DÁIL IN COMMITTEE. - INTOXICATING LIQUOR BILL, 1924. THIRD STAGE (RESUMED).

(1) From and after the passing of this Act it shall not be lawful for any person to sell or expose for sale intoxicating liquor or to open or keep open any premises for the sale of intoxicating liquor on any day not being a Saturday, Sunday, Good Friday, Christmas Day or Saint Patrick's Day before the hour of nine o'clock in the morning or after the hour of ten o'clock in the evening, or on any day being Saturday before the hour of nine o'clock in the morning or after the hour of half-past nine in the evening.
This sub-section shall not apply to any licensed person who is the owner or lessee of a theatre, music hall or other place of public amusement.
(2) From and after the passing of this Act it shall not be lawful for any person to sell or expose for sale any intoxicating liquor or to open or keep open any premises for the sale of intoxicating liquor on Christmas Day, Good Friday or Saint Patrick's Day. This sub-section shall apply to hotels with the modification that it shall not operate to prevent the sale of intoxicating liquor to a lodger in the hotel at and for consumption. with a meal.
(3) From and after the passing of this Act no person shall be admitted to any theatre, music hall or other licensed place of amusement after the hour of half-past nine in the evening unless either—
(a) he has previously engaged or paid for a seat in that theatre, music hall, or place of public amusement for the performance or entertainment then in progress; or
(b) he is employed in that theatre, music hall, or place of public amusement or has business with a person so employed.
(4) From and after the passing of this Act the fact that a person is abona-fide traveller within the meaning of the Licensing (Ireland) Acts, 1833 to 1905, shall not entitle him to purchase or be supplied with intoxicating liquor—
(a) between the hours of seven o'clock in the morning and one o'clock in the afternoon on any Sunday, or
(b) at any time on Christmas Day, Good Friday, or Saint Patrick's Day.

Amendments 1 and 5 are already disposed of. We will now take up Amendment 2, which has been amended as follows:—

In sub-section (1) to delete all words after the word "day."

The question is that the words proposed to be deleted stand part of the section, and the fate of amendments 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9 depend on this amendment. Would Deputy Milroy move this amendment?

What is Deputy Milroy called upon to do?

Amendment No. 2 stands in his name.

I was under the impression that that amendment had been disposed of the last time this Bill was before the Dáil. I think it would be well if those of us who only received notice with this morning's Order Papers that this Bill was to come along, were informed as to what stage exactly we had reached with regard to it. Personally, I do not know.

I explained before Deputy Milroy came to his place, that on the last day Amendments 1 and 5 were disposed of, and we are discussing Amendments 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9 under Amendment No. 2; that the motion is that the words proposed to be deleted stand part of the section, and that if the motion is carried all the amendments named fall.

I move the amendment standing in my name:—

In sub-section (1) to delete all words after the word "day," line 21, and substitute therefor the words "not being a Sunday or Christmas Day before the hour of seven o'clock in the morning or after the hour of 10 o'clock in the evening."

In putting Amendment No. 2 and covering as far as No. 9, will a Deputy be in order in speaking to Amendment No. 9?

I wish to speak on a reply given by the Minister of Justice to a question in regard to the hours of closing. The amendment I have handed in is to extend the hours by half an hour all round. The Minister's reply to the question was that before the 1923 Bill was introduced there were different hours according to the different populations in different towns, and that the law must be carried out. He did not say that the 9.30 rule, as specified in the Bill, was carried out everywhere, although he may have probably forgotten that when he was introducing the Bill in 1923, he said the same hours would be carried out everywhere. Now they are prosecuting people for keeping their premises open till 9.30. The amendment I have handed in is as follows:—

In sub-section (1), line 25, to delete the words "half-past nine" and substitute therefor the words "ten o'clock."

I want the Minister for Justice to allow all publichouses to remain open till 10 o'clock on all week-nights—from 9 in the morning till 10 at night. In the extra half-hour I am sure the publicans will not make a great fortune. In the majority of cases people who would resort to publichouses are in the unfortunate position, owing to unemployment, that they have no money to spend.

The big man who can afford to buy a case of whiskey or take six or seven cases of stout to his house can take the liquor home any time during the day and enjoy himself during the whole night, if he likes, but the workman who cannot afford to take home such a quantity, or even to take home half-a-pint of whiskey, is prevented, after his day's work is done, from going into a publichouse and refreshing himself. I really think that every Bill introduced into the Dáil is clearly against the working-classes. If the Minister for Justice specified in Part I. of this Bill that people were to be prohibited from buying large quantities for storage, then everybody would suffer a little. I, therefore, ask the Minister to agree to the 10 o'clock closing all round.

I think the Dáil is entitled to a further explanation as to the reply given to the question to-day with a view to giving publicans in the country some information. You have the Civic Guards in Cork allowing the publicans to keep open till 9.30; in Limerick the same authorities compel the publicans to close at 9 o'clock; and in Longford and Westmeath they want them to close earlier than nine. The publicans are entitled to some explanation from the Minister for Justice as to the correct closing hour. If the Minister makes the hour 10 o'clock I am sure it will not cause any extra abuse.

While Deputy Lyons was speaking I was able to gather what was the purport of my amendment—the interval since we last discussed it being so long that it never occurred to me until I got the Order Paper this morning. The purpose of this amendment was to make the proposal in this Section a more reasonable one. One particular item that has been already dealt with was to delete St. Patrick's Day from the operation of the Bill. The other portion of the amendment was the regulation of the hours apart from that day. The reason I suggested 7 o'clock, instead of 9 o'clock in the morning, was not for the purpose of giving general facilities for obtaining intoxicating liquor, but to meet the requirements of rural districts—market towns where business sometimes begins as early as five o'clock in the morning. It is not reasonable to expect that people who have to go long distances to markets, and who start before 5 o'clock in the morning, should not be able to obtain something in the nature of refreshments before 9 o'clock. That was the reason of my suggestion of 7 o'clock in the morning. I admit that it is open to comment and criticism in regard to its general application. I do not think the average man in the city is particularly anxious for intoxicating liquor before the hours specified in this Section as printed, but from the peculiar circumstances of rural districts, market and fair towns, I think there should be some provision which would allow for the special requirements of the people.

In regard to the hour of closing in the evenings, I think the general experience of the operation of what I consider the illegal Act at present in operation, which was scrambled through the Oireachtas by some indiscretion on the part of the Seanad, is that it has resulted in inconvenience to the general public. That is not the complaint of those who wish to overindulge. The fact that at half-past nine all these places have to close is rather too rigid a regulation. It would not, I think, lead to any abuse, but simply tend to the convenience of the public, if the hour of closing were extended to 11 o'clock.

These are the main reasons, so far as I can recollect, why this amendment was put down. It is, I think, a reasonable amendment and the Minister ought to consider it in that light.

It is a little difficult to know just to what amendments to address oneself. I think when we adjourned, on the last session, the understanding was that together with amendment 2, amendments 4, 6, 7 and 9 would be taken and that a general motion that the words which it is sought to delete stand part of the Bill would be taken. Perhaps I may be considered as moving a motion of that kind, that the words, these various amendments seek to delete from the Bill, stand part of the Bill. That might be satisfactory. Deputy Milroy wants a general opening of licensed houses at 7 o'clock in the morning, and pleads, in advocacy of that, certain special circumstances which do occasionally arise in special towns through the country. I think a general proposal ought not to be advocated on a basis of special circumstances. Moving from that, let us consider the special circumstances. He says there are towns in the country where business commences as early as 5 o'clock in the morning. I am very glad to hear it, but I do not think there are many towns in the country where business commences every morning at 5 o'clock. I take it the Deputy is referring to special occasions, to fair days, days on which he says people travel long distances for the transaction of their business. Under the provisions of this Bill bona fide travellers may not be served (1) at any hour on Christmas Day, Good Friday and St. Patrick's Day. These are the only times on which a bona fide will not be served, together with (2) during the period 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday. With these exceptions, bona fide travellers may be served at any hour of the day or night. These people who travel at 5 o'clock in the morning to fairs and so on will not be prohibited from alcoholic refreshment by any section or sub-section of this Bill. There is further, as the Deputy will see, a provision which has left untouched Section 11 of the Licensing Act, 1874, which enables exemption orders to be granted for special circumstances and occasions.

I am moving a general motion which may be taken as traversing these various amendments, which seek to change the hours set out in the Bill. I may be taken as moving that the hours set out in the Bill remain as they stand, and I do submit to the good sense of the Deputies that the hours are eminently reasonable hours—from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on every week-day except Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to 9.30 p.m. on Saturday. The Bill proposes to make no change in respect of Sundays, and no change in respect of Christmas Day. Under the Act which was signed some months ago, and which is now in force, the uniform closing hour throughout the country on ordinary week nights is 9.30 p.m. This Bill proposes a uniform hour of 10 p.m. on every evening except Saturday, and a closing hour of 9.30 p.m. on Saturday. I have been asked to explain the case for an earlier closing on Saturday night than the ordinary week nights. That provision is simply based on experience. Apparently it was the experience in the past, seeing that there has always been earlier closing on this night than other nights. I think Deputies who know the country towns know that Saturday is a more lively and rowdy evening than other evenings in the week. What the causes are, whether it is the week-end holiday spirit, or whether it is that people, drawing their wages, have thereby more money to spend, I cannot say. This provision is based on the universal police experience in every part of the country. I want to hear a better case than I have yet heard against those hours. It is right and reasonable that people should turn out from those licensed shops, and make their way home at 10 o'clock in the evening at any rate, and that they ought not to be turning out from these shops, and making their way home at an hour of the night when most of their neighbours are in bed, and at an hour of the night which gives a greater temptation to mischief and outrage of one kind or another. The 11 o'clock closing hour of the past was bad in that respect— that the crowds turning out from the publichouses had the situation more or less to themselves, and the poor man, facing home, with more than his load up, so to speak, had a temptation which came from the fact that other people were not abroad, and he was likely to be able to commit crimes with impunity —commit outrages, and get away with them. In the interests of decency and social order, this reasonable hour of 10 p.m. is an advisable hour for the Dáil to fix. I am, therefore, moving, with the approval of the Dáil, that the words which amendments 2, 4, 6, 7 and 8 seek to delete stand part of the Bill.

Is the Minister moving an amendment to Deputy Milroy's amendment or where are we? I presume Deputy Milroy moved an amendment. That ought to be disposed of before we deal with anything else.

This was decided at the sitting on the 2nd July. After discussion, it was agreed that the question should be put as follows: "That the words proposed to be deleted stand part of the section." The decision taken would affect amendments 2, 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9.

Was it not decided by the Dáil at the previous sitting that the words "St. Patrick's Day" should be deleted from this section?

I take it that the proposal of the Minister is that the words of the section, minus "St. Patrick's Day," stand.

The words "St. Patrick's Day," are gone.

Really, I think the Minister does not know what Act we are dealing with. He says, according to this Bill, that the publicans have the same facilities on Sundays as they had previously. This Bill states that a publichouse cannot be opened forbona-fide trade on Sunday until 1 o'clock. The Minister has already stated that bona-fide travellers are dealt with in the same way under this Bill as under the previous Act. Licensed houses remain open in some places on Saturday nights later than in other places, notwithstanding the fact that the Act of 1923 specified 9.30 as the closing hour. We have some Superintendents of the Civic Guard making laws of their own and telling the people to close their premises at 9 o'clock. If they do not do so they are brought before Judges and Magistrates and fined, although the Act says that premises can be kept open until 9.30. What kind of law is that? If it is going to be the law better have it the law generally, and not be fooling the people, as we have been, I might say, for two years. As far as I am concerned I do not mind what time the publichouses close, but I think it is only right that workers in the country, who are not paid, probably, until 7.30 p.m. should have an opportunity of getting a drink. I think the Minister should say exactly what he is discussing, whether it is the Act of 1923 or this Bill?

I do not know what Bill the Deputy is discussing.

I would like to support some portion of the amendment put forward by Deputy Milroy. The Minister has spoken about the morning hour. I believe there is a grievance with regard to opening at 9 o'clock. It has been my experience, and I attend some fairs in the country, that many of them start as early as five o'clock in the morning, and in the dark. The Minister must know the kind of climate we have, that it rains about two-thirds of the year, and that it rained nearly all the time this year. People who go to fairs have no place to go for shelter, to purchase tobacco, cigarettes or matches, other than licensed houses. Of course, the Minister says thatbona fide travellers are entitled to get into these premises, but how can a publican make distinctions in crowded fairs between people who are bona-fide travellers and people who are not? The proposal would mean a prohibition against people who go to fairs, and as a result they would have to stay out in wet weather. There is no other place besides licensed houses for them to go to.

It also happens that on licensed premises people who are at the fairs are supplied with breakfasts, with tea or with whatever food they require. Under the Bill a man cannot get into licensed premises for tea until about 7 o'clock. It may be said that there could be a distinct entrance, but in country places distinct entrances to such premises are not the rule. The Minister may also say that the owners of licensed premises can get a permit. I understand that, but I should say that it is rather a silly thing to have dozens of publicans applying to the District Justice before the monthly fair for a permit to open on that morning. In any case, I think there is very little real harm done by the early opening, as very few people become drunkards from what they drink in the early morning. I agree that a great deal of harm might be done by late hours in the evening. On the other hand, I think the proposal not to open the premises in the early hours of the morning is one which will not serve any useful purpose.

I gather the position is, that unless I put forward now arguments with which I intended to support Amendment 8 I may have no opportunity of putting it forward at all. I am going to address myself to the question of earlier closing on Saturdays. I followed very carefully the arguments put forward by the Minister, and I am delighted to discover that in this matter he is a thorough conservative. He supports early closing on Saturday nights because there has always been early closing on Saturday nights. The subordinate arguments he put forward were, I think, that police experience was in favour of it. Police experience in this country is, in the main, I presume, the experience of the Gárda Síochána, an experience extending over a little more than two years. I am not very deeply impressed by that experience, when you reflect that other countries, France and Great Britain, do not think it necessary—at least they are not in favour of early closing on Saturday nights, and early closing is not enforced in these countries. There is police experience!

Then there is the argument of the Minister that earlier closing contributes to social order, and that if people were turned out of publichouses earlier while there are other people in the streets, they will go home and not commit crimes. The crimes committed under the influence of drink are, as a general rule, not such as requires secrecy and stealth. The drunkard does not go home and forge Treasury notes. He probably goes home and beats his wife, and Deputy Sir James Craig wishes to give him a half-hour extra to do so. That is what the proposal means. The crimes that the drunkard commits are not secret and stealthy, but, as I think the Dáil will admit, they are riotous crimes— fighting, shouting and brawling in the street. Is that less or more likely to happen if on Saturday nights you close the publichouses at 9.30 and leave a large number of men hanging about the streets with no place to go to? In many places they do not want to go home— Saturday night is the week-end night— and I am going to say that very often the reason they do not go home is because their homes are so miserable and of such a wretched character. I do not blame them. I am sorry that Labour Deputies laugh. Saturday night is generally the night that men go out to enjoy themselves, and they are more likely to get into trouble and mischief, I believe, if you turn them out into the street an hour and a half before the last tram leaves—in Dublin at any rate —and if they keep hanging around fighting and squabbling, than if you let the publichouses keep open up to the same hour on Saturday night as on the other nights of the week.

I am not arguing that the world should be a strictly logical place, but if it were, what argument could be put forward for turning men out of the publichouses half an hour earlier on a Saturday night, when on the next morning they have not to go out to their work? Surely they could stay in bed an hour later, especially if they do not want to go to early Mass. Every argument of the Minister can be met by a counter-argument equally as strong. Until there is something more cogent and more convincing, than merely the argument that it always was so, and that the police experience for a little over two years is in favour of it, I, for one, will have to vote against the motion of the Minister much as I dislike some of the amendments. I am not in favour of opening the publichouses at seven o'clock in the morning, as I think it is not necessary. In order to safeguard my own amendment, which seems reasonable, I shall have to vote against this.

The Deputy who has just sat down has referred to the Labour benches and to certain expressions of hilarity. I do not know what they were, but they were not directed against his argument. I want to justify to the Dáil my own action in this matter and I am going to vote in favour of the proposal in the Bill even though it is illogical, even though the Deputy argued that because men have not to go out to work so early next morning, they should, therefore, have longer time to stay in a publichouse on a Saturday night. The Deputy rather suggests that the only thing a man had to do who did not want to stay at home on a Saturday night was to sit in a publichouse drinking beer. Whether the Deputy thinks that that is the kind of appeal to make to Labour, I do not know, but it is not the kind of appeal I would like to make.

I am going to say a word on behalf of the wife of a workingman—a man who is in the habit of taking too much drink. It is quite true that Saturday night is the night on which men spend money in publichouses. Ask the wife of a drunken workman whether she would rather that he would go home half-an-hour earlier with more money in his pocket or whether he should stay out half-an-hour later and spend more money. That is the argument that appeals to me, and I am sorry to say it does not appear to have been taken into account by the Deputy. Whether it is logical or not, we know to our sorrow, that the more time men have to spend in publichouses on Saturday night the less money they will have to take home and their wives and children will suffer.

I have listened to the Minister referring to those who leave the publichouses on Saturday nights, and he has given his reasons why there should be earlier closing on Saturdays than on other days of the week. The Minister should be aware that in the country districts in summertime the workers, when they return from work, have very limited time to get to the nearest town with their wives to do their little marketing. There is absolutely no reason why on one evening of the week when the man has been paid for his work he and his wife should not go and get food for their children and why they should be prevented from getting to the nearest town in time to get what they require. They cannot reach these towns in many cases at the hour specified. During summer-time we are aware that by the time they leave their work and get to the town the houses will be closed. If the Minister thinks that he is going to achieve any useful purpose by such a clause as this, I fear that he is making a very great mistake. I have, perhaps, a far more intimate knowledge and a knowledge extending over a far longer period of the country districts in Ireland than the Minister for Justice. I remember the time when licences were being scattered broadcast throughout the country, and at that time I was one of those who objected to it, as I thought it a pity that magistrates should create so many new licences. It was, however, proved to me that I was wrong. The facts prove that I was wrong, and the same facts will prove that the Minister is wrong. I know from those who have large grocery businesses and from the managers of two large establishments that before the licences were issued broadcast throughout the country they used to make up on a Saturday evening between seven and eight dozen half-pints of whiskey, and I knew that dozens of stout were put into stacks of hay to be taken out to the shebeens. Are you going to have the labourers' cottages used as shebeens, as they were in the past, and, I believe, as some of them are used at present? The same applies to small farmers' houses. Do you think that that is going to help the country to be more temperate? It would, of course, be a great advantage if it were more temperate, but do you think that you are going to achieve that by encouraging shebeening? Do you think, by putting restrictions on houses that are as properly conducted as any licensed houses could be, that you are going to put down intemperance? I fear not. You would start little dance houses where drink would be consumed on Saturday night and Sunday. I think it would be infinitely better if the Minister for Justice made use of the existing law and enforced the law for clubs in country towns which are open until 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning. Why does not the Minister deal with certain licensed houses in the country towns, which are being badly conducted, and where young fellows remain until late hours in the morning? Why is the law not enforced, and why are the licences not taken from them? I think that anything that is going to injure legitimate trade at present is a grave mistake. I believe that if the spirit was encouraged in this country that intemperance was bad, that men should only drink in moderation, and that if you act on that and try to get that encouraged in the country, you would be doing good work. I warn the Dáil that any undue restrictions on the legitimate licensed trade is going to start shebeening again in this country. It was one of the greatest curses in this country. If the Government would take steps to end illicit distilling——

That is to be discussed in another section.

I will be ready then to deal with it. At present I support Deputy Milroy, and I have given my reasons. The reasons given by Deputy Heffernan, as regards opening on fair mornings, are sufficient in themselves to induce me to support it. If exemption were given in market towns to properly-conducted houses on fair mornings, it would certainly meet the requirements of the people of my county, whom I have the honour to represent. We have to look after their interests in everything that is right. I object to excessive drinking quite as much as any man, and I hope it is going to be put down, but it is not by legislation that will hamper and restrict that it can be done, or by getting up the backs of any section you are going to achieve that end. I fear any such legislation will defeat its own object.

Deputy Johnson's argument in reply to mine is based on a certain fallacy. He assumes that if a man spends half an hour less in a public-house he will go home with more money in his pocket, but I think the universal testimony of those who have studied the subject is that shorter hours do not mean less drinking. They mean more drinking compressed into a shorter period.

I do not know that.

I refer Deputy Johnson to Shadwell's "Drink Legislation," which is one of the accepted authorities on the subject. Deputy Johnson does not accept that, but it is accepted by many people who have studied the subject in a serious spirit. He knows perfectly well that every man who goes into a public house does not go in there to spend the money which his wife and children ought to have. Many people use the public house as a club, where they can exchange the news of the day. They go there largely because they have no other place to go, unfortunately. I am not advocating that they should go there; I would much rather they would go to a Labour Club and hear Deputy Johnson lecture. Their brains would be improved thereby, instead of their stomachs being deteriorated. At the same time, men being what they are, a great number of the working classes use public houses as places of recreation. If one or two abuse that, no one would be more ready than Deputy Johnson to say in other matters that you cannot legislate for exceptional cases. Those exceptional cases who abuse the liberty of drinking in reasonable hours should be dealt with by taking the pledge of total abstinence; they should not be allowed into a public house at all, and not merely be turned out a half an hour earlier.

I do protest against harassing respectable men who go in and take one drink, exchange news, and have a conversation with their friends, for the sake of the very small minority who abuse alcohol. There is an impression abroad that this is a tremendous and increasing evil. The Minister gave us some figures on the Second Reading which have some bearing on this. He told us that in the Dublin Metropolitan area, in 1923, there were 1,406 arrests for drunkenness—arrests, not convictions. That sounds very alarming until one begins to examine it. That means less than four arrests a day in an area extending from Drumcondra to Killiney, and from the North Bull to Terenure. I do not think that is an enormous number of arrests. The really disquieting fact about these figures is that I think about half of these arrests were women. That is serious, but the number of arrests for drunkenness is not enormous—three and a-half per cent. of the population. Compare that with America. In Philadelphia, in 1922, there were 36,000 arrests. That, in proportion to population, is twenty-six times as many as there were in the Dublin Metropolitan District, and that bears out what Deputy D'Alton says about shebeening. That was under Prohibition—Philadelphia with 36,000 arrests for drunkenness, when no one was allowed to go into a publichouse at all. That shows that excessive control defeats its own object. In any case, this is not a growing evil. I have given the figures for last year. In 1913—I suppose the Dublin Metropolitan Police were not more vigilant under Mr. Birrell than they are under the Minister for Justice —there were 2,841 arrests. That is a little more than double, ten years ago. 1913 was the last, what you might call normal year; after that the war upset the fair basis for comparison, so that in ten years the number of arrests for drunkenness has fallen by fifty per cent. Surely that is the result not of restriction, not of prohibition, but of voluntary effort, and that is the way in which this evil should be dealt with —an evil that is decreasing in Dublin, at any rate.

The Deputy has argued that the great majority of workmen who go into publichouses and sit there on Saturday nights do so as a matter of relaxation and for social intercourse, and not for the purpose of spending money on drink. I accept that at once. I know it is a fact. But he admits that a minority, unfortunately, spend too much time there. The longer the hours they have the opportunity of spending, the greater the amount of money they spend, and the less they will take home. The Deputy says that is only a small minority. I agree with that, but the Deputy concludes that you ought not to legislate for the whole because of the faults of a minority. That brings us to the kernel of licensing laws as a whole, and I say that unless the Deputy, and those with him, argue in favour of free traffic in intoxicants, it is a question at what point you will draw the line—at what point you will allow the defects of the minority to determine the laws governing the majority. That is the position in respect to the law relating to licensing as a whole. We are proposing—and it apparently has received general approbation—that there should be prohibition against the use of methylated spirits. Why? Because the minority abuse it.

Because everybody who drinks it abuses it.

True, a minority drinks it. But we are legislating to prevent even Deputy Bryan Cooper from obtaining it, in certain circumstances, because a minority abuse it. Therefore the majority have to be deprived of a certain freedom. Now that is the case here. It is proved— and I think it is accepted by everybody —that it is the case in large cities that on Saturday nights some men spend more money than they should, and, having the money, the longer the opportunity, the greater the abuse they will make of their privileges.

I am prepared to ask the majority of reasonable working men to sacrifice that half hour for the sake of the wives and children of the minority who abuse their freedom, and I take Deputy Cooper to be willing to sacrifice that amount of freedom. Those who are engaged in the business are not at all unanimous on this matter—quite the contrary; many would prefer to have that other half hour of freedom, just as well as the rest of the community, and to stop work a little earlier on a Saturday night. It is not on that account I am supporting the amendment; it is because I want in this, as in many other proposals of the Bill, to ask the majority of reasonable people willingly to sacrifice some of their liberty for the sake of protecting people against abuse by the minority.

By accepting this amendment of Deputy Milroy you accept the words "before the hour of seven o'clock in the morning." Let us deal with the morning before we get to the evening. If you accept the amendment, the Bill will read to the effect that publichouses will open universally all over the Saorstát at seven o'clock in the morning. I do not think the publicans or the people want the publichouses open at seven o'clock in the morning. I know that on a fair or a market morning in any of the towns in the Saorstát people demand that publichouses ought to be opened at a reasonable hour. This is sought to be provided for in amendment number 10, but the machinery provided for in that amendment is very annoying. It is continuously being repeated, and a good many people will have to make applications.

Why should it not go into the Bill in a simple formula, providing that on market days in all these towns of the country opening would be at seven o'clock or earlier, as a matter of course, without introducing thebona fide element at all? But outside of the fairs and markets, 9 o'clock is quite early enough to open publichouses in the country in the mornings. Neither the people nor the publicans themselves require to have them open sooner. If the Minister will agree to put in an earlier hour, say, 7 o'clock, in the case of fairs and markets, I think it would meet with universal support in the country.

Now, with regard to the 10 o'clock hour in the evening, that amendment only differs from the Bill with regard to one evening in the week—Saturday. Whether that is wise or not, I am not in a position to say. I do know that in the case of those who are in the habit of taking drink, it is only when they come along to the last half hour, when perhaps they have had already two or three measures, that they are inclined to spend much more freely than when they went into the public house at first. That is the time that ought to be guarded against, and Deputy Johnson, in making this appeal for the wives and children of the workers—and there are many poor people in the country besides the workers—has made an appeal on behalf of the people who suffer most in this country. I do not think the provision is unreasonable at all. There is no one who knows the country and who has gone into a village on a Saturday evening but knows that Saturday evening is the boisterous evening of the week. Saturday evening is responsible for most of our Petty Sessions and District Court work, and will be responsible for similar things in the future. I, for one, would be inclined to vote against this amendment if the Minister will give us an assurance of a 7 o'clock opening on fair and market days instead of what is in the Bill.

Mr. O'CONNELL

It is refreshing to note the interest which Deputies like Deputy Cooper and Deputy D'Alton take in the working man. All the arguments that were used here in favour of longer hours of opening of public houses were apparently put forward on behalf of the working man. The poor publican, that ill-abused public servant, as he would like to have himself called, is kept conveniently in the background. It is not at all to his interest in any way to have the public houses kept open for longer hours than at present or longer than they would be under the proposals in the Bill. I wonder that these Deputies are not more logical, and that they do not propose, in the interests of the working man, who wants some place to spend his idle hours, to have an opening on Sunday. Nobody has proposed that. But it would be as logical as the proposals made.

I have not been impressed by the proposals made in favour of an extra hour or two hours on fair mornings, or early opening at all on fair mornings. We hear of business at fairs beginning at 5 o'clock in the morning. I think if that state of affairs is to be remedied the remedy should be found in another direction, and the fair should be held at a reasonable hour. I remember the time when pig fairs used to be held all over the country at 5, 6 or 7 o'clock in the morning. That has now been altered, I understand. The Farmers' representatives will tell us that, and, perhaps, they will tell us also if anybody has suffered as a result of doing away with the early hours at pig fairs. I cannot see why the same thing should not be done with regard to horse and cattle fairs, and I cannot see why arrangements should not be made to have those fairs held at reasonable hours. It has been pointed out already by the Minister that so far as the people who come long distances to fairs are concerned, ample provision is already made for them. I do not think that any case has been made for the extension of the hours as they are given in the Bill, and even, in so far as this point raised by Deputy Heffernan is concerned as regards the fairs, I am not convinced that there is anything in it which would be sufficient to cause us to vote against the proposal which is being put forward by the Minister.

My position with regard to this amendment is exactly the same as Deputy Gorey states. If the Minister would give an undertaking that at a later stage an amendment would be accepted agreeing that on fair days the public houses could open at 7 o'clock without any special permit, I would be willing to vote against the amendment and for this section of the Bill. With regard to Deputy O'Connell's remarks about the hour of holding the fairs, I would say that the matter is not quite so simple as Deputy O'Connell states. There are reasons why cattle fairs have to be held early in the day. There are occasions when trains have to be caught by people who buy cattle, and people who bring the cattle away. There is also the difficulty that a great many of these fairs are held in the streets and they are held early in the morning. They can be held before the shops are open, and they will not interfere to any great extent with the business of the town. The people have got accustomed to these early fairs, and they are not satisfied with anything else. I am sure Deputy O'Connell will recognise the great difficulty of breaking the Irish people away from what they have been accustomed to.

They will get accustomed to the 9 o'clock opening.

There is the difficulty always about the train arrangements. Cattle have to be got away and it is necessary to start the fair very often in the early hours of the morning. There is a real hardship in connection with these fairs. I was at a fair yesterday morning and the cattle were in to that fair at 5 o'clock. It was pouring rain and there was no place in which to take shelter or where one could get tea, coffee or cigarettes or anything like that, except a licensed house. If there were other establishments that would be open at an early hour in the morning, it would be all right. If the Minister would come to any accommodation for an early-morning opening on fair days, I would be willing to support the Bill.

I was delighted a few moments ago to hear Deputy O'Connell say that he did not hear of anybody yet asking to have an all-Sunday opening. I have an amendment tabled to have part-Sunday opening for rural districts, especially such as are enjoyed here in Dublin at present. I hope to have the support of Deputy O'Connell, and those who think with him when my amendment comes up. I am certain that those people, when Deputy O'Connell says it is right, will follow him and that my amendment will be accepted. It would not surprise me if it were left an open question, it is such a just one.

I am rather slow to enter into this discussion for various reasons. I want to state that I will strongly support the Minister for Justice in what he has done or suggested. Deputy Johnson has put the case from my point of view very clearly. I have no desire to prevent the working man, or any other man, from getting a pint of stout or a pint of porter or a glass of whiskey. Nor am I going to stand up here, and say that a pint of porter or stout or a glass of whiskey will do a man any harm. But during many years I have seen the evils of intemperance. Anyone in my position must take up a strong attitude when they see the hospitals half filled from the effects of drunkenness, when they see so many cases in the asylums, and when they see the number of women and children starving as the result of drink. This thing makes you determined that, if ever the opportunity arises, you will at all events do your best to restrict the time during which men can get drink.

At one time I lived in York Street, and on Saturday nights I have had experiences of drunken people. I have had experience also in hospitals because on Saturday nights there we had to put on extra staffs to deal with the women who had received injuries in Saturday-night fights. I was living in a congested part of the city, and I may tell you there was not much use in going to bed when the public houses were emptied at 11 o'clock, because then the rows began, and the screeches and howlings and yellings in the streets behind were something dreadful. I do not want to approach this subject generally. Take, as an ordinary case, that of a man who was in hospital a short time ago. He was not there from the direct effects of drink. I asked him how much porter did he take in the day, and he replied: "Ten pints." I said to him: "How much do you pay a pint?" and he said, "8d." That meant an expenditure of 80d. each day on porter, and that multiplied by seven indicated an expenditure of over £2 5s. 0d. each week. I asked the man how much he had in wages, and he replied: "£4 10s. 0d." He paid over £2 5s. 0d. in drink and then there was only about £2 5s. 0d. to go to the support of his wife and six children, and to feed himself. That is only one instance out of thousands that I could give.

As Deputy Johnson has stated, one does not contend that every working man is like that, but we want to prevent the minority of working men from injuring themselves. The large amount expended on drink is but a small thing compared with the terrible evil men are bringing on their wives and families. My friend, Deputy Cooper, says that the longer the men spend in the public houses in the evening the better. He considers that a good thing because the men have no homes—no proper homes to go to. I know from personal experience that very many of those people have homes that no one could go into, because they do not give their wages so that their homes could be kept properly. No one can say more than I can in regard to the wretched conditions of many homes in Dublin. In thousands of cases these homes could be made respectable and they could be fitted up in such a way that a man could enjoy the company of his own family on a Saturday night, instead of remaining in the public house. I contend that the longer public houses are kept open on a Saturday night, the more men will drink and the more they will spend the money that should be given to their families.

I want to say a word about the position of affairs in the Six Counties. I was up there during the summer, and I was also up there last year when the change was being made. There was a good deal of dissatisfaction in regard to the change brought about by the introduction of the Intoxicating Liquor Act there. The hours of opening are from 10 in the morning until 9 at night, or from 10 o'clock in the morning until 10 at night in places with 4,000 of a population. Bona fide travellers have been done away with. I was in a seaside resort where in one day there would be thousands of people on holiday, or coming in on some excursion. I was never so much struck as I was this year by the effects of the early closing at 9 o'clock. Up to that hour there was not the slightest sign of alcoholism amongst any of the people who were enjoying themselves at the seaside. As soon as the publichouses were closed—at 9 o'clock—a little bit of rowdyism began. In former years, when the publichouses were open till 11 o'clock, it was impossible to get any sleep after the people who were drinking were turned out.

I want to say also that the evil effects of excessive drinking are not seen only in the case of the labouring men or the working men. They are seen in other places too. My own experience of the country has been that— I want to say this definitely—where a publichouse was situated at a corner in a rural area or in a small village, the farmers and workmen of that area were generally demoralised, or a great number of them, at all events. The farmers went to the publichouse and gave up attending to their business, and the labourers who assembled there in the evening took to drinking as well.

I do not want anyone to think that I am making too strong a case, but from my experiences, even from boyhood, watching the publichouse situated in a country village or on the corner of a road, considerable harm was done. The boys who should be engaged in athletics were collected in the evening in the publichouse and they ruined themselves there; the farmer left his own place—put himself out of it—and left his wife and children in poverty. I wish to state that I will support the Minister in anything that will cause a restriction of the hours, as far as the sale of drink is concerned. I should like to see the Minister go a little further. I should like to have seen him opening the publichouses from 10 o'clock to 12 o'clock, close them till 5 o'clock in the evening, and close finally at 8 o'clock at night. That would be the most satisfactory position as far as I am concerned. But then I know that one has to take into consideration the people engaged in the sale of drink. I know we cannot get everything we want in this world, and therefore I am quite prepared to compromise. In my opinion, however, the Minister has not gone far enough.

Before the section is disposed of, I wanted to clear the air with regard to some misapprehension amongst the occupants of the Labour Benches about the holding of fairs. Of course, the cattle trade is only known intimately to the people engaged in it. It would not be known, for instance, to Deputy Johnson or Deputy O'Connell.

I may inform the Deputy that I have about 15 years' experience of the cattle trade.

It all depends upon where the Deputy had his experience— upon where he got it.

Fairs and markets.

The custom in the cattle trade, especially in the more remote towns and districts, and the more backward areas, is to have the fairs held as early as possible. That is a matter of necessity, as many of the people attending the fairs have to get away at an early hour. Fairs must be held early as a matter of absolute necessity. That is all the more necessary in the case of Munster towns, particularly in the extreme south-west of Kerry and in the west of Limerick. Buyers attend from Dublin and other cities, and the cattle have to be sent to Dublin and elsewhere the same day. The business of a fair does not begin and end at 6 or 7 o'clock in the morning, when the cattle are being sold. The cattle have to be sent long distances and they have to be moved from the trucks. Even Deputy Johnson, with his 15 years' experience, does not believe, I am sure, that cattle should be left a day or even two days lying in trucks. We must have early fairs if we are to have the cattle sold and if we are to have buyers attending, and we must give facilities for the removal of the cattle. The more backward a town or district is, and the worse the train service to it is, the earlier must the fairs be held.

We have very little choice in the matter. While the people are prepared to buy in their own interest and sell in their own interest, the fairs must be held accordingly. I am not at all impressed by those mock heroics with regard to the interests of the workingman and his comfort. There is somebody behind who is not named in all these pleas for universal early opening and late closing. I do not think we are quite honest, and we are not saying what is at the back of our minds. The interests of the working people are not the only consideration. I hope I have put the position in regard to the necessity for early fairs quite clearly and that Labour will accept it. It is not a question of choice but of necessity.

Mr. O'CONNELL

Perhaps I would shock Deputy Gorey by telling him how long ago it is since I had experience of fairs. I am not quite convinced by his argument. The Deputy has not told us what the arrangements were and how they work in the case of pigs. Is it different in the case of pigs from what it is in the case of cattle?

Pigs have a much shorter route to travel than cattle.

Mr. O'CONNELL

The Deputy has told us what the arrangements are at present in regard to railways and so forth, and that the animals must be railed at a certain hour in order to get to some place at another hour, but I am convinced that these arrangements could be made more suitable than they are. But, apart from that altogether, I take it that this is the position: that he asks for a general opening on fair day mornings. If there is a general opening on fair day mornings I think Deputy Gorey will agree that more people than those on whose behalf he is speaking will be given more opportunities for getting drink than otherwise they would have. Again I think we will have to apply Deputy Johnson's principle, that for the sake of preventing that minority from abusing certain privileges a sacrifice will have to be made by the others.

In order to prevent the bad boys in the town from getting up early on a fair morning?

Mr. O'CONNELL

There may be more bad boys than the bad boys in the towns. The principle of the law at the moment, whereby a man who comes a distance of three or five miles and is a bona fide traveller is entitled to get drink at any hour, is not voided under this Bill, and I think it is quite sufficient to meet the case referred to by Deputy Gorey. Assuming that these fairs are continued at the same hour as formerly, it would encourage other people to open shops where refreshments such as tea and coffee would be sold on fair mornings, and that would be a great advantage to all concerned.

As far as I can judge from the arguments put forward, and also from what I know of the trade, there is no general desire on the part of the trader or anybody else to open his premises at seven o'clock in the morning. I have not heard such a demand from any trader, and I do not think the people in the majority of the towns and rural districts, and especially in my district, want publichouses open at seven o'clock, unless perhaps on special occasions, when early fairs are held. These early fairs are not held in any part of the country that I know of, but in districts in the South and in the West where cattle have to be railed long distances, fairs are held early in the morning, and I think that under the Bill as it stands exemption can be granted in such cases. So far as opening generally at seven o'clock is concerned, there is no demand for it so far as I know. It would satisfy the public generally if the public-houses were opened at 9 o'clock in the morning, and remained open until 10 o'clock at night. I think that is a general proposition that would appeal to most of the people, and I am certainly inclined to support it.

took the Chair at this stage.

The process we have adopted of taking a number of these amendments and throwing them together is having this difficulty, already apparent in the discussion, that there are two distinct questions before the Committee at the present moment, and I suggest that the two distinct questions that are embodied in this amendment, on which five or six other amendments are consequential, might be put separately to the Committee. I do not see how exactly that is to be done, and that is a matter that I am suggesting to you, Acting Chairman. One of the amendments deals with the question as to the hour at the beginning of the day, and the other as to the hour at the end on the Saturday night. I am not going to touch upon the first, but I want to deal briefly with the second. I am supporting the provisions of this Bill, and am against the amendment—I will not add for the reasons given by Deputy Johnson and Deputy Sir James Craig, with all of which I agree very heartily. I think that there will be as a consequence of a shorter time on Saturday night a considerable amount of inconvenience caused to a number of persons who have not abused, and would not be likely to abuse, the extension of the time asked for in the amendment. But I think these persons might reasonably be called upon to abridge their liberty in order to curtail the licence likely to be taken by certain other persons.

But there is one aspect, and I do not remember anybody having drawn attention to it, to which I would like to draw attention quite briefly now. When the Bill was before the Dáil on Second Reading, I asked the Minister if something could not be brought in to annul the unnecessary rigidity of the provisions of the Bill, and here is a definite and particular case. At the present moment, and for the next five or six months, the extra limitation of hours on Saturday night as embodied in the Bill will hurt nobody. But when we come to what is known as Summer Time it will cause a considerable amount of inconvenience. Deputy Sir James Craig spoke of the desire of keeping people out of public-houses and clubs and of giving them other forms of pleasure, and he mentioned sport amongst one of them. It is known that during the summer months sport, in a variety of forms, is engaged in until after the closing hour named in the Bill. Therefore, I suggest that here is a definite case where the unnecessary rigidity of the Bill might, to some extent, be relaxed so that the hours that will prevail during the ordinary winter months should not be the same as the hours that will prevail during the months of the so-called Summer Time. I suggest that that might engage the attention of the Minister. However that may be, or whatever the effect of it may be, I just wish to say that I will stand by the provisions of the Bill rather than by the extra time asked for in the amendment of one half hour at the end of the week.

I suggest some method might be devised, seeing that we are disposing of a large number of amendments, that would enable us to deal with one question at a time, even though two questions be embodied in an amendment, because I think it is desirable that each question should be separately disposed of, inasmuch as that particular question may not arise on a subsequent amendment.

It seems necessary that we should all express our opinions on this matter, which appears to be creating a difference amongst Deputies in the Dáil. Personally, I am not a believer in the idea that people are going to be made sober by Act of Parliament. If we are to consider the moderation of the Bill that the Minister for Justice has put before us, I think we may take it that he, also, has recognised that. This particular amendment proposes to extend the time of opening on a Saturday evening beyond the hour named in the Bill. Saturday is a peculiar day of the week for the reason that on that day practically all industries in the Saorstát close down at an early hour. The ordinary human tendency, in my judgment, is that if a man is a teetotaller, or, at least, if he is not inclined to drink, there is very little temptation to him to enter a publichouse. On the other hand, if there is a prolonged period of opening on a Saturday evening, and if people go into a publichouse to have one drink, the long opening is apt to lead to a continuation of drinking throughout a very considerable period. From the publican's point of view, and, indeed, from the public point of view, I think that the proposed restriction on the hours of opening on Saturday would be of considerable importance to a great many people, because the restriction would help them to avoid the temptation of going into publichouses. If the publichouses were not open, these people would probably go home at a reasonable hour on a Saturday evening to enjoy the companionship of their own homes. On this subject anyone who wished to do so could indulge in a great deal of cant. There is no doubt about it that, where you have long opening hours, the temptation to enter publichouses is particularly strong in the case of people possessed of a congenial temperament. The Minister for Justice, in fixing the hour for closing on a Saturday evening that he has named in the Bill, has not, I think, done anything unreasonable. What I might call the extreme teetotallers will, I am certain, consider that the Minister has erred on the side of moderation. I have heard Deputy Gorey speak at some length on the subject of opening publichouses at an early hour on fair and market mornings. I cannot claim to have any great experience of the needs of the people who attend fairs and markets, particularly those who arrive in country towns at a very early hour in the morning. It seems to me, however, from what I know, that a great deal of harm is frequently done at fairs and markets held at a very early hour, by reason of the fact that people who travel long distances to attend them take a moderate amount of drink on empty stomachs. I think that is much more injurious to them than if they took four times the amount of drink in the afternoon when they had ample food in their stomachs to absorb the liquid refreshments. Notwithstanding my want of experience, I have, on occasion, seen the evil effects of early morning drinking on men who had travelled long distances to fairs.

These were men who drank "special" fair whiskey, or "chain lightning stuff," as we call it in the country.

Deputy Gorey is a man of very considerable physique. But I venture to say that if he were to indulge—as a matter of fact, I do not know whether he does or not—even in a moderate amount of intoxicating liquor on an empty stomach at seven o'clock in the morning, his business at the fair that day would not be conducted in the business-like fashion that we would ordinarily expect from the Deputy. If the Farmers' Party, and farmers as a whole, consider it necessary that publichouses should open at seven o'clock in the morning, then I think a provision should be added that, in addition to the right to supply intoxicating liquor, meals should also be provided for the people who attend fairs.

I am not an advocate of interference by the legislature with the liberty of people carrying on business in any shape or form. It has been shown, in the case of previous Bills, that it is necessary in some cases that the legislature and the Government should restrict certain facilities, particularly in connection with the opening of licensed houses. I heartily oppose the amendment to this section on the grounds that no injustice has been done to the public. As far as the publican and his assistants are concerned, I think they would be the better of having the leisure which the Bill proposes to give them on Saturday evenings. I think also it will prove beneficial to the people outside, who would otherwise spend a riotous time in the interval allowed them between the hour proposed by the amendment and the hour named in the Bill by the Minister.

I just wish to say a few words in order to put Deputy Hewat's mind at rest on some points that he has raised. At the outset, I may say that I never drank in my life. I do not know what the taste of drink is.

Then I suggest you are a bad critic on this question.

I have been attending fairs regularly for the last thirty years, and during all that time I do not think I have ever seen a man drunk before ten o'clock in the morning.

What was the hour of opening in your part of the country?

Seven o'clock in the morning, but I believe they used to be able to get drink at five o'clock. I do know, however, from my own experience and from the experience of other people attending fairs, that many a life has been saved because of the fact that men coming to fairs and getting soaked through on a wet morning had been able to get a glass of whiskey. That I know to be a fact, and I can say that it is the experience of every man engaged in the cattle trade. I have seen no abuses in my time from the exemption which allowed men in such circumstances to get a glass of whiskey. I know that many a life has been saved because of the fact that men who arrived at a fair in clothes wringing wet were able to get a good glass of whiskey, not the "chain lightning stuff" that Deputy Hewat talked about. That is my experience, and I believe many doctors would confirm it.

I am quite in agreement with the suggestion made by Deputy Gorey, and supported by Deputy Heffernan, with regard to the opening hours, and if the Minister undertakes to embody such a suggestion in the Bill it quite satisfies what I have in mind. But I am not concerned with a general opening. I am concerned with what I am informed by my constituents is a very real necessity on certain days of the week in the county of Cavan. Now I come to the end of a perfect day. Deputy Sir James Craig made a speech which was very affecting, but it was not a speech for temperance reform; it was a speech for prohibition, just as the speeches of several Deputies have been speeches for prohibition. Deputy Sir James Craig suggests that as an alternative to this last half-hour in the evening, some kind of sport should be substituted. But if those who are turned out from the publichouses at half-past nine are of the kind that we have been told they are, I would like to know what particular kind of sport they could be expected to indulge in, unless perhaps it was "Blind Man's Buff," which would be the right kind. I think that the Minister for Justice over-exaggerates the potentialities of that half-hour. He wants us to believe that that half-hour, from half-past nine to ten o'clock on Saturday night, is the one bulwark that stands between civilisation and chaos in this country. We are told that it is the last half-hour that is always the worst. Will he not be aggravating the evils of that half-hour by making the man who would perhaps have been drinking leisurely from nine to ten, and consuming very moderate quantities, feel that he had to increase his pace in order to consume sufficient to carry on for the remaining half-hour after he had left the publichouse?

I am not speaking for the workers; I am not pleading for any particular class. I say that it is a general inconvenience for those who are not prohibitionists, who are not absolute total abstainers, who are in the habit of taking some refreshments in the evening, and it is a most unnecessary inconvenience, unnecessary in the interests of sobriety, to make a difference between Saturday and any other day in the week. I rose mainly, as I said, to indicate that I was quite willing to accept the suggestion made by Deputy Gorey in regard to the opening hours. I urge, further, the consideration of making the hour of closing the same every day in the week, with the exception of Sunday, because I think that there will be no material difference in the amount of drink consumed, but that otherwise there will be an irritating and unnecessary inconvenience caused to the general public. Deputy Johnson made a false analogy about methylated spirits. I think the analogy is one which even Deputy Johnson, if he were arguing against the case he is making out, would scout with scorn. It would be perfectly applicable if the proposal was prohibition of the sale of intoxicating liquor. I believe that the sale of methylated spirits for the purpose of drinking is prohibited, but Deputy Johnson used that as an analogy to prove the equity of the proposal before the Dáil. There is really no analogy, and I think it is misleading the Dáil to bring up this kind of false analogy. But I do urge again, as responsible for the amendment that is before the Dáil, that the Minister should consider the real material need in certain districts for these particular facilities in the morning which are not met by the suggestion of exemption, or the suggestion, which, I think, is in amendment 10. It is a more cumbersome and an unnecessarily cumbersome way of meeting them. But it is a real necessity that, I think, should be catered for. I do ask for further consideration by the Dáil with regard to making the hours of closing on week days the same all the week round.

Deputy Milroy has explained that when proposing that there be a general opening hour of 7 a.m. he really meant that there should be a general opening hour of 9 a.m., with exceptions in special circumstances, the special circumstances being the holding of fairs or markets that bring large numbers of people to market towns, say, on half-a-dozen occasions during the year. I have endeavoured to point out that any reasonable case arising out of this argument relating to fairs and markets is adequately met by the existingbona fide provisions, and by the provisions which enable special exemptions to be issued where the circumstances seem to call for it. That argument has been ignored rather than met. It has been waived aside, and people have continued to wax pathetic over the plight of unfortunate men travelling long distances at early hours.

Or short distances. They are in the fair early.

Well, it does seem to me, dealing with the case of short distances and people who are notbona fide travellers, that if their womenfolk give them a decent meal before they go out they ought to be able to carry on until 9 a.m.

These people start at 4 o'clock in the morning, very often.

I think I know as much on the subject as the Deputy, and the number of people who are notbona fide travellers, mind you, who live less than three miles from a town and start at 4 o'clock in the morning, is extremely small indeed. The Deputy must not assume that he is talking to an audience which only knows Grafton Street and College Green. He puts the case of a man living less than three miles from the fair town and starting before 4 o'clock in the morning. The next time that that man is in town would he bring him to the Lobby here and introduce him to Deputies as a curiosity?

I could have shown you a hundred of them yesterday morning.

Perhaps the Minister may not be aware that in a good many districts the fairs start in the summer at daylight, and in the winter at six o'clock.

ACTING-CHAIRMAN

Deputy D'Alton must not introduce an argument in the middle of the Minister's speech.

Deputy D'Alton is always interesting. It is a little surprising that the Deputies urging this amendment are, for the most part, the farmers' representatives.

On a point of order. Not one of the farmers have urged this amendment.

No, but they have advocated an earlier opening on fair mornings.

Only on one morning of the month.

I am one farmer who is against it, and I am a member of the National Party.

I would have thought that they would be likely to get better prices for produce without this particular amendment, and the important thing is to get better prices for their produce, so that the unprecedented depression we are undergoing in that particular industry would be, to that extent, relieved.

Perhaps the Minister would deal with the question of the weather, which is as important as the hard times.

The publichouse has been mentioned for tobacco, matches—I do not know whether safety pins came in—and for shelter. In most towns where fairs are held there are such things as hotels, in which people can get tobacco, matches, safety pins, shelter, and even food and drink, before 9 a.m., under the provisions of this Bill, but not alcoholic drink, unless they arebona fide travellers. If the Deputy, through the branches of his Union, would see there is reasonable shelter at the places at which fairs are held it would be a very useful thing. I am concentrating at the moment on the sale of alcoholic drink before 9 a.m. and I do not want the issue confused or obscured by the introduction of references to tobacco, safety pins or shelter.

Neither do I.

People waxed pathetic and eloquent over the Saturday night half hour. It seems to me there was very little occasion for that and very little advertence in that to what the actual effect of the proposal would be. The position at the moment throughout the country is that on Saturday evenings in cities and towns, where the population is over 5,000—I cannot say just from recollection how many such cities and towns there are— the closing hour is 10 p.m., and elsewhere 9 p.m. The Bill proposes a closing hour of 9.30, so that for by far the greater portion of the country, the proposal in the Bill is an extension of half an hour on Saturday evenings. That may be wise or unwise. If it is unwise, the clamour should have come from the prohibitionists and not from those people, the whole tenor of whose remarks was that it was a hardship and an unwarranted interference with the liberty of the individual. What? To extend by half an hour the facilities for pouring alcoholic liquor down his throat on Saturday evening. That is what it means to the greater portion of the country. It is true that for cities and towns with a population of over 5,000 it is a restriction of half an hour. That is to bring about a reasonable uniformity throughout the country and in recognition of the fact—and it is a fact despite anything that has been said to the contrary—that there is a tendency to rowdyism and disorder and extravagance on Saturday night, because of the fact that people get their wages at the week-end and because of the fact that towards the week-end there does come that kind of holiday spirit in which men are inclined to break laws and spend more than their actual circumstances warrant or justify. These hours are reasonable; the vast majority of Deputies recognise that. These hours constitute an advance on the hours which are operative and effective law throughout the country at the moment—from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 9.30 p.m. on Saturday. These are the proposals. I ask the Dáil to accept them and to reject the three or four amendments on the grounds that these amendments have been inadequately supported and inadequately recommended to the Dail; that such arguments as have been advanced in their favour are flimsy, unreal, and that many of them were based on the assumption—which is not true—that the hours in this Bill are a further restriction, when in fact for a greater part of the country they are an advance. I commend the hours to the Dáil and ask the rejection of the amendment.

I think the Minister has met our point very unfairly in regard to the opening hours.

On a point of order, did you not say that the Minister was going to conclude?

ACTING-CHAIRMAN

I did not say that.

I am not concerned with the Minister's experience of fairs. I do not know anything about his experience of fairs. I do not think he knows much more about my experience of fairs. I have never gone to the trouble to find out what experience he has of fairs, but it is very interesting to find out that he has gone to the trouble of finding what experience I have. I have had considerable experience. If the Minister has had the same experience I hope that he knows something about fairs. He makes rather light suggestions about what the farmers might do themselves; they might put up shelters; they might do a number of things; but there are very definite limitations on the work of the Farmers' Union as there is to the work of every other union, and we must take the actual conditions that exist and deal with these conditions as they stand. The Minister has placed me practically in the position of having to vote for these amendments and against the section, whereas I am largely in sympathy with the section and against the greater portion of the amendments. That is largely due to the way in which the amendments have been put before the House. It has been already objected to by Deputy Figgis. It is not fair or reasonable to put these amendments in this way. The Minister makes these ridiculous statements about the farmers who are notbona fide travellers getting sufficient food from their wives before leaving their houses in the morning. The whole question is that no matter where a man goes he cannot get these meals. When he reaches the fair, he arrives at five or six in the morning. He is standing in the fair for three or four hours before he can get anything to eat or drink.

A DEPUTY

That is not true of some fairs.

It is true of the fairs that we have in the South of Ireland. The Minister talks about matches and cigarettes. As a matter of fact the greater portion of the shops sell them over the same counter at which they sell whiskey and porter, and the Minister knows that quite well. He is simply carrying on a system of special pleading for the things which he is advocating. He knows these conditions exist in the country towns quite well. I do not know if it is any use urging any further on the Minister the points dealt with by Deputy Gorey and which have been strongly supported by the other Deputies on these benches. But I think we have made a reasonable statement of our case, and I think we have a reasonable case, and if the Minister persists in standing on his views, he has not treated us fairly in the matter.

Would I be in order in speaking? I have got up three times.

ACTING-CHAIRMAN

Deputy Gorey has got up three times and interrupted more than once. He is not in order.

We are not now discussing Amendment 10 which deals with the question of fairs and markets.

ACTING-CHAIRMAN

It may be useful to explain how the matter stands. We are bound in this discussion by the action of the Chair when this amendment was last under discussion on the 2nd of July last. On that occasion the question put was that the words proposed to be deleted, that is to say, all words after the word "day" in line 21, stand part of the section. When I am putting the question those who wish the hours of closing that are down in the Bill will say "Tá." Those who wish for a further opportunity of discussing Deputy Milroy's amendment and the consequential amendments will vote "Nil."

When four or five amendments are to be considered together as consequential on the fate of one amendment, and some Deputy in a later amendment deals with a particular phase of the question to which he desires attention to be drawn exclusive of other phases, I suggest that it is more than just that different aspects of the amendment should be put separately to the Dáil, and we should have two occasions of voting here. It does not affect my vote, but I think it would be just if that were done.

ACTING-CHAIRMAN

Deputy Figgis should have put that point before the Ceann Comhairle when that question was proposed. A question having been proposed to the Dáil, it is not in the power of the Chair to vary or alter it unless it is withdrawn. I think if Deputy Figgis were to see the Ceann Comhairle some way of isolating any particular issue in which he is interested on the Report Stage could be devised. I am bound by the action of the Chair on the 2nd of July. The question now is that all words after the word "day" in line 21 stand part of the sub-section. If this is carried all the amendments, with the exception of 5, which has already been carried, down to 9 will fall.

Amendment 13 was ruled by the Speaker on the last occasion.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 48; Níl, 19.

  • Earnán Altún.
  • Earnán de Blaghd.
  • Séamus Breathnach.
  • Próinsias Bulfin.
  • Sir James Craig.
  • Máighréad Ní Choileáin Bean Uí Dhrisceoil.
  • Patrick Egan.
  • Darrell Figgis.
  • Desmond Fitzgerald.
  • William Hewat.
  • Seosamh Mac 'a Bhrighde.
  • Liam T. Mac Cosgair.
  • Tomás Mac Eoin.
  • Pádraig Mac Fadáin.
  • Risteárd Mac Fheorais.
  • Patrick McGilligan.
  • Seán Mac Giobúin.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Liam Mag Aonghusa.
  • Pádraig Mag Ualghairg.
  • James Sproule Myles.
  • John T. Nolan.
  • Peadar O hAodha.
  • Mícheál O hAonghusa.
  • Seán O Bruadair.
  • Risteárd O Conaill.
  • Tomás O Conaill.
  • Conchubhair O Conghaile.
  • Séamus O Cruadhlaoich. Aodh O Cúlacháin.
  • Liam O Daimhín.
  • Eoghan O Dochartaigh.
  • Séamus O Dóláin.
  • Peadar O Dubhghaill.
  • Pádraig O Dubhthaigh.
  • Eamon O Dúgáin.
  • Donchadh O Guaire.
  • Aindriú O Láimhín.
  • Séamus O Leadáin.
  • Fionán O Loingsigh.
  • Risteárd O Maolchatha.
  • Séamus O Murchadha.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (Gaillimh).
  • Seán O Súilleabháin.
  • Caoimhghín O hUigín.
  • Seán Príomhdhail.
  • Liam Thrift.

Níl

  • Pádraig F. Baxter.
  • John Conlan.
  • Louis J. D'Alton.
  • John Daly.
  • Henry J. Finlay.
  • Connor Hogan.
  • Pádraig Mac Fhlannchadha.
  • Seán Mac Giolla 'n Ríogh.
  • Patrick McKenna.
  • Tomás de Nógla.
  • Criostóir O Broin.
  • Próinsias O Cathail.
  • Seán O Duinnín.
  • Mícheál O hIfearnáin.
  • Seán O Laidhin.
  • Domhnall O Mocháin.
  • Domhnall O Muirgheasa.
  • Tadhg O Murchadha.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (An Clár).
Question declared carried.

ACTING-CHAIRMAN

The question is carried and Deputy Milroy's amendment is lost. Amendments 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9 cannot be moved.

On a point of order, was the amendment moved?

ACTING-CHAIRMAN

It was moved on the 2nd of July. The question was then put in this form. The Deputy must not rise while I am on my feet.

I move Amendment 10:—

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

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

This amendment was dealt with in previous amendments, and the arguments in its favour were used in connection with the amendment that has just been defeated. I propose in this amendment to remove what has been an anomaly. No doubt the Minister will tell me that we have Section 11 of the Act of 1874 unrepealed, and that the District Justice inherits the authority that formerly gave two magistrates power to give licences in cases of exceptional necessity, and that it can be still availed of for the purpose of getting occasional licences for early fairs and markets. That meant that one or two licensees in a town might secure that occasional licence for a fair or a market day. It was an anomalous position to have exceptional circumstances dealt with in that way. My amendment gives authority to the District Justice to order an earlier opening hour for towns. It is the sensible and the practical way to deal with this matter. I have seen people come to fairs at 4 and 5 o'clock in the morning in wintry weather and under circumstances of great stress. It does not matter whether they came three miles or thirty-three miles. They would have to stay out on the street until 9 o'clock. They will have no opportunity of getting refreshments, whether intoxicants or otherwise. I think it is preposterous to prevent their getting refreshments. I consider the arrangement provided under the Bill is altogether unsatisfactory. I think my amendment is a reasonable one and that it cannot offend the susceptibilities of any section, no matter how extreme they are. I think it is an amendment that all Deputies can support in the circumstances.

It does not interfere with the Minister's desire to make the Bill one that will be creditable to himself. To my mind, it will immensely improve the Bill from the point of view of commonsense and the requirements of the community, and it makes it fair to everybody concerned. I think I have said enough in advocacy of the amendment, and I hope that the House will concur in adopting it and in incorporating it in the Bill.

This amendment meets my viewpoint, except that the method of getting this privilege is rather vexatious and a bit roundabout. If permission were given for the year, or something of that sort, it would be simpler than having to ask permission for every fair day from the District Justice. I want to dispel some illusions There are not generally many illusions in the mind of the Minister, but there seem to be some in his mind about fairs. His knowledge of fairs is not derived from practical experience. My experiences were practical. He talks about liking to see a man up at three or four o'clock in the morning. The Minister must be very foolish or very green about these matters. I am not talking about a man who drives into a fair either in a trap or a motor car with the hood up, and with, perhaps, two or three guaranteed waterproof coats on him. I am, however, talking of the man who has to get up at half-past twelve or one o'clock in the morning, as I had to do when a boy, collect cattle and drive them seven or eight miles to a fair. Although such people are generally poor farmers or farmers' boys, they deserve as much sympathy as anybody else. This little amendment will go a long way to meet the case of a man who has no overcoat, and many of those attending fairs have not overcoats, but have the rain running out of their clothes and over their boots. That is not an uncommon thing. I have never seen early morning abuses. This amendment will go a long way to meet my views. I, and the other members of this party, have been absolutely against the other amendments, but as this one deals with only one day in the month, we are supporting it.

I would like to say a few words in support of the amendment, which I think is fair and reasonable. Most of the Deputies here from the West and Midlands are aware of the fact that fairs, especially in the West, are held at very early hours. I attend fairs in most of the western towns and I have known them to start at 2 o'clock, especially since electric lighting was introduced into some of the towns. People bring in livestock much earlier than they did previously. There has been an agitation to regulate the opening of fairs, but under the British régime that was not done. Lately representations have been made to the Department of Agriculture to have legislation introduced to fix proper hours for fairs and markets. In the West of Ireland people have to travel ten, fifteen, and sometimes twenty miles to fairs, and they usually put up in the houses in which they deal. They go with friends to some houses, where they are known, and get some light refreshment. They sell their cattle early but cannot load them until 7 o'clock. The bank does not open until 10 o'clock. Many of these men have not money in their pockets, and unless they have people to help them they will starve. I think the Minister should allow this amendment to be inserted in the Bill.

The case of the man who gets up at 12 or 1 o'clock in the morning, collects his cattle off the land, and drives them seven or ten miles to the fair, is met, as I have said before, by thebona fide provisions, which enable a man who has travelled anything upwards of three miles, to get a drink at any hour of the day or night, with the exceptions which the Bill proposes—namely, on Christmas Day, Good Friday, or during the period from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays. I take it that fairs will not be held on Sundays. I do not know whether fairs will be held on Christmas Day or Good Friday. I have known fairs to be held on Good Friday.

I think not now.

That is right. Therefore the case of a man attending a fair who is abona fide traveller, is adequately provided for. I ask Deputies to remember that we are dealing only with the case of people attending fairs, who are not bona fide travellers. At any rate, let us not talk about people getting up at one or two o'clock in the morning and driving cattle eight or ten miles to a fair. Their case is met and needs no statutory provision. We are dealing with a man who lives near a town or within three miles outside it. My case is that if his housekeeper, if his wife or servant, sees that he gets a fair meal before going to a fair or market, he will be able to carry on until 9 a.m.

The man himself will.

Supposing that is traversed, supposing we are told that he will perish before 9 a.m., no matter what kind of meal he gets before setting out, I reply that there is part of the existing law not interfered with— that is Section 11 of the Licensing Act of 1874—which enables exemption orders to be granted for markets and fairs. Take these two provisions—the provision which enables a person who travels more than three miles to get a drink at any hour, and the provision which enables the District Justices to grant exemption orders where they are satisfied that these are necessary for some special occasion—I consider that there is nothing more to meet. I do not want to follow Deputy Gorey into statistics as to the number of lives saved by glasses of whiskey any more than I would attempt to follow Deputy Sir James Craig, or any other Deputy, into statistics as to the number of lives lost by glasses of whiskey. I do suggest, however, that there is nothing to be gained by overpainting a picture or by telling of the piteous fate of a man who has driven tens of miles in a storm to a fair and who is in danger of expiring in the town before the publichouses open.

That is a false case, and every Deputy on the Farmers' Benches knows it is a false case, and when it comes to swopping experiences of fairs, and the rest of it, there is nothing in particular to be gained by people quoting personal experiences. I have had enough personal and practical experience to know just how false a case it is. What then is sought? That because there is a fair or market in the town, to which a limited number of people come in from country districts—some from a distance of over three miles, and some from a distance under three miles—that every publichouse in that town is to be entitled to sell drink promiscuously from an early hour in the morning to anyone who may chance to develop an appetite for it. That is what is sought by the amendment. It is unsound, and it is unnecessary in so far as that case is met by the provisions of the existing law.

The idea that because there is a fair or market in the town, all publichouses are to throw open their doors from an early hour and sell drink to anyone, is not a sound thing, or a good thing in its tendency. Deputy McGoldrick suggested that it was an unfair thing that special publichouses, situated near the scene of operations, should get an exemption order, and that the remainder of the licensed establishments of the town would not get it. That brings us down close to the question of what is the thing that is aimed at. Whose interests are pleaded? Is this provision sought to be put in in the interest of the licensed traders or in the interests of the unfortunate people who are in danger of perishing in the street before the publichouses are opened? I would like a straight reply to that question—whether this amendment is put down in the interests of licensed traders, or in the interests of unfortunate people who are in danger of expiring from need of stimulants. If I am told it is in the interests of people who are in danger of expiring from need of stimulants before 9 a.m., then I ask in what respect Section 11 of the Licensing Act, 1874, falls short of the requirements, and in what respect, for people who have travelled any considerable distance, the existingbona fide regulations fall short of the requirements.

The Deputy moved the amendment with a catch in his voice for the unfortunate general public, the unfortunate person whose business in life makes it necessary for him to get up in the small hours of the morning and drive his live stock for sale. I suggest that that amendment is not in the interests of these people at all, but is in the interests of the person who is not generally regarded as so unfortunate, and who has not to get up at an early hour in the morning, or drive any live stock, but wants to avail of the pretext or excuse of the holding of a fair in his town to throw his doors open at an early hour and sell alcoholic drink to any person who crosses his threshold.

If I were in favour of this amendment, I would have proposed a similar amendment to make it possible for the street sweepers of the city of Dublin, who, not once a month, or once a week, have to get up at an early hour in the morning and may be in need of stimulants, and who, night after night, are subject to the buffets of the weather and the cold. Equally they think they require stimulants after their night's work. Newspaper men, for instance, working at night, often feel they require a nip in the same way, but it is night after night with them, and not once a month or once a week. If I thought there was any real value in this amendment, I would have put down something equivalent, to secure that the night workers in the cities would be entitled to save themselves from the weather.

I would ask the Minister for Justice to clear up a technical point which has raised a doubt in my mind. I think Deputy McGoldrick quoted an old Act, and the Minister also quoted, to show that under this old Act it was possible for some exemption order to be issued. I do not profess to know anything about the way the law works, but it appears to me that if we are to pass an Act in the year 1924 saying that from and after the passing of that Act it shall not be proper for any person to sell or expose for sale intoxicating liquor, except within certain hours, that an Act passed in 1874 allowing exemption would be in effect repealed, unless we insert some provision in this present Bill which would make permanent the Act, which is, I say, in effect repealed by Section 1. I would like that matter cleared up, though it appears to be going against my own conviction. But I think it is not right we should pass any legislation here under any misapprehension if we can avoid it.

took the Chair.

The Minister in charge of the Bill has put to me some pertinent questions — first, is this amendment in the interests of the trade, or is it in the interests of the public? I may tell the Minister that I hold no brief for the trade, and that I have no interest in that trade, either directly or indirectly. I may tell him then that the amendment is, to my mind, in the interests not alone of the community within the three-milebona fide area, but is intended as well to dissipate and dispel what is considered the inequitable and impartial treatment of individuals holding licenses in particular towns. I want to have this legislation put on an equitable and honest basis. As regards hardship, I prefer to allow a District Justice who is conversant with the area to decide whether there is going to be hardship or not, than having the Minister or Deputies decide on abstract principles. If the District Justice decides there is going to be hardship, he has sketched out for him an equitable way for dealing with that hardship, and not the way which it has been dealt with in the past. It is to get rid of these things that I have put down this amendment; that is my object in this amendment. The Minister stigmatised on the last occasion here the arguments produced in support of this amendment as either muddled thinking or dishonesty.

I did not use those words.

I beg your pardon.

As a matter of personal explanation, I did not use either expression.

I will accept the Minister's words. I have not the paper with me, but the matter remains in my recollection, because the insinuations had some influence on my mind at the time, and that is the reason why I had occasion to recall them. I will take the Minister's explanation that if he did use the words he did not mean to use them, or that he did not use them at all. I would have thought the Minister would have welcomed any endeavour to assist him in trying to make the Bill better. We have all the same interest and object in view in trying to make the country better from the temperance point of view. We are endeavouring to assist in making this Bill better rather than to injure it in any way; hence, unless it is pointed out that it is going to do any injury or damage, there could be no argument, to my mind, against the amendment. I think it serves the purpose in view very widely, and I do not see why it should not be accepted and incorporated in the Bill.

I was not worrying very much about the laws relating to licensing in this country. I thought this was the Bill, and the only Bill, and I did not think that the Act of 1874 was being applied. I did not read the Bill or the Schedules very closely. The Minister has more or less relieved my mind with regard to thebona fide clause, when he points out that the old Acts will apply in that connection. I do not know where they come in.

They come in in the last section of the Bill. The effect of Section 30, sub-section (2), is to ensure that that particular provision in the Act of 1874 remains operative. I had intended saying, with regard to Deputy O'Connor's amendment (26), that we are in agreement with it, but that it is unnecessary because that particular provision remains under the Bill.

That clears the air as far as some of us who are not lawyers or authorities upon Licensing Bills are concerned. If that had been stated at first it would have, perhaps, saved the Dáil three or four hours. I think the position is just as good as it possibly could be made. I do not know if there is any particular virtue in Deputy McGoldrick's amendment. There may be some discrimination between licensed traders in a country town and those in the city. That would seem to be the only thing. It does not seem that the general public are to be the victims in this.

Before I would withdraw the amendment I would like to have a clear undertaking, or an understanding, that the matter I have sought to protect is protected. That is, that the District Justice will have authority, provided he is satisfied there would be hardship for the public, to allow the people to have reasonable refreshments.

Is the Deputy withdrawing the amendment?

I have not got a definite undertaking yet that that will be provided for.

What undertaking does the Deputy need?

An undertaking that the District Justice, if he is satisfied that there would be hardship, will have authority to have a general early opening, instead of a particular order with regard to a particular place.

Under the Act of 1874, an application must be made to a District Justice by licensed holders or a licensed holder, and he is free to consider that on its merits and to grant such exemption or exemptions as he considers——

Sufficient.

—sufficient to meet the requirements.

ACTING-CHAIRMAN

Does Deputy McGoldrick withdraw the amendment?

The undertaking does not exactly satisfy me. Of course, if it meets the view of Deputies I do not want to press the matter unduly. I only want it done in the best, the wisest and most equitable way. I only know the hardships that arise on these occasions, and I think that in my amendment I have suggested the most equitable course. However, the Minister says that it can be provided for and dealt with on the Report Stage. If the Deputies are prepared to be satisfied with that provision, good and well. Meanwhile, I am withdrawing the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment 11 (Domhnall Mac Carthaigh) not moved.
Amendment 12:—To delete the word "Sunday," line 21, and to insert after sub-section (1) a new sub-section as follows:—
From and after the passing of this Act it shall not be lawful for any person to sell or expose for sale any intoxicating liquor or to open or keep open any premises for the sale of intoxicating liquor on Sundays except between the hours of 12 noon and 2 o'clock in the evening and between the hours of six o'clock and eight o'clock in the evening.—Tomás Mac Artúir.

I think that amendment is withdrawn in favour of amendment 13. Amendment not moved.

I beg to move the following amendment:—

To delete the word "Sunday," line 21, and to insert after sub-section (1) a new sub-section as follows:

From and after the passing of this Act it shall not be lawful for any person to sell or expose for sale any intoxicating liquor or to open or keep open any premises for the sale of intoxicating liquor on Sundays except between the hours of 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

The amendment suggests that publichouses in the country districts should be opened from 2 to 5 on every Sunday. I think it is a reasonable demand. The Minister for Justice, a few moments ago, pointed out that he would like the hour of 10 o'clock to be uniform. I would like him to be uniform now by accepting this amendment. In Dublin and some other cities the people enjoy the privilege of having the publichouses open from 2 to 5 with very good effect. The Minister would be uniform if he gave us from 2 to 5 in the country districts. That would have the desired effect of keeping chaps from watching around the corner and watching the publichouses in order to get a chance of having a drink. They could go away after 5 o'clock and travel out to the country districts, or anywhere else, and they would have plenty of drink every Sunday.

I would like to point out that people have a certain amount to spend every week, and all the laws that we can make will not prevent them spending that amount. I would be in favour of passing a law that would prevent people drinking unnecessarily, people who would drink to the detriment of their families. But there are other people who want a drink on a Sunday evening, and surely to God we are not all put into this world for the purpose of knocking around looking at one another. We have not places of amusement in the country districts. By having uniform law, people could go in and have a drink from 2 to 5 o'clock, and have a chat, perhaps on business. Perhaps after some class of amusement during the day, people would like to have a drink. They might be at a coursing-match or somewhere else.

A coursing match on Sunday?

Yes, I do say that, and I have a right to say it. If you read last Monday's papers you would see that we had a coursing match down at my place. I say it would be a hardship if you have people who come from three miles away getting drink on Sunday, while the people who belong to the town or village cannot get a drink. I say the three hours' privilege on Sunday will put a stop to Sunday drinking. It will put a stop to illegal trading on Sunday. That is what I mean. Publicans do not go out like fishermen throwing out baits to the people to pull them in. Publicans have their own feelings, too, and they would not like to see men coming in throwing their money over the counter if they thought that these men wanted it for their wives and families.

I speak on behalf of the licensed trade of the South of Ireland. I wish to say that, in order to make my position clear. We want a decent trade and, in order to give the traders an opportunity of conducting their trade fairly, they should have at least a few hours on Sundays given to them, to give the country people an opportunity to come in. They would want to meet one another and discuss matters; it may be business or pleasure. We are not put into the world to live in a condition of half dead-and-alive monotony. I do not know whether you would allow people even to wink at one another or not. We are put into the world to enjoy one another, and in the country districts you have no clubs or any places in which to meet except the "pubs."

I would ask that this opening from 2 o'clock to 5 o'clock be agreed to. It is only a reasonable request. When it is lawful for Dublin or Cork people it ought be lawful for country districts, and it is necessary that the people there should get these three hours in order to keep them away from drink for the remainder of the evening. I think you should try the experiment in the country districts. I have great pleasure in moving the amendment, and I would ask the Minister for Justice, in his justice, to allow it to be open voting, because I am certain there are members of his own Party who would like to vote for it as well as I would.

Like Deputy Daly, I wish to make my position quite clear in regard to this amendment, and to say right away that I have no brief whatsoever on behalf of any individual or organisation for supporting this amendment. I am doing it just to try to discover from the Minister why he makes any differentiation in the framing of the laws as between one licensed vintner and another, and the rights, under the law, of one citizen and another. It is a pure accident that I find my name associated with the amendment that was moved by Deputy Daly, and perhaps it is his eloquence more than mine that will enable us to discover from the Minister the real reason why he has let the law in this respect remain as it was originally framed in the British House of Commons. Now, the existing laws in regard to this matter were made in the British House of Commons by the majority of the British representatives, who fully realised that England was a highly industrialised country, where there were very many more towns with a population of over 5,000 than there are in Ireland. There are hundreds of such towns in England.

The real reason why I am inclined to support an amendment of this kind is because I think it will work for the extinction of thebona fide traveller eventually, or what we call bona fide traffic. I dislike the idea—and it is very prevalent to-day in this country— of having an exchange of population for the purpose of getting drink on Sunday. Under the Bill, as it stands, or as the Minister intends to press it to a Division, it is possible for the citizens of Dublin—or perhaps I would be more correct if I took a town with a population of less than 5,000—to go into another town with a population of less than 5,000, to get drink. I am prepared to subscribe to the passing of legislation with regard to licences that will deal out to every citizen the law on a fair and equitable basis; but you are putting a premium in the Bill, as it originally stood, upon licensed houses in Dublin and in towns with a population of 5,000 and over, as against the licensed trader in the towns or villages or country districts where there is not a population of 5,000. That is the way in which my mind has been travelling in this matter.

I put forward this amendment in order to discover from the Minister why he made this differentiation. A Ford car is a very popular means of transport to-day, and though Deputy Gorey may think that it is only school teachers who enjoy the privilege of motor transport, he knows, and I know, that the Ford car is largely patronised by the people whom he claims to represent. Therefore, I say that it is easy for the country people in the wild country that he represents to go to Waterford in a Ford car, and to get the privilege which they do not get in their own district.

Who goes to Waterford for a privilege?

Many farmers would look upon it as a privilege to go to the City of Waterford.

I never heard of such people.

I detest the idea that for getting a drink on a Sunday there should be a flaw in the Licensing Laws which would enable populations to be exchanged. In many cases people may have a certain amount of money with which to enjoy themselves, and they rather look upon it as a form of enjoyment to go into a city or town where there is a population of 5,000 or more. In many such cases they would enjoy themselves so much they might not have as much money as would pay their way home.

I would like to say to my friend, Deputy Davin, that towns with a population of 5,000 have not that privilege. I think it is only cities that have the privilege of opening from 2 to 5 o'clock.

I understood that the 2 to 5 regulation applies to all the towns in Ireland with a population of over 5,000. But even allowing that what Deputy Daly states is correct, I still hold the same view, and I am supporting the amendment, not because I am anxious to extend the abuses under the Licensing Laws, but to ascertain from the Minister why he makes this differentiation and allows to one section of licensed traders and to citizens in particular areas privileges not extended to other citizens in the Saorstát.

I did not originate the distinction which exists between the cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford, and the rest of the country as regards opening hours on Sunday. It is something which existed in the past and still exists. I want Deputies to get away from the idea that the proposal is one that I, personally, or my Department is responsible for. It is a state of affairs we found in existence. Deputy Daly proposes, by stroke of the pen, to equalise the position, to extend the two-to-five opening hours throughout the country and to put the entire country in the position which these four cities at present occupy with respect to facilities for drinking on Sundays. That is something we are not prepared to do and certainly we are not prepared to do it in this Bill. Whether the suggestion is one worthy of examination with an eye to future legislation is another thing; whether it would not be a good exchange for the complete abolition of thebona fide traffic is a question I would like to see, at any rate, examined and sifted and evidence taken upon it before a Commission. I do propose in the near future to ask a Commission, or if not a Commission, at least a Committee, to be set up under the auspices of my Department, to examine a great many matters in connection with the licensed trade throughout the country. I am particularly anxious for instance, to have examined the possibility of a substantial reduction in the number of licensed houses in the country.

Speaking on the Second Reading of this Bill, I made it clear that we hold the view that there are, perhaps, twice too many licensed houses in the country and that a good many of the excesses and abuses which are thought to exist in connection with the sale and consumption of alcoholic liquor in the country arise from the fact that you have scarcely enough legitimate trade to go round. The struggle for existence in that particular trade is too acute, too keen. There is a scramble for the crumbs secured by illegality and evasion of the law, by plying people with drink long past the stage when they ought to be served with drink. We know how that situation arose. We know how our own honorary justices of the past cut a rod for their own backs and for the backs of the people by a genial, good-natured, and wholly short-sighted fashion, dishing out licences to their friends and neighbours with a minimum of advertence to the real requirements. That was a bad thing and has had a bad reaction, and it shows how the easy course, the good-natured course, the jobbing course, can have bad reactions. Magistrates flocked into these quarterly Licensing Sessions who never turned up to perform their functions at the ordinary Petty Sessions. They flocked into these Sessions to deal out licences haphazard to applicants who had some claim or another upon them, or from whom, perhaps, they had some hope or another. And so we have in this country licensed houses widely out of proportion to the needs of the people and now we must only, at this hour of the day, see how the engines can be reversed and how this short-sighted geniality, good nature and generosity of our honorary magistrates in the past can be remedied.

I would like to see a very thorough examination of that question. I want, at a later stage of this Bill, to paint the particular reaction arising from the fact that we have too many licensed houses in the country. One result was that the newly-fledged publican, having got his licence from his corrupt quarterly Sessions, thought for the first few months that he had struck a gold mine. Gradually he discovered he had not struck a gold mine, and discovered the fact that was apparent to most people at the time, that he was a superfluous entity in that particular trade and that he would find it hard enough to make ends meet. And what happened? He got in a local carpenter to knock up another counter, and he started trading in other commodities to eke out a living for himself and his family. But he was superfluous in both—in the one as in the other. Throughout the last 40 or 50 years you have in this country a steady multiplication of petty distributors and we have to pay for them all. The town that is bearing 40, 50, 60, or 70 of these people to-day is paying for them all and competition is a joke as a factor in ruling prices. There is no competition. Prices are fixed for the weakest link in the chain and the consumer pays.

I have perhaps digressed, but this is one reaction from the basic fact that you have too many, twice too many probably more than twice too many licensed establishments in the country. Now, if we can have that state of affairs examined with a view to finding a remedy it may be that when the numbers are so reduced there will not be this wild scramble for the crumbs and this strong urgent temptation to illegality and abuse. One can do then what one cannot do in the existing state of affairs.

If we could get the licences substantially reduced, if we could ease the struggle for existence in that particular trade, one could do with safety what could not be done with safety now, and one could have a hope, and confidence even, that business would be conducted in a decent way and without the necessity that there is at present for constant police vigilance and supervision. One could hope that the members of the trade would become their own policemen, that they would preserve the decency and the order of their establishments, and not countenance or connive at abuses or evasions of the law. The wholesale extension of this 2 to 5 facility throughout the country at present would, I am convinced, lead to the gravest abuses. You have licensed establishments scattered through the country, many of them miles from a town, and miles from a Gárda station. If you say that, between particular hours on Sunday, these people may sell drink, everyone knows that once the door is opened, and once the crowd is there, there would be no question of leaving at 5 o'clock. It is the youngster in the tree watching the road for the uniform, what is known as the "Cuckoo Boy," you would have. You cannot just take, in a light-hearted way, the step which Deputy Daly and Deputy Davin advocated. You have got to examine its reactions.

On a point of explanation, I desire to say that I did not advocate that step, but I endeavoured to ascertain from the Minister why the law is not equally applied in the case of all citizens, whether they be licensed vintners or the ordinary patrons of licensed premises.

Then the Deputy should say one thing or the other. Either he should advocate this wholesale extension from 2 to 5 on a Sunday or its abolition in Dublin, Cork, Waterford and Limerick, the four cities in which it exists. My attitude at the moment is, that I am not prepared to do either one or the other; but I would like to have the question examined together with many other questions in connection with this trade. It might be, as I say, worthy of examination whether some extension of that 2 to 5 business would not be a good exchange for a complete abolition of thebona fide traffic. There again you have to consider what extension can wisely be made, whether you would propose to extend to every cross-roads and wayside inn in the country facilities for the sale of drink on a Sunday, or whether, if any extension could be considered, it ought not to be confined to places easily within the control and supervision of police stations.

I am satisfied that thebona fide provision, as at present acted on and practised in the country, is a farce, a costly farce, and an evil farce: that people set out on expeditions for no other reason than for the consumption of drink. That is a growing evil. You have huge charabancs of people starting out from Dublin pub-crawling down the country and back again, never missing one of them, although they miss other things; but they would never, by any chance, miss a halt at the publichouse. It is a veritable danger to be facing out from Dublin towards County Wicklow on a Sunday evening at the time you would meet these people coming back from their rural revelries. They come road-hogging it back in their charabancs, swaying from one side of the road to the other, probably not seeing too far beyond their noses and generally a scandal and a danger to the public. All that is bad, and this bona fide business, which is a growing abuse in the country, will have to be considered.

resumed the Chair.

Many other questions, too, in connection with the trade will have to be considered, and I intend, at an early date, to ask a Commission to consider such questions. In the meantime, I am not prepared, either to take the step which Deputy Daly advocates, or the other step which Deputy Davin hints at, without explicitly advocating, of withdrawing completely the facilities that do exist for the sale of drink on Sundays between 2 and 5. I would like the question to get further detailed examination than we in our Department, with the pressure of many other problems, have been able to give to it. I think that is a reasonable attitude. I think it is a mental attitude that Deputies will understand and will, perhaps, approve, but just now I ask the Dáil to reject the amendment moved by Deputy Daly and seconded by Deputy Davin.

There is just one word I would like to say.

As it is now after seven o'clock, it is Private Members' time and the Deputy cannot speak again.

Then I think the debate should be adjourned until to-morrow.

I claim the right to speak on this amendment again, and as it is now after seven o'clock I move the adjournment of the debate.

I beg to move to report progress, the Committee to sit again to-morrow.

Question put and agreed to.