THE DÁIL IN COMMITTEE. - INTOXICATING LIQUOR BILL, 1924—THIRD STAGE.

(1) From and after the passing of this Act it shall not be lawful for any person to sell or expose for sale any intoxicating liquor or to open or keep open any premises for the sale of intoxicating liquor on any day not being a Saturday, Sunday, Good Friday, Christmas Day or Saint Patrick's Day before the hour of nine o'clock in the morning or after the hour of ten o'clock in the evening, or on any day being Saturday before the hour of nine o'clock in the morning or after the hour of half-past nine in the evening.
This sub-section shall not apply to any licensed person who is the owner or lessee of a theatre music hall or other place of public amusement.
(2) From and after the passing of this Act it shall not be lawful for any person to sell or expose for sale any intoxicating liquor or to open or keep open any premises for the sale of intoxicating liquor on Christmas Day, Good Friday or Saint Patrick's Day. This sub-section shall apply to hotels with the modification that it shall not operate to prevent the sale of intoxicating liquor to a lodger in the hotel at and for consumption with a meal.
(3) From and after the passing of this Act 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 either—
(a) he has previously engaged or paid for a seat in that theatre, music hall, or place of public amusement for the performance or entertainment then in progress; or
(b) he is employed in that theatre, music hall, or place of public amusement or has business with a person so employed.
(4) From and after the passing of this Act the fact that a person is abona fide traveller within the meaning of the Licensing (Ireland) Acts, 1833 to 1905, shall not entitle him to purchase or be supplied with intoxicating liquor—
(a) between the hours of seven o'clock in the morning and one o'clock in the afternoon on any Sunday, or
(b) at any time on Christmas Day, Good Friday, or Saint Patrick's Day.

I move:—

In sub-section (1) to insert after the word "premises," line 20, the words "situate within the Dublin Metropolitan Police Area,"

Clause (1) provides that all licensed premises in the Saorstát will in future open between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. I propose to limit this to the Metropolitan area of Dublin. I understand that a demand for these hours has been made by people in Dublin— at least by the licensed traders in Dublin, but I submit that no demand for them has been made by the country, and not to allow houses in the country and in the country towns to open before nine in the morning would, in a great many cases, be a hardship. Many houses in the country at the moment do not open until, perhaps, 8 o'clock, except on fair or market days or on some occasions of that sort, but I certainly think there is no reason in the world why they should not be allowed to open at seven if they want to. If this clause were to go through as it stands some arrangement will have to be made so that they may open earlier on fair and market days, and days of that description. At present in towns where the population is over 5,000 I think houses are allowed to remain open until 11 p.m., and I see no reason why a city like Limerick, or a big centre like Bray, should be asked to close an hour earlier, especially during the tourist season. I do not think there is any more drinking in the country than there has been. I believe there is not so much, and my whole case, to sum up, is this, that if Dublin wants these hours by all means let it have them, but there is no demand in the country for them, and I do not see why the country should be asked to adopt them.

I support this amendment. If the Minister for Justice would accept it he would be acting in accordance with the wishes of the people. If the big traders in the city do not wish to open their houses until nine in the morning I do not see why that rule should apply to the whole Saorstát. When people are going to fairs and markets early in the morning it is necessary to have these places open in order that they may get some refreshments. I do not wish to delay the Dáil on this matter as it may be necessary to get this Bill through tonight.

I do not propose to accept the amendment. It is not a question of what the traders affected want in this area or that area, it is what we ought to consider reasonable hours for the consumption of intoxicating liquor in the country. The proposal is from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.—13 hours—and 9 a.m. is considered adequate as an uniform opening hour throughout the State. Certainly if from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. is adequate in the Metropolitan area, with its dense population, it ought to be adequate elsewhere, and there is this, too, that if it is considered right to restrict the hours from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the city, where you have pretty good lighting and pretty good police supervision, there is certainly a case for a similar restriction throughout the rural areas where there is not the same police supervision and not the same lighting as you have in the capital. Generally, it might facilitate Deputies if they knew what the attitude was with regard to the hours set out in Section 1. I do not propose to accept any of the amendments which purport to alter the hours. The hours embodied in the Bill were arrived at after very careful consideration and very full investigation through various channels, and after the views of responsible officials throughout the country, district justices, State solicitors, Gárda Síochána officers, and so on, had been invited and considered.

We are standing, therefore, on the hours set out. We consider that they are reasonable and proper. Deputies can make, or attempt to make, special cases for special areas, and so on. But I think that the Dáil ought not to be so much affected by arguments of that kind, but should simply put to itself the commonsense question, whether thirteen long hours in the day are not adequate for the sale and consumption of intoxicating liquor?

Taking thirteen hours a day during which licensed premises may remain open, would the Minister consider allowing public houses to open in country places on fair and market days at seven o'clock in the morning and close for two hours during the day when business would not be very brisk. I think that would be a fair concession to grant. It would still be keeping the thirteen hours allowed for the sale of drink. A concession of that kind would be a great convenience to people attending fairs. The Minister, however, has told us that he does not intend to accept any amendments which deal with the question of hours. If that is the case, it is only a waste of time for Deputies to be coming here and discussing the Bill. We might as well have a vote on it at once and get finished with it. Surely, the Minister will admit that the voice of the people in the country must be heard, and if Deputies here are incapable of convincing the Minister on matters which the people think call for attention, then it would be better for the people to send other Deputies here. I am asking the Minister now to give people in the country the facilities they require. I again appeal to him to grant this concession which I have put forward, that on fair days publicans in the country should be allowed to open at seven o'clock in the morning and to close for two hours during the middle of the day.

That arises on amendment 2 rather than on amendment 1.

I would like to say that in putting down this amendment I was not influenced by traders in any separate districts. I was influenced by the idea that the people in Dublin want the hours, but that the people in the country, as far as I can find out, do not want them.

I would like to draw attention to the effect of this amendment, supposing it were carried. It would not be lawful to sell or expose for sale any intoxicating liquor before the hour of nine o'clock or after the hour of ten o'clock anywhere, and it will not be lawful to keep open any premises in the Metropolitan area. The object of the Deputy will not be served at all by the passing of this amendment.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 24; Níl, 40.

Tá.

  • Richard H. Beamish.
  • Seán Buitléir.
  • John Daly.
  • Séamus Eabhróid.
  • Henry J. Finlay.
  • Connor Hogan.
  • Tomás Mac Artúir.
  • Alasdair Mac Cába.
  • Domhnall Mac Cárthaigh.
  • Séamus Mac Cosgair.
  • Risteárd Mac Fheorais.
  • Pádraig Mac Fhlannchadha.
  • Seán Mac Giolla 'n Ríogh.
  • Seosamh Mag Craith.
  • Tomás de Nógla.
  • Criostóir O Broin.
  • Aodh O Cúlacháin.
  • Eamon O Dubhghaill.
  • Seán O Laidhin.
  • Domhnall O Muirgheasa.
  • Tadhg O Murchadha.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (An Clár).
  • William A. Redmond.
  • Patrick W. Shaw.

Níl.

  • Pádraig F. Baxter.
  • Seoirse de Bhulbh.
  • Próinsias Bulfin.
  • John Conlan.
  • Bryan R. Cooper.
  • Sir James Craig.
  • Desmond Fitzgerald.
  • John Hennigan.
  • Seosamh Mac 'a Brighde.
  • Liam T. Mac Cosgair.
  • Maolmhuire Mac Eochadha.
  • Tomás Mac Eoin.
  • Eoin Mac Néill.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Liam Mag Aonghusa.
  • Patrick McKenna.
  • Peadar O hAodha.
  • Seán O Bruadair.
  • Richard O'Connell.
  • Tomás O Conaill.
  • Eoghan O Dochartaigh.
  • Séamus O Dóláin.
  • Tadhg O Donnabháin.
  • Peadar O Dubhghaill.
  • Pádraig O Dubhthaigh.
  • Eamon O Dúgáin.
  • Donchadh O Guaire.
  • Séamus O Leadáin.
  • Fionán O Loingsigh.
  • Pádraic O Máille.
  • Risteárd O Maolchatha.
  • Domhnall O Mocháin.
  • Séamus O Murchadha.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (Gailllimh).
  • Patrick K. Hogan (Luimneach).
  • Séan O Súilleabháin.
  • Caoimhghín O hUigín.
  • Liam Thrift.
  • Nicholas Wall.
Amendment declared lost.

With regard to the next set of amendments, a number of them propose to delete certain words in Section 1, Sub-section (1), dealing with hours. I would like if they could all be taken together, but Amendment 5 deals with a separate matter—namely, St. Patrick's Day. Has the Minister anything to say on this?

I think my amendment is not entirely identical with those alluded to.

Generally on the question of hours, I am standing over the hours set out in the Bill. With regard to the three days on which complete closing is advocated in the Bill, there are two of these on which I think there would probably be almost general agreement, and, whatever controversy there is, is with regard to St. Patrick's Day. Deputies know that year after year certain organisations in the country have pressed this matter of the closing of licensed premises on St. Patrick's Day, and it is unnecessary for me to go into the reasons periodically advanced. If the Dáil, voting freely, is not in favour of that course, I will be prepared to drop it. I myself would vote that there should be complete closing of licensed premises on the National Festival to mark the fact that we hope we are turning our backs on a period in which drunkenness was the besetting sin in this country. In regard to Christmas Day and Good Friday, I stand over the Bill and leave the question of whether the 17th March ought or ought not be a day for the consumption of liquor to a free vote of the Dáil. On the question of hours, I am standing over the hours in the Bill.

On that would it be better to decide Section 1, Amendment 5, first—to delete the words "or St. Patrick's Day"? When that has been decided we will know whether the words "St. Patrick's Day" stand in the section or not. With regard to the other amendments—I want Deputies to follow this carefully, so that there will be no misunderstandings later on—Amendments 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, and 13 propose to delete certain words and to substitute other words. I would propose, having disposed of Amendment 5, to take Amendment 2 in this form, "To delete all words after the word `day' in line 21," and on that to take a discussion on the various amending proposals, and put from the Chair the question that the words proposed to be deleted stand part of the Section. If that is decided in the affirmative, then the words stand in the Bill, and the amendments I mentioned are all disposed of. If the question is decided in the negative, the words are deleted, and the Committee has to decide what words will be put in instead of them. That is the procedure in another place, and I think it would be convenient here. Otherwise we could not avoid a duplicated discussion. As it has not been done before, I want Deputies to realise what I am doing. Shall we take the proposal about St. Patrick's Day first on amendment 5?

Am I to understand on any decision that may be given as a result of a vote on amendment 2, that it will not be at the discretion of Deputies who have amendments down in their names to move the amendments and give their reasons for doing so?

No, but they can speak on the question proposing to delete the words. A Deputy can say, "I would like to delete those words, because I want to put in some other words." Another Deputy could say, "I want to delete them because I have some other words to put in."

Personally you can take me as dissenting from that, because I will not surrender my rights on amendment 13, and I want to hear the Minister on that.

Where there is a motion to delete a certain number of words, and if that motion is put and defeated, to say that the whole section as it stands must remain rather prevents Deputies from moving to delete other words. I may not desire to delete all after the word "day," but I may desire to delete the word "nine" or some other word.

That argument, of course, stands against the proposal, but the proposal would be that the words proposed to be deleted stand part of the section.

But I may not want to delete those but some later ones.

Vote for deletion then, and put in the words that are thought necessary afterwards. The real important decision that would be arrived at is that the sub-section should stand in its present form. Anybody who objects to it in its present form can vote against it.

While I entirely agree with your statement as to precedent, may I suggest that there are two issues here and two decisions to be taken. One is the question of the extension of hours on Saturday and the other arises on amendments 12 and 13, as to the question of altered hours on Sunday. I do not think that we could well decide these questions on one amendment. In any case, I suggest it would be fairer to take this decision on amendment 3 rather than on amendment 2, because amendment 3 is more moderate and we should have a chance of settling the question as to whether there should be any change in the section on the more moderate rather than on the more extreme amendment.

My name is mentioned in connection with amendment 13. I would like to have that amendment decided on its merits, although it is an unlucky number.

While agreeing with the decision you put forward I do not think it would be wise to begin discussing the various amendments, like Deputy Cooper, and suggest that amendment 3 is a more moderate one than amendment 2. I think if your course is adopted we should commence with the first amendment on the Paper, that is, amendment 2.

May I point out that amendment No. 5, to which you refer, is bearing on matters other than that of St. Patrick's Day. If that amendment were carried it would leave in Good Friday, which is already in the Bill.

Is the Deputy agreeing with me, then, that amendment 5 will decide the question of St. Patrick's Day only?

I agree with that.

I think the difficulty really arises about amendments 12 and 13, not about the others, and amendments 12 and 13 could, I think, be put without the first line, to delete the word "Sunday," simply as additional sub-sections. In that way we could exclude them from this provision and take a motion which would decide amendments 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9. Will that satisfy the Deputy?

I will endeavour to have a talk with the Deputy who has the other amendment down. I do not want to take up the time of the Dáil, but I do really want to get the clear opinion of the Dáil, and certainly some good reason from the Minister, as to why he is prepared to give from 2 to 5 o'clock on Sundays in certain parts of the country as a right and not to give it to other men engaged in the trade.

Did you say the motion you were going to take would be deciding between amendments 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 9?

Yes, and leave 12 and 13 if we can get some agreement on them, to be decided later. Following that out we will take amendment No. 5, which I want to remind the Deputy deals with the question of St. Patrick's Day only.

I move amendment 5:—

In sub-sections (1), (2) and (4), lines 22, 33-34 and 53, to delete the words "or St. Patrick's Day," where they occur, and to insert the word "or" before the words "Christmas Day," line 22, and also before the words "Good Friday," lines 33 and 53.

The amendment practically means that the hours of sale on St. Patrick's Day remain the same as they have hitherto been. We all know that St. Patrick's Day is a national holiday, and it is celebrated, not only in Ireland, but all over the world where Irishmen meet. I celebrated it myself in three different countries outside Ireland, and I do not think that at the end of the celebration we were in any way intoxicated. We were only happy and pleased that we were celebrating a great national holiday. I am probably older than most of you here, and I have seen more St. Patrick's Days, probably, than most Deputies have. When I look back I can only see that it was really a day of pleasure; it was a day of racing, of lawn tennis parties, and of hurling. I may say that hurling is an excellent game, and one that ought to be encouraged, but it really encourages a very fair thirst that ought to be met reasonably. It is a day on which every Irishman wants to feel happy. We must ask the Minister, who is trying really to do his best, not to be too severe. Like the rest of us, he is only human. I am perfectly certain that when we come to St. Patrick's Day, as I hope we shall, with the hours for sale as they have been hitherto, we will find out that he can enjoy it as well as any of us. I have, therefore, pleasure in proposing the amendment.

This proposal means to remove St. Patrick's Day out of Section 1. It still continues in Section 4. It puts it on the same status as Sunday. I support that. I think, in view of the whole situation, in view of the national festival and the numbers of people who go to fetes, sports and outings of various kinds, that it would be a very great hardship that they should be deprived of reasonable refreshments after two o'clock. I have great pleasure in supporting the amendment.

We had better be clear before Deputy McGoldrick's speech may mislead you. The effect of the amendment, as I see it and read it, is to make St. Patrick's Day the same as an ordinary week day. If the amendment were carried and if the rest of the Bill were carried, the hours would be from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

What about sub-section B of Section 4?

It is Section 1, sub-section 4, line 53.

That is right.

When I handed in my amendment I meant to delete St. Patrick's Day altogether from the Bill. Of course, if the Minister for Justice accepts the amendment to have St. Patrick's Day the same as Sunday I will not care very much about the few hours extra. To my mind St. Patrick's Day is a day when Irish people should enjoy themselves to the best of their ability. It would be an awful pity to deprive people who go to a town on that day for amusement of reasonable refreshment. Deputy Beamish has explained that he celebrated St. Patrick's Day in three or four different countries. When he returned to this country, when the British were governing here, he found that he could get refreshments on St. Patrick's Day. Now we have an Irish Government who are not prepared to allow the citizens of the country they are governing refreshments on a day to which they look forward with pleasure. I think that is a very foolish proposition.

I think it is a very foolish proposition to include St. Patrick's Day in the Bill. I would ask the Minister for Justice to accept the amendment and delete St. Patrick's Day from the section; let it be the same as any other day in the week. I hope, before the Bill is put through all its stages, that the opening hour will be 7 o'clock instead of 9 o'clock. To my mind, the longer the public houses are kept open the less will be the abuse of drink. The Minister for Justice may not agree with me there, and I am sure some Deputies on the Labour benches will not agree with me either, as they seem to hold that the longer public houses are kept open the greater the amount——

The Deputy must keep to the question of St. Patrick's Day and not refer to the question of hours of opening; that question will come on later.

If you permit opening on St. Patrick's Day, will it not mean extra hours in which the publican can keep his premises open?

A masterly conclusion.

I support this amendment. I think it would be doing more than an injustice to any publican to compel him to close on St. Patrick's Day. If you like, you could allow them to close of their own free will, and I believe you will find some who will be very patriotic and who will not be anxious to sell drink over the counter on that day. I think you will find many in the Saorstát anxious to do that.

They will, surely!

I am firmly of opinion that public houses should be allowed to stay open on this day, because it is the one day in the year that is most honoured by Irishmen.

I do not know exactly what the Minister has said his attitude was in connection with St. Patrick's Day. Personally speaking, from another point of view, I think the day ought to be as sacred to the people of Ireland as Sunday.

Hear, hear.

If we could strike a medium and if the Minister would agree that public houses could remain open from 2 to 5, it would suit the purpose and would, I think, meet every Deputy's wishes. Anybody who wants to get merry on that day will have sufficient time in which to do so.

I would like to know how the Minister's proposal would affect towns in which fairs and markets are held on St. Patrick's Day. I am not altogether in favour of keeping houses open too long, nor am I in favour of keeping them shut on any of these holidays. There should be some medium. In many country districts that I know the market day is held on St. Patrick's Day, and sometimes marketing is done on Sunday morning after Mass. I would suggest to the Minister that shops should be allowed to open from 1 o'clock until 5 o'clock or 7 o'clock on St. Patrick's Day. I do not know if the same should hold on Good Friday. I am particularly interested in how this proposal would affect towns where fairs and markets are held on St. Patrick's Day. That is the case in nearly every country town in Ireland.

Táim i n-aghaidh an leasú so mar is dóigh liom gur coir Lá Féile Pádraig do coiméad i slighle a deanfhaidh onóir do'n tír. Deireann ár naimhdé go mbíonn na h-Eireannaigh ar meisge Lá Féile Pádraig. Ní fíor é sin. Is dóigh liom gur cóir go mbeadh na tabhairne dúnta ar an lá sin.

I am opposed to this amendment because I think the befitting thing for this country is to keep the national holiday in a manner that will reflect credit to the country and to ourselves. It has been stated by our enemies that the Irish people had the habit of indulging in an orgy of drink on St. Patrick's Day. That is altogether a mistaken idea. I believe it is only in keeping with national self-respect and national dignity that the public houses should be closed on St. Patrick's Day. Most of you remember some years ago when a movement was started by the Gaelic League to close the licensed houses. That request of the Gaelic League was responded to pretty generally throughout the country. Statutes are unpopular to some people at times, but statutes are passed for the general good. I think it would be for the general good in this case to have complete closing on St. Patrick's Day. I intend to vote against the amendment.

From time immemorial St. Patrick's Day was looked upon by the Irish people as a day of feasting in honour of St. Patrick. You had hurling and football matches and games of all kinds taking place on that day. Parishes were actually tripping one another in order to secure a races for the day. It would be an awful thing if people travelled 7, 8 or 10 miles to a races or to a football match, or any kind of amusement, and found all the public houses in front of them closed.

Or behind them.

I do not advocate that people should be knocking around publichouses on St. Patrick's Day. People who go to hurling and football matches do not usually go home blind drunk on any day. There is a noticeable wave of temperance all over the country, and there is no need for this licensing Bill. Between waves of temperance, Gaelic League requests, unemployment and all the other things that serve to let the public houses severely alone, I think we should allow St. Patrick's Day at least to be kept as holiday seekers would like to keep it. I think we should leave it, as the Minister for Justice patriotically put it, an open question for the public houses, because we know very well that the Irish people like what he knows is going to be the result.

I want to oppose this amendment, and I do so because I do not agree with the principle which seems to be underlying most of the arguments of those in favour of it —namely, that it is necessary, if people want to enjoy themselves, that they should have recourse to intoxicating drink. I do not agree with that. It is something we should mark our disapproval of. People can, and do, enjoy themselves without indulging in intoxicating liquor. The whole argument for the amendment seems to be based on the contrary supposition. We should all agree, I think, that the National Festival should be honoured. The difference is as to how the Festival should be honoured. To a stranger coming into the country, it will mark specially the National Festival from all other festivals, excepting Good Friday and Christmas Day, if the licensed houses are closed on that day. That would be the best way to mark the observance of the National Holiday.

At the present time, a stranger coming into our country on St. Patrick's Day has no means of distinguishing that day, from the observances and practices round about him, from an ordinary bank holiday. Deputy MacBride mentioned the difficulties about fairs and markets which are held on St. Patrick's Day. I do not think it is right that there should be fairs and markets held on St. Patrick's Day. In any case, that would be my solution of the difficulty. A few years ago I know that certain places in which fairs were held on St. Patrick's Day arranged that they should be changed to other days. I think no great inconvenience would be caused to the public if that were done. It has been argued here, in favour of the amendment, that people going to play football would want a drink on St. Patrick's Day. It is my experience that it is not the people who go to play football who want the drink. It is their followers, generally speaking, or the people who use football matches as an excuse to go and get a drink. It is not people who indulge in athletic pastimes who are usually anxious to get a drink when the games are over. I think much good service would be done to the country, and to the fair name of the country, if this provision in the Bill for the closing of licensed houses on St. Patrick's Day is carried.

Deputy O'Connell has said something approaching the truth in regard to this question, when he refers to Gaelic games and sports of that description. I had a little to do with Gaelic matters and with sport, in my time, and our difficulty was not to get drink for the people engaged in the games. Our difficulty was to keep them away from it. I never knew many good men on the playing fields who were allowed to take drink on the day they would be engaged in matches. A Deputy referred here to holiday seekers on St. Patrick's Day. There are not any holiday seekers on St. Patrick's Day. Everybody must remember that St. Patrick's Day is on the 17th of March, and holiday seekers do not go out on a March day. There is no such thing as holiday seekers going to the seaside and all that on St. Patrick's Day, and it is ridiculous to talk like that. People talk about the observance of St. Patrick's Day from "time immemorial." How far does "time immemorial" go back? In my opinion, "time immemorial" means forty or fifty or sixty years. That is as much as anybody remembers, and I think we all know the faction fights and drunkenness on St. Patrick's Day in those times. That is what we want to get away from. That was not the national tradition. That was not handed down to us from "time immemorial." We want to get away from those views. We want, when we have regained our nationhood, to have the national festival the first day of the year. The Gaelic League has been out for this, and it achieved a lot of good. Every national organisation in the country has been out for the provision obtained in this Bill, and now we have men, perhaps not altogether disinterested, wanting to get back to the "time immemorial" stunt. I think we can have too much of this "time immemorial."

The point is that we do not want to go back. We want to stay where we are.

We have no objection to your stopping where you are. People talk too much of enjoyment on St. Patrick's Day. Do they mean enjoyment in the real sense, or only a particular class of enjoyment, procured by a certain indulgence? I have been able to enjoy myself as well as anybody in the world and I have enjoyed myself without drinking.

A DEPUTY

You only imagined it.

There is no real enjoyment for a man who is drunk, or anything like it. He may enjoy the sensation of rolling in the mud. That may be enjoyment for him, but it certainly is enjoyment for nobody else. I hope the Minister will stick to this part of the Bill, which provides that the national holiday should be regarded as a national holiday—a day sacred to the nation, a day for turning over a new leaf and getting away from practices associated with this particular day in the past. Some of the Deputies know that in their particular counties it was nothing new to have a funeral or two funerals after St. Patrick's Day. I remember the time myself, and I am not very old. I hope we will hear less of this maudlin sentiment about the observance from "time immemorial" of St. Patrick's Day.

Deputy O'Connell spoke about the feelings of a visitor to Ireland for the first time on St. Patrick's Day, after the operation of this Bill. I wonder what the feeling of St. Patrick would be if he could come back to Ireland after the operation of this Bill, because I have never discovered that St. Patrick was a teetotaller. I stand to be corrected by the Minister for Education. I will willingly accept correction, but I know nothing in St. Patrick's writings to indicate that he was a teetotaller. I do not know what he would have thought of this proposal, but I do know what Wolfe Tone would have thought about it. He would have condemned it in more unmeasured language than Deputy Daly. But St. Patrick was a Roman gentleman of Latin civilisation, and, based on that fact, there is every reason to believe that he drank wine with his meals. I am not going to submit to the doctrine put forward by Deputy Gorey and Deputy O'Connell that to drink a glass of wine or beer with a meal is an act of drunkenness. Every civilised country—France, Italy, Germany—all except the United States, whose claim to civilisation in some respects is doubtful—has adopted that practice. The Minister's proposal prevents not only a person going into a public house, but it also prevents a person who goes into a hotel for a meal from having a glass of wine or beer with that meal. I cannot think that that is a reasonable proposal. I bow to Deputy Gorey's authority on matters of sport, but in spite of what he says, there are a very large number of people who go away from home on St. Patrick's Day, and they do go even to the seaside. I live there, and I have seen them there. Under this Bill, if this amendment is not carried, any man can get in a dozen of porter, or a barrel of porter, or a dozen bottles of whiskey, and stay at home and drink himself sick.

If he has the money.

Yes. He can drink as much as he likes if he stays at home, but, if he takes his wife and children down into the country to get fresh air, then you say he may not have even one bottle of porter with his meals. I think that is an unreasonable proposition, and I think it is a proposition that will encourage drunkenness rather than discourage it.

Is the Deputy speaking to amendment 19 or to amendment 5?

I am not speaking to amendment 19 yet. I have plenty of fresh arguments for that, but if this amendment is carried, possibly amendment 19 will not be necessary. This proposal of Deputy Beamish is a broader proposal than mine in amendment 19. If it is carried I do not know that amendment 19 will be needed. I have given my main reasons for supporting it. In addition, I support it for the same reason that I support the Minister's proposal as regards Good Friday. Good Friday is a day of mortification. Is St. Patrick's Day to be a day of mortification, too? I am giving the proposal of the Minister in regard to Good Friday my support. I will give way to him on that, even on amendment 19, but I cannot see the justification for including St. Patrick's Day in the same category.

I beg to support the amendment. I absolutely repudiate the idea that because people in Ireland take drink in a measured manner on St. Patrick's Day we should have the name of drunkenness. It has been suggested by Deputy O'Connell that a stranger coming to Ireland on St. Patrick's Day for the first time would be shocked at the intemperance in this country. I think that a stranger coming to Ireland on that day and seeing the people deprived of the right to have a drink on the festival of their patron saint would naturally have a very bad opinion of the Irish people. He could only conclude that they were a people with such little regard for temperance that they had to be bound down by law to keep them from making brutes of themselves on their patron saint's day. I have not heard of any country in which the people are not allowed to take reasonable refreshment on St. Patrick's Day. It would be better if temperance advocates would take active measures to promote temperance on Patrick's Day and every other day by example and otherwise. I believe that the use of drink in reasonable quantities on any day would not injure a man, but the sooner the people of Ireland are made to recognise that drunkenness is a vice and a leprosy and a disgrace to the country, the better it will be for Ireland. I do not suggest that the public-houses should be open all day on the national festival. I absolutely disapprove of it. There are religious services in all the churches of every denomination on that day, and public-houses should not be open anywhere until these services are over. If public-houses were open between one and six p.m., or two and six p.m., it would be reasonable. But I object to it being stated that the people of Ireland have so little manhood that they cannot be kept from intemperance on their patron saint's day without bringing in legislation to prove we are the slaves that other people have thought to make of us for generations.

I am sorry that Section 12 has not been discussed before this amendment was taken up, because it would tend to put a different aspect on the matter. If that section were carried I would be against the amendment. If it is not carried, it will leave the grocers in a very awkward position. Unless some legislation is brought in to change fairs and markets from St. Patrick's Day to some other day, it will be a great hardship on the grocers to have to close their business houses completely on that day. In addition to that, St. Patrick's Day is one of the days of which farmers as a rule, take advantage for purchasing seeds. Most seed shops in the country are also public-houses, and this is a day which the traders look to for selling seeds. For these reasons, I would be inclined to support the amendment.

It appears to me from the discussion that the Deputies who have been so emphatic in opposition to this amendment approach it merely from the point of view of their own prejudices or from what our enemies may think of us. If we are always to be concerned in this country with the opinions of the "Morning Post," or people who are always libelling us, we shall not get very far with the legislation that we are seeking to effect. Deputy Gorey, I am sorry to say, used language which seemed to imply, if he did not actually state it, that every man who took a drink was a drunkard, if the public houses were kept open long enough for him to become intoxicated. That is not so.

I implied nothing of the sort.

If Deputy Gorey was not so prejudiced and had a look around him, he would see that there are people who believe in taking a drink without getting intoxicated. I will be forced to vote for the amendment if the Minister is not prepared to make a bargain on the matter. I assume that everything the Minister puts into this Bill is something which is good and which he can stand over. I assume, for instance, that the opening hours of 2 to 5 p.m. on Sundays in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford are something that he can give good reasons for and attempt to justify. My attitude is that the same concession should be extended to St. Patrick's Day. I am looking at it from the point of view that the people attending to the public in the public houses are entitled to enjoy themselves on St. Patrick's Day. If the public houses are open on that day from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., I say that is not fair to the people engaged in them whether they be owners or employees. But from what I have heard I am inclined to think that Deputy Gorey and those who are so emphatic in protesting against this amendment would like all the people to get on their knees at 9 a.m. and remain on their knees until 10 p.m. on St. Patrick's Day. That is absolute hypocrisy. If that is their idea, then these Deputies should explain how the people should enjoy themselves in a right manner on that day.

I do not think I am called upon to explain Deputy Davin's interpretation of what I said.

At any rate, so far as our enemies are concerned, I think there is a lot of bunkum as to what our enemies think of us, and as to how we conduct ourselves on St. Patrick's Day. To put it plainly, if the Minister is not prepared to compromise on the lines of the suggestion made by Deputy Corish, I shall be forced, for the reasons stated, to vote for the amendment.

I hoped sincerely when the Minister said he was going to leave this to the free vote of the Dáil that he said it on the understanding that the Whips of his Party were going to be withdrawn, that there would be a real free vote of the Dáil— a non-Party vote—and that everyone would record his vote, not because he did not want to let the Minister, or the supporters of the Minister down, but because of what he thought was commonsense in this amendment. I do not know whether "bunkum" is a Parliamentary expression, but the user of it has not been called to order, and I quite agree with him that there has been a lot of concentrated quintessence of bunkum used by some Deputies.

The arguments used by some Deputies would seem to imply that the purpose of the Minister in including St. Patrick's Day was not to do reverence to the National Saint or to signalise the National Festival in some marked manner, but that upon this one day of all days in the year we should take special precautions to prevent our people from becoming victims to the influence of intoxicating liquor, no matter what happened to them on the remaining 364 days of the year. Is this the only way to signalise the solemnity of this day? I believe that the Government Party had a banquet on last St. Patrick's Day. I presume that on the coming St. Patrick's Day they will have another banquet, but if the Minister's proposal becomes operative it will be a banquet unique in the annals of that organisation. It will be a banquet to which, perhaps, Deputy Gorey might be invited to be the principal guest, to give one of his beautiful dissertations upon real enjoyment: "How I discovered the way to happiness at a coursing meeting." This is a great religious festival, undoubtedly, but it is not merely a religious festival, unlike Good Friday. I have been at celebrations of St. Patrick's Day in other countries, and when the day fell upon a Friday the authorities of the Roman Catholic Church gave a dispensation for the eating of flesh meat on that day. Why on all days of the year should that have been done on St. Patrick's Day if we wished to carry out those inspiring ideals of Deputy Gorey, and mark it as a day on which all Irishmen, and Irishwomen, I suppose, refrain from anything that will give the slightest indication of gaiety or happiness?

Nothing of the sort.

The question is not one of trying to get away from the abuses of St. Patrick's Day. I think that we as a people have attained a stage of respect and respectful conduct on that day that will compare favourably with the conduct of any other people on their national festival. Deputy Gorey's arguments would apply just as well to any other day of the year. One Deputy said that we should conduct ourselves as self-respecting Irishmen on St. Patrick's Day. I hope we will, and I hope also that we will do so on the other 364 days of the year. It does not follow that if there are facilities for reasonable consumption of refreshments upon that day we are going to lower the standard of self-respect and reverence for our patron saint that I think even Deputy Gorey desires to attain. That, I think is the view it should be approached from, not from the view of the faddist or intemperate temperance advocate. There are more ways of becoming intoxicated than by the consumption of liquor.

Some men can become inebriated by the impetuosity of their own fads. We are out to discuss this on commonsense lines and we should get rid of the idea that the aim is a moral reformation in the character of our people on that one particular day of the year. It is nothing of the kind. The arguments that apply in that respect to that day apply equally well to any other day in the year, and if the arguments in that respect regarding the closing of houses can be sustained for St. Patrick's Day, then equally well can they be sustained for the other days of the year.

The question of fair days in the country somewhat complicates the matter and brings in an issue which should be considered. But I certainly agree with the suggestion of Deputy Corish, supported by Deputy Davin, that if regulations were made in regard to St. Patrick's Day similar to those made as regards Sundays it would satisfy the needs of the situation and would enable employees in these shops to have an opportunity of enjoying themselves as well as people who are otherwise engaged. I think the amendment is a sensible one, and I think however adamant the Minister may be in regard to the question of hours of opening, there have been sufficiently commonsense views put forward in support of this amendment not merely to secure that there will be no interference with the free vote of the Dáil, but also to secure that the Minister will immediately rise and say that he now wishes to support the amendment, having heard the profound wisdom that is on its side.

At the beginning of the proceedings the Minister for Justice corrected Deputy McGoldrick in his reading of the amendment. The Minister stated that if this amendment is passed it will leave St. Patrick's Day the same as an ordinary week day. I am not prepared to support an amendment that would do that. Neither am I prepared to support a Bill that will close houses altogether on St. Patrick's Day. I think that if the hours were from 2 to 5, as on Sundays, it would satisfy the public, and I am sure it would satisfy those engaged in the licensed trade. You must remember that those engaged in the licensed trade are just as anxious to have an evening out, to have a holiday, as the workman who is free on that day. Grocers' assistants, who are a hard-working body of men, are just as anxious to get off at 5 o'clock on St. Patrick's Day as the ordinary workers are to have the day off, and I would ask those who are supporting the amendment in its entirety to think of those who are standing behind the counter.

I was a former member of the licensed trade, and, personally, if I had a house to-morrow I would not open it before 2 o'clock on St. Patrick's Day or after 5 o'clock. I would be as anxious to get out myself, to bring my family out, and to let my assistants off to enjoy the day, as any other man. I would ask those who are debating the amendment to have St. Patrick's Day like an ordinary day to consider that aspect of the question. If this amendment is defeated, I would like to know if there would be an opportunity afterwards to move an amendment to the effect that the accepted hours for opening on St. Patrick's Day would be two to five. If such an opportunity is given, I would have pleasure in moving such an amendment, and I hope the Minister will see his way to accept the amendment I suggest, namely, to have the opening hours on St. Patrick's Day two to five.

I have an awkward habit of trying to apply an argument in respect of one thing to see how it will effect another thing. I have heard all the arguments in favour of the free opening on St. Patrick's Day and applying them to the question of free opening on Christmas Day. I have come to the conclusion that what Deputies desire is to make it a pagan festival and not a Christian festival. We all seem to agree that on Christmas Day public houses shall be closed everywhere: It is a day of rejoicing, and yet nobody claims that the only way to celebrate that day is by opening public houses, but that St. Patrick's Day is a day which can only be celebrated by the free opening of public houses, or, as Deputy Byrne says, opening for three or four hours.

Does the Deputy not recognise the distinction between St. Patrick's Day and Christmas Day, which is a great religious festival?

That is another question, and the Deputy cannot make another speech by interruption.

I realise the distinction, but I do not think the Deputies do. I imagine they have in their minds Patrick's day, and it is Patrick's day they want to celebrate, and not St. Patrick's Day. The case made on behalf of the assistants in public houses by Deputy Byrne applies with equal force to the whole day as it does to the few hours he mentions. If it is to be a day of holiday the people employed in public houses want the whole day, and if they have not been taking the whole day in this city they intend to take the whole day. Then the question was raised as to whether these houses which do not employ any paid labour should be free to open. That, as Deputy Byrne knows, caused a good deal of heartburning in the city, and I dare say it will apply to other cities besides Dublin. It seems to me that the case made for the amendment, on the basis that it is St. Patrick's Day, falls to the ground. If you are going to make it a Christian festival and not a pagan festival, then let us have it marked by abstinence from free trade in intoxicating liquor, just as you agree that Christmas Day shall be so marked.

I think that Deputy Johnson was carried a little too far by his very logical mind. Of course, the arguments used in favour of opening for a few hours on St. Patrick's Day quite apply to Christmas Day, but people do not run their business so strictly according to logic. I would like to see all public houses closed for the whole day on St. Patrick's Day if the people were that way inclined, but I know that in the county I was brought up in the people on St. Patrick's Day flocked into all the country towns to do business and to enjoy themselves, and you cannot make people sober and temperate by logic or by too strict a law. I think if we took the medium course it would be better. There is not the same desire to go into the towns and to have amusements on Christmas Day as there is on St. Patrick's Day. Therefore, Deputy Johnson's arguments will not apply because the days do not mean the same thing. I think if we take the medium course with regard to St. Patrick's Day, we would be doing good to temperance and would not be putting the brake too severely on the customs that prevail at present. I am prepared to vote against the opening of public houses all day on St. Patrick's Day because there are several reasons against it. The first is that there are religious devotions in the early part of the day, and then the assistants have to be considered, but I would limit the number of hours during which public houses may open. I would vote for an amendment which would allow them to open from two to five.

I felt with regard to this matter that to secure the object aimed at the matter should be discussed freely and voted on freely by the Dáil. It would take something away from the effect aimed at if there was anything in the nature of a Party line, or of making it a matter of confidence in the Government or anything of that kind. The object is clear: It is the one enunciated year after year by the Gaelic League, that inasmuch as intemperance was certainly in the past the besetting sin here, whatever different views may be held as to the present condition, that it would be well and wise and proper for Irishmen to mark their sense of disapproval of that, and their sense that they hoped to turn away from that by a complete closing on the national festival. Now, there has been much talk here that it is not merely a religious festival. I am aware that year after year it was customary to refresh the tender plant of patriotism in the local taverns, and it is just a question of angles as to whether that particular brand of patriotism, which needed to be so refreshed, was good for the country or had any great possibilities for the country. Remember to get the proportions of the thing! You are dealing with one day in the year, one stretch of ten or twelve hours, and if we are that kind of soft people that cannot do without a thing, that cannot deny themselves for ten or twelve hours to mark their sense of disapproval of the vice of intemperance, then no party machinery ought to be brought into play to help the thing. If the Dáil, thinking plainly about the thing and voting freely about it, sees no point in a complete closing of public-houses on that one day out of the three hundred and sixty-five to mark its sense of national disapproval of intemperance, then I would not feel justified in making the thing in any way a party issue.

Deputies talk as if there could be no enjoyment without drink. It is a question of angle. There may be three angles in this matter. One angle is that the way to honour St. Patrick is by getting drunk, another way by keeping sober, and a third way by getting half-drunk—a kind of paying your money and taking your chance. I think we would best show our national self-respect—quite apart from the purely religious aspect—by taking the course of asking the licensed trade to close down for that day. I am not doing that from any sense of thinking what outsiders, whether friends or enemies, would think of us, but from the sense of what we ought to do ourselves.

I have not been much affected by the picture of that distinguished New Zealander who arrives here in Dublin to find that the country has gone dry for a period of twenty-four hours. With regard to closing on St. Patrick's Day, several towns with which I am acquainted have voluntarily closed their houses on that day at the instigation of the Gaelic League, and I never found that there was anything to complain of either by the people of the locality or by the members of the licensed trade themselves. I think that when that is so, there cannot be very much objection to making what is done voluntarily a matter of compulsion under the law. For that reason I support the clause in the Bill that there should be total closing on St. Patrick's Day.

Before the question is put—I have not spoken on this, and do not propose to do so—I would like to ask the Minister what is his attitude in regard to the suggestion that has been put to him for permitting the opening of premises for a certain number of hours.

My attitude personally is this, that I favour complete closing. If the amendment is carried I would, on Report Stage, test the feeling of the Dáil as to Deputy Corish's suggestion for opening from 2 to 5 o'clock. I would regard that as the next best thing, but there again the Dáil should vote freely, and just do whatever it wishes in the matter. I am opposing the amendmentsimpliciter personally, and if the amendment is carried I would ask the Dáil on the Report Stage to record its view of the suggestion to open from 2 to 5 o'clock.

If the amendment is lost, what would be the attitude of the Minister?

I would adhere to the provisions of the Bill, but it would be open to any Deputy, I take it, to try his luck at the 2 to 5 o'clock plan.

From the point of view of order that would be quite right.

Would the amendment be ruled out?

It seems to me, whether the amendment is carried or defeated, an amendment to make the hours of opening and closing as at present on Sundays, or different from ordinary week day hours would be in order.

The only reason I asked the Minister that question was that I, for one, would like to see a change of that nature for reasons that have been quite excellently stated already and which I need not repeat. In order to effect that, I am going to vote for the amendment.

I do not want to give a silent vote on this question. For the last twenty-two years on public bodies I have had to vote on this question. During that time the Gaelic League impressed on public bodies the necessity of getting licensed traders to close on their own initiative. I think I voted with the Gaelic League on all these occasions, and the licensed trade generally fell in with the idea. It was not compulsory. A few of them, perhaps, in the town in which I live, did keep open and violated that agreement, but, generally speaking, the publicans kept to the agreement in that area. This question came up as a hardy annual at our local bodies. I am going to vote against the amendment.

I should say that I am greatly surprised at the turn which this discussion has taken. When I drafted the amendment, my intention was that St. Patrick's Day should be in the same position as Sunday. It seems that the amendment does not do that, but that cannot be helped at the moment.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 50; Níl, 33.

Tá.

  • Pádraig F. Baxter.
  • Richard H. Beamish.
  • Seán Buitléir.
  • Próinsias Bulfin.
  • John J. Cole.
  • Bryan R. Cooper.
  • Louis J. D'Alton.
  • John Daly.
  • Séamus Eabhróid.
  • Osmond Grattan Esmonde.
  • Seán de Faoite.
  • Darrell Figgis.
  • Henry J. Finlay.
  • Connor Hogan.
  • Tomás Mac Artúir.
  • Seosamh Mac a' Bhrighde.
  • Alasdair Mac Cába.
  • Domhnall Mac Cárthaigh.
  • Séamus Mac Cosgair.
  • Maolmhuire Mac Eochadha.
  • Pádraig Mac Fhlannchadha.
  • Seán Mac Garaidh.
  • Seán Mac Giolla 'n Ríogh.
  • Seosamh Mag Craith.
  • Pádraig Mag Ualghairg.
  • Patrick McKenna.
  • Martin M. Nally.
  • Tomás de Nógla.
  • Ailfrid O Broin.
  • Criostóir O Broin.
  • R. O'Connell.
  • Liam O Daimhín.
  • Eoghan O Dochartaigh.
  • Tadhg O Donnabháin.
  • Eamon O Dubhghaill.
  • Pádraig O Dubhthaigh.
  • Eamon O Dúgáin.
  • Seán O Duinnín.
  • Mícheál O hIfearnáin.
  • Seán O Laidhin.
  • Séamus O Leadáin.
  • Fionán O Loingsigh.
  • Domhnall O Mocháin.
  • Domhnall O Muirgheasa.
  • Tadhg O Murchadha.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (An Clár).
  • Patrick Hogan (Limerick).
  • Seán Príomhdhail.
  • William A. Redmond.
  • Patrick W. Shaw.

Níl.

  • Seorise de Bhulbh.
  • John Conlon.
  • Sir James Craig.
  • Máighréad Ní Choileáin, Bear Uí Dhrisceóil.
  • Patrick J. Egan.
  • Desmond Fitzgerald.
  • John Hennigan.
  • William Hewat.
  • Liam T. Mac Cosgair.
  • Tomás Mac Eoin.
  • Risteárd Mac Fheorais.
  • P. McGilligan.
  • Eoin Mac Néill.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Liam Mag Aonghusa.
  • Peadar O hAodha.
  • Mícheál O hAonghusa.
  • Seán O Bruadair.
  • Tomás O'Conaill. Partholán O Conchubhair.
  • Séamus O Dóláin.
  • Peadar O Dubhghaill.
  • Donchadh O Guaire.
  • Aindriú O Láimhín.
  • Pádraic O Máille.
  • Risteárd O Maolchatha.
  • Séamus O Murchadha.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (Gaillimh).
  • Seán O Súilleabháin.
  • Caoimhghin O hUigín.
  • Liam Thrift.
  • Nicholas Wall.
Amendment declared carried.

In accordance with the agreement arrived at, we will take amendment 2 simply in the form—`In Section 1, sub-section 1, to delete all words after the word `day" on line 21," and on that take amendments 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9, leaving amendments 12 and 13 to be considered separately.

The peculiar aspect of this amendment—I was going to say it covers a multitude of sins—is that it covers several things and other topics of not exactly an identical nature. The question of closing, or of differential treatment for certain days, enters into this, as does also the question of hours. My intention, when I tabled my amendment to delete certain words, was not to place Good Friday or St. Patrick's Day on the same plane as the other days of the week, apart from Sunday. It was rather to eliminate the consideration of those days and to bring about uniformity of hours on those days of the week, other than Sunday, and also to change the hour of opening suggested in the sub-section as drafted.

On the question of hours, I am thinking not of giving greater facilities for the consumption of intoxicating liquor than the Minister proposes in his sub-section; but I am thinking of the peculiar conditions of the country as distinct from those of the city. It is entirely misleading, entirely unconvincing, to say, as the Minister said a little while ago, that if from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. is adequate for the metropolitan area, then it should be adequate for country places, or some words to that effect. I say that is begging the question and leaving aside essential considerations. The conditions in the city are essentially different from the conditions and the requirements in the country. When I suggest to substitute the hour of 7 in the morning for 9, I am not concerned with whether or not that applies to the Metropolitan area or whether 9 is to be retained as the hour for that area. I am concerned with the fact that it does not meet the contingencies that arise in the country districts, where there are fairs and markets on week days. Men travel many miles, leaving home, perhaps, at 5 or 6 in the morning, to be at a fair in a town at 7 o'clock.

It is not, I contend, a question of giving greater facilities for over-indulgence to allow those men when they arrive after their long, weary, journey to get some kind of refreshments at 7 o'clock. It would be only fair that they should get refreshments, even if they were all teetotallers. Even if they were so disposed as Deputy Gorey, they would not be able to get a cup of tea until 9 o'clock. It is a matter of practical arrangement as to what hours suit the country as distinct from the city. It is no argument to say that 13 hours constitute a reasonable period in which to allow the consumption of drink. Is the Minister under the delusion that the citizens of the Saorstát have nothing else to do during those 13 hours than to consume intoxicating liquor? One would almost gather that that was the implication he intended to convey. Most men have a good deal more to do during those hours.

The question of opening at the hour I suggest in the country need not, in any way, mean and does not involve, so far as I understand the outlook of the people and those in the trade, an extension of the licensing hours. What I believe they would be prepared to do would be to close earlier in the evening in proportion to an hour or so that would be allowed in the morning. If there is a time when the interests of temperance would suggest the advisability of closing, it is not in the morning but in the evening. If you are trying to guard against intemperance the hour in the morning would be more suitable than the hour in the evening. I do not think, if any person went around to every country fair with a microscope, that even Deputy Gorey could discover a man under the influence of liquor at 7 o'clock in the morning.

It is not a question of temperance; it is not a question of trying to provide additional facilities to pander to the craving for intoxicating liquor. It is simply a matter of arranging practical procedure to meet definite and established requirements arising from the nature of the livelihood that the people of the country have to pursue, as distinct from the occupations and the contingencies that arise in the city. I beg to propose the amendment that is tabled in my name.

Probably some Deputies will be surprised and will open their eyes when I say that I am supporting this amendment. A lot of play has been made about my name, but Deputies can make a joke about that and they are welcome to it. I ask the Minister to take this amendment into consideration as it applies to fair days. The use of the words "market day" conveys no sense. Anybody who knows the country as we know it must be aware that it is almost every man's experience that he has to get up in the morning at 1, 2, 3 or perhaps 12 o'clock to journey to another town. People in the country often get wet and they go into a town with their wet clothes on. It is well known that lives have been saved by men being able to obtain stimulants at an early hour. The lack of stimulants at such a time would probably lead to pneumonia and probably death. Everybody in the country knows those things. That might be news to Deputy Johnson and to other Deputies, but it true all the same. I would ask the Minister to make arrangements where early fairs are held to give facilities for early opening so as to meet what is certainly a human necessity.

I think the Deputy is dealing with amendment No. 10, which reads as follows:—

In sub-section (1), line 26, after the word "evening" to add the following proviso:—

"Provided it shall be lawful for a District Justice if he is satisfied that in the case of a fair or market which is being held in any town or village in his district there would be hardship to the public through licensed premises not being open for the sale of liquor before nine o'clock to make an order fixing an earlier hour for the opening of such premises."

I understood that Deputy Milroy had made a case in connection with fairs and markets, and I have followed him on that particular line.

Deputy Milroy makes a general case for opening at 7 o'clock.

I think I made it rather explicit that I was concerned with the question of fair days in country towns.

Deputy McGoldrick had down an amendment seeking to give special authority to a District Justice to deal with the question of fairs.

If I might point it out, my relevance to that simply arises out of the fact that I suggest a change from 9 o'clock to 7 o'clock, and I was trying to indicate the reasons for so advocating.

The Deputy is in favour of 7 o'clock generally —is not that the point?

I have no objection.

It may save a certain amount of discussion if I say that Section 11 of the Intoxicating Liquors (Ireland) Act of 1874 says:—

In the police district of Dublin Metropolis, the Chief Commissioner or the Assistant Commissioner of police, and in any petty sessions district two or more justices of the peace in petty sessions, upon it being proved to his or their satisfaction that it is necessary or desirable so to do for the accommodation of any considerable number of persons attending any public market or fair, or following any lawful trade or calling, may, on payment of a fee of two shillings and sixpence grant (if he or they think so fit) to any licensed person in respect of premises in the vicinity of such market or fair or of the place where the persons follow such lawful trade or calling, an order, in this Act termed an `Exemption Order," exempting such person from the provisions of this Act with respect to the closing of his said premises on such days and during such time (except between the hours of one and two of the clock in the morning) and upon such terms as may be specified in such order.

The facilities for securing these exemption orders remain, and an amendment down in the name of Deputy McGoldrick and an amendment down in the name of Deputy Batt O'Connor are unnecessary. The argument which Deputy Milroy has been labouring for the last quarter of an hour is also unnecessary.

Might I ask for information? I thought petty sessions were abolished. I would like to know what particular tribunal has taken their place.

In the District Justices Act the District Justice is given all the powers which hitherto attached to one or more magistrates sitting in petty sessions.

The object of the amendment is not exactly covered by the provision the Minister refers to. The Petty Sessions Justices would make an Order with regard to a particular trader. This proposal in the amendment provides that the town shall get liberty, and that it will not be confined to an individual trader, where some preference might be given, and where it might lie with certain men to give an advantage to certain interests as against others. I think it makes it more uniform, and it ought to apply to the town.

We can take that particular point of giving exemption to a town in connection with fair or market on Amendment 10. Does Deputy Gorey not think that that is the proper amendment on which to raise his point?

I think it is.

Deputy Milroy, in moving this amendment, has adopted a very favourite method. He has used an argument which is likely to be acceptable. It appealed to Deputy Gorey, but the amendment does much more than his argument would lead to. I want to appeal to the House to reject this amendment on the grounds of shop hours—that it is undesirable to move in this direction which means an extension of the hours during which shops would be doing business in towns. Our tendency for quite a considerable time has been to reduce, rather than to extend, the number of hours worked in retail shops. If this amendment is carried, it simply means that we are going contrary to the general trend and increasing the number of hours spent behind the counters—lengthening the working day and generally imposing upon the people engaged in retail trade, business hours far beyond the reasonable hours which have hitherto been thought desirable to encourage. Deputy Milroy probably will answer that if you keep the houses open for this time you will oblige the trader to employ double shifts, and thereby relieve the market.

If Deputy Milroy takes that stand, he may get good support—but that is provided that he could ensure that that would be the effect of his amendment. If that would be the effect of his amendment, there might be a good deal to be said in favour of it. If you could keep the shops open from 7 o'clock in the morning until 10 o'clock at night, and guarantee that the day would be divided into two and that there would be a double number of assistants employed, there would be something in Deputy Milroy's argument, but unless Deputy Milroy can adduce some evidence that that would be the result, I am inclined to the opinion that the real effect of this amendment would be to extend by two hours at least the number of hours assistants would be obliged to work in shops which sell intoxicating liquor. I am opposed to the amendment on that ground, and I ask the House and those Deputies in the House who are interested in the hours of labour of working men and women to oppose this amendment.

I am inclined to support this amendment because, as I read it, it in effect includes the amendment that stands in my name, which is number 4. The effect of this amendment, I take it, would be that the present hours would be continued in regard to Saturdays as well as substituting 7 o'clock in the morning for the proposed hour in this Bill—9 o'clock. I think there is a difference between the amendment proposed by Deputy Milroy and the amendment proposed by Deputy McGoldrick in regard to the hour of 7 o'clock in the morning, because in Deputy Milroy's amendment it is not proposed that it shall be necessary for a licensed holder to make application to a district justice for an exemption order. That, I think, is an important distinction, because not only, as Deputy Milroy has said, would it avoid any undue preference to one trader over another, but also it would do away with the inconvenience to each individual trader of having to go before a district justice upon the occasion of each fair being held in the particular town. That is a distinct inconvenience. Though it may be a matter of form in many cases, still the licensee has to make his appearance before the district justice and has to pay his fee. I think the proposal contained in Deputy Milroy's amendment is a simpler and fairer one. There is a great case for this, as is instanced by the fact that we have such a strong advocate of temperance as Deputy Gorey.

On a point of explanation, I did not make a case for every day in the week. I only made a case for one particular day.

I am very glad that Deputy Gorey has not corrected me, because I never said that he spoke for every day in the week. I am now talking about fair days. As I was saying, there is a great case for the 7 o'clock rule in regard to fair days, because it has been advocated, apart from the reasons which could be offered for it, by such a strong supporter of temperance as Deputy Gorey.

The amendment refers to every day in the week, not to fair days.

The amendment refers to every day in the week. Fair days are held during the week; therefore, it refers to fair days. There is a great deal to support this proposal instead of traders having to go before the district justice. Owing to the fact of the hour mentioned referring to every day in the week, it shall also include the days upon which fairs are held. In regard to the question of early closing on Saturday, this amendment, like my own amendment, effects the purpose that there shall be no distinction between Saturday and the other ordinary week days. I do not think that any special case has been made for early closing upon Saturdays. If it is merely because certain classes of people have more leisure upon Saturday or, perhaps, more means at their disposal, I hardly think that it is just to presuppose that they will abuse those privileges and those circumstances. The closing hour used to be, I think, 10.30 on Saturday evenings. Then it was restricted, and now, in relation to the other days of the week, it is to be further restricted. I think it is a very modest proposal that Saturday should be left alone with the other days of the week in regard to the closing hours. It would only mean a difference of half an hour, and a difference of half an hour, especially in more or less provincial towns, where people come in from the country, perhaps late on Saturday evenings, and have to remain for a certain time to do the necessary shopping, would not be the means of promoting any great increase in intemperance. Therefore, I think the proposal to allow Saturday to stand in the same relation to the opening hours as the other days of the week is not unreasonable.

Deputy Johnson has made great play with the idea that it would mean an extension of working hours. The present working hours in licensed houses are from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. This proposal would not extend them, but would merely leave things as they are. The best solution probably would be, both in regard to the country districts and the cities, if the houses were opened at 7 in the morning and closed for two, or perhaps for three hours in the middle of every day, and in that way curtail the hours and also give a respite to the assistants and other workers. That is not in the amendment.

Has the Deputy an amendment to that effect?

I am in favour of that amendment in regard to St. Patrick's Day when it comes on, as has been suggested. In regard to these amendments that we are now discussing, two, three, four, and so on, down to nine, I know from what the Minister has said that no words of mine, or anybody else's, will probably shake him in the stand that he has taken. But I think it is only right that our view should be placed before him and the Dáil.

As amendment No. 8 has got to fit inside Deputy Milroy's omnibus amendment, I think I had better just briefly express the reasons why I put it down. One was that on the Second Reading the Minister challenged us to put our views into the form of amendments. I should be very slow not to accept that challenge. Another was that up to the time I put it down I had not heard, and I have still not heard, any valid reason for early closing on Saturday night. The only reason I can even imagine is the reason which I am afraid the Minister will put forward, that a man cannot go into a public house without getting drunk or half-drunk. That reason I do not accept. Men go into public houses for many reasons: for society, or because it is more comfortable than their homes. Sometimes they go there to get away from their wives. Unless you are going to adopt complete prohibition—if you are going to recognise the existence of the public house at all —there is no reason why a man should not have a drink as late, or later, on Saturdays than he should have it any other day.

Why later?

Because he is not going to get up so early on Sunday morning. Sunday is a day of rest. Therefore men can afford to stay up talking, playing cards, amusing themselves in many ways, on Saturday nights later than they could on any other night, and certainly later than they could on Sunday, as they have to be at work early on Monday morning. This is a justification for later hours on Saturday, the fact that work has not to be done on Sunday, and there is this additional justification at this time of the year. I agree with the Minister when he said on Second Reading that we cannot legislate entirely for summer time, but at this period of the year it is still bright daylight at 9.30, or even at 10. I read a book in the open air last Saturday night at ten o'clock. That means that you put before the worker the choice of two things: a man may go out and work on his allotment or take the air in the Park, and he will not be able to have a drink on his way home if he stays out until the sun has gone down and it is beginning to be fairly cold. On the other hand, he might go into a public-house as soon as he gets away from his work, at 7 or 8 o'clock, and sit there until 9.30, under this Bill, and I am afraid that if you confront a man with the choice of taking reasonable exercise and reasonable fresh air and having one drink on his way home, or, on the other hand, having to forfeit any drink, I am afraid he will take the line of least resistance and go straight into the public-house. I want to see that as little as the Minister does, and therefore I put this amendment on the paper. I admit I put it on the paper feeling that it was an extreme proposal, and that I was quite prepared to meet the Minister half way on the lines suggested in Deputy Redmond's amendment. But I can see no justification whatever for closing earlier on Saturday than on any other day, unless the doctrine is that the average man is a hopeless drunkard, and cannot be trusted to go into a public-house at all. If that is so, the Minister ought to put forward prohibition.

I am asking the Dáil to agree with the hours set out in the Bill. I want to go briefly through them, and to measure the exact effect of an acceptance of those hours by the Dáil. Every week day, except Saturday, the present hours are from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. in towns with a population of over 5,000, and from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. elsewhere. The proposal is a uniform set of hours from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. That will mean that the else-wheres will not close any earlier than at present on these five days, and that the towns with a population of over 5,000 will close one hour earlier. In point of fact, Deputies are aware that the majority of licensed houses in towns with a population over 5,000 do close before 11 p.m. Many of them close even half-an-hour earlier than the proposed closing hour in the Bill. On Saturday what happens? The Saturday hours at present are from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. in towns with a population of over 5,000, and from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. elsewhere. Now, remember that the elsewheres are by far the bigger proportion of the trade, and they do not close any earlier on the five week days other than Saturday. They will not close any earlier under the Bill than they do at present, and on Saturday they have half-an-hour longer than they have at present. Therefore, the net effect, so far as the closing hour goes, of the proposals in the Bill is that towns with a population of over 5,000 will close one hour earlier than at present on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and will close half an hour earlier on Saturday. The remainder will close at the same hour on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and get an extension of half-an-hour over the existing hours on Saturday. It is as well for Deputies to refresh their minds constantly by a glance at the Memorandum affixed to the Bill, because people are inclined to wax rhetorical and run away with false impressions about the Bill and its exact effects. I have heard nothing in the discussion to convince me that there is anything unreasonable or anything unwise in these proposals. I am challenged to say why there should be any earlier closing hour on Saturdays than on any other day. Evidently the legislators of the past saw some reason, and we ought to ask ourselves what it was. Deputies who are from country towns know well that Saturday night is almost traditionally a more rowdy and a more disorderly night than the other nights of the week, and I submit that the explanation is obvious. It is an unfortunate explanation. It is that the bulk of those who draw a weekly wage are paid on Saturdays, and a somewhat earlier closing on Saturday, if only for that reason, is advisable.

I contend that if the Deputy's suggestion were accepted, if that extra half hour which he seeks were conceded, that that particular half hour on Saturday night would be worth more to the licensed traders than perhaps two hours on any other night. That is an unfortunate fact. Now, some people say it is very much a question for the individual. Let the Government mind its own business. They might even prefix an adjective to "business." Really, if you develop that, it means that there ought to be no restrictions at all on the sale of drink. There should be a twenty-four hours' day. That, of course, is a matter of angles again. It might be one solution of the Irish question, but it is not a desirable solution, and the whole underlying thesis of this Bill, and of previous legislation on this matter is that this is a trade which needs to be hedged round with restrictions and with regulations; that it is not a trade like any other trade, like the butcher or the baker or the candlestick maker; that people have to be protected from themselves and from their appetites—their intemperate appetites. Otherwise we should leave the public houses open all night and let people drink themselves into St. John of God's or anywhere else they wanted to go. If Deputies think that that should be the position then they ought to come out and say so. If they admit that there is any case at all for regulations, then those regulations must be such as seem necessary from time to time in the changing circumstances.

I have satisfied myself very fully that these hours are not unreasonable, that in fact they meet with general acceptance, no matter what the trade, which is well organised, very vocal and highly articulate, may say to the contrary. They are all well aware that there is nothing harsh or unreasonable in the proposals set out here in this memorandum. The morning hour of 9 is, I think, quite all right. I have pointed out that there is no change in the position with regard to exemption orders, but Deputy McGoldrick does not think that that meets the case in the towns. There you have either muddled thinking or dishonest thinking. I will give Deputy McGoldrick the benefit of the doubt and say that it is muddled thinking, because he starts by saying: "Look at the poor man who has had to walk 20 miles with his cattle to a fair; he has got drenched with the rain and is in danger of getting pneumonia and he is unable to get a drink."

We are not discussing Deputy McGoldrick's amendment now.

I am aware of that, but I am discussing what Deputy McGoldrick said on this amendment.

Deputy McGold-rick's amendment is not before us now. The question of fairs and markets will come up under amendment 10, but I understand we are now dealing with amendments 3, 6, 4, 8 and 9. The Minister for Justice apparently wants to bring in the question of fairs and markets with the regulations regarding closing on other days of the week.

I only interrupted for the purpose of making the point clear as between the two amendments.

We are now discussing amendments 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

On the question of the morning hour of nine, there has been considerable talk about fairs and markets and of the unfortunate plight of people who come in at an early hour to a fair or market and who are unable to get what is called reasonable refreshment. Either we are thinking in terms of the unfortunate people who may get wet coming to a fair or market and along the lines of their interest and the saving of their lives, or we are thinking in terms of the interest of the licensed traders of the towns. Deputies ought not to try to have it both ways. If we are thinking only in terms of the unfortunate people who have to come in early to sell their stock, then that position is met by Section 11 of the Act of 1874. If we are thinking along other lines, then we ought to be quite honest about it and not try to put it on the question of the sad plight of farmers who come in early to a fair. We are either consulting the proper interests of people coming in early to a fair and in sad need of stimulants, or we are thinking in terms of the interests of the licensed traders of a town generally, and Deputies really ought to be quite frank and say which they mean.

Would the Minister say whether, in this Bill, there is anything to prevent a traveller from the country, say, a man who has come five miles with cattle to a fair, from getting a drink as a bona-fide traveller?

There is nothing whatever in the Bill to prevent such a man getting refreshment. I am coming now to deal with people who travel long distances to fairs with their stock. They are in the position of bona fide travellers and can get a drink at any hour of the day or night.

Is the Minister forgetting the provisions of sub-section (4) of Section 1?

Before the recent division took place as regards St. Patrick's Day, there were three days in the year on which it was proposed to ask people to restrain themselves in the matter of drink, but the Deputy has succeeded in eliminating one of these days.

I just wished to call the Minister's attention to the provision in the Bill dealing with bona-fide travellers. Under that provision there are days in the year on which they may not be served with drink.

The only restriction in the Bill dealing with bona fide travellers is that they may not be served with drink at any hour on Christmas Day, Good Friday, or St. Patrick's Day, but as a result of the recent division, St. Patrick's Day is now eliminated, and further, they may not be served during the period from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays. If Deputy Milroy thinks that that is a harsh and tyrannical measure suitable only for the regime of the Czars, he, no doubt, will have an opportunity of saying so at a later stage. For all reasonable purposes, the hours set out in the Bill from 9 o'clock in the morning until 10 o'clock at night, are adequate. Any criticism that I have heard of that is specious and is simply special pleading. I have shown how it was sought to evoke sympathy for the unfortunate people coming in bad weather at early hours in the morning to fairs and markets and how utterly unsound that argument is, because these people are bona fide travellers and can get drink in any public house.

Is the Minister aware that there are many people who would travel a shorter distance than three miles to a fair with cattle, and who, therefore, would not be regarded as bona fide travellers?

We are now invited to consider the unfortunate plight of the two-and-a-half-mile people. We must fall back on the exemption order to meet their very sad case, the exemption order allowable under the Act of 1874. I seriously ask the Dáil to be a little impatient of special pleading on this matter, to be intellectually impatient of it, and to realise that arguments are trotted out here simply to say that there may be more minutes and more hours in the day for the sale and consumption of drink, but I submit that those extra hours and extra minutes which are sought are not reasonably necessary. I ask the Dáil to say, too, that it recognises that the trend of public opinion in the country is not in favour of increased facilities, but, rather, in favour of decreased facilities for the sale and consumption of intoxicating liquor. I know myself, I have said it on the Second Reading of the Bill and will deal with it again on Section 12, that the root of the trouble is that in the past honorary magistrates with no backbone and no moral fibre, cut a rod to beat the back of the community by catering in their shortsighted way for individuals. Honorary magistrates trooped into the licensing sessions, magistrates who never turned up at the ordinary petty sessions trooped into the licensing sessions to carry, perhaps by a majority of one, a licence for their friends, with the result that you have in this State to-day 15,000 publicans' licences, meaning that there is scarcely enough trade to go around, scarcely enough legitimate trade to go round, and consequently you have this miserable little scramble for a half hour here and a quarter of an hour there, and the contention is seriously advanced that 13 hours are not long enough in the day for people to sell and to consume intoxicating liquor. Every Deputy knows that it is a long enough day, and every Deputy knows that it is a very open question whether it is not far too long a day, but before we make it any shorter we will have to deal with this question of the ridiculous excess of licensed shops to the real needs of the country, and when we have dealt with that, I hope that this Dáil, or some future Dáil, will move on to further legislation in connection with this trade.

I move to report progress.

Agreed.