THE DÁIL IN COMMITTEE. - DAIRY PRODUCE BILL, 1924 (RECOMMITTED).
Debate resumed on Dairy Produce Bill, 1924—Report Stage (Recommitted).
I have the following Amendment on the Paper:—
46. To add at the end of Section 33 a new sub-section as follows:—
"(3) The use of the national mark shall not be granted to any registered creamery, gathered cream factory, manufacturing exporter, or other person eligible to qualify for the mark until it has been ascertained by examination at specified places of all consignments exported by such persons or firms that the butter manufactured by such is consistently of the quality required, and there shall be provided by the Minister at such specified places the necessary facilities for examination."
I would ask leave of the Committee to substitute for that amendment the following amendment:—
Before Section 33 to insert a new section as follows:—
"The use of the national mark shall not be granted until it has been ascertained by examination extending over a period of not less than six months, that the butter manufactured is consistently of good quality."
Unless we can discuss in some way the terms of the previous amendment in conjunction with this new amendment of Deputy Heffernan, I would be inclined to dissent to giving leave to substitute the latter for the former, because I think there is considerable difference between the two. If we could draw a comparison between them in the course of the discussion I would be satisfied.
Yes, that can be done. We will treat the first amendment as not moved.
My object in moving this amendment is to ensure that no creamery shall get the right to the national mark unless it is already making first class butter beyond dispute. I am a little afraid that under the Bill as it stands, without some such amendment as this, there would be a possibility, however slight, that some creameries might escape the very rigorous inspection and examination prescribed by the Bill, and that these creameries might send out butter which does not come up to the standard required for the national mark. I think it is absolutely essential, if the mark is to be a success and if we want first grade butter upon the English market, that no butter should leave Ireland except butter bearing the national mark and beyond all question as to its quality. The object of the amendment is to make sure that an examination will take place for a period not less than six months. I changed this amendment from the examination of all butter because that would be almost physically impossible, and it would put a very heavy financial burden upon the State. But I mean that no creamery shall escape examination, and it is better that the butter should be subject to examination for a period of six months before the creamery is entitled to the national mark. I do not emphasise this beyond saying that we ought to take every possible precaution to ensure that no butter will get through the port bearing the national mark which is not of the quality required, and that no creamery shall get the national mark unless the ability of the creamery to produce the very best butter is beyond all dispute.
I am going to support this amendment, but I do so with a certain amount of reservation. It is so worded that "a period of not less than six months" examination might mean an examination at the beginning of one end of the period and that that would be sufficient to come within the terms of this amendment and to satisfy its requirements. Deputy Heffernan said that we should take every possible precaution to secure that no butter would be exported from the country bearing the national mark that was not up to the standard required and which the national mark represented. I think this amendment does not give us that which he said is desirable, namely, every possible precaution. The present amendment is more concise than the previous one in phrasing, but it lacks two conditions that the previous amendment, I think, would have fulfilled. This amendment lacks the phrase "examination at specified places," and it also leaves out the phrase "of all the consignments." I am not going, at this stage of the Bill, to detain the Committee very long, but this question of examination at the ports and the objective attached to this amendment must raise undoubtedly one of the big controversies associated with the subject.
I feel fairly satisfied that I will not be able to secure at this stage, or any other stage, that what I advocate will be accepted by the Minister, and I am not going at this point to waste my eloquence upon the desert air of recalcitrancy, but I give him warning that at a subsequent stage I will endeavour deliberately, and possibly exhaustively, to put on record an opinion which is expressly contrary to his. There is bound to be in this matter of suggested examination more than appears upon the surface. Occasional examination of the butter at the creameries will hardly meet the requirements of the situation. Those acquainted with this particular industry know there is a period of the year when creameries cannot maintain either the supply or the quantity or, I think, the quality of their butter. The point is this. The national brand is to be given to certain creameries which are assumed to represent a certain standard of excellence of the commodity. At certain periods of the year, varying in different districts, that quality will be likely to fall below the standard represented by the brand. Is it proposed, then, to withdraw from these creameries at that particular period, if the standard is lower than required, the mark that has been accorded to them, and if so, how is it to be ascertained that the time has arrived to do that unless there is, I will not say an all-time examination, but at least a continuous examination in the periods immediately preceding the time when it is generally known that such depreciation of the quality operates? I am not going to deal with this at present. I will discuss that general aspect at a later stage, but I want to present these few points for the consideration of those interested in the fate of the Bill.
Deputy Milroy is right in saying that there is controversy in regard to a very important issue arising out of this Bill, but I am sorry he does not appear to know what that issue is. There is no controversy with regard to examination. I am in favour of the most exhaustive examination. It was never suggested that there should not be whatever examination was adequate and whatever examination experience proved to be adequate. I do not think that any section in this dispute, and there are a great many, ever suggested that there should not be an exhaustive examination.
I want to correct the Minister's misapprehension. What I was alluding to was the contentious matter of grading.
There is always a difference in the wording between grading and examination. These two words have been so mixed, misunderstood and misinterpreted during the course of the Bill that it is no harm to make them clear. With regard to what Deputy Milroy stated, it is no harm to say definitely that as far as I know, no section has ever suggested that there should not be the most adequate examination before giving the guarantee of the national brand to a commodity which we sell in a foreign market. We all want adequate examination. The issue is not between the people who want examination and the people who do not want examination, but it is between the people who want examination and the people who want, not examination but grading, which is a totally different thing.
Examination plus grading.
Grading, of course, implies examination. With regard to the amendment, Deputy Heffernan will agree, I think, that there is no difference between the amendment which I circulated and the amendment which he circulated, except this, that his amendment specified a period. I got this amendment of mine carefully drafted, and it is even more specific than Deputy Heffernan's. The only difference is that he inserts this period of six months while a definite period is not inserted in mine. The amendment which I have circulated reads:—
Section 32. —To insert before sub-section (3) a new sub-section as follows:—
(3) A licence for the use of the national mark shall not be granted to any person unless and until the Minister is satisfied by examination of consignments or packages taken from consignments of butter manufactured by such person and of the premises and machinery on and with which such butter was manufactured and by such other examination and inspection as the Minister shall think proper that such butter was, before the grant of the licence, habitually of the approved standard.
There is really nothing between Deputy Heffernan's amendment and mine except this period of six months, and I suggest it would be much better not to prescribe a hard and fast period. Experience may prove that six months may be inadequate. People may say that while we are gaining this experience we may allow butter to go out bearing the national brand that is not up to the standard. Some butter will undoubtedly go out in spite of this Bill, but any little mistakes or accidents or evasions of the Act are not going to do us harm in our trade, which is an extremely big one. All we can do is to take all the precautions possible. There is no use in any section pretending that they know everything that is to be known about the butter trade. Experience is going to show us all sorts of things. It may possibly be that six months is not adequate, but it may be equally possible that six months will be quite adequate for some creameries, and again equally possible that it would be totally inadequate for others. For some creameries that we could all name, three or four months might be adequate. However, I can conceive it as being to the interests of everybody who wants to see this Bill administered smoothly, that we should not put certain creameries under anything like vexatious regulations. I do not mind how vexatious the regulations may be, provided they are necessary. Whatever regulations are necessary must be complied with. It may be that there would be certain creameries in respect of which it would not be wise, in the circumstances which may arise in connection with the administration of the Bill, to subject them to six months' examination. For instance, Deputies will notice that in the amendment which I circulated I had originally the words "during the prescribed period," but I have struck them out, and they do not appear in the amendment as I now submit it to the Dáil. What occurred to me in connection with these words was this: if we had a prescribed period beforehand we would get applications, let us say when the Bill had passed, from a number of creameries for the national brand. We would consider them and say: "Very well, we will prescribe a period of six months' examination." Now, two months afterwards we may get further applications from far better creameries, creameries whose reputation is absolutely solid. If we were to have in the words "prescribed period," it would allow us to prescribe a period of three, four, six, or even twelve months, and I am just pointing out how that would work out in practice. You get applications and you prescribe a six months' period.
Later you get other applications, and you know that these come from creameries of a far better standard than the ones you had previously dealt with. From a previous examination of them you could feel fairly satisfied that a five months' period would be adequate for these creameries in order to earn the national brand, but you could not prescribe five months in that case; you would have to prescribe the six months the same as in the others. I think it would be much better to leave some elasticity in this. I would ask Deputies to remember this, that no matter what you put into the Bill about examination you cannot make it absolutely water-tight. You must depend, not only on the time over which the examination takes place, but on the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of the examination, and no matter what time you put in you will still be at the mercy of the Department so far as the quality and efficiency of the examinations are concerned. Making all this pother about the period is just stopping one gap and leaving another wide open which you cannot stop. I have considered this matter fairly carefully, and these are my reasons for preferring the amendment I have circulated now and which I commend to the Committee.
I am afraid that the Minister's statement rather weakens the case of his amendment as it reads to the ordinary person. He has explained, in fact, why he deleted the words "during the prescribed period," and he has given a reason which, I suggest, is a reason for, at least, prescribing a period, although he adduces it as a reason why no period should be prescribed. He states quite definitely that there are a number of creameries which are well known, and that no period need be applied to such creameries because they are well known.
May I explain that it is not the carrying out of the actual examination for an adequate period that I was referring to, but to prescribing beforehand by regulations published that we gave so much examination to this creamery and so much to that. My point was that it would be right, perhaps, to give nine months examination to one creamery, perhaps twelve months to another set of creameries, to give six months to another, and perhaps less than six months to another. If we were to do that, I would prefer to do it administratively and not by regulation prescribed beforehand. It is not the examination, but having to issue a notice to the effect that such and such creameries are getting such and such a period that I am objecting to.
I am not sure that I am able to follow the Minister in this matter. I assume that the purpose of Deputy Heffernan's amendment was that before any national mark would be allowed to be used by a creamery, conditions should be prescribed, one of which would be that over a given time the product of that creamery would be subject to certain tests, and it would be as a result of these tests being satisfactory that the national mark would be allowed to be used. Now the Minister suggests that, because it is a matter of common knowledge and because the reputation of a particular establishment is high, those tests need not be applied so far as the habitual or frequent testing of the product over any period is concerned. There, I think, is the danger of not having a minimum period fixed for every creamery. The danger is that you will be charged with having applied more vigorous tests to one creamery than to another, with having allowed certain creameries to use the national mark before any considerable number of creameries are allowed to use it, and to make what use they may of that mark, in advance of the others, and perhaps get a preference in the market, because of the earlier use of the mark, before their rivals. I suggest that it is a matter of urgent consideration. Because we know the reputation of certain creameries to-day is not sufficient. All creameries should be put on a level mark after this Bill is passed. There should be consistent equality of testing by the examiners over a period, however long or short, and the minimum period should be applied, at any rate, to every applicant for the use of the national mark. It would be unwise to say that a creamery which everyone knows has a good reputation should be granted the use of the mark on its face, as they say in the theatre world, because it is generally known that it has a good reputation. I say that that would be inadvisable, and it would be wiser to avoid risk of jealousies that might ensue by, at least, prescribing a minimum period of test, before any creamery would be allowed to use the national mark. You may say three, six or twelve months, and after that some creameries cannot get it because you are not satisfied. I do not quarrel with that, but if you say that three, four or six months shall be the limit, and there shall be frequent and regular examination. I am not saying that every consignment should be examined, but examination should be so frequent and regular as to mean an adequate test of consistency and equality over a period to be named, and every applicant for the mark ought to be obliged to undergo that rigorous test and it should be over a minimum period in respect of every creamery.
I think the Minister's explanation of what is in his mind rather weakens the case for the amendment which he is putting forward. I was inclined to think that it did cover the requirements, but, after his argument, I am afraid that it does not, and it ought to be strengthened by perhaps the retention of the words he has deleted, as they indicate that there shall be a prescribed period. I do not think that the amendment of Deputy Heffernan is precise enough. It is too loosely worded, but the intention is clear. I would not insist on a period of six months. I do not know what the period ought to be. All I desire is that there should be a period fixed, and that no brand should be allowed to be used unless creameries applying for the use of the brand have all undergone a similar test, no matter what their past reputation may have been.
Both Deputy Johnson and I want adequate examination. We are both agreed that adequate examination depends not only on the time over which it takes place, but also on the efficiency, exhaustiveness, and quality of the examination. We also agree that it would be a bad thing to do anything, or be forced by the Bill to do anything, making regulations which would cause jealousy between creameries. We had intended, and we contemplated that the amendment which I have inserted would compel the Department of Agriculture to make exhaustive examination, and to make it over an adequate period, but the words, "during the prescribed period," were deleted, so that before making the examination we would not have to publish a definite period. We would, of course, be forced to make up our own minds as to what the period should be.
Would you meet that point by saying "for a period which shall not be less than three months"?
I would prefer that; if all went to all, I would suggest that. I do not want to prescribe things beforehand.
Even the word "prescribe" might be left out if you said "during a period not less than."
My amendment states "not less than six months."
Six months may be too long. Therefore, what would happen is the Bill would be in operation for a year. We are not only examining creameries and butter for the purposes of the national brand but for the general purposes of the Bill. Say that examination has been going on over a year. It might be extremely awkward to be forced to examine for six months as from the date of the application. It might be gratuitous and there is no doubt you can conceive circumstances in which that examination would be absolutely gratuitous. What do you mean by inserting it here, because you must trust the Department, when all goes to all for the efficiency of the examination. If you are prepared to trust them for the efficiency of the examination why bind them to a specific period by putting in "not less than"? There may be trouble about this brand. It may not be given for three or four years except to a minority for obvious reasons. In the future there would be all this exhaustive examination for the other purposes of the Bill. You can imagine the other negotiations that would be going on in the meantime. We would get applications suddenly for the national brand. It might be gratuitous in certain cases to have an examination for not less than six months. I put that to the Deputies, and if it is really considered that not less than six months is the safest thing I am prepared to accept it.
I want to say that I have whittled down this amendment to the very utmost. I started at the beginning with the idea that all butter should be examined at the port. I have no sympathy with the idea of grading. I think the use of the word has caused needless trouble. I do not see any useful purpose that can be served by grading. I do not think Irish butter would be benefited by grading, but I have all along seen that a good purpose could be served by examination at the ports. I have had an amendment down to the effect that all butter should be examined at the ports. I have withdrawn that amendment owing to the financial obstacle which I have seen. With reference to the present examination which the Minister will cause to take place under the Bill as it stands if the Minister will satisfy me that it is not necessary to make that examination mandatory I will not stand for it, but if I thought it were possible that some butter would get through, bearing the national mark that would not be worthy of the national mark I think it would be necessary to have an examination at the port. I may take the word of the Minister that he will be able to have an official examination of butter without an examination at the ports, but the great obstacle of that system is that it would mean the establishment of large sheds for cold storage and also the having of a bacteriological laboratory at the ports. That would involve great expenditure. There is one point of view I want to call to the Minister's attention. It is this: that all creameries which apply for this mark will be capable of making the best possible butter, and it is possible that a creamery with a slack manager or staff might temporarily key themselves up to make a good quality butter for a short time, say for two to four months.
Then we can make an order that the examination would go on from two to three years.
I know you have the power, but I would like to see that you will be forced to carry out that examination. I think that a creamery which stands the examination for six months is not likely to turn out any butter of an inferior quality. Like Deputy Johnson, I am not convinced by the argument of one being a good creamery and the other not so good. I would prefer the Minister to start with the assumption that all creameries are the same. It is possible that some of the official knowledge may be biassed. They may have a bad name they do not deserve. If you start with the assumption that they are all equal, then, at the end of a certain period, if the Minister is satisfied, he can grant those the national mark, which fulfil his conditions. The Minister can extend a period of two years even if this amendment is accepted, but he cannot have it for a lesser period than six months.
Supposing under Section 11 of the Bill we were conducting examinations for two or three years and that we had been administratively concentrating on certain creameries in the year 1927 for about five months, giving a more adequate examination even than Deputy Heffernan suggests when two, three or four apply for the national brand. We have then in an elastic kind of way to go on for six months examining. This is the point, and in that way without having any preconceived ideas of creameries we have to start the creameries all level. I have no preconceived ideas about creameries, and there are none in the Ministry for Agriculture. It is up to the people examining not to gather preconceived ideas but to get information as they go along. In the future, when we are examining under Section 11, perhaps we might get applications for the brand, and we might perhaps have no particular reason to continue it for six months more from that date. If Deputies like, I will insert this "such butter shall for a period of not less than——" how many months?
The point Deputy Johnson made I think, is very important—the question of whether or not creameries might be entitled to use the national brand say at the end of three months, or some other such period, and the wisdom of that. If it is possible through examination to determine that a certain number of creameries are eligible for and have the right to use the national brand, and that they can be given the right to use the brand after a period of two or three months, I question whether it is wise.
I would like to point out that this is not after two or three months of examination, but after two or three months from the date of application. The examination may be going on for six months before the application.
The point, as it seems to me, is that after the date of application we have a certain period for examination.
My point is met by the amendment itself.
The point may be fairly well met, but I would like to have words inserted to the effect that it is a period after the application. I do not mind what the period may be. I realise there shall be examination of creameries before the national mark begins to operate. Nothing can be done in that respect until new legislation has been passed regarding trade marks. There must be a period during which examinations will take place. The Minister, in his last argument, rather tended to the view that there was no value in the national mark, that the examinations that we were trying to prescribe would be going on even though people did not look for the national mark, and that therefore there was no need for this special examination. I think Deputies on the Farmers' benches have endeavoured to contend that the national mark is intended to give a special character to the quality of butter for sale—that it shall be taken as a certificate of quality and equipment and that it has undergone a test which is not the same test as is applied to ordinary butter. Therefore it is requisite, I think, that there should be a test applied after the application. It may be that only 25 per cent. will apply, but what is to distinguish the applicants from those other creameries which do not apply for the use of the national mark? There is only one thing, so far as I can read the Bill, which will distinguish them, and that is, that there has been an habitual test for a period after application. Otherwise, the case the Minister has made does apply to all butter establishments. They are all to be subject to inspection. The value of the national mark is decreased unless there is a special test applied to the butter of those applicants. I would urge the Minister to think of the necessity that this period should be subsequent to the application for the use of the mark.
I think the point the Minister has raised is very important, but I really think he is quite in agreement with what Deputies are looking for. The examination may be before the creameries apply. But if the examination be a minimum period of three months from the date of application, it may have to be extended in many cases. There are many creameries where the standard of butter produced is of sufficient merit to warrant the giving of the national brand at once. There are other creameries in which more than three months will be required, because there may be more inspections required in their case than in the case of creameries whose character for the flavour and quality of their butter is known to all the inspectors. I think it would be very well if there was a minimum time after their application for the national brand before the Minister granted it. Where it is found necessary that period will have to be extended to give an opportunity for further inspection of the butter turned out.
I was going to suggest a change in the Minister's amendment, but I believe the Minister will not accept it.
Deputy Heffernan's amendment is before the Dáil, and that has to be disposed of first.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 18; Níl, 31.
- Pádraig F. Baxter.
- John Conlan.
- Seán de Faoite.
- Connor Hogan.
- Tomás Mac Eoin.
- Risteárd Mac Fheorals.
- Seán Mac Giolla 'n Ríogh.
- Risteárd Mac Liam.
- Patrick McKenna.
- Tomás O Conaill.
- Aodh O Cúlacháin.
- Liam O Daimhín.
- Seán O Duinnín.
- Mícheál O hIfearnáin.
- Domhnall O Muirgheasa.
- Tadhg O Murchadha.
- Patrick K. Hogan (Luimneach).
- Nicholas Wall.
- Earnán Altún.
- Louis J. D'Alton.
- Máighréad Ní Choileáin, Bean
- Uí Dhrisceóil.
- Patrick J. Egan.
- Desmond Fitzgerald.
- John Hennigan.
- Seosamh Mac 'a Bhrighde.
- Eoin Mac Néill
- Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
- Liam Mag Aonghusa.
- Pádraig Mag Ualghairg.
- Martin M. Nally.
- Peadar O hAodha.
- Mícheál O hAonghusa.
- Criostóir O Broin.
- Seán O Bruadair.
- Richard O'Connell.
- Partholán O Conchubhair.
- Eoghan O Dochartaigh.
- Séamus O Dóláin.
- Pádraig O Dubhthaigh.
- Eamon O Dúgáin.
- Aindriú O Láimhín.
- Séamus O Leadáin.
- Fionán O Loingsigh.
- Séamus O Murchadha.
- Pádraig O hOgáin (Gaillimh).
- Seán O Súilleabháin.
- Patrick W. Shaw.
- Liam Thrift.
- Patrick McGilligan.
Amendment declared lost.
Amendment No. 47 is not in order.
Is my amendment out of order?
Yes, sir, it is outside the scope of the Bill. The Bill deals with the sale of dairy produce and not of milk.
Is milk not dairy produce?
Some people say that it is the product of the iron cow.
The product of the milk is what we are dealing with.
My amendment is: "In Section 36 (1), page 21, line 51, after the word `vessel' to insert the words `to a purchaser in the ordinary course of trade or.'" Do you rule that that is outside the scope of the Bill?
Outside the scope of the creamery trade?
Outside the scope of the Dairy Produce Bill.
I move:—"In Section 36 (1), page 21, line 51, to delete the words `for use in' and substitute therefor the word `to.' " The clause as it stands deals with persons who supply dirty milk for use in a creamery. And the effect of the amendment would be that any person who supplies dirty milk to a creamery, whether for use in the creamery or otherwise, will be liable to the penalties prescribed.
I think this amendment is within the scope of the Bill, and that it meets at least some of what Deputy Johnson wants. Another amendment which I am going to move with the leave of the Dáil in sub-section (2) will enable us to control the sale of whole milk by creameries.
You have ruled what was a better one out of order, in-as much as the intention of the amendment that I had on the paper was to make it an offence liable to a penalty for any person to supply any dirty milk to any other person in the ordinary course of trade. I regret that this Bill will not make it a penal offence to offer dirty milk to a consumer. This amendment proposes to make it an offence to offer dirty milk to a creamery whatever that creamery may do with the milk afterwards; and that is some of the purpose accomplished. Therefore, I am glad to support the amendment.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Before we come to amendment 49, I would ask the leave of the House to insert the following amendment which I circulated to some of the Deputies:—
In Section 36, sub-section (2), line 55, to delete the words "or uses in" and substitute therefor the words "in or sale from or who uses in or sells from."
The amendment which is down in my name—amend-ment No. 49—should be considered before the amendment which the Minister now refers to. My amendment is:—"In Section 36 (1), page 21, line 53, to delete the words `for sale."' The sub-section as it stands reads:—"Any person who tenders or supplies any dirty, contaminated, or stale milk or cream, or milk or cream which is contained in a dirty vessel, to a creamery or cream separating station, or any place where milk or cream is used for the manufacture of any dairy produce for sale, shall be guilty of an offence." My desire is to delete these words "for sale." And the intention is to make it an offence for any person to tender dirty milk to a place where milk or cream is used for the manufacture of dairy produce—in this case butter—for use in that place. I had in mind an institution, perhaps even a hotel but I am thinking more of institutions which have their own creameries, possibly of schools which may have creamery establishments and which ought to be subject to the same rigorous examination as those other creameries which are making butter for sale in the market. I think that the inhabitants of schools or institutions ought to be protected in the same way as the public who purchase butter in the market. And I think the deletion of the words "for sale" will accomplish that. It may require some consequential amendments, but it is desirable that any creamery or any establishment which manufactures cream into dairy produce for consumption by other people than the manufacturers, should be liable to the penalty for dealing with dirty milk. And I make a point which is a possible one that an institution, even perhaps a creamery, which wanted to avoid the consequences of this section might even exchange, might barter its butter for agricultural machinery, and say that there has been no sale. I say that it is a possible means of evasion of the consequences of the receipt and make up of dirty milk. And I should like the Dáil to express itself on this question and say whether they are prepared to allow dirty milk to be tendered for manufacture into butter which is not to be sold but is to be used in an hospital or an institution, or perhaps exchanged for other commodities which might not be for sale. I suggest that it is just as important that butter which is produced and used by any body of people should be subject to the same examination, and that it should be an offence just as great whether the article is sold in the ordinary markets or handed for consumption to people who may live in a hoted or in an institution.
The Deputy knows my position in this matter. If that amendment is accepted the Section would read: "Any person who tenders or supplies any dirty, contaminated or stale milk or cream, or milk or cream which is contained in a dirty vessel, to a creamery or cream separating station, or any place where milk or cream is used for the manufacture of any dairy produce, shall be guilty of an offence." That would bring in every farmer in the country. My first objection to it is that we could not administer such a provision without taking over the public health functions and officials of the Ministry of Local Government. I just want to point out in answer to Deputy Johnson's question as to how Deputies stand on the question as to whether a creamery should be entitled to supply butter made from dirty milk to an hospital, that any person who supplies dirty milk to a creamery is liable to a penalty for that offence. That is as far as we could meet him. I have here the regulations made under the Dairies and Cow Sheds Orders. They run into seven pages. They are the most stringent regulations I have ever read. I do not propose to read them to the Dáil. But they contain very heavy penalties for supplying dirty or contaminated milk to anybody, to any person or institution, and I agree that they should be administered—every single one of them.
Then is there any need for this Bill?
This is not a Bill to control the sale of milk. As the Chairman pointed out ten minutes ago, it is a Bill to control and regulate the sale of butter.
I think if the Minister would read the regulations in and under that Act more thoroughly he would see that it might apply to the conditions under which milk is produced, and if they were rigorously applied there would be no need for this Bill.
I agree. These regulations also apply to the producer, and if they were more rigorously applied there would not be the same number of officers needed under this Bill, for we would have only to inspect the milk after it left the producer and went to the creamery. These regulations are here, and are the law. While there is no doubt whatever that this question of contaminated and impure milk is a scandal, accepting Deputy Johnson's point of view would mean that the Ministry of Agriculture would have to take over the public health functions of the Ministry of Local Government, and if we were really to administer them as they should be administered we would have to double our officials. I went as far as we could in this direction. As the Bill stands, any creamery or any institution in a register which re-sells whole milk which is dirty or contaminated is liable to penalties under this Bill.
The Minister must read his sub-section again: "Any person who tenders or supplies any dirty, contaminated, or stale milk or cream which is contained in a dirty vessel to a creamery or cream-separating station" is liable to a penalty, "or who supplies it to any place where milk or cream is used for the manufacture of any dairy produce for sale." If the dirty milk is tendered to a place which manufactures dairy produce not for sale, but for consumption in that place by a considerable number of people, there is no offence. The farmhouse that the Minister speaks of is not covered at all by this section. There are very few farmhouses receiving milk from other persons.
"Any person who accepts for use in or for sale from, or who uses in or sells from." I think will cover them.
Yes, it goes some distance, but the Minister should not have used his argument about the difficulty of examination and inspection if he wants to say that this proposed amendment would cover my case, because I suggest that it is a fault to limit this section to a place which churns milk into butter, or other kind of dairy produce, solely for sale. If the Minister will not accept it I will not persist but I think it is limiting the good effects of the Bill.
What Deputy Johnson wishes can be achieved by enforcing the Act governing the control of dairies and cowsheds. Certainly, if that were enforced a good deal of his wishes would be met. It would be well if the Minister could afford to meet his wishes in this matter. He refers to colleges, hospitals, convents and asylums, where farmers send milk in large quantities for the use of the people in those institutions, and there is a possibility of there being no examination of this milk. There is no possibility of examination in each individual farmhouse, and there is the possibility of impure milk going into these institutions. I think there is a good deal in Deputy Johnson's amendment.
I am afraid we are getting confused. Deputy Johnson is referring to the words "for sale" in line 53, and what the Minister said appears to refer to the words "for sale" in line 57. I do not know is there any confusion.
I think the Minister is not confused in this matter. The point is that the Minister wants to make it an offence for an asylum or hospital to accept dirty milk. I also want to make it an offence for the person to tender dirty milk.
Deputy Thrift's point is quite good.
Amendment put and declared lost.
Before Deputy Johnson moves amendment 50, may I ask does not the same ruling apply to this as applied to amendment 47?
I submit, before you rule on this matter, that we are now dealing with dairy produce, and the ruling in the other case was that we were not dealing with dairy produce but that we were dealing with milk, which was not dairy produce, which is a matter for the creameries.
We are still dealing with milk. It is line 53. I submit milk is certainly dealt with in the section as well as dairy produce.
I rule that amendment 50 is in order.
I beg to move:—
In Section 36 (1), page 21, line 53, after the words "for sale" to insert the words "or for consumption by the inmates of any hospital, school, asylum, hotel or public institution."
This amendment brings quite clearly before the minds of Deputies what is intended, and I would press with a little more insistence than I did on the last occasion, that this should be accepted. It cannot be contended that it is going to affect the ordinary farmer who consumes the butter at home. It is to make it an offence to supply dirty milk for consumption by the inmates of an hospital, etc. I say as definitely as I can that we ought not to allow it to be possible for dirty milk to be turned into butter for the inmates of hospitals, schools, or institutions of that kind, when we are trying to protect the general public who are in a better position to discriminate, because in certain districts, in the cities at any rate, the people would taste the butter before they buy it. In the hospitals schools, etc., they must take it whether they like it or not.
This amendment has been ruled as in order.
This deals with the manufactured article.
I bow to your ruling in the matter. The butter produced is, in fact, sold to the school, asylum, hotel or public institution, so that I will not accept the amendment because it would be redundant.
Amendment put, and negatived.
I beg to move:—
In Section 36, sub-section (2), line 55, to delete the words "or uses in" and substitute therefor the words "in or sale from or who uses in or sells from."
The effect of the amendment is that if the creameries develop a whole-milk trade we can control their whole-milk, just as we control their butter.
took the Chair at this stage.
This meets a point I have been rather insistent upon, that the creameries should develop, to a much greater extent than they have the whole-milk trade. The Minister has met the contention that in such a case the people who purchase whole-milk from a creamery should be protected from the suppliers of dirty milk.
Amendment put, and agreed to.
(2) If and whenever any inspector finds in any butter factory, margarine factory, or other premises in which any article of human food is manufactured for sale any butter which is dirty, the person carrying on the business in such factory or premises shall be guilty of an offence under this section and be punishable accordingly, unless he can show to the satisfaction of the court that such butter—
(a) Was not intended to be blended, re-worked, or otherwise treated, or to be used for manufacturing purposes in such factory or premises, and
(b) was not intended to be exported or consigned for export from such factory or premises, and
(c) was not intended to be sold or offered or consigned for sale on or from such factory or premises.
I beg to move:—
In Section 38 (2) (c), page 22, line 59, after the word "sale" to insert the words "as butter."
The necessity for this amendment was pointed out in the Special Committee, and I take it is non-contentious.
Amendment put, and agreed to.
(1) From and after the commencement of Part III. of this Act the word "creamery" shall mean premises registered in the register of creameries.
(2) Any person who, after the expiration of two months from the commencement of Part III. of this Act, uses in connection with any premises in Saorstát Eireann which are used for the manufacture of or wholesale dealing in butter, cheese, margarine, margarine cheese, or milk-blended butter and are not registered in the register of creameries any name or description stating, implying, or suggesting, that such premises are a creamery or are registered in the register of creameries shall be guilty of an offence under this section, and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof, in the case of a first offence, to a penalty not exceeding ten pounds, and, in the case of a second or any subsequent offence, to a penalty not exceeding twenty pounds.
I beg to move:
"At the end of Section 39 (1), page 23, to insert the following words `or in respect of which a licence under this section has been granted and is in force."'
Amendment put and agreed to.
I beg to move:—
"After Section 39 (1), page 23, to insert a new sub-section as follows:—
"(2) The Minister may if and when during three years from the passing of this Act the special circumstances of the case justify him in so doing, grant to the registered proprietor of any particular premises registered in the register of manufacturing exporters a licence to use the word `creamery' in relation to such premises, and any such licence may be granted subject to such conditions and for such time (not extending beyond three years from the passing of this Act) and may be revoked, as and when the Minister thinks proper."
Deputies will remember that we discussed the merits of this question on the first two amendments in Committee. These amendments are to meet the cream-gathering premises.
I take it that this has relevance to one particular institution?
Is it necessary to make the period three years to cover these, or is there an anticipation that others will spring up in the meantime, and that similar licences can be issued? Is it desirable to encourage the springing up of factories within that period which would claim to use the term "creamery"?
We argued this at great length on one or two amendments in the beginning. To be quite frank, I do not think I can answer definitely. That is exactly the dilemma we are in. We do not know whether a possible development in this direction might or might not be desirable. We must wait and see. We simply leave ourselves in a position to deal with any possible development.
I wonder has the Minister considered the points raised in regard to the undesirability of limiting the period to three years? The effect of the general working of the Bill may be so to improve the conditions in certain areas that he will be justified in extending the licence to use the term "creamery" beyond that period. That is to say, that the conditions in the farmhouses will be so improved that the general character of the milk and cream that comes out of these houses will be such as would justify the continuation and even the development of that system.
I think it is a pity to confine the licence to a period of three years. I think the Minister should look forward to the probability that within a time—perhaps not three years, or perhaps longer—there will be a steady and a vast improvement in the conditions under which milk is produced on the farms. If that improvement takes place I suggest that it is quite within reason that the system of home separation should be encouraged and that the cream gathered at the farmhouses could then be utilised for buttermaking in a place to be called a creamery, or to which the name "creamery" might be attached. That, of course, requires that there should be rigid inspection of the general conditions under which milk is produced on the farm and the conditions under which milk is kept, as well as the surroundings. The very fact that that is the condition will lead to acceleration in the improvement that we all contemplate through the action of this Bill. I feel that the Minister is trying up this matter too closely by limiting the operation of the new sub-section to a period of three years. I would prefer if he took power to extend that period on conditions which he would consider it necessary to impose regarding cleanliness and good conduct, in respect of dairying at farmhouses supplying such a creamery.
I am in agreement with Deputy Johnson in this matter. I think the effect of having it three years will be that there will be no possible encouragement along these lines. The Minister, I think, will not weaken the position of his Ministry by taking away the term "three years." He will retain the power to grant the use of the word "creamery," and meantime any institution of this kind which might develop will know that if their work is done as it ought to be they can obtain the use of the word "creamery," which will be of considerable advantage to them. As this stands, with three years in it, it means that no development along these lines will be encouraged. I am inclined to think that development should be encouraged in certain districts which cannot support an ordinary creamery. The next best thing for them is a creamery of this type, and in my opinion butter can be manufactured there better than it can be manufactured on a farm. I think we should encourage this system where a regular creamery cannot carry on. At the same time the Minister has power to prohibit manufacture where he thinks a useful service is not being performed.
I think there is a misunderstanding here. The limitation of the time is not intended to discourage development. What it means, and what it is intended to secure, is that the term "creamery butter" shall be a definition of a certain article made in a certain way and on particular premises. This period is put in owing to the existence of one or two premises or enterprises which do not exactly come within the meaning of the word "creamery" but which have hitherto been able to use the term "creamery butter," and to whom, at the moment, it will be a severe hardship and handicap in business if deprived abruptly of the use of that term. I take it, it is to safeguard them. The development of the industry which those enterprises represent, is not necessarily bound up with the use of the term "creamery butter." But the use of the term "creamery butter" for those particular two or three enterprises is bound up with their immediate stability. Given another classification, which I believe the Minister is making provision for, there is every possibility for that particular development. Personally I think it desirable, where a creamery as such cannot materialise, to give a definite classification, which defines the nature of the product, and differentiates it from something not the same as itself. There is nothing in the limitation of time that will prevent such encouragement or development. I will support the Minister in not acceding to the request to extend this period.
This is an extremely difficult question. I agree with Deputy Heffernan that we are doing nothing to encourage these cream-gathering creameries to be formed.
You rather discourage them.
Yes, perhaps to some extent, but you could encourage them at too great a price. I decided, on thinking it over, that any encouragement you can give could only be on the lines that Deputy Johnson suggests, namely, taking power at the moment to allow them to use the word "creamery"ad infinitum if the particular institutions in question deserve it. If you did that, the developments might be the exact opposite to what you think. I agree with Deputy Heffernan that the spread of the dairy industry depends, to some extent, on the development of this sort of cream-gathering creamery. We will know better later on when the dairy industry is in a better and a healthier position, when growth is more obvious, and when the signs of the times are more obvious, as they will be, when the Bill develops the dairying industry in the country. It appears that is one of the possible ways that the dairying industry can develop and can supplant the other methods of farming in which less national wealth is produced.
On the other hand, there is power taken in this Bill by regulation to allow such cream-gathering places as these to produce creamery butter, an undefined power, because after all we are arguing the principle of the question, and there is no half-way house. You have unlimited power and power for three years. If you take that power what will happen? Take the case of Macamore. We may have one of those cream-gathering creameries collecting 50 per cent. milk and 50 per cent. cream, and making butter of that. Is it not quite possible seeing that some of the existing creameries have a legal right to use the term "creamery"—I am assuming we have by regulation the power to give the right for ever— and seeing we have that right given in the case of an institution like Macamore, that the best system is to bring the whole milk to the creamery? There is less likelihood of contaminating the butter. You at least reduce the possible sources of the contamination by separating the milk at the creamery. It is admitted that that is the best system, and that is the way and the method by which you are most likely to produce high-grade butter. Still we are collecting ninety per cent. —ninety-five per cent., if you like—of our milk and we are collecting five per cent. of cream. That is the thin end of the wedge. Surely we should have all the advantages that you are giving to another institution which is only collecting fifty per cent. milk and fifty per cent. cream.
To my mind by encouraging the growth of these cream-gathering creameries you will be much more likely to encourage not the growth of new cream-gathering creameries, but to encourage the substitution of the present orthodox creameries by cream-gathering creameries. It seems to me there is real danger of that and weighing one thing with another I thought the best thing to do was to try to deal with the immediate hardships that would be caused by passing the Bill without some such amendment as this, to the existing cream-gathering institutions and if, after 20 or 30 years there are only two or three of them it does not look, at the moment, as if there was a tremendous possibility for the case. I suggest there would be a better possibility of judging that in three years when the whole dairying industry will be healthier. The people will be thinking more of future development of the industry and whoever is considering the question will be in a better position to judge what sort of future developments should be encouraged. I would not like to put into the Bill something which by encouraging this would be encouraging something which we all agree might be far from desirable and as Deputy Heffernan remarked, "The Dáil is here always." We are not in the position when four Creamery Bills were introduced in the British Parliament and crowded out for want of time. The Dáil will be sitting constantly and it will not be difficult to raise a question and get it decided by legislation, but I do submit that it is a little too serious and too great a responsibility for the Department to have to decide a question such as this is—whether they should make such a regulation and give an opportunity to probably healthy developments but, possibly, most unhealthy developments. There are the reasons that appeal to me for leaving the Bill as it is.
I confess that my opinions in this matter are largely determined by the view of the social effect rather than the immediate industrial or commercial value. I know that there is a great deal to be said for the Minister's point of view, but I have thought that the course of development might be a little bit away from the over-centralised factory which certainly, in the view of a great many well experienced and careful observers has helped to deteriorate the home life, the craftsmanship of the farmer and his family and generally, to deprive the people in the dairying districts of some of the advantages which the possession of a cow, or a number of cows, gave to that family in the way of milk food. It is, unfortunately, too often stated—and I am sure it is stated with truth in many cases—that the desire to turn a few gallons of milk into money means the deprivation of the family of the farmer and the people in the neighbourhood who are not farmers, of supplies of milk which should be plentiful. I am trying to some extent to obviate that, and I think if the home churning method under strict regulations were encouraged, or ever is encouraged and developed, it will mean a steady improvement in the character of the farm buildings and the appliances used in the surroundings of the dairy, meaning that part of the farm which is used for the storing and the care of the milk and the milk products. Another consideration which weighs with me is the fact that in so many creameries and surrounding so many creameries there is such great waste of time in the supplying of milk to the creameries as distinct from the supplying of cream to the creameries. You have all seen lines and lines of carts waiting for the separated milk and the waste of time for so many dozens of boys, or men or women hanging about the creameries for hours in the morning is considerable.
That is a sheer waste of a great number of people, and it does not tend to the best conduct of the industry of farming by the young growing boy, as he too often is. It certainly has been very useful as a means of gathering together people at the creameries for agitation, but on the whole I think it would be better if we could avoid the waste of that kind of transportation from the farm to the creamery, and that is a factor that ought to be considered in relation to this question. I do not wish to press my point of view in view of what the Minister said, but I still feel that there ought to be a realisation of the desirability of encouraging this home-separating under good conditions rather than sending the whole milk to the factory for separation, and then returning the separated milk to the farm.
There are only one or two points that I would like to call the Minister's attention to. The Minister says that we will know better later on, that is we will know what the future developments will be in the creamery business. I would point out to him that the development in regard to this particular form of creamery business is exactly what he will not know, because there will be no development, and in the absence of developments he cannot know what the benefits would be.
Could they not get the national brand? If they develop they would earn the right to the national brand. There is the encouragement.
I believe this amendment will prevent them developing along any lines, and that they will not be established at all. That is my point. Might I point out to the Minister that he has power to prevent any wrong development. He retains the power in his Department, and there can be no developments which his Department does not authorise. I think that gives the Minister quite sufficient power to prevent any developments which are not desirable. Another thing I would point out to the Minister is that it is rather dangerous for the Government to take any power to prevent any natural development of industry. Perhaps it is a little bit extreme to say that it is rather better to give industry a chance to develop along natural lines. If the Government had interfered with industry in the past we would still be carrying on with handlooms. There is one other point which has been omitted altogether with regard to the development along these lines, and that is with regard to the separated milk that would be retained at home by the farmers. It is very well known that freshly separated milk is very much better for stock-rearing than the milk that comes from the creamery. There are many people who still continue the old system of hand separators, although they are living quite close to a creamery, simply because they say that they cannot rear calves on separated milk from the creamery, and in that way they have the freshly separated milk for their calves. On that account I think this is a desirable development where it can be encouraged. I say that the Minister and his Department directly discourage it here; at least they should give them the chance of establishing themselves and carrying on if they so desire. I am not sure that they will, but I hope they will.
I think that the Minister has met the views of the Committee in this matter. We pressed very strongly on him at the time the advisability of considering these cream-gathering stations where it was impossible in certain counties and in certain areas to work at a profit. I think the views of the Committee have been met. We can quite understand putting this three years' limit on. It stands to reason that if you make it less it would not be so satisfactory. The points that have been raised by Deputy Heffernan were discussed at length in the Committee, and there is not very much to be gained by going into them again. But this would be giving an opportunity to those people to develop the milk industry in their areas. If by any particular cause they had not the possibility of being able to get their milk through a creamery and if they had these cream-gathering stations they could have separators, and even in those cream-gathering stations there could be a certain amount of milk separated. In other words, it is a step forward in the industry which would possibly help us to a sufficient supply of butter in this country to meet home consumption and the outside markets. We are very backward in that way on account of all that we have to import, both in butter and cheese, and I think that the Minister has met the views of the Committee and we ought to be very well satisfied.
I do not think I have anything further to say except that I will try to give some further consideration to this before the Bill becomes law.
Amendment put, and agreed to.
In Section 39 (2), page 23, line 5, after the word "Act" to insert the words "and without having a subsisting licence in that behalf granted under this section."
The effect of the amendment is to exclude from the operation of this section in connection with certain premises any person who may have procured a licence under the amendment which has just been accepted and which now, of course, forms part of the section.
Amendment put and agreed to.
(1) From and after the commencement of Part III. of this Act, the word "creamery," if applied to any butter sold or offered, exposed, or consigned for sale in or exported from Saorstát Eireann, shall (subject to the exception hereinafter contained) be taken to be a trade description signifying that the butter has been manufactured in premises registered in the register of creameries and has not been subsequently blended or re-worked.
(2) The application of the word "creamery" or any colourable imitation of the word "creamery" to any butter which has not been manufactured in premises registered in the register of creameries or which, having been manufactured in such premises, has been subsequently blended or re-worked, or has been brought on to any premises used for the manufacture or treatment of dairy produce for sale which are not registered in the register of creameries shall (subject to the exception hereinafter contained) be taken to be a false trade description of such butter within the meaning of the Merchandise Marks Act, 1887 to 1911, and the provisions of those Acts, including the penal provisions, shall apply accordingly.
(3) Nothing in this section shall apply to or prevent the application to butter imported into Saorstát Eireann of the word "creamery" in conjunction with a word or words clearly indicating that the butter was imported into or was not manufactured in Saorstát Eireann: Provided that if any such imported butter is exported the provisions of this sub-section shall not apply.
(4) For the purposes of this section the word "creamery" shall be deemed to be applied if it is applied within the meaning of the Merchandise Marks Acts, 1887 to 1911.
(5) This section shall come into operation at the expiration of two months from the commencement of Part III. of this Act.
I move:—"In Section 40 (1), page 23, line 22, after the word `creameries' to insert the words `or comprised in a subsisting licence granted under this Act for the use of the word `creamery.' " This is also consequential.
Amendment put and agreed to.
In Section 40 (3), page 23, to delete all from the word "Provided," line 40 to the end of the sub-section, and to substitute therefor the following words:—"Provided that this sub-section shall not apply to butter which is imported directly or indirectly from any place outside Ireland and is subsequently exported from Saorstát Eireann."
The word "Ireland" was a mistake. It should have been "Saorstát Eireann."
Will the Minister explain the effect of this?
The amendment is merely a draftsman's way of putting Deputy Heffernan's amendment, or the amendment which was accepted in Committee.
I am prepared to accept this in the form that the Minister has now suggested. I mean to say, I am prepared to support the amendment, but I thought that the Minister had another purpose in mind when he put the word "Ireland" there.
Amendment, as amended, put and agreed to.
To add at the end of Section 40 (5), page 23, a new sub-section as follows:—
"(6) This section shall not apply to any butter contained in a package consigned and forwarded through Saorstát Eireann from any place outside Saorstát Eireann to any other such place but not otherwise dealt with in Saorstát Eireann."
I think the necessity for that amendment is obvious.
Amendment put and agreed to.
I beg to move amendment 59:—
Immediately before Section 42, page 24, to insert a new section as follows:—
(1) The Minister may, after consultation with such bodies and persons as he may consider most representative of the several interests concerned establish by order a consultative council for giving advice and assistance to the Minister in connection with any matter referred to them by the Minister in relation to the making of regulations under, or otherwise carrying into execution of, the provisions of this Act.
(2) The said consultative council shall consist of such persons as the Minister after such consultation as aforesaid shall from time to time nominate to be members thereof, each of whom shall unless he previously dies or resigns, retain his membership for two years only from the date of his nomination but shall be eligible for re-nomination.
(3) The said consultative council shall meet whenever summoned by the Minister.
(4) Payments may be made by the Minister out of moneys to be provided by the Oireachtas to members of the said consultative council and committees thereof, to such extent as may be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance, in respect of repayment of travelling expenses and payment of subsistence allowance.
It gives the Minister power to appoint a consultative council for certain purposes.
This certainly will not be an agreed amendment as it stands. I am anxious to state my objections to it as briefly as I can in order to ascertain what attitude the Minister takes towards my objections. If I am not able to compress my remarks into a short space of time it is because of the multitude of defects in this clause. In the first place I object to the term "Consultative Council" in the first sub-section of the new section. It would seem to be deliberately worded in order to make the Council something different from an advisory council and for this reason the sub-section says: "The Minister may after consultation with such bodies and persons as he may consider most representative of the several interests concerned establish by order a consultative council for giving advice and assistance to the Minister in connection with any matter referred to them by the Minister."—"In connection with any matter referred to them by the Minister."—that may not be the intention of those who drafted the clause but I suggest that first that term should be changed from "consultative council" to "advisory council" and second, that at the conclusion of that sub-section "in relation to the making of regulations under or otherwise carrying into execution of the provision of this Act" the words should be added "or any matter which such council deem it necessary to bring under the notice or consideration of the Minister."
What I mean by that is that the initiation of discussion shall not arise merely from such matters as the Minister may desire to put before the council as is the case in this sub-section as drafted, but that the members of the council themselves will be empowered to initiate discussion upon matters other than those which the Minister may bring forward and I suggest also that you change "consultative" where-ever it occurs to "advisory." It may not mean, on an exhaustive examination, the difference that I apprehend but still I would like the suggestion to be weighed before being summarily dismissed. Further, at the beginning of this sub-section the word "may" occurs. Why leave it optional? If there is any use in the council why not make it mandatory for the Minister to call that council. I want to substitute the word "shall" for the word "may." Then under sub-section (2) the term "nominate" comes in. I am not going to press for the substitution of any other word for it, but it might be well if the word "appoint" was used instead, so that we should have some indication other than that given here upon what ground the nominations are to be based.
Are they to be based upon the nomination of persons put forward by the different industries or is this council to be a hand-picked council by the Minister through officials of his Department? I think that is an important consideration for the industry. Then we come to sub-section (3): "The said consultative council shall meet whenever summoned by the Minister." I suggest that is inadequate. We have got to be very impersonal when considering these things. The Minister in charge when a Bill is passing through this House, will pass away some time, let us hope it is a long time away yet. But his term of office will terminate some time, and, as I say, I hope in the present Minister's case it will be a very long time, seeing he is not an Executive Minister. We have to construe these Bills or Acts in an impersonal way, and when we read that the Consultative Council shall meet whenever summoned by the Minister, it means that it will be summoned by the Minister when he is advised by his officials that they deem it wise that the summonses should be issued. I think that is not sufficient, because there you have the germ or symptom of bureaucracy in a department, and if there is outside opinion such as a council that may interfere with the operations of that species of officialdom, that council will not be called together more frequently than officialdom can possibly help.
I suggest it would possibly be an advantage to have "advisory council" instead of "consultative council," that it "shall," and not "may," be summoned by the Minister, and so I would propose to add at the end of the sub-section the words "or upon a requisition to the Minister signed by not less than one-fourth of the total number of the members of the council." I suggest that addition so that they can, of their own volition, if there are matters affecting the industry which they deem it necessary to meet in Council about, under the provisions of this Act, be able to come together and give the Minister advice upon the matter concerned. I suggest also that the council should have power to elect its own chairman and its own honorary secretary, in order to secure that it can meet of its own volition, and when the members of the industry deem it necessary, that the machinery of the council itself will not be manned by departmental officials. I make no reflection upon those officials, but I think that it is essential under a measure so comprehensive as this, with such sweeping and drastic powers, that there should be a sort of safety valve. The establishment of this council is, to my mind, one of the most vital provisions in this Bill, and it is upon the nature of the council as the Bill emerges from Committee Stage that will depend whether or not I shall acquiesce in this Bill or oppose its passage in its final stages.
I do not know whether the Minister is aware or not that there is in Australia a Dairy Council drawn from each of the different States of the Commonwealth, which is elected by the industry itself. It elects its own officials, and it meets whenever it chooses, and it is a very important factor in the organisation of the industry there. These are the points I wish to suggest: to amend this section so that it will be a really effective factor in the development of the industry, and not a mere sham to cover up what may be the reluctance of our departmental officials to allow the industry concerned to have some effective say on its organisation.
I would like to support the suggestions made by Deputy Milroy, chiefly because he has used exactly the same arguments as were used by me on the Second Reading of the Local Government Bill. The Minister for Local Government in that Bill had a clause in which he asked for the appointment of Consultative Councils, and I pointed out that it would be very much better to have an Advisory Board or an initiative Board so that it could give him advice on matters, and initiate these matters itself. I also claim that it would be very advisable that the class of people who are going to act on this Advisory Board should be stated in the Bill, and with Deputy Milroy I think it is most advisable that it should be put into this Bill that this Advisory Board or Council can meet, and not that the Minister may call them together whenever he likes, because it has been pointed out in another connection of a similar sort that the Minister did not like or care to call together these Consultative Councils, and that, therefore, he never got their advice in the matter.
I want to say a word on this matter in support of the contention of Deputy Milroy. At the select committee there was a new section proposed giving in detail Deputy Milroy's views as to what that council should be, and I think it was unfortunate that he should have overweighted it with certain details of its functions which were embodied in the clause, and which were based on the assumption that other proposals which he had attempted to get passed had been agreed to. Consequently it was not possible for me to support the proposal of Deputy Milroy in the form in which it was submitted. Deputy Heffernan made a proposal of a similar kind, which the Minister accepted in principle, and this amendment which Deputy Duggan has put forward is the Minister's conception of what was desired by the committee. I do not think, however, that it fulfils the requirements at all. It practically means simply that the Minister may call into being a council to consult with him whenever he wishes, on any points that he wishes, and that may mean whenever he wishes. If it does meet with his wishes he may pay the expenses.
I want to urge upon the Dáil that a much more authoritative body than that is called for. The Bill, as has been pointed out, does give to the Minister very drastic powers. He has power to inspect and make regulations touching every point in the butter-making industry from the beginning to the end almost. I think it is necessary that there should be such powers in somebody else's hands who can wield them with authority. Then we are faced with the question whether he should be a bureaucrat with advisors appointed by himself and responsible only to himself and not subject to any check of any kind, or whether he should be an authority in touch with and responsible to a considerable extent to the organised bodies within the industry. This raises a matter which has been very much discussed in recent years. I am glad that Deputy Sir James Craig has supported the views of Deputy Milroy. He is especially entitled to do so. We have to-day agreed to the First Reading of a Bill connected with the medical profession, and Deputy Sir James Craig can point to the fact that the vocational council which administers the affairs of the medical profession has done that administration with fairly general approval.
I am speaking very conservatively because I want to conciliate the Minister. The idea that is behind the Medical Council is the same idea in effect that is behind Deputy Milroy's proposition, that is to say that the authority administering and controlling this industry is an authority which is responsive to the people engaged in the industry, that is subject to their criticism and is in close touch with all the various phases of the industry. It may be quite rightly said that the experts who gather together under the aegis of the Minister himself are all very worthy gentlemen and women, quite capable of doing this work satisfactorily but to whose satisfaction? To the satisfaction of the Minister. It is he who appoints and he who may dismiss. He is solely responsible to the Dáil. On the advice of those experts whom he gathers around him, and who are his sole servants, he may do all these things to this industry and run the risk of alienating those concerned. But he can instead arrange to have, in a general way at any rate, the approval, at least, of the authoritative spokesman for the industry in the making of regulations and in the fixing of conditions. Much that is said about the bureaucrat—I will concede it to the Minister for Industry and Commerce; whatever I say to the Minister for Agriculture—is not deserved. It is undoubtedly true that the more you impose conditions upon a large body of people scattered through the country, engaged in a particular industry, conditions devised by officials appointed by the Minister, the more you are likely to bring difficulties in the way of the proper administration of the scheme that is in hands.
I contend that in this case it would be very good progress to make if all the various organised interests which are bound up with this industry were approached and were allowed at least to nominate, if not to appoint, representatives on this Council and that they were given responsibility for the proper administration and the proper ordering of the industry under this Act. I am sure that the Minister himself would find the work very much easier and very much more sure of success. He would then be sure of carrying along with him a great bulk of the people affected. Some of those persons appointed on the Council might well be the advisers upon whom he has to rely at present, but they would be assisted by those directly nominated by the institutions which are at present working the industry in a sort of semi-organised way. I believe that the Minister ought to be the head of that council.
I believe that the Minister should be responsible in the final analysis for everything done by the Council, and he would have even power to reject the advice of that council. I am not asking that he should hand over his responsibility to that council, but that he should, while acting as president, give the council responsibility and very considerable powers. I think it would be a mistake for him to issue regulations such as those contemplated, without having the sanction of the majority of any such council as is set up. I believe that the council should be set up and be generally representative, and I think it would be desirable to insert in any provisions regarding such council a provision that the regulations which are to be set up should have the sanction of the majority of that council. By that means I think he would be able to rely much more surely than he would otherwise upon the general good working and administration of the Act. This is a matter of great importance, and I would call attention again, if I may, in this Committee as I did in the last Committee, to the recommendations of the old Dáil Commission of Inquiry when it went into some detail regarding the administration of the dairy industry and advocated the establishment of such Dairy Council. It was proposed that it should have even wider powers than those now suggested. That idea was well received and was, I think, popular in the industry and in the country.
In the Constitution we have contemplated the setting up of Vocational Councils. Here is an opportunity to make a beginning tentatively, and to put into operation one of the ideas respecting the establishment of vocational councils. The Minister is Minister for Lands and Agriculture, as I said in the earlier Committee. The dairying industry is a very considerable part of the service which he has to administer. How is it going to be administered? By the Minister advised by experts? Is it better that he should be advised by experts whom he has appointed himself, or that he should be advised by experts appointed by the people to be administered, the people who are running the industry? I believe that the Minister would find that he could run this scheme under the Act very much more smoothly if he would set up a council such as is suggested by Deputy Milroy, rather than the anaemic advisory council which he proposes in his own amendment.
Deputy Johnson, I think, started off by telling us that he was more or less going to support the contention of Deputy Milroy. I wonder has he done so. I think he has gone a great deal further than Deputy Milroy suggested in the way of amendment. There is this to be said about Deputy Milroy's amendment, that it left the advisory council still an advisory council with the sole responsibility with the Minister. I am not by any means sure that if some of Deputy Johnson's suggestions were adopted the sole responsibility would be with the Minister. You will then have a great deal more than a consultative or advisory council. So far as the sittings of the Special Committee were concerned, so far as I remember, all the Minister pledged himself was to consider the setting up of an advisory council. We ought to be very slow in setting up anything beyond an advisory council which would really deprive the Minister of a certain amount of authority and responsibility. If you put them to a certain extent over the Minister—and I think that is the trend of some of Deputy Johnson's suggestions—you would have a body that would hamper him in his authority. If the Minister is called upon to answer to the Dáil he could, to a certain extent, take protection under such council. I object to anything that interferes with the full authority of the Minister and with his full responsibility to the Dáil.
Deputy O'Sullivan has anticipated some things which I would wish to have said. I will not attempt to define the council by name, because I believe it would define its own name in the course of time. The reasons given were admirable. They were, however, all on one side and in one direction. I am not opposing the proposal, but I am suggesting that we should go into a proposal of this kind with a very full realisation of what it may come to mean. The more a council of that kind is on a representative basis, and the more complete its functions are, the more certain it is to come in the course of time to displace the Minister. That has been the universal history of every institution of the kind.
This particular Parliamentary assembly in which we are assembled to-day grew out of councils originally which had no authority, but which were merely advisory, and which ultimately became sovereign. In a case of that kind my belief is that you may start on a plan—whether it is good or bad is not apparent to me, but I want to point out the possible results of it—something like the vocational councils in the Constitution with councils for each separate industry growing up in the country. It sounds well to say that the right people to make regulations for an industry are the people who represent that industry. I have heard on other occasions the social aspect of these things insisted on, and the fact that every industry is not a concern for itself alone but a concern for the entire public.
I just point those things out as a possible contingency which might ripen very rapidly. If you take a certain action with regard to one industry, there is nothing more natural than that it should be followed up with regard to other industries, and so on until we have a network of those councils, and the more representative they are, and the more complete their organisation is, the more they will tend to displace ministerial functions. That may be an admirable thing, but there it is, and I should like to point out that view of the thing. I am speaking now myself as a Deputy simply. Before Deputies commit themselves to any final judgment on that, they should carefully consider it on both sides, and because the proposal seems to have a great deal of reason on its side, they ought not to refuse to examine, if possible, ultimate developments.
I do not intend to follow the general argument of the Minister for Education or that of Deputy Johnson to any extent. I am not prepared at this stage to give my entire support to vocational councils, but I am rather inclined to agree with the definite proposals that are suggested by Deputy Milroy and I am altogether in sympathy with them. As far as those proposals are put forward by him they reflect my thoughts with regard to that amendment. The amendment as it stands says that the Minister may, after consultation with such bodies establish a council. For my part I am not prepared to accept the word "may." As this amendment stands, the Minister need not appoint this council at all. I would say this matter is probably the most important detail in the whole Bill, and I would remind the Minister that he is taking extraordinarily drastic powers in this Bill over an industry, greater powers than were ever taken in this country over any industry.
In view of these powers and of the danger of very strong bureaucratic power I think the Minister would be very well advised to make this council a real council which will have a definite influence on the industry and on the trend of the Minister's ideas with regard to the industry. I understood Deputy Johnson to say that the Minister could always have the final word in the matter, that is, that the council should not control the Minister. Why, then, should a Minister be afraid of the Council? As it stands, at present, it has no powers at all. It might be a worthless thing. If this Bill were passed with the amendment as it stands, it would meet with a great deal of opposition, and it would not please the industry at all. Still more important, a great many creameries would enter into this business of getting the national mark with an antagonistic mind towards the industry, and if they do they will hamper the working of the Bill. We must get the goodwill of all people who are in the industry. I know the changing of the word "may" to "shall" would mean that the remainder of the amendment should be changed also, but that could easily be carried out by the Ministerial draftsman. I will vote against the section unless it is mandatory that the council should be appointed. Also I think it should be mandatory that the council shall be called together not at the Minister's desire, say once a year, but frequently at specified times or on the advice of certain members of the council. Any number you select depends on the number of the council. I would also suggest that the members of the council should be selected individually by the organised industries themselves, that is, that they should select a panel of experts from whom the Minister would, himself, select his council.
I want to support, briefly, the arguments advanced by Deputy Milroy and Deputy Heffernan on this matter. We are all in agreement that the Minister is anxious to make the measure as satisfactory as it is likely to be to all concerned. There is no amendment that would be advanced to any section of the Bill that will do more to make the measure unsatisfactory to the different interests than this amendment will. I have no doubt the Minister recognises that himself. I cannot agree at the moment that, even if it were desirable, Deputy Johnson's point of view could be successfully carried into effect, that is the establishment of Vocational Councils to deal with the dairying industry. It seems to me that we have in the dairying industry, small as it may be, so many conflicting interests, that when we establish that Vocational Council it would be anything but satisfactory, if it had not really the powers the Vocational Council should have. It is only likely from that point of view to be carried into effect presently. If we are not to have such a Council, I think it is advisable that the Minister should have somebody very representative of the industry, as it is, to advise him in the regulations to be made, and the steps to be taken to carry those regulations into effect. The Minister will have wisdom enough to get individuals representing the different interests, but it seems to me the Minister should make it definite in a measure that he is going to take steps to establish such an Advisory Council. I think he ought to substitute the word "shall" for "may." That will make it definite. After that he should also enact in the measure that it is law that this Council will not only be in existence as an Advisory Council to advise under regulations, but will, as Deputy Milroy points out, also have the right to point out to the Minister and to decide that certain matters in the main industry demand consideration, and that they should have the right to meet to consider those matters.
Now two or three points like that can be accepted by the Minister, and they will make all the difference in the world between the satisfactory administration of this measure and making the measure what may be but a very incomplete effort towards the end that we hope to attain. I think the Minister can very readily accept the suggestions made by Deputy Milroy, and it will not take from him any of the power that he has under the Bill. It will, on the other hand, make the interests concerned and the interests that will be affected by the measure have confidence that in the making and carrying into effect of the regulations they will have a voice. If they are not in a position to make that voice heard in the administration of the measure there will be dissatisfaction which will make that measure not at all what the Minister hopes to make it.
This particular amendment has been very carefully and very closely debated. I may say at once that I put forward the amendment as it stands, contemplating that it would need a certain amount of improvement. I have listened to the debate very carefully, and I may say that I find myself more closely in agreement with Deputy Johnson than I usually find myself in other subjects. Deputy Johnson made it quite clear that he is in agreement as to the obvious necessity for the Minister who is responsible to the Dáil having the last word in this matter. That is one big safeguard at least, and a necessary safeguard in view of the considerations which were put forward by the Minister for Education. With regard to the particular question which Deputy Johnson and Deputy Baxter raised, referring to the method of selection, I think that while both Deputies agree that the members of the council should be selected from the interests concerned, neither of them specified, at this stage, the exact method of procedure in selecting them. If it were said that all the interests concerned were to elect the members of this council I would be unable to agree. That is to say, that if the interests concerned, whoever they may be, were to elect— each of them its quota—certain members of this council, I would be unable to agree. It may be that later on an elective council of that sort would do efficiently the advisory work that this council is supposed to do. But whatever may be the abstract advantages of election as a method of constituting this council, the practical difficulties at the moment are overwhelming for the reasons Deputy Baxter pointed out. Nobody who understands the currents and cross-currents will say, I think, that the election by interests of two or three men who would go definitely on to the council would give us a council that would be satisfactory at present. If the word "nominated" is left there, and if we defer consideration of procedure for the constitution of the council until after the Bill is passed—until there is leisure to consider whether it might not be possible to accept Deputy Heffernan's idea that certain interests might be asked to select five or six representatives, one or two of which would be put up to represent each interest—well, that method would be matter for consideration afterwards.
This council is to be an advisory council. I agree with Deputy Johnson that the council to be really useful must feel that it is doing really useful work and is under the necessity of accepting certain responsibilities. I think that the right way to deal with that council would be, to devolve responsibility where it could be devolved. But I must say that there is not much sign in the near future that the functions of the council will be much more than the very important function of giving advice. These functions of advising the Minister I regard as functions of first class importance. I have such a keen sense of their importance that I would be absolutely unwilling to tie myself now to any method of selection which might involve getting a second rate council later on. I have no intention, if a council is being set up at all, to just set up a council as so much camouflage. If a council is set up, its advice is to be sought, and its advice is to get the fullest consideration, and its advice is to be acted on, if after the fullest consideration it is found to be sound. For that reason I do not want to insert anything in this particular amendment which would force me to a certain method of selection which might on consideration prove to be a wrong method, and which afterwards we might be unable to change. I say that, for the reason which I have just given. I am satisfied with the safeguards contained in the words "consultative council." I tried to explain what I meant by the consultative council. It has the same meaning as "advisory." The safeguards contained in the method of selection—the freedom of the Minister to select, in consultation with the interests concerned, and to select as far as possible with the goodwill of the interests concerned, by perhaps the method Deputy Heffernan suggested, but always with an eye to getting first class men—these two safeguards are sufficient to meet the very serious considerations that the Minister for Education urged. The logical conclusion, of course, of setting up such a council which would have administrative functions is an Industrial Parliament. The time may come when we possibly will have an Industrial Parliament sitting side by side with the existing Parliament, but that time is not yet. So far as this council is concerned I want to see on it the best men representing every interest in the trade.
I want them to give their advice freely, and I am willing to accept an amendment in this form:—
(1) The Minister shall, after consultation with such bodies and persons as he may consider most representative of the several interests concerned establish by order a Consultative Council for giving advice and assistance to the Minister in connection with any matter in relation to the making of regulations under or otherwise carrying into execution of the provisions of this Act, or any other matter affecting the dairying industry;
(2) The said Consultative Council shall consist of such persons as the Minister after such consultation as aforesaid shall from time to time nominate to be members thereof, each of whom shall, unless he previously dies or resigns, retain his membership for two years only from the date of his nomination but shall be eligible for re-nomination;
(3) The said Consultative Council shall meet whenever summoned by the Minister, and also on such other occasions as the council may from time to time determine.
The rest of the amendment will stand.
There is just one point outstanding and that is the suggestion that the council should nominate its own officials. The council, if it meets, has a right, I suppose, to appoint honorary officials, as Deputy Milroy suggested, but the Executive officer of that council should be a Civil Servant. The secretary of such an Advisory Council who would do the work should be a Civil Servant in any normal country and that is what shall be done. There is no question whatever of an extra secretary being appointed and being paid by such a body. That would be out of the question. The secretary of that council would do clerical work and nothing more, and he would be, in the ordinary way, a suitable Civil Servant picked from the Department of Agriculture.
The Minister proposes that "such consultative council shall meet when summoned by the Minister" and at some other time.
"And also on such other occasions as the council may from time to time determine."
On that council we may have a number of interests represented with different points of view. I am inclined to think you would want to have the provision more definite as to the number of members who would have the right to convene a meeting. Certain interests might be in conflict and if you leave the provision as vague as it is certain interests might desire a meeting of the council and might not be in a position to have such a meeting convened.
You want to determine how the council shall come to a decision?
No, my point is that if certain interests within the council want to convene a meeting to discuss some matter in relation to the management of their own particular branch of the dairying industry, they apparently would have to await a decision of the Appeal Council before they could convene such a meeting, if a number of the members of the council were in opposition to the proposal.
I suggest that that point would probably be met by the terms of the Order establishing the council. The conditions under which the council should be called into being from time to time would probably have to be determined by the Order establishing the council.
As I understand the amendment, as re-drafted by the Minister, it will mean that at one meeting of the Council it would be decided when the next meeting would be held. Suppose, for instance, it meets to-day; there is no further meeting required, as matters are seen then, for some months. But during the following week or fortnight it is borne in on a section of the Council that there is necessity for such a meeting. That amendment, as drafted, hardly seems to make provision for means by which such a meeting could be called.
That is one of the details that must be settled either before or after the Council is constituted. Obviously, it would be settled in the Order or at the first meeting of the Council. The Council must have something in the nature of Standing Orders. That is obviously a detail, and we cannot deal with details in the Bill.
Before passing from this matter, may I ask the Minister if he would consider at a later stage whether it is really necessary to say in the Bill that a member shall retain membership unless he previously dies?
Amendment, as amended, put and agreed to.
I move amendment 60:—
To insert a new section before Section 45, page 24, as follows:—
"In this Act, wherever the words `pound' or `pounds' occur in relation to a penalty it shall be understood to mean `pound' or `pounds' sterling."
I do not know whether this is the best form which could be suggested, but I think it is essential in order to avoid any possible misunderstanding by a judge as to whether the penalty is to be ten pounds of butter or ten pounds in cash. Some of the sections, in the first portion, speak of "pounds of butter," and in the second part they speak of so many "pounds" as the penalty, I think something is required to point out that what is meant in one case is cash and in the other avoirdupois. I only put this amendment down to ensure that the matter would receive consideration. It is certainly necessary to make it quite clear that "pounds" in the two cases do not mean quite the same thing.
I consulted the legal adviser to the Ministry on this question, and he is quite clear that there can be no misunderstanding. I do not like, for a good many reasons, to insert the word "sterling" there. It is not usual to insert it in Bills, and if it were inserted in this Bill it might have implications in regard to Acts in which it does not appear. If the Deputy would consent to withdraw the amendment there would be another opportunity before the Bill leaves the Dáil to put in an amendment if he be dissatisfied.
Deputy O'Connell suggests that if we inserted the words "the sum of" before "pounds" it would make the matter clear. However, I am satisfied with calling attention to the matter. I do not mind whether you fine a man twenty pounds in butter or twenty pounds in cash.
The question has got full consideration from the Legal Department.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment 61 (Mr. Heffernan) not moved.
Before you come to Amendment 62, I would ask leave to make an amendment in the Second Schedule. The Second Schedule reads at present:—"Plant and machinery in registered manufacturing exporters' premises." I propose in the Second Schedule, lines 40 and 41, to delete the words "registered manufacturing exporters' premises," and substitute therefor "premises registered in the register of butter factories."
Amendment put and agreed to.
In the Third Schedule, page 25, immediately after line 53 to insert the following words—
"Deposit on application for registration in any of the registers kept in pursuance of this Act other than the register of cream-separating stations...........Five pounds."
That is consequential on the amendment already agreed to.
Amendment put and agreed to.
In the Third Schedule, page 25, line 56, to delete the words "one halfpenny" and in line 58 after the word "butter" to insert the words "such fee, not exceeding one penny, as may be prescribed."
Instead of the fee being one halfpenny it will be a fee not exceeding one penny.
Perhaps the Minister has something to say on this matter before we go any further. It is his amendment.
The explanation of that is: It would be an extraordinary thing, to start with, to bind ourselves to one halfpenny under all circumstances, when we would be exporting four million pounds worth of butter or eight million pounds worth ——
May I rise to a point of order? We are now on the point of 10.30 p.m., and the Minister will probably not desire to have this question brought forward at this stage. I understand that he desires to postpone the further discussion of the Bill. If these amendments are not moved the Bill may then be printed in its new form for consideration before it goes for Report, and the Minister will still have the power to move his present amendment. It will not come before us again this week, and we shall have before us the new Bill, for a new Bill it will be in effect with all these new amendments, before we enter into the Report Stage. It is necessary that we should have the Bill in its new form before we go any further with it. I do not think anything would be lost by allowing it to go out of this Committee now.
That is the difficulty; this is the Report Stage.
It is referred to Committee.
I do not know whether the Deputy means that we should leave the Bill just as it is at this point, without moving those two amendments, and then have the Bill printed and reconsider it later on.
That is exactly what I mean.
The point is that unless the Report Stage is finished now, we will lose the whole Report Stage.
I submit it would be very unwise to refer the Bill now to Committee for Report, unless we are going back to Committee again, for we would be precluded from examining the Bill in the light of these new amendments. I submit we will have to read the Bill carefully, for many of these amendments that have been put in are really reported ones, and this is really the Committee Stage. I am sure the Minister will not lose anything by adopting the suggestion.
We have not passed section by section as we would in Committee in the Dáil, and I think this is the Report Stage.
Is the Minister moving this amendment; otherwise he will have to report progress?
If the Minister would report progress and consult the Ceann Comhairle, I think he would show him a way out.
When will it be taken again?
To-morrow; it will not take long.
Motion made to report progress.