two shops, and that it would mean additional requirements as to staffs. Well, there is considerable unemployment in the country and, if it means additional requirements as to staffs, I think that in that matter I can depend on the support of the Labour Deputies. This Bill, as I have stated, is an attempt to interpret the mentality and to interpret the wishes of the average electors, and I put this aspect to people who referred to this measure as tyrannical and confiscatory—I do not know how many other adjectives were applied to it in resolutions that I have got during the last few weeks—that the measure might very well be something different even from their point of view. I feel that, if year after year measures of reasonable reform are shouted down and voted down, a time will come when matters of this kind will be put by referendum to the people, and when the people, with the recent large additions to the electorate, and with the recent large additional woman vote to the electorate, may pass a much more comprehensive and much more drastic measure of reform. And I do put it, even to those who are vitally and personally affected by the Bill, that unless they show a disposition to meet the reasonable requirements of the public as to temperance, as to sobriety, and a reasonable catering for what people are entitled to expect for their wives and children, boys and girls, the public may very well deal with this whole question in its own way at a later stage.

I am not a Prohibitionist, nor in any measure that I would take responsibility for would there be any complexion of that kind. But if I am right, I believe that the trend of public opinion in this country is running strongly in favour of reasonable temperance reforms of this kind, and that, if that is not met, and met in a reasonable way by the interests concerned, there may come more far-reaching measures. I put that simply as food for thought to those who are inclined to think, or, if not inclined to think, are inclined to say that this measure goes beyond the bounds of reasonable change. That structural separation clause must abide the verdict of the free vote of the Dáil. That is an understanding and an arrangement. But the other sections involve very little more than was embodied in the Bill that was passed by the Dáil last year.

I feel certain that it is unnecessary for me to dilate upon or to advocate the two concluding portions of the Bill —the portion dealing with illicit distillation and that dealing with methylated spirits. Deputies know the need for both of these parts of the Bill. The illicit distillation traffic is one on which considerable inroads have been made by the activities of the Gárda Síochána, but which has not been stamped out; and I have come to the conclusion now that much further headway is unlikely to be made unless we take power to control the raw material. I am so advised by the police themselves, and by Deputies and public officials in the areas affected. I am advised that we have got to come down to the point of absolute control of the raw materials of poteen if we are to hope to absolutely stamp it out. It is a great evil—a great social evil—in the areas in which it prevails. The methylated spirits traffic is, of course, no less an evil. If it exists on a smaller scale, at any rate it is no less injurious in its effects; and we propose here what we hope are adequate powers. It will be noted that illicit distillation no longer remains on the basis of being mainly or primarily a revenue offence; it is made an ordinary criminal offence, punishable by imprisonment.

I do not know that at this stage of the Bill there is matter calling for much further comment. Deputies will notice that in Section 23 power is given to the police to search clubs or to visit and inspect clubs under certain circumstances where there is suspicion that a breach of the law is taking place. Formerly the police were under considerable difficulty with regard to clubs, because they had to have something more than suspicion, they had to have something little short of absolute personal knowledge before they would get from a magistrate the necessary warrant. I am glad to say that at the conference which I had the representatives of the club assured me that they would welcome police supervision and police inspection, and had no objection to the insertion of a clause of that kind in the Bill; and that is something which certainly gives every evidence of bona fides and every evidence of a desire to run the clubs properly on the part of those who represented the clubs at the conference.

I am aware that Deputies—or some Deputies—will see in the Bill not merely sins of commission, but sins of omission. From time to time I got requests to bring certain matters within the scope of the Bill. There are local problems and special interests here and there in regard to which people saw, or thought they saw, in the Bill, an opportunity of having grievances, real or imaginary, redressed. There is the problem of the Cork tied house, which I am not attempting to deal with in this measure, and which must be left over for fuller examination by a Commission. And then, here in Dublin, there were two special requests, one from certain people on the North side who had six-day licences, and who would like to have seven-day licences, and the other had reference to a problem which I am sure is well known by circular and memoranda to many Deputies, if not to all—the problem of the added areas. These are questions which I think can better be dealt with on the Committee Stage, if amendments are put down, and which I would suggest, at any rate, ought to be omitted from the scope of the discussion at this stage of the Bill. I formally move the Second Reading.

I do not agree with the general terms of this Bill at all. There are some clauses in it that nobody can say anything against, and there are some clauses in it that everybody can speak against. But before I start off to say that I should like to see the Bill rejected, the Minister himself rejects it by saying that he would like to see a Commission set up. So should I. I gave evidence before a Commission seven years ago. The late Mr. Justice Gordon presided at that Commission, and in connection with that Commission, any publican who would be shut up would be compensated. As regards this Bill, the Minister has very generously given leave to everybody to slaughter the structural clauses. There are clauses inserted in this Bill, some of which would suit the cities, and more of which would suit the country districts. You take, for instance, the cities where you have a tram service, and where Ministers are living, I may say. They are prejudiced by the fact that a man can be converted into a bona fide traveller, for a penny, on a Sunday.

You do not know the Tramways Company.

A man jumps into a tram and pulls the bell, and off he goes, and he is a bona fide traveller—and that, after getting for three hours before that the privilege of boozing away in a publichouse. It is no wonder that the bona fide traveller part of it is objected to, when, as I am told, here in the city the three hours' period is abused and people are not satisfied with it. Give us the three hours in the country and a little of the bona fide traveller business, and no structural clauses, and we will almost fall into line with the Minister for Justice.

He has taken charge of the theatre and the publichouses there by night— the bars. He objects to the girl of eighteen going inside the publichouse bar. So do I. I agree with him that a girl under the age of eighteen should not be allowed inside any counter, for her health's sake. If she is not we will have better athletes in the country, for the girls will make better mothers. I come back to the theatre. I was in there the other night. Not alone were there people there eighteen years of age, but there were a few there not eight, ten, eleven, twelve or thirteen, all, walking around dressed up nicely. They would pick the eye out of you. I was up in the gallery with other Deputies. I had a look down into the pit to see were there any Ministers there to put a stop to the kickers, but I did not see any Ministers.

Not in the pit yet.

To come back to the bona fide traveller part of the Bill, I would ask the Minister for Justice to bear in mind seriously that it would be a great hardship on the people in country districts, if this one o'clock in the day bona fide business were imposed on the publicans. He mentioned Divine Service a while ago. The people where I come from are as divine as they are in Dublin, and the travellers from the country especially, can hardly go to Mass at all without a drop. I do not say this now by way of a joke. From time immemorial those people living three to five miles away in the country drive into the village to chapel on Sundays. They put up their horses in the stables that have been built for them years ago by our fathers. I am a publican myself. A farmer like Deputy Gorey would drive in his horse.


His motor car.

And put him up in the publican's yard in the stable and make off for Mass, or if it were snowing he might go into the fire, and you know the remainder. If this Bill were passed it would be a crime for the farmers' horse to drink in the publican's yard, and it will be a hardship on the people coming into Mass on Sundays, if they have to come home again without being able to get messages in the house with which they are dealing, with which their fathers have dealt before them, and in which they get the best value. As to the opening hours, nine o'clock in my district anyhow, is early enough. God knows, with the amount of unemployment that exists—publicans as a rule are sleepy chaps—nine o'clock is early enough for them except on fair or market mornings, when the thirsty farmers come in. The Minister knows it himself. He spent some time in Cork and Youghal, a watering place down in my district. How would it affect holiday-seekers—they may call it a holiday or a necessity—who go to Youghal to enjoy the fresh air after the week's work, if they could not enter a publichouse before one o'clock? In those watering-places travellers should be specially catered for. I make a suggestion—I hope I will be on the Commission—that a country publichouse should get permission to open for three hours, say, from eleven until two. We have Mass at 12 o'clock. You would have an hour before Mass and an hour after. Then you could put down the bona fide business. This deals with the country, where a man has to walk two or three miles on business or pleasure. He has not merely to hop into a tram. Alas, we are asked not to taste a tint of drink on St. Patrick's Day. Our fathers would turn in the grave if they heard it. Many of them got their heads smashed on St. Patrick's Day, and it would not be a Patrick's Day unless they came home half “boosed.” All those time-honoured customs are to be put aside to please the Pioneers, the people who have a big banner, with Pussyfoot drawn out on it. I do not like to say anything against the Pioneers, because I am a kind of Pioneer myself. I may as well say that, because some Deputy may fling the taunt at me, “Why don't you have a drink yourself?” I drank my own share of it. I would like to point out that the Minister for Justice thinks it necessary that there should be a Commission set up. I think it should be set up also, and it would be a golden opportunity to avoid this pardon or absolution in connection with the structural clauses. I say: “Withdraw the whole Bill.” Should there be a Commission set up afterwards you can bring forward a new Bill at the time you will be bringing forward the Rural Councils again. Bring forward a new Bill after the Commission, and do not put the car before the horse by having the Bill first and the Commission after. I would ask that the Minister for Justice in justice to the Bill, should withdraw it. In that Commission he suggests we will give him our blessing and every assistance.

Would I be in order now, in accordance with Standing Order No. 17, to move that the House do now adjourn for two hours?

I understand you are not allowed to give grounds on moving a motion like this.

Is it not a fact, sir, that in order to do that, Deputy Milroy requires your permission, and he has not asked your permission?

I asked was I in order.

I think not, unless the House desire an adjournment.

Can we take the sense of the House in the matter?

I submit, sir, it is for your decision.

I will not accept the motion.

The Minister, in introducing this Bill, covered a great deal of ground, which I shall try to cover briefly. It not unfrequently happens that when I am speaking here I am conscious of speaking on a subject of which I have only an academic or superficial knowledge. That is not the case in this instance. So far as the Intoxicating Liquor Bill is concerned, I have, I may say, absorbed the subject. I shall deal with it in the spirit in every sense of the word in which the Minister put it before us, when he said he tried to get at the mentality of the average elector by striking the mean between conflicting views. There is no worse way of getting at the mentality of the average man, than by striking a mean between two extremists. They come off at tangents, and you do not get at the centre. But where the Minister will get at the mentality of the average electors is here in this Dáil. Therefore, it is to be hoped that we will have a full debate, and that Deputies will express not opinions dictated to them, but their own opinions, whether they are popular or unpopular. The Minister expected to be accused of sins of omission. He accused himself of one sin of omission. I am going to rub it in. It is that there is in this Bill no provision whatever for the reduction of the number of licences. That is one of the things that have been in the forefront of every agitation and temperance movement in this country for years. The reason for the omission is obvious. The reason is the Minister for Finance. It is a serious omission, and one that is felt to be serious. I do not myself believe that drunkenness depends in any great degree on the number of publichouses. I am confirmed in that by the figures the Minister gives. He said there was one licence to every 400 of the population in England, and that there was one to every 695 of the population in Scotland. I have not the figures with me, but it is common knowledge that Scotland is a more drunken place than England. The average number of convictions for drunkenness is much higher than in England, though the proportion of the number of houses is very much smaller.

The police are more efficient.

I never heard that. It is entirely new to me to hear that any police force is more efficient than the City of London police force. Yet the number of arrests for drunkenness is infinitely lower in London than in Glasgow. There are other factors to be taken into consideration, such as the climate, what people drink, and Sunday closing in Scotland, which has had a very considerable effect. As I say, I do not believe the number of licences has really a great effect on the amount of drunkenness. I think the truest thing on this subject was said by the late Lord Salisbury, that though he had a large number of bedrooms at Hatfield they never made him feel any more sleepy. It did not necessarily follow, he concluded, that because of the number of public houses there was any more drunkenness. What I do think is that the number of small publichouses we have in this country is uneconomic. We have in a small village of forty or fifty houses, eight or ten licensed houses, which is too much of a good thing, even allowing it to be a good thing. It is not economic, and it involves an enormous number of small transactions—buying a barrel of beer at a time, and that sort of thing, which makes the work of the railways more difficult. I do hope the Minister is not putting the reduction of the number of public-houses out of mind altogether.

Another question the Minister has failed to deal with, so far, is the question of spirit drinking. It has been in the past the aim of a great many temperance reformers to discourage the drinking of spirits, as compared with the drinking of ale and porter. There is an English poet—I should rather call him a rhymster—who once said:

Brandy and gin blows out your skin

And makes you feel quite clear,

So damn your eyes, whoever tries

To rob the poor man of his beer.

That sentiment has been endorsed by a good many. I do not know whether the Minister is familiar with the system adopted in Gothenburg, in Sweden. He has been borrowing one or two details of it in this scheme, but whether he has been borrowing them unconsciously or not I do not know. He has borrowed one provision which prohibits the sale of alcohol on credit. That is a very good provision, and I heartily endorse it. He has also borrowed another provision, less excellent, which prohibits the sale of any form of alcoholic liquor to anyone under 18 years. He has borrowed from the Gothenburg system, and he has gone one better, because the Gothenburg law applies only to spirits and does not apply to beer. Comparatively recently there were twenty-nine houses in Gothenburg selling spirits across the counter, and there were 200 beer houses, so that a person under 18 years had ample opportunity of obtaining beer. I do not think it can be seriously contended that a glass of beer does a boy of 18 years, taking hard exercise, any harm at all, or that a glass of cider does him any harm. I think that there the Minister is following a precedent—a British precedent. I do not know whether it should be called a British precedent or an American precedent, because an Act passed last year in the House of Commons was introduced by a lady who is American by birth and British by marriage, and who succeeded in getting this made illegal in Great Britain. There has been no great improvement, so far as I can see, in any of the young people in England since, and at the same time there is that unreasonable restriction. I have known children under 18 years—even children of 15 and 16 years—ordered beer, stout or porter by doctors. As long as they were at home they would, under this Bill, be able to have that, as they would be in a private house. But if they went to stay at an hotel, or if they went to one of those watering-places of which Deputy Daly spoke, where, apparently, people go for no other purpose than to drink, they would not be able to get stout or porter, according to the provisions of this Bill, even if ordered it by the doctor. That is as far as I understand the provision.

I venture to think that the general characteristic of the Bill is rather excessive rigidity. It has many very valuable provisions, but the whole scheme is too cut and dry, and there is not enough allowance for exceptional cases. The Minister is placing all licensed houses on the same basis. It is rather ridiculous to apply exactly the same standards to the Shelbourne Hotel and to a publichouse, say, in Clifden, or Cahirciveen. The kind of business is different, the conditions under which they work are different, and it is almost impossible to get a scheme of hours that would suit them. If you try to crush them into a Procrustean mould you will create hardship and ill-feeling. Take the question of theatres. The Minister has grouped all theatres. together, even theatres that do not possess licences. There is one theatre in Dublin—the Abbey Theatre—which has no licence. The Bill says:—

"No person shall be admitted to any theatre, music hall or other licensed place of amusement after the hour of half-past nine in the evening unless ..."

I take it that means any place possessing a patent as a theatre. The Abbey Theatre has no licence for the sale of alcoholic liquor at all. It is a theatre which very often has two or three plays on the programme, some of which may be very familiar to frequenters of that theatre. I might wish, for instance, to avoid a play by the Minister for External Affairs which I had seen several times before, and to go down at a quarter to ten or ten o'clock to see some new play put on at the end of the programme. Under this Bill I would not be able to get in. That is not to prevent me getting a drink, because I could not get a drink, in any case, and I would be able to get a drink in a publichouse up to that time. That simply shows that the scope of the Bill is a little rigid. As the Minister begs us not to labour hard cases, I will not deal further with that, but I would like to know if, under this Bill, the privilege which exists at present of applying to a District Justice for extension of licensed hours for particular purposes still continues or not. There is nothing in the Bill about it, and I am not clear whether it is repealed.

It is not.

I am glad to hear that. That, to some extent, meets my view. In my opinion there ought to be five kinds of licences. We are trying to standardise this matter too much. There should be a licence for a hotel, and in defining a hotel the Minister might very reasonably demand a certain standard—a certain number of bedrooms, so that any little village publichouse would not be at liberty to call itself a hotel.

Then there should be another standard for restaurants. I might say that the only legislative effort in my life was when, 14 years ago, I helped Mr. P.J. Brady to carry a Bill in the House of Commons which made it possible to have a drink at supper in Dublin. I never heard that the Bill did any harm, but it lapsed during the European War and has not been revived. Now the trade of the restaurants in Dublin is so small that I do not think it would be possible to revive it. As far as I know, it was a harmless provision, which gave a certain amount of enjoyment and a certain amount of employment suitable to a capital city. After all, Dublin is a Metropolis. I know I shall be reminded that Dublin should not sit up late, so that it may go to work early in the morning. But Dublin does not sit up late, and it does not go to work early in the morning. Paris sits up late, and goes to work early in the morning, and remember that in Paris there are practically no restrictions. Paris is a very much earlier city than either London or Dublin, and I suggest that the two things are not necessarily incompatible. The third form is the licence for clubs. The fourth is the ordinary licence for sale across the counter, and the fifth is the off-licence, a problem which the Minister has not tackled in this Bill, but which he will have to tackle some time. There are various abuses connected with it.

Now, I come to the provision with regard to the closing on St. Patrick's Day, on Good Friday, and on Christmas Day. I am not going to support what Deputy Daly described as the time-honoured custom of getting half boozed on St. Patrick's Day. That reminds me very much of a saying of Shakespeare. It is "a custom more honoured in the breach than in the observance." I would ask Deputies to remember that St. Patrick's Day is a bank holiday and a general holiday in the country now. I think it is very hard to lay it down as this Bill does, that if I go to Bray, or in a misguided moment to the other end of the County Dublin to address my constituents, I cannot have a glass of beer or a whiskey and soda at my meals unless I take a room in the hotel. That seems to me unnecessary. Close all the bars as much as you like, but to say that a drink should not be served at meals under the circumstances I have described is, I suggest, pressing the thing a little too far. I am not going to lay the same stress on Good Friday or on Christmas Day, because these are days that should be spent in the bosom of the family. But St. Patrick's Day is now a bank holiday, and a day on which people go out to enjoy themselves. I cannot see that it would do them any harm if they had an opportunity for having refreshment at their meals. I do not think that such a regulation would do any harm, or that the fabric of the State would be shaken in any way. I now come to the question of the clubs. I admit that this is a very difficult question, but I agree with the Minister that a club that is only a camouflage publichouse should have no better treatment, and, if necessary, have worse treatment, than the publichouse. Here, also, we should be aware of undue rigidity. There are a great many clubs with bars. There are such things as golf clubs with bars. I suggest to the Minister that if he is able to make a rule that no member of a golf club should be supplied with alcoholic liquor until he has played at least eighteen holes, it might not only be useful, but I am sure it would help to raise the standard of the golf. At the present time you have people playing golf up to a late hour. At the present season, particularly on Saturday afternoons, golf is played up to 9.30, and sometimes a good deal later. It seems to me if the closing hour in golf club bars is fixed at 10 o'clock that it is a little arbitrary. What I suggest is that the Minister should lay down certain hours during which the bars in clubs can be kept open.

I suggest with regard to club bars that the Minister should fix a maximum number of hours during which the club can sell drink, and that he should make that maximum number considerably less than the thirteen hours allowed to the publichouse. If it would conciliate the Labour Party in any way I would suggest eight hours as the club day for drink. I suggest also that the clubs themselves, when applying for a licence or for a renewal of a licence, should state the hours during which they wish to sell drink. It will be open to the police to make an objection if in any case they think these hours are going to be abused. The suggestion I make would, I think, put an end to the camouflage publican, because it would not then be worth his while giving up thirteen hours' sale of liquor in order to secure eight. This provision, if enforced, would impose a great hardship on a number of clubs. For instance, I know that in London the Press Club is used entirely by people who work at night, and as the club has an all-night licence it is allowed to sell drink. If the Dublin Press, printers, telegraphists, and other people who have to work at night, wish to start a club, or if they have a club already, I do not believe it would do any harm to let them have a glass of ale with their supper, even if that meal were served at 2 o'clock in the morning. All these matters are subject to the police regulations, and if clubs make application for unusual hours without any valid reason the police will oppose the application and the club will probably not get its licence. Of course, it is simpler, from the police point of view, to have an absolute fixed rigidity, and that everyone should conform to it. To have no variation in the hours is not a solution of the difficulty. It has been found possible to work the licensing laws in London with a variation in the hours. For instance, at one side of Oxford Street the publichouses close at 10 o'clock, while at the other side they remain open until 10.30, but the police do not find any difficulty because of that. I feel that this uniform rigidity which I find in the Bill is due to the Minister's Napoleonic cast of mind. Napoleon once felt great pleasure in thinking that at a certain hour every day every child in his Empire, which then stretched from Calais to Rome, and from Barcelona to Rotterdam, should be doing a certain sum.

I am sure the Minister would derive great pleasure from feeling that on every Saturday night at twenty-five minutes past 9 o'clock the last tumbler is being emptied in every publichouse in Ireland; at twenty-eight minutes past 9, all over Ireland, that thousands of mouths are being wiped after the last drink, and that at thirty minutes past 9 the keys in the locks of thousands of publichouse doors are grating. That is a beautiful dream, of course, but I do not think it makes for the happiness of the Government.

Therefore, on the Committee Stage, I propose to do all I can to mitigate the rigidity of the Bill. I am not opposing the Bill, because it is one that has very valuable provisions, and I would vote for it if it were only for the two last parts dealing with illicit distillation and methylated spirits, both of which I believe are urgently needed. I do think, however, that it will cause a certain amount of friction and ill-feeling and will make for what the Minister once described as "persistent unpopularity." But I support the Bill under great difficulties, because of the conditions in which we are discussing legislation. The Minister begged us to deal with these points in Committee. While we have not a great deal of time to deal with these points in Committee, the great difficulty for the ordinary private member is that he cannot call a draftsman to his aid to frame satisfactory amendments that will stand fire. Therefore, I would urge the Minister to do one of two things, either to be satisfied with a Second Reading now and to leave the Committee Stage to the autumn when we shall have more time, and when possibly the organisations that ought to come to his assistance and support and which have not done so up to the present, will have come into action. If he cannot do that, I would urge him to help us with the drafting of amendments as far as possible, and not to turn down amendments because they are badly drafted. He could give us the benefit of the Government draftsman's assistance and advice, and an assurance that any such amendments that meet with substantial support in the Dáil shall not be rejected because they are badly drafted, but that he should help us to lick them into workable shape. The Minister also said that contentious matters had better be left for the Committee stage. If we respond in that spirit, will he give us an assurance that he will give us a helping hand?

When this Bill was brought forward on Second Reading I rather first, as Deputy Cooper did, thought it was likely to be contentious in a number of respects, and that if it was intended to become law this summer, it would mean a very much longer sitting than had been anticipated, and would have meant very urgent pleading with the Seanad to sit longer than they proposed to do. I do not think it is reasonable to submit a Bill of this kind along with a number of other Bills of great importance which require to be examined closely and minutely, at this stage of the session, and, therefore, I suggest that it is a Bill which ought not to be persisted in in view of the big programme before the Dáil, unless other parts of the programme or many of them are to be dropped. There is not much sign of these other Bills ceasing to flow, and I cannot understand how this Bill is likely to become law within the time suggested as reasonable as the length of this session.

For my pains I received two or three very abusive letters, saying I was trying to plead the cause of the publican and to ensure the perpetuation of drunkenness in the homes of the writers of these letters. It is not because I receive these letters that I am supporting this Bill. I would support a very much more drastic Bill than this is. But I want to suggest to the Minister that it is very doubtful wisdom to try to pass the whole of this Bill at the present stage, and that to remedy the acute evils he would do well to make a separate Bill of the two clauses, the one relating to illicit distillation, and the other relating to methylated spirits. I feel confident he would get almost unanimous support if he introduced those two sections as a separate Bill, and allow it to pass through quickly. By that means he would deal with an immediate and pressing evil, and he would at least save six months in the active treatment of those two evils, because I cannot think, whatever the Dáil may be persuaded to do in regard to this Bill by the throwing overboard of a number perhaps, of very valuable provisions, that the Seanad will be persuaded to do the same. I do not think they will, and then we will not only lose the Bill as a whole, but the clauses dealing with distillation and methylated spirits.

But on the general question, and I am speaking for myself alone on this matter, I am prepared to support the Bill to the full, reserving freedom, as I always do, to criticise and vote against such clauses or sections or special proposals in relation to those sections. In the course of discussion in regard to the Bill outside the Dáil I find a curious state of mind developing, a state of mind which rather suggests the necessity for examining first principles with regard to the use and sale of intoxicating liquor. I find a tendency to argue that there should be no restriction, and that there should be as much freedom in regard to the sale of intoxicating liquor as in regard to the sale of bread. And it is even suggested that while the immediate results would be disastrous, still in the long run, and perhaps not too long a run, benefit would accrue to the country inasmuch as the fittest to take intoxicating drink, without evil results, would survive and would breed a race immune from intoxication. In a sense that is the end of the argument put forward in regard to freedom to sell all intoxicating liquor. But most people on examination, thinking for any length of time upon the matter, will come down to the agreement that there must be in this country and in this climate and in these latitudes certain restrictions upon the sale of intoxicating liquor, because we know from experience that a considerable section of the public—an influential section of the public—are quite prepared to exploit the appetites of men and women to the detriment and deterioration of men and women. Because of that exploitation and because it is necessary, as the Minister said, to put some restriction in the way of mankind in the satisfaction of the degrading appetites, licensing restrictions on the sale of intoxicating liquor have been found necessary. The question then arises as to the extent of the restriction and the extent of the interference. I think anybody who has travelled the country and has observed the conditions under which spirits and beer are sold, and the effect of that sale upon the general social condition, will agree that there should be steady and increasing restrictions upon that free traffic.

A good many people were greatly elated three or four years ago at the spirit of the country when there was a determined effort to reduce the sale of intoxicants. Now, undoubtedly, there was a great deal of good in that effort. It may be that there was too much elation and not enough of thought and consideration of the fact that there was a reaction against that wave of temperance, and perhaps the nett result has not been entirely good. But if there had been more restriction and less freedom when the reaction came, if it had been possible to enforce the law, even as it existed we would not have had the complaints and the grievances expressed that we have had. There is no doubt that the increase in the last couple of years in the sale of intoxicating drink has done a great deal to demoralise the country. Deputies talk as though the matter of Sunday trading, and the opening of houses in the country are simply a matter of satisfying what one might call the reasonable desire to refresh oneself, but Deputy Daly and most other Deputies well know what the conditions in the country are. We know that men, not men who have travelled, but men who live next door or within twenty, thirty or a hundred yards of the publichouse, spend hours and hours there drinking pint after pint and degrading their surroundings and everything connected with them.

It is wasteful and simply doing harm to themselves and to their families. Now, I believe that we ought not to be afraid to risk unpopularity in respect of this question. I was sorry that the Minister adopted a somewhat apologetic tone in regard to this Bill. He seemed to be a little afraid that he was asking the Dáil to do too much, and rather asked to be excused for inviting legislation of this kind. It is a very moderate Bill, very much more moderate as he suggests than the Bill which will be introduced and passed within a few years. I think that there ought to be very little cutting in the provisions of this Bill even as presented. The structural alterations clause is one that seems to have excited the most opposition. I think that it will cause a certain amount of hardship and expense to a large number of people. I think that possibly the time allowed in the Bill is too short, but I frankly tell the Dáil that in my belief that clause is intended, or, at least, it will have the effect of making the country trader and the city trader decide whether he is to be a publican or a grocer, whether he is to be a publican or an ironmonger, and he will have to decide whether he is going to conduct one business or the other business. I think it would be well for the country if people were made to decide that. You go into a country town and you find 120 houses, 70 of them having licences. Of course, they are not there for the trade of the town. It is intended to be a weekly or monthly trade—perhaps one day's trade in a month, or one day in the week, a fair day trade or a market day trade. They try to combine two or three businesses, and they have a slum of a house, and they call it the "pub." It is dirty, ugly, dilapidated in every respect, and the surroundings are disastrous to the mentality of the people that frequent these places. Now, I say it would be a very good thing, indeed, for the country if those places were reduced by two-thirds, and if this clause, this proposal insisting that there shall be structural divisions as between the general trade and the liquor trade, were passed. If it would have the effect of closing up a considerable number of houses, I think it would be a very good thing indeed. Now, I think it is quite reasonable, say, within a period of 15 months or two years—and I think the longer period would be preferred, a longer period than that fixed in the Bill—to call upon the trade itself to provide an insurance fund that will buy out or compensate those houses that have to be closed. I would certainly make that the basis of any compensation. Those houses that are to remain would undoubtedly get the benefit of the trade that remains. And if it is not a fact that the existence of public houses increases the consumption, then the remainder of the public houses will have the same amount of consumption and they will have a sufficiently increased revenue to provide compensation. But notwithstanding Lord Salisbury and the statement that because he has 100 bedrooms, he does not sleep more than once per night, we know, as a matter of fact, and we know as a matter of practice that the more public houses there are, and the greater the facilities for drinking, the greater the quantity of drink taken.

Hear, hear.

One does not go through life in cities and in country towns without knowing that when two or three are gathered together and the facility for drink is at hand the inducement to drink is succumbed to. And unfortunately we have the habit in this country of having public houses which are nothing but drinking places, and you have to stand for your drink —simply places where you can open your mouth and pour down beer. Now, I say that ought to be altered in the best and quickest possible way. Deputy Cooper spoke of the Gothenburg system. I am not talking as a Prohibitionist, for I am not a prohibitionist.

I do say if you could induce any considerable number of people to establish a publichouse trust on the Gothenburg system, make it compulsory that the licensee would also have available food and other kinds of drink besides intoxicants, let a manager be there who would only be paid a profit on the nonintoxicants, establish a place where there would be some little recreation, an occasional game, and perhaps even an occasional lecture, and song, and where you would not have simply a drinking establishment, you would do a great deal for the promotion of temperance in the country.

On a point of explanation, if you will pardon me for interrupting, I would like to draw attention to my reference to the banners of the Pioneers. I beg to withdraw that reference. Instead of being Pussyfoot, I find that there were some very sacred emblems on those banners. I am very sorry for the remark I made, and I withdraw it. I have great respect for the Pioneers, even though they are against me.

I have a great deal of sympathy with the views expressed by Deputy Cooper regarding the difficulty that Deputies find, and will find, on the Committee Stage, in drafting amendments of a nature such as the Minister himself has invited. The invitation almost necessitates having an official draftsman at the disposal of the Deputies. The suggestion of Deputy Cooper is one which I hope the Ministry, and the Dáil generally, will think of as a suggestion which might be given effect to in regard to legislation in general. Particularly in this Bill, it will be found that if the invitation of the Minister is considered, the drafting will be of a technical character, and unless Deputies are to be expected to allow interested associations to appoint draftsmen—which I do not think is altogether the best procedure—then the drafting will be difficult, and the opportunities for submitting sensible amendments will not be so great as the Minister suggests.

I am going to support the Bill, and the Minister, in general, in his defence of the various clauses, if he deems it necessary, and if the Dáil decides that this Bill is to be passed at this period of the legislative year. Again, however, I suggest that it would be more likely to bring outsensible and well-considered legislation if he would defer the Committee Stage of the main portion of the Bill, take sections 25 and 26 and make a separate Bill of them, and ask the Dáil to give the Bill rapid passage. I think the country would be very much more satisfied, and I think more valuable work would be done than by risking the loss of the whole Bill between the Dáil and the Seanad.

Like many Deputies, I have not very much affection for this Bill. It seems to me to be a somewhat clumsy attempt to whitewash a condemned structure, to tinker with what I consider is an impossible system. The Minister for Justice, who has my sympathy in the matter, forcibly reminds me of the somewhat squeamish maiden who, after visiting the museum for the first time, came back the next day with a supply of kilts for some of the statues. I think that the drastic reform that is needed in this system should be only undertaken after thorough and careful inquiry has been made into the system. There is reform needed in the uniformity of the liquors supplied, and there should be such uniformity as will guarantee to the ordinary public that they are getting what is safe and what is best for their own interests.

Reform is required with regard to the tied-house system that the Minister has referred to. It is extremely necessary that that reform should be brought about with regard to the tied houses. Then reform is also required in the reduction of licences. As the Minister for Justice has stated, there are fifteen thousand licences in Ireland. I find from the return issued that the number of licences in the Free State is 10,135.

resumed the Chair.

I find that the larger percentage of that number engaged in dual trading, and only 2,918 sold liquor alone. The reduction of licences generally is a question that will have to be envisaged, and it is a question on which this inquiry is absolutely necessary. We have licensed houses altogether out of proportion to the requirements of the community, and it does not tend to insure that business is conducted in the best possible way when we have a superfluity of licences, and when it is the interest, not merely the duty, of everybody, if he wants to live, to do things that otherwise he might not do.

I think that while this inquiry is necessary, there may be anomalies, and there are, I think, in the metropolitan area, that could be rectified by a much less pretentious measure than this, and there are certain inequalities and unfairnesses between individual traders, I understand, existing in the neighbourhood of the City. These people should be brought into the City for licensing purposes also. It is a most intolerable thing, and it is a most unjust thing that they should be refused the privileges of the City, when they have been taken in for all other purposes generally. As regards the proposals in the Bill, although they are tinkering with the case I think they are tinkering wrongfully in some ways. I feel that while they should be closing on Christmas Day and Good Friday, St. Patrick's Day should be placed on the same basis as Sunday. I think there are certain requirements of the public on that day that necessitate that there should be elasticity with regard to St. Patrick"s Day, and that after 1 o'clock the same facilities should be given on that day with regard to bona fide travellers as on a Sunday. I think that the hours of opening would be all right if discretion were given to a District Justice in the case of an early morning fair or market, to make provisions for the requirements of rural areas where people may have long distances to go, and where it may, perhaps, be necessary for them to get stimulants, particularly in the winter time. With regard to the hours of closing, I do not see any necessity for making a difference between Saturday and any other day. I do not think that any argument can be put up for it. I think a better argument might be made in favour of the hours of trading on Saturday being longer than they are, instead of making them shorter. I think that the proposal with regard to Sundays is right.

I now come to the question of structural separation. I consider this is the greatest myth that could possibly be invented. The idea that this dual trading has any sinister influence with regard to temperance I would not agree with at all. I do not believe it has, but it is a grand text, undoubtedly, for those who want to preach Prohibition, and for some fanatics who are more or less extreme in their views, but I do not think that they could give any argument to show that the present system is in any way detrimental to the general interests of the community from the point of view of temperance. I do not see why structural separation should be enforced, especially as it would be impossible in a great many cases. It seems to me that if structural alteration is ordained by this Bill, and if a man is ordered to separate his business structurally where it is not possible for him to do so, he should have the option of going out of the trade and claiming compensation. The State should be prepared to give him this compensation, because you cannot ordain any hardship on a trader for the benefit of the whole community. That should be well understood, because I do not think it would be just or equitable to order any man to separate his premises structurally when it would mean that he would have no alternative but to go out of the trade. I could not at all agree with the proposal to order structural separation, except it was accompanied by a proposal with regard to compensation, and I am sure, when an inquiry is held into the trade in general, that we will arrive at reasonable ways and means of arranging that the number of licences can be reduced, and that if separation is deemed advisable where premises do not admit of it, compensation should be paid. It would be the duty of such an inquiry to arrange that. The spirit grocer is very much penalised in the Bill. There are only 390 of these altogether. Deputy Cooper elaborated a scheme for five separate standard licences. I think that the object of those that are concerned in the matter should be to bring all the licence-holders on to the one register. I think that there should be only one register. The spirit grocer is the black sheep of the licensed trade generally, and he is exploited as such by everyone who gets up to talk temperance.

In what way is he penalised? The Deputy says that the spirit grocer is very much penalised. In what way?

He is penalised in the Bill, as far as I know—in a section of it. He loses his licence on the second offence, and on the first offence there is a pretty heavy penalty.

The Deputy will agree that the offence is a breach of the condition on which he was given his licence.

I do not know what that condition may have been. It may be that it was given because the premises were structurally suitable, and the character of the applicant was good.

I would like to be clear on this point, because, of course, if the Deputy is right I will be open to reconsider the Section. My view is that the spirit grocer was given his licence to sell wine for consumption off his premises. If he sells wine and intoxicating liquor to be consumed on the premises, that, in my opinion, is a breach of the condition on which he was given his licence.

I agree that that is a condition that attaches to spirit grocers' licences, that no drink is to be sold for consumption on the premises. Unfortunately, very few of the spirit grocers have been able to keep to that condition. The difficulty of their being able to carry it out ought to be considered, and they ought to be placed on the same register as other licensed traders. They only got these licences because the exigencies of the situation compelled it, because it was not considered desirable to increase the number of the other licences. As regards the clause against girls under eighteen being employed on the premises, I think an exception might be made in the case of a trader's own family in regard to that. I take no exception to the hours as regards Sundays. As far as materials for manufacturing illicit spirits are concerned, I consider that very drastic penalties should be imposed. They could not be too drastic for me. I would be very much inclined to send persons found dealing in such things to gaol. The arrangements with regard to clubs I am perfectly satisfied with. I do not see that members of clubs should have any rights beyond the ordinary people who patronise the licensed establishments. I think they should not be able to exempt themselves from liability to prosecution by supplying drink at hours when people could not get it in the ordinary way. I think it a danger if you allow them to have greater facilities than what are allowed to ordinary people in the ordinary public-houses.

Deputy Johnson suggested that after an inquiry those who remain in the trade should pay for those who go out. I think that proposal is one that could be put into force in this country. I believe it is one that is capable of being applied. They have such a scheme, in fact, in Wales. It has imposed certain hardships, undoubtedly, on the people remaining in the trade by having redundant licences extinguished in areas at long distances from the areas in which those remaining carry on their trade. Those remaining are compelled to pay compensation in an area from which they would not get any trade in the ordinary way. An Inquiry could arrange the areas and the means by which licences could be materially reduced. Trade is extremely bad at the present time, and the temptations to those engaged in the trade to do things they should not do in order to make a living are far too great. An Inquiry should be set up to go into the matter thoroughly and put forward ways and means for getting these licences reduced. Unless that is done you will not help the cause of temperance in this country. There are a great many proposals in the Bill that I can support. I can support the Second Reading, but with reservations with regard to some of the points I have spoken of.

My position in connection with this Bill has been made very easy owing to the very reasonable opening statement of the Minister for Justice. He has agreed to leave to a free vote of the House the most controversial clause in the Bill, namely, the structural alteration clause. As far as that clause is concerned, it is my intention on the Committee Stage to vote against it, because from my knowledge of a large number of houses throughout the country districts it would be practically impossible to comply with the conditions. I do not think at the present time such drastic legislation should be adopted. It would be necessary, if the structural alterations were carried out, for various shops to have double staffs, and while it was suggested that that might be a very good matter in the interests of labour, I think with the trade those people are doing at the present time, and the fact that they are practically, in my opinion, only paying expenses, it would be an impossibility to carry that out.

The other matters I take exception to are the hours, particularly with regard to districts which keep old time. In a large number of country areas they are 1½ hours behind the ordinary time, and the proposal in the Bill would mean, where old time is kept, they would be obliged to close at 8 o'clock. Other matters which I think might be amended would be in connection with fairs and markets. It is not my intention to say anything further at this stage more than to suggest that the Minister should be agreeable to accept reasonable amendments in connection with these matters. I think the Bill might be passed, and might be a great benefit to the country without causing any very serious loss to the persons engaged in the trade.

There are a few points I wish specially to refer to. I would wish that Deputy Johnson's views, as stated in his opening remarks, could be carried into effect. That is, that Clauses 4 and 5 would be dealt with immediately, and that an opportunity would be given to the members of the Dáil for a conference to consider what further alterations should be made in the clauses that have been suggested, and to put forward a scheme that would be more acceptable to the Dáil, that would be more advantageous in the interests of temperance, and certainly would not be a loss to the people concerned in the trade.

I presume the Deputy means Parts 4 and 5.

Yes, Parts 4 and 5. As to illicit distillation, any punishment that could be given to those connected with that would not be too severe. The number of inmates in many asylums has been increasing largely for the past three or four years owing to the amount of illicit spirit coming into the towns and villages. If more powers are required than are taken in this Bill to deal with this evil I hope the Government will apply to the Dáil for them. I believe that those who engage in illicit distillation are the lowest and the worst type of criminals. Robbery, murder and crimes of violence of the worst kind have been brought about as a result of this spirit being sold in the towns and villages. I believe, too, that no whiskey should be allowed out of bond under five years' old. It is this bad type of whiskey that is one of the chief causes of drunkenness and of the crimes attendant on drunkenness.

As regards methylated spirits, we know what the result of drinking that has been in some of the industrial centres. We know how degrading and how ruinous it is. As to the opening hours on fair days, I believe there should be power to grant exemption. Those who wish to open their houses early on the days that fairs are held should be allowed to apply for an exemption and pay a certain amount for it. Each year when the licences are being renewed those who wish to open early on those days should get an exemption, which would be marked on the licence, for which they would be charged a certain amount. I do not see why the closing hour on Saturday should be earlier than on other days, In the country districts the working people are not paid until Saturday. They leave their work according to old time, so that they have only a half or three-quarters of an hour to get to the nearest town. If they have to travel a couple of miles that would be very unfair to working people. The wealthier classes can get their housekeeping done during the day, but those people who only get paid on a Saturday should not be prevented from doing their business by introducing such an hour as this in the Bill.

I am entirely in agreement with the proposal for absolute closing on Good Friday. It is a day which should be specially devoted to the Lord. It is a day on which there should be devotions for all Christians. The same thing should apply to Christmas Day. But St. Patrick's Day is a national festival on which our people go to Feiseanna, football matches, &c. In London on that day there are Irish re-unions which very prominent men attend, and which continue perhaps until an advanced hour in the morning. People of every nationality do rejoice on their festival day. Why should the Irish people at home be told that they cannot enjoy it in the same way? The wealthier classes can get a supply of whiskey or wine into their houses and they can, if they wish, take their hamper with them in their motor car. The working man cannot afford to pack a hamper or have a motor car. I do not see why on St. Patrick's Day these people should be prevented from taking drink in moderation. The idea that some people have that you must bring in legislation for the purpose of making people do what is right is not, I am afraid, going to lift the standard of our people. It is not going to give them a very high moral sense. I believe that temperance in Ireland will come through the schools and through the children. It will come through the fathers who wish to show an example to their children by not indulging in too much drink. I believe a certain amount of drink is good, but I believe too much of it is an abuse. Moderation in drinking is a necessity with a great many people, and it is not wrong for anyone to take drink so long as they do not abuse it.

As regards the number of licensed houses, I believe that there is an excess of them. But I wish to remind Deputies that it was by legislation these licences were created. Now we are asked by legislation to deprive these people of their licences without any compensation. I do not think that is just. This section as to structural alteration would certainly do this, and that would be a great disadvantage to the country. Some of those people who are merely existing in the country towns will be driven out of business by this proposal for structural alterations. In the country areas, owing to reduced trade, due to lack of employment, some of these people are merely existing at present. It would be better for the country that numbers of these people should go out of business, but this is not the time to force them, until the country begins to find its feet and get to work, which it has not done as yet.

It is not for us to increase the unemployment market, or to send farmers' sons, who are in business in small towns and villages, back to the country. Many of the people there are at present sending vegetables, butter and other things, to help their friends in the towns to eke out an existence. If their sons who are at business are sent back to farmers, having regard to the present state of agriculture, they are certainly not going to help their parents to get out of their difficulties. If these people cannot go to friends in the country they are going to be an expense to the public, as they will come on the rates, directly or indirectly. I absolutely object to that section. It may be possible that under a revised scheme the question of separating these business houses can be dealt with. The fact that there is drapery at one end of the shop, and grocery at another end, does not lead to drunkenness. In the country towns the bars in such shops are generally at the far end, or perhaps near the entrance. The bar is certainly not at the counter where other goods are sold. It strikes me that those people who are determined to take a glass of wine, and who will not drink anything stronger, as it would not be suitable to their sex, would find a place to go and have a glass of wine. We know of a country where they have prohibition, and we know what has been the result. I know from friends who came over lately that there are many people in that country now drinking who never drank before, simply because they have been prohibited from doing so. I am afraid that is a rather Irish characteristic too, and that until there is a higher moral standard in the country, if you want to prevent people doing something, you will not succeed by simply telling them they must not do it. I believe the question is really one of example, and that the temperance reformers should rely on the schools. I do not believe you are going to help the cause of temperance by turning a certain number of people out of the trade or by bringing in restrictions. I do not see why a man's daughter of 17 years of age should not help in his shop. If she leaves school at 16 and goes to the grocery business, she attends behind his counter. If he is not able to look after her, I am sorry for him. I think she would be better employed under her father's supervision than pretending to be amusing herself on the roadside.

There are other sections in the Bill with which I do not agree, and I trust that the Minister for Justice, if he persists with the Bill this Session, will agree to some amendments. Dealing with clubs, I suggest that the closing hours should be 11 o'clock. It is unfair to men in country districts, who leave their business perhaps at 9 or 9.30 p.m. and get to their clubs at 10, that when they sit down to a game of cards, or go to the reading room, they cannot have a drink up to 11 o'clock. It would be a very good thing if all clubs closed not later than 12 o'clock. In my young days people stopped in these clubs until 2 a.m. I do not think that is right. At the same time, I think clubs are entitled to remain open an hour longer than the licensed houses, in as much as many of the owners of these houses close at 9 o'clock and then go to their clubs. Let the power that this Bill places in the hands of the authorities be used to see that clubs are properly conducted. If that is done, to my mind there is no need for enforcing unnecessary restrictions. The law will see to it that there will be no abuses.

I wish to congratulate the Minister for Justice on the introduction of this Bill. I have been listening to sermons and lectures on temperance for many years, but I do not know of anything that will have such an influence on the citizens of the Saorstát, in the way of giving up intoxicating drink, as this Bill will when it becomes law. I quite appreciate the need for temperance in the country, but suggestions have been made by some Deputies that this Bill will not help temperance but will be instrumental in creating more excessive habits of drinking. Take for example the closing of public houses on Saturday nights at 9.30 p.m. That is five minutes past eight, Irish time. Now, in order that I may be able to explain, so that the Minister for Justice will understand it, the difference which the various times make in the country I should mention that I was once in the town of Athlone and I heard the Angelus ring there. I then motored to Moate, ten miles away, and I heard the Angelus ringing there. I then went on a few miles to Tubber and I heard it ring for the third time.

Did the Deputy make any halts in these towns?

I invite the Minister for Justice to look at the badge in my coat. Now what is the result to workers who live in these places and who keep Irish time? When they get their money on a Saturday evening it is late, for the farmers in that part of the country are not too fond of parting with the workers' wages until the last moment and they like to hold the money as long as they can, like all employers. The workers cannot send their wives into the shops at night as they would be told that it is after 9 o'clock, although in reality it is only after 8 o'clock. They are, in fact, beginning to think in the country that the Summer Time Act is as drastic as this measure, though I admit that I supported it for the sake of giving extra daylight to my fellow-workers. The effect of this Bill will be that in large towns on Saturday night, when it comes to 9 o'clock the workers will be told by the publican that the time is up, and they will take large quantities of drink home. The result will be that a kind-hearted father or mother will give intoxicating drink to the children, and when these children grow up they will get a certain gnawing around the bottom of their hearts which will make them take more liquor than will be good for them. At present with the 10 o'clock closing in country towns, drink is not brought home, so that the children do not get the taste of it. I do not know what influence there is in alcohol or whiskey, but I believe there is an influence in it which makes people who get a taste for it unable to do without it. I ask the Minister to extend the hour at night for closing and make it 10 o'clock all round on a Saturday night. I do not see why, in one part of the Bill, he gives certain facilities to certain very small places. Under the old Act public-houses are open until 9 o'clock in one town, 10 o'clock in another and 11 o'clock in another, according to population. Under this Bill they all close at the same time, but I think the hour should be 10 o'clock all round, and I think that in towns in which fairs and markets are held it is necessary to open at an extra early hour in order that buyers who come in for a half of whiskey or a bottle of stout may be put in good humour to make a bargain. The sellers get a better price because they are in better wit. Deputy Johnson has dealt with the bona fide traffic at fair length. Some Deputy has mentioned that the workers go into a public-house on a Sunday and do nothing but stand in the bar pouring beer down their throats. Now that is really wrong. I am sure that the Deputy who mentioned that knows very well that we have the Civic Guard throughout the country. I quite agree that years ago, during the British régime, the R.I.C. used very often allow a man to go in to get a drink in his town on a Sunday. The publicans now, however, at the sight of a member of the Civic Guard starts to shiver like blancmange on a plate. The result is that no native of that town will get a drink in the town. Very often I went in to a strange town in my own constituency and tried to bring a native of the town in with me to get a drink, but I found it impossible to get it for him.

A question has been raised concerning public houses in the country districts, and we are told that they are dirty and that they are simply places to spend your money in the whole day long. We are told that it is more or less degrading for a man to enter inside the door. Well, I have visited a good many of them, not for drink, and I have not seen any of this dirt that we are told of. To my mind every publican, whether he is in a big financial position or whether he is a man waiting the change of a shilling over the counter in order to send out for something that he may require himself, tries to do his best to keep the house as clean as it possibly can be kept. I hope when it comes to a vote on this Bill that the Deputies of the Dáil will not be inclined to vote for Section 12. There is more opposition to this section in the country than there is to Article 12 of the Treaty in the North, and I certainly was very, very pleased when I learned that the Minister for Justice is allowing a free vote of the Dáil on this section, which means that the section is finished. Every Deputy in the Dáil will quite agree that it would be a shame and a disgrace —if I could find a worse word I would use it—to request a man who has not the room or the means of doing so to convert his little house into two different departments so that he might sell chains and secondhand coffins in one and drink in another. I quite agree that if we had ample house accommodation, it would be necessary to apply the principle of "one man one trade." But at the present time, owing to the scarcity of houses and owing to the poor state of the Saorstát Exchequer, the Minister for Justice will run the risk of not being on the very best terms with the Minister for Finance if he goes on with this Bill, because by reducing the number of publicans in the country you are also reducing the revenue of the country; and I believe that the duty charged on liquor is the only guarantee that they have at the present time for the carrying on of the administration of the State.

A word or two concerning the clubs. Deputy D'Alton agreed that the clubs should be left open till eleven o'clock. At the present time they are allowed to continue open till 12. If the clubs are allowed to continue open until 11 o'clock, will that have a bad effect on the members of the club who will be able to get drink there until 11 o'clock? Will it have the effect of making the bank account of a member, if he has such a thing, any heavier at the end of the year? I do not think it will. If a man has only one-and-sixpence, and is going to have three pints before closing time, he will have them whether the club is closed at 9 o'clock or 11 o'clock, so I do not think it would mean anything extra to allow the clubs to refresh their members until 11 o'clock. There is another point in connection with the club—I do not think it is right at all that a member of the Civic Guard should have power to walk into a club at any time and to search the club, and to see if there was a breach of the Licensing Act. I think it should be necessary that the Civic Guard should have a warrant before entering a club, or else that he should be a member of it. You will find that practically the majority of the clubs in the country— any of them that I have seen—are managed in the most respectable manner, and that there are not any such things as abuses except on the night of a smoking concert. And I believe the Minister for Justice himself and other members of the Government do not object an odd time to a smoking concert or to a bit of diversion or amusement. And why should we deprive the people in the country of the same little bit of diversion that we require sometimes ourselves to relieve the monotony here? The same thing applies to the country, where you have workshops with dust flying around, and the workers there like to have an hour or so once or twice a week at a smoking concert, and I certainly think they ought to be allowed that privilege. It is certainly not a great privilege.

There is a further sub-section which I object to as being a weak one. It refers to family attendants and barmaids. If 18 years of age is to be the minimum age for females before they begin to serve their time in a bar, they will be 21 years of age before they have served the three years necessary. Their parents are paying for them when they are at school and while they are serving their time. When they are 21 years of age some lucky or unlucky man comes along and the barmaid gets married. She is simply out of her time as a barmaid, and the result is she has done nothing for her parents in any shape or form to compensate them for having reared her. Sixteen years of age is an age that would suit barmaids to start to serve their time. At 19 their time would then be served, and they have two years in which to give a return to their parents. In the majority of cases the parents are poor people who cannot afford to send their children to a University in order that they may become priests, doctors, or solicitors, and the only alternative is to put them inside a counter and let God do for them as God did for themselves. Every Deputy in the Dáil has received a great many resolutions and telegrams from all parts of the country. I do not know whether every Deputy has been as unfortunate as I have been. I have received them from all parts of the country.

They know you.

They may know me all right, but it is not because of what I spent in a public house in intoxicating drinks. In the town of Athlone we have eighty-two public houses. The population is something between seven and eight thousand. I have been going to that town, and living in it at times, for the last twenty or twenty-two years. In all that time I have not seen any real signs of intoxication. I have not seen people falling about the streets as you do in many other places.


They are able to carry their drinks.

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE took the Chair at this stage.

Coming to Mullingar, there are there about 70 publicans. The population is something about four thousand. I know Mullingar well, and since the Civic Guards went there I do not think they had ten cases for drunkenness against any of the citizens. At least I have not seen any. The Minister for Justice knows these things. He knows the number of prosecutions there have been for drunkenness throughout the country and he will find that in Mullingar there have not been ten cases for drunkenness and disorder in the streets since the Civic Guards went here. That speaks very well for Deputy Shaw. From Edgeworthstown, Granard, Ballymahon, down to Longford, we have large numbers of public houses, but if section 12 is allowed to stand—I am sure it will not—95 per cent. of all those publicans will have to sell out, and the price they will get for the premises will be very small. Those people will be losing a large sum, but not alone will those people be losing but the State will also be losing. Those people will have to go out of the country. Any employees they have will be put on to the Labour Exchange where they will not receive benefits because they cannot be insured. I do not know whether the Minister for Local Government will agree that a person selling drink is in an insurable occupation. He would want to be sometimes. Another point I want to make is that if the Minister for Justice really wants to satisfy the people he will allow this Bill to stand on the shelf for two or three years. The Act they have at the present time I think is quite enough. I do not see any great abuse throughout the country. I am sure every Deputy in the Dáil knows well that the vast majority of them have promised to vote against this Bill. At least I have seen in the daily Press where Deputy so-and-so made promises. Furthermore, they said, the Government were withdrawing the Whips. If the Government withdraw the Whips, what will be the result? If the Government are defeated on this measure, will there be an election and will they have to resign? I am sure the country is not at the present time fit for an election. Personally I am not particular.


You will get in anyhow.

I will get in before any of your men. The result is you will have a vast majority of the people against you. You are penalising a large number of publicans and small traders. I do not speak for the very big ones who have ample accommodation for improvements. They have also a good deal of money. They were in business in the good old times, when the duty was not so high and they could make more profit. We have also traders who are dependent on the few shillings they get over a counter for the education, clothing and feeding of their families.

Some of them are just in as poor a position as any workman or artisan. I know a couple of public houses which are thatched. Judging by the outside, those are not houses that you would like to ask the Minister for Justice into, if you met him on the way. Neither would you like to ask a Deputy in for refreshments, if you judged the place by the outside. But the inside of these houses is clean and the owners are doing their best. I certainly do not agree with the Deputy who says that these places are kept in a dirty, filthy condition. I hope, for the sake of those poor people, the Deputy did not really mean that it should go to the public that our Irish publicans are so slothful that they do not keep the premises, for which they pay licence duty, in a proper condition, or in such a condition that they would act as a magnet to draw passers-by in for a drink. With the amendments which I hope the Minister will accept, I agree with the Bill. I think the Bill ought to get a Second Reading on conditions. One of these conditions would be that a publican not in a financial position to employ barmaids over the stated age should be entitled, if he is sick, to have his daughter serve in the bar though she be under the age of eighteen—that is, provided he has no sons. That is not a very big concession to ask. Surely it is not too much to ask either that public houses should be open up to 10 o'clock on Saturday nights. On fair and market mornings a publican should be permitted to open an hour or two hours before 9 o'clock. Above all, it is not too much to ask that the same concession that has been given in the past in regard to Sunday drinking, to the city of Dublin, should be applied to all parts of the Saorstát—that is, that public houses should be open from 2 o'clock until 5 o'clock on Sundays, and that there should be no bona fide business at all. That would meet with the good wishes of all concerned. I am authorised by practically every publican in the constituency I represent to say that they would be delighted to agree to this arrangement. If the Minister for Justice would agree to this he would receive the blessings of all the publicans of the country.

There is one question I would like to refer to in connection with the powers of District Justices. The District Justices, under this Bill, have power, on the application of any superintendent or inspector of the Civic Guard, to close down any town on any day they may wish. I do not know what is meant by that—whether we are expecting another rebellion, or whether we are expecting any serious trouble in the country. I think such a provision is really uncalled for. We are told that we are living in a Free State, but any body of people who may have a grudge against another section of the community can go to the inspector of the Civic Guard and can have the place closed up. Fear of disturbance, I take it, is the real reason for this provision. But you will have disturbance if you have these public houses closed up all day. It will be something like old times, when cattle were driven away from the landlords and the landlords were driven out of the country. The publicans may rise up and drive out the Civic Guard.

I was very pleased to hear the Minister say that he is going to leave Section 12 to the free vote of the Dáil. I intend to support the Bill on condition that the hours are 10 o'clock for Saturdays and that the other things I mentioned are accepted. If these are not accepted then I will call for a division.

I intend to express our views on the Bill very briefly indeed. All the Deputies on these benches will support the Bill, but they will vote against Section 12.

I intend to vote for the Second Reading of the Bill for the very same reasons that I voted for Deputy Redmond's Town Tenants Bill, that 5 per cent. of it is good and 95 per cent. bad.

So far as I am concerned I am going to vote for the Second Reading of this Bill. I think we ought to congratulate the Minister on certain clauses he has included in the Bill. The attitude that Deputy Lyons has taken up on the Bill is certainly very extraordinary. He has dealt with practically every section in the Bill and condemned them, and yet he tells us that he is going to support the Bill.

I said on conditions.

Deputy Lyons dealt with the matter of the employment of bar maids. The Bill states that barmaids are not to be employed under 18 years of age. With that provision I thoroughly agree, because I do not think that a public house is a suitable place to have any young girl who is under 18 years of age. As matter of fact, I do not think that a public house is a place for a woman at any time, and I think the Minister is to be congratulated on putting that provision into the Bill.

With regard to the bona fide question, I thoroughly agree with the Minister so far as that section is concerned. It is all cant, if I may use the expression, to talk about refreshments in connection with this particular section, because we all know very well, and there is nothing to be gained by trying to humbug ourselves, that there are people who go out into the country for the special purpose of procuring drink on Sundays. They do not go out to refresh themselves in the accepted sense of that word, but rather they go out deliberately to get a lot of drink in country public houses on Sundays. I am very glad that the Minister has practically decided to drop Section 12, because I am convinced it would be a great hardship on publicans if they were compelled to carry out a reconstruction of their premises. This, too, would be a most inopportune time to introduce a provision of that kind, because we all know that with many of these people business is very bad at the present time. I do say, however, that something must be done in that connection, because it is certainly not a desirable thing to see men drinking stout, porter and whiskey at a counter when young girls, women and young boys have occasion to enter licensed premises in order to procure groceries and other things. I think that as far as possible there should be some division made between the grocery counter and the particular portion of the shop where drink is being sold. I do not think legislation should go so far as to stipulate that the two departments in the business premises should be completely isolated. I think that outside the counter there should be a wooden partition between the departments where groceries are sold and where drink is offered for sale. I think we could allow a connection between the two departments inside the counter, but certainly not outside. I think that is a matter that should be insisted on, because certainly a lot of young people are demoralised in a great many public houses where groceries and drink and all the rest are sold at the one counter.

Now, with regard to clubs, certainly every one of us has been canvassed by people interested in clubs, and I agree with the Minister for Justice in the action he has taken so far as clubs are concerned. And there again there is no use trying to fool and humbug ourselves. We know very well that the fact of clubs having a licence and being permitted to sell drink is an inducement in 19 cases out of 20 to people in various parts of the country to join these clubs. We know that is held out as an inducement, and we know there are abuses in these clubs. I do not know why Deputy Lyons objects to the Civic Guard visiting these clubs. I think they should have permission, without any warrant at all, to enter these clubs, because we all know there are abuses in these clubs and they should be looked after.

I do not want to make any other points, but again I say I think the Minister is doing right in allowing his party to vote freely on Clause 12. I do think something should be done to cut off the bar from ordinary groceries in houses where mixed trading is done. I would ask the Minister especially to stand by the clause in so far as the barmaids are concerned, because I think it is a desirable clause and a very proper provision that no girl should be allowed at that age to go into a public house at all.

I did not like to interrupt the Deputy, but as a matter of explanation I would like to say that my point as regards barmaids had reference to the case of the publican's daughter. I quite agree it is very awkward having girls under eighteen serving in bars, but that regulation should not apply to the publican's daughter.

If I am in order I will move the adjournment of the debate until to-morrow. The hour is late, and the time between now and half-past ten is very short.

If we have not had enough of debate on this matter by now we never will have.

Only eight minutes remain between now and the hour fixed for the adjournment this evening, and it is more frank and more can did to move the adjournment of the debate until to-morrow than to try to keep it alive until 10.30 by commencing a speech now. I move that the debate be adjourned.

Question put and declared carried.
Debate adjourned until to-morrow.
The Dáil rose at 10.25 p.m. until 12 (noon) to-morrow (Friday).