DAIL IN COMMITTEE. - DAIRY PRODUCE BILL, 1924—FROM THE SEANAD.

I move:—

"That the Committee agree with the Seanad in the following amendments":—

In Section 2, immediately after the word "matter," line 32, the following words inserted:—"the expressions ‘margarine' and ‘milk-blended butter' have respectively the same meanings as in the Butter and Margarine Act, 1907."

In Section 2, line 6, page 4, the words "on premises registered in the register of" deleted, and the word "in" substituted therefor.

In Section 2, line 9, page 4, immediately after the word "authorised" the words "in writing" inserted.

In Section 2, line 14, page 4, immediately after the word "or" where it secondly occurs, the word "from" inserted.

Question put, and agreed to

I move:—

"That the Committee agree with the Seanad in this amendment":—

Section 3 deleted and the following new section substituted therefor:—

(1) On and after the commencement of this Part of this Act, all premises in which dairy produce is manufactured for sale (whether such premises are or are not registered under this Act) shall comply with the following conditions, that is to say—

(a) the premises shall be structurally suited for the manufacture of such descriptions of dairy produce as are in fact manufactured therein, and

(b) the premises, and the plant and machinery, and the appliances, and the utensils therein shall be in a state of cleanliness and good repair, and

(c) the milk or cream and all other ingredients and materials used in the process of manufacturing dairy produce on the premises shall be clean, and

(d) the premises shall be situated in such a position and used in such a manner as to prevent the exposure of the dairy produce manufactured therein or any ingredients or materials used in the process of such manufacture to any effluvium from any drain, cesspool, manure heap, cow-house, pigstye, or to other source of contamination, and

(e) there shall be available on or reasonably near the premises such adequate supply of good and wholesome water as may from time to time be reasonably necessary.

(2) All premises in which dairy produce is manufactured for sale and which are registered in any of the registers kept in pursuance of this Act shall be equipped with appropriate appliances and utensils and with such plant and machinery as are required in respect of those premises by or under Part III. of this Act.

(3) Save as is hereinafter excepted, all premises in which dairy produce is manufactured for sale and which are not registered in any of the registers kept in pursuance of this Act shall be provided with such plant and machinery and such appliances and utensils as are requisite for the manufacture of dairy produce of the description manufactured therein.

(4) Sub-section (3) of this section shall not apply to premises which comply with all the following conditions, that is to say:—

(a) the premises are not registered in any of the registers kept in pursuance of this Act, and

(b) the premises are situate on a farm, and

(c) all dairy produce manufactured on the premises for sale is so manufactured only from the milk of cows belonging to the occupier of such farm.

(5) In this Act the expression "conditions of cleanliness and order" means the requirements of this section in regard to the premises in relation to which that expression is used.

This is a drafting amendment. It was felt that sub-clause (f) was rather lop-sided and that it could be usefully divided into two. It first of all makes an exception, then provides certain things for certain premises, and then there is a proviso at the end. That was not considered suitable and it was divided into sub-sections 2 and 3. That is the only change.

Question put, and agreed to.

I move:—

"That the Committee agree with the Seanad in the following amendments":—

In Section 4 (1), immediately after the word "inspector," line 1, the following words inserted:—"(subject to the production by him, if so required, of his authority in writing as such inspector.)"

In Section 4 (1) the following words inserted at the end of the subsection:—"and may take and remove without payment reasonable samples of such dairy produce and of such ingredients and materials."

In Section 4, immediately before sub-section (2), a new sub-section inserted as follows:—

"If any person obstructs or impedes any inspector in the exercise of any of the powers conferred on him by this section, such person shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof, in case of a first offence to a penalty not exceeding five pounds, and in the case of a second or any subsequent offence, to a penalty not exceeding ten pounds."

In Section 4 (2) immediately before the word "any," line 11, the following words inserted:—"the dairy produce manufactured therein or any materials or any ingredients used in the manufacture of such dairy produce or."

In Section 4 (3) the words "the premises be supplied with," line 46 deleted, and the words "there shall be made available" substituted therefor.

In Section 6 (2) all words after the word "notice," line 40, deleted to the end of the sub-section.

In Section 8 (2) all words from and including the word "may," line 55, up to and including the word "return," line 56, deleted, and the words "shall provide for the return, subject to the sanction of the Minister for Finance" substituted therefor.

In Section 10 (1) immediately after the word "entitled," line 12, the following words inserted: "(subject to the production by him, if so required, of his authority in writing as such inspector)."

In Section 10 (1) immediately after the word "Act," line 14, the following words inserted: "or under the Sale of Food and Drugs Acts, 1875 to 1907."

In Section 14 (1) immediately after the word "Eireann," line 29, the words "not registered in the register of creameries" inserted.

In Section 14 (1) the words "a creamery business or" deleted in lines 30-31.

In Section 14 (5) lines 4 and 5 deleted and the following substituted therefor:—"No premises which are themselves used for or which form part of or communicate (otherwise than by a public road or street) with any premises used for."

In Section 14 (5) immediately after the word "dealing," line 6, the following words inserted: "(otherwise than under a licence granted under this Act)."

In Section 14 (6) lines 11 and 12 deleted and the following substituted therefor: "No premises which are themselves used for or which form part of or communicate (otherwise than by a public road or street) with any premises used."

In Section 14 (6) immediately after the word "for," line 13, the words "the manufacture of or" inserted.

In Section 14 (6) immediately after the word "dealing," line 13, the following words inserted: "(otherwise than under a licence granted under this Act)."

In Section 15 (2) immediately before paragraph (b) a new paragraph (b) inserted as follows

"(b) that such premises are provided with an adequate supply of good and wholesome water."

In Section 15 (3) immediately before paragraph (b) a new paragraph (b) inserted as follows:

"(b) that such premises are provided with an adequate supply of good and wholesome water."

In Section 15 (4) immediately before paragraph (b) a new paragraph inserted as follows:

"(b) that such premises are provided with an adequate supply of good and wholesome water."

In Section 15 (5) immediately before paragraph (b) a new paragraph inserted as follows:

"(b) that such premises are provided with an adequate supply of good and wholesome water."

In Section 18 (1), immediately before the word "subject," line 12, the following words inserted: ("whether registered or not registered under this Act.")

In Section 18 (1), immediately after paragraph (j), a new paragraph inserted as follows:

"(k) the premises shall not be registered in the register of creameries."

In Section 19, immediately after the word "Eireann," line 21, the following words inserted: "and then only subject to and in accordance with the prescribed conditions and subject to and in accordance with the provisions of the Sale of Food and Drugs Acts, 1875 to 1907."

Question put, and agreed to.

I move:—

"That the Committee agree with the Seanad in this amendment":—

At the end of Section 22 a new sub-section inserted as follows:—

Where the Minister proposes to cancel the registration of any premises under this Act on the ground mentioned in paragraph (e) of sub-section (3) of this section, the registered proprietor may by notice in writing to the Minister require the matter to be referred to arbitration, and in such case the following provisions shall apply:—

(a) the question whether the registered proprietor has or has not failed or omitted to carry out a contract within the meaning of the said paragraph (e) shall be referred to the decision of an arbitrator or arbitrators appointed for the purpose by the Executive Council;

(b) the number of the arbitrators shall be either one or three as the Executive Council shall think proper, and the arbitrator or one of the arbitrators (as the case may be) shall be a practising barrister in Saorstát Eireann of not less than twelve years' standing;

(c) the Minister and the registered proprietor shall be entitled to appear (with or without solicitor and counsel) and be heard by the arbitrators on the question so referred as aforesaid and to adduce evidence thereon;

(d) the costs of the arbitration (including the arbitrators' fees) shall be in the discretion of the arbitrators;

(e) the decision of the arbitrators shall be final and conclusive and shall not be subject to review by any court;

(f) the costs of every such arbitration (including the fee or fees of the arbitrator or arbitrators) shall, upon the application of any of the parties thereto, be taxed by a Taxing Master of the High Court.

Perhaps it would be right for me to say a word on this amendment. The Dáil will remember that it was an amendment debated here providing that the Minister should have power to cancel the registration of a creamery where the proprietor broke his contracts. That was discussed at great length. It was rather an unusual power to take. It was again discussed in the Seanad, where it was generally felt that there should be some little safeguard, and there was provided as a special safeguard in regard to that an appeal to the arbitrator.

Question put, and agreed to.

I move:

"That the Committee agree with the Seanad in the following amendments":—

In Section 25 (1), immediately after the word "entitled," line 56, the following words inserted: "(subject to the production by him if so required of his authority in writing as such inspector)."

In Section 29 (1), immediately after the word "from," line 22, the words "or sold on," inserted.

In Section 29 (2), immediately after the word "or" where it secondly occurs, in line 33, the words "exported or," inserted.

Question put, and agreed to.

I move:

"That the Committee agree with the Seanad in this amendment":—

In Section 29, immediately before sub-section (4), a new sub-section inserted as follows:—

"The Minister may also by order make regulations prohibiting the placing of any particular mark or marks of any particular class or description on all or any classes, grades or descriptions of butter or on any packages or wrappings containing any such butter, or on any letters or invoices or other trade documents issued or used in relation to such butter and where any such regulations have been made and are in force any person who places any mark on any butter or any package or wrapper or any letters or invoices or other trade documents in contravention of any such regulation shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a penalty not exceeding twenty pounds."

I think it right to explain this amendment also. Deputies know that there is power in the Bill to provide that certain marks shall go on butter, and on packages and wrappers. There is no power which would entitle the Minister to prohibit the use of certain marks on butter, or packages and wrappers. The idea underlying this amendment is as follows:—When this Bill is in operation it will be pretty generally assumed in England and that butter coming from Ireland carries the Government guarantee with each consignment, and it is not outside the bounds of possibility that creamery managers, factory managers, and other people, would make full use of that assumption and put certain inscriptions on the wrappers or on their boxes which will give the impression that a particular consignment was guaranteed by the Government, in fact a misleading description. That is rather a serious thing. A good deal of this butter goes to shopkeepers in the Midlands of England. You can imagine somebody going into such a shop, asking for butter, and when told the price, saying that it is very dear. Then the shopkeeper would produce either the invoice or the box, and would say:—"This factory is guaranteed by the Irish Government; it is best butter." That occured, I must say, with regard to Northern exports of butter, and they had to take certain steps to prevent it. In any event, we want to be in a position to prevent misleading descriptions of particular consignments of butter.

Will the sub-section prevent a creamery from putting its own special name on a consignment?

I take it that the intention of the Minister is to provide that if a consignment is described in the English market in a certain way, as he conceives, he should be able to follow that particular consignment. I do not know how he is going to legislate in respect of a consignment which is in the hands of a British shopkeeper. Will the section allow the Minister to penalise a creamery which uses such a mark in regard to any other consignment that it might send away, or with regard to its registration?

In other words, is a penalty provided? Certainly this sub-section does provide for a penalty. The other question is: Could the Minister cancel registration? I think so. It depends on the regulations made. I have not the section before me, but I do remember one clause for contravention of the regulations, and it certainly contemplates making regulations. I think the Deputy misunderstood me, in view of his reference to trying to legislate for butter in England. My point is this: A very large quantity of our total exports are sold, comparatively speaking, to small retailers in the Midland cities of England. I am trying to paint a picture of what could happen, with the retailers' connivance and co-operation, if misleading descriptions were allowed on packages of butter, say, a description which leads any person to believe that this butter bears a Government guarantee as coming from a registered creamery; anyway, a definitely misleading inscription.

A customer walks into such a shop and asks for butter. He says that the price is rather too high. The shopkeeper says that this is very good butter, that the factory is guaranteed by the Government. It would be very easy to give an impression that way if that began to be done on a wholesale scale. It would tend rather to discredit the real guarantee which we are actually giving, because, in the first place, butter which would go out from a registered creamery which has not the right to use the national brand may not be choice butter; it may not be any more than average good butter for some time. That butter may be the particular consignment of butter on sale. The customer in England buys such butter, and is told that this particular consignment has been actually guaranteed by the Government—"Look at the inscription on the packet." It is possible to give a totally false idea in this way amongst our customers in England and elsewhere, and that is the reason why we are taking this power.

Question put, and agreed to.

I move:

"That the Committee agree with the Seanad in the following amendments":—

In Section 34 (3), page 23, line 1, the words "(in this Act called the annual fee)" deleted.

In Section 34 (3) immediately after the word "Act," line 2, the following words inserted: "or, in the case of premises in respect of which a licence under Part IV. of this Act is in force, such lesser fee as the Minister may if he so thinks fit prescribe in respect of such premises, which fee or lesser fee (as the case may be) is in this Act called the annual fee."

These are two important amendments which I would like to explain to the Dáil, because they mean some alteration in the Bill. Deputies will remember that the Bill, as it left this House, provided for the same fee for national brand butter as for butter coming from a registered premises; it must all be treated alike. The point of view was put up in the Seanad that we should put a premium on the best creamery, and that we should be at least empowered to charge a smaller fee to creameries which were good enough to get the national brand. We may do what we like in the matter, and the amendment does not coerce us to charge a different fee; we have a discretion. But the point is this, that as the Bill stood previously, we had to charge the same exporting fee to all creameries.

As the Bill stands now we may charge the same fees to all creameries, and if afterwards it is considered desirable, we may give special preference to creameries which earn the national brand. It is not inconceivable that circumstances may show that this might be the most effective way, especially from the point of view of the farmers who are supplying the creameries, and who will want to know why such and such a creamery has to pay more for exporting its butter than another. This might be the most effective way to make the distinction, though it is not worth very much in money, between a creamery that has earned the national brand and one that has not. I think the principle is a sound one, and it was accepted as such by the Seanad.

We welcome this amendment. It is very hard to get the Minister to move in the Dáil. It seems the Seanad is much more effective.

Was this suggestion made in the Dáil?

We have no doubt at all of what we did in Committee, and the Minister, by the votes of his Party, was able to reverse the decision in the Dáil afterwards. What we would like to have from the Minister on this amendment coming from the Seanad is, is it really his intention that it shall operate? If it is only here as a pious expression of opinion, it is not much. If the Minister would be in a position to state now, definitely, if it is his intention——

To discriminate between—

To discriminate between the creameries as to their ability to turn out butter that will entitle them to use the National Brand, and when they reach that stage that immediately this amendment will operate. These creameries would really then have some incentive. It may not be right to say some incentive; I am sure it will be there already, but it would be an encouragement to them, and it would be something to know that the Minister was appreciating their efforts even in a small monetary way, and that this question of the fee does mean something. There has been a good deal of discussion, perhaps I may say too much, but all the same certain prejudices have been created against the measure. If the Minister could let it be understood definitely that it is his intention that this shall operate when the time comes that certain creameries can turn out an article that will entitle them to use the national brand, the Minister will have gone a good way to meet the objections of creameries in this respect.

I do not like to give a firm undertaking to the Dáil that in a set of circumstances that will arise in five or six months time, and the elements of which we are not in a position to measure now, I would do a certain thing. I think it would be unsound to do it. I certainly say, however, that my mind is running in that direction and my opinion at this stage is that that should be done. I do not want to give a firm undertaking to that effect, because we must measure all the elements of the situation before we can come to a conclusion. The point about this is not so much the difference in money value in it. It is the comparison. Either fee is not going to make any real difference. What is really valuable is the comparison. I accepted about thirty amendments to this Bill in the Dáil, and a great many amendments from the Farmers' Party. I want to make it clear that the Farmers' Party or any other party did not put up this amendment. They put up an amendment totally different in principle; that is to say, that every creamery should be charged a maximum fee, and if they were charged a maximum fee, the maximum fee should be smaller, and that was to apply to every creamery. That is the direct opposite to this amendment which discriminates between two classes of creameries.

Question put, and agreed to.

I beg to move:—

"That the Committee agree with the Seanad in the following amendments":—

In Section 35 (6) immediately after the word "respects," line 19, the word "premises" inserted.

In Section 40 (1) immediately after the word "inspector," line 57, the following words inserted: "(subject to the production by him if so required of his authority in writing as such inspector)."

In Section 40 (2) immediately after the word "inspector," line 5, the following words inserted: "(subject to the production by him if so required of his authority in writing as such inspector)."

In Section 41 (1) immediately after the word "sale," line 28, the following words inserted: "or exchanges or barters or for the purpose of resale acquires by purchase, exchange or barter."

In Section 42 (3) all after the word "expiration," line 5, up to and including the word "Act," line 6, deleted and the words "of a date to be prescribed" substituted therefor.

Question put, and agreed to.
Amendment 41:—
In Section 43 (2) immediately after the word "any," line 34, the following words inserted: "premises registered or required to be registered under the Sale of Food and Drugs Act, 1875 to 1907, or any."
Question put and agreed to.

I beg to move:—

"That the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment 41, with the insertion in the amendment after the word ‘premises' of the words ‘(other than premises registered or required to be registered solely by virtue of sub-section (4) of Section 7 of the Sale of Food and Drugs Act, 1899).'"

The point is this: a non-manufacturing exporter may, of course take into his premises creamery butter, factory butter, or any sort of butter. In addition, some of the non-manufacturing exporters do a wholesale trade in margarine. There is no objection to such trade from the point of view of the Bill. As the amendment stood, and in view of the section mentioned of the Food and Drugs Act, wholesale premises could not sell butter and at the same time sell margarine wholesale. That was never intended, and this is in order to safeguard that point.

Question put, and agreed to.

There is a consequential amendment to the Seanad amendment in Section 14.

I beg to move:

To insert in Section 14 (4), page 12, line 2, immediately after the word "or" the words "(except in the case of premises registered or required to be registered solely by virtue of sub-section (4) of Section 7 of the Sale of Food and Drugs Act, 1899)."

Question put, and agreed to.

I beg to move:

"That the Committee agree with the Seanad in the following amendments":

In Section 43 (5) all words after the word "at," line 59, to the end of the sub-section deleted and the words "a date to be prescribed" substituted therefor.

In the First Schedule an asterisk inserted before the letter "(a)" in line 55.

Question put and agreed to.