AGRICULTURAL PRODUCE (EGGS) BILL, 1924—FOURTH STAGE.

SECTION 3.

I beg to move:—

In Section 3 (1) (e), page 3, line 9, to insert after the word "exported" the words "by the registered proprietor."

This is purely a drafting amendment.

I have again to draw attention to the fact that these amendments have not been given due notice of. We knew that the Report Stage was to be taken to-day, but we did not know what the amendments were. This is too short a notice, and I just want to register a formal protest.

I would not think of inserting any amendments on the Report Stage, except a purely drafting amendment and amendments which have been debated on the Committee Stage and which we agreed to leave over to the Report Stage. However, I see the force of the Deputy's protest.

Amendment agreed to.
SECTION 9.

I beg to move:—

In Section 9 (4), page 6, line 22, to delete the words "on or."

Mr. HOGAN

In view of the debate on the Intoxicating Liquor Bill, it was perfectly obvious that we had to take out the words "on or" to make it quite clear that accounts should be rendered before the 17th March.

Amendment agreed to.

I beg to move:—

In Section 9 (7), page 6, line 46, to delete the words "on or" and to delete the word "on" after the word "March" in the same line and substitute therefor the words "in the year in respect of" and in line 48 after the word "as" to insert the words "on and."

This is consequential on amendment No. 2.

Amendment agreed to.
SECTION 18.

I beg to move:—

In Section 18 (1) page 10, to delete all words after the word "shall," line 48, to the end of the sub-section and to substitute therefor the words "be punishable accordingly."

Mr. HOGAN

With reference to this and other amendments to Section 18, Deputy Johnson pointed out in the Committee Stage that the section could perhaps be differently drafted so as to arrive at the same result. The effect of this amendment will be to make Section 18 read as follows:—

Any person who sells, exchanges or barters or offers or exposes for sale, exchange or barter any eggs which are externally dirty or which are unfit for human consumption, shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be punishable accordingly.

Deputy Johnson drew attention to the fact that the latter part of that section was repeated a few times in the section and that perhaps it could be differently drafted. For that reason we put in "shall be punishable accordingly." Later on there will appear an amendment which will set out the offences and fines.

I am afraid I do not understand this.

Mr. HOGAN

We debated an amendment to this section in Committee and the amendment which I suggested on that occasion was accepted. But Deputy Johnson pointed out that possibly we might draft the section differently, with a view to preventing repetition of the offences set out. The section will then go on:—

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

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

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

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

(3) Any person who contravenes in any respect any regulation made under this section shall be guilty of an offence against this section and shall be punishable accordingly.

Then at the end of sub-section (3) comes in the new sub-section referred to as follows:—

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

This is another example of the effect of this kind of hurry. I have not had an opportunity of seeing the Bill as amended in Committee, and there has not been time to examine it. I see that the Bill I am looking at is the original Bill. Consequently I am acting in ignorance, but I will take the Minister's word.

Mr. HOGAN

I appreciate the point generally, but this matter was debated in Committee, and the amendment gives effect to the suggestion that was made. It was agreed that we might change the drafting on the Report Stage.

I am not finding fault with that at all. I am pointing out that it is practically impossible for Deputies to do their duty properly when asked to legislate in this fashion. We have to trust the Minister to do it, and I have not the slightest doubt that we may do so. But, at least, we ought to have an opportunity of being able to find out if the promises that were made are being embodied in the amendments. The Minister circulated the Bill to-day, and these are the amendments. No doubt they are satisfactory, but we have to act by faith.

Mr. HOGAN

Supposing we had six months to put the Bill through, and that there was a drafting amendment agreed to on Committee for insertion on the Report Stage, would the Deputy in any circumstances get that drafting amendment except on the Orders of the Day, or would it be considered necessary that we should get it?

Certainly. If it is merely a drafting amendment we can only take the Minister's word for that. We should be in a position to check it.

Mr. HOGAN

I have read the whole Section, as amended.

I am satisfied.

Mr. HOGAN

The idea of this section is to reach, not only exporters, but people who do a wholesale trade internally, so that they should be compelled to mark their eggs, and to collect and pack them under proper conditions. It was agreed that we should take power in this Bill to make regulations compelling them to do that. This is the new section for that purpose. I will insert the amendments in the proper places.

(1) Any person who sells, exchanges, or barters or offers or exposes for sale, exchange or barter any eggs which are externally dirty or which are unfit for human consumption shall be guilty of an offence under this section, and shall be punishable accordingly.

Sub-section 2 goes on:—

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

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

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

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

That gives us all the powers we want as against the wholesaler, producer or dealer. It gives us power to make regulations with regard to packages and packing materials, and power to make regulations as to the collection of the eggs, and protecting them from "wet, damp or dirt." It also gives power to compel the wholesaler or producer or anyone else, to mark the eggs. The next sub-section prescribes penalties.

Any person who contravenes in any respect any regulation made under this section shall be guilty of an offence against this section and shall be punishable accordingly.

There are three sections, therefore, that provide for punishment, fines and imprisonment, and we see in the next section what the punishment, fines or imprisonment shall be. Instead of leaving it as it was when Deputy Johnson objected putting the fines in in each sub-section, the new section will read:

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

Amendment agreed to.

I move: "In Section 18 (2) (b), page 10, line 63, to delete the word ‘and' substitute therefor the word ‘or'."

Amendment agreed to.

I move:—

In Section 18 (3), page 11, to delete all words after the words "shall be" in line 5 to the end of the sub-section and substitute therefor the words "punishable accordingly."

Amendment agreed to.

I move:—

To add at the end of Section 18 (3) a new sub-section as follows:—

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

Amendment agreed to.
SECTION 20.

I move:—

To add at the end of Section 20 a new sub-section as follows:

"(4) Regulations made by the Minister under this Act shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after they are made, and if a resolution is passed by either House of the Oireachtas within the next subsequent twenty-one days on which that House has sat annulling such regulations shall be annulled accordingly, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under such regulations."

Mr. HOGAN

On the Committee Stage Deputy Baxter suggested an amendment providing that any regulations made under the Bill should be laid on the Table of each House. I agreed to the principle and suggested that I should be allowed to draft what, in my idea, would be a proper section to give effect to that. This is the section. I think that Deputy Baxter's amendment suggested ten days, but I say "as soon as may be after they are made." There is a common form for a section like this. This section is drafted in accordance with that form, and gives the Dáil ample time to control, check and alter the regulations. It gives 21 days to do so.

Amendment agreed to.
SECTION 21.

I move:—

In section 21, page 11, line 30, to delete the word "annually."

Mr. HOGAN

With the consent of the Dáil, and I hope there will not be any disagreement over it, I would suggest to insert there the words "from time to time."

The amendment reads "to delete the word ‘annually' and to insert from ‘time to time.'" The section would then read:—

"All expenses of carrying this Act into effect shall, to such extent as shall be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance, be paid out of moneys to be provided from time to time by the Oireachtas."

Amendment, as amended, agreed to.
Question—"That the Bill, as amended, be received for final consideration"—put and agreed to.
Fifth Stage ordered for next Tuesday.