DAIL IN COMMITTEE.

The first two amendments from the Seanad read:—

In Section 1 (1) the word "or," line 22, deleted and after the word "day" in the same line, the words "or St. Patrick's Day," inserted.

In Section 1 (3) the word "or," line 38, deleted and after the word "Friday" in the same line, the words "or St. Patrick's Day" inserted.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in those amendments, which really means re-inserting St. Patrick's Day as a day of general closing. To that extent it will leave the Bill in the form in which it was originally introduced in the Dáil. I am moving the acceptance of these amendments and I hope that the Dáil will reconsider the decision given here when the Bill was last before the House. I would recall to Deputies that there was a time not very long ago when something approaching the closing of publichouses on St. Patrick's Day was effected. Not with the help of any statute but simply by pressure of public opinion and with the co-operation and good will of the members of the licensed trade, almost a complete closing on St. Patrick's Day was effected. Then, because here and there individual traders defied the public opinion that was so much in evidence at the time and remained open, other traders began to say that when that went on and there was not a complete and uniform closing, they could not afford to be at a disadvantage compared with competitors in their trade, and so the voluntary effort broke down —broke down, not because of resistance or lack of co-operation on the part of the many, but because of resistance and lack of co-operation on the part of the comparatively few.

It was proposed then to come to the aid, so to speak, of voluntary effort with a statute, and to give statutory expression to that public opinion which manifested itself in the country on this question, so that there would not be individual backsliders causing a breakdown, as happened in the past. We know the sources of that public opinion, they were healthy sources. They came from the Gaelic League, from Sinn Fein, from Labour movements, from all those quarters which represented the varied life of the country at the time. It does seem strange now, when we have the power of legislation in our hands, that there has been some kind of lapse, or some kind of change of heart, which causes the representatives of the people in the Dáil to take a different view. It is not too much to ask on this National Festival that we should make that much of a gesture to give expression to our feeling that intemperance is a vice and a national evil, and that if it went on in increasing proportions it would be a national menace.

It would, I believe, be welcomed all over the country, both by men and women electors, if the Dáil were to take a different view on this matter from that which they took on the last occasion. People say that they deprecate "kill-joy" legislation, that St. Patrick's Day should be a day of healthy amusement and so on. I wonder is it seriously argued that there could be no honest, decent, healthy amusement, no real social intercourse without the help of alcoholic beverages. If that is the contention, it should be put in plain language by Deputies arguing against this amendment—that they do not believe there can be pleasure and amusement and proper social intercourse without the assistance of stout, whiskey, Bass, and other liquors of that kind.

The proposal is that licensed traders do not open their houses on that day. People may have drink in their homes, as they may, of course, on any day. But this simply asks that the publichouses do not sell liquor for consumption on the national festival. I have very little sympathy with the arguments put forward on the last occasion that this was tyrannical and a hardship and would be resented by the public. The public has not changed so much in three or four years. I believe that the public wish to see this provision inserted in the Bill and that it is not from the public at large the pressure on this matter comes. The Seanad took a healthier and more enlightened view on this matter.

How many of them?

They have given a proper lead to the Dáil, and they trust the Dáil will take it. Do not let us be told that there cannot be G.A.A. fixtures through the country, that there cannot be the ordinary functions which mark the festival, unless the public-houses are thrown open, unless people can have unlimited facilities throughout the day for the consumption of drink.

I beg to propose that amendments Nos. 1 and 2 be rejected by the Dáil. It is very easy for Senators to argue on this question with their cellars full of wines and spirits and plenty of soda water. The ordinary workman, farmer or labourer with very little money in his pocket cannot afford to order in the drink which is probably enjoyed in Senatorial houses. It is said that it is a great shame that we should have so much drunkenness. But the Government have practically done away with drunkenness in Ireland by the high taxation which they have imposed. Consequently we may take it for granted that a pint of porter or a glass of whiskey is about the only thing that a reasonably well-off worker can indulge in for the benefit of his health. We have been told that there would be great drunkenness if the houses were opened. We maintain that there would be little or no drunkenness owing to the difficulty of procuring drink at a reasonable price. I remember calling for a division on my amendment. I took the risk of asking for a division and was amply rewarded. The amendment was carried by fifty votes to thirty-two. You may say that represented the feeling of the whole of Ireland, except 32, who had cellars from which they could help themselves.

Those who represented the poor people who had no cellars were the fifty. The Seanad say they wish to lead us in the right direction. We cannot be over-led in the right direction. The right direction is probably over-taxation. I do not object there. I think it might be necessary for us to get money where we can. In public-houses they do not even serve porter in pint pots now. They serve it in glasses, so that the unfortunate imbiber of a glass of stout can watch it gradually fading away before his thirst is satisfied. Intoxication is not going to result from the opening of the houses on St. Patrick's Day, but a little natural thirst is going to be pleasantly assuaged. I feel perfectly sure that there need be no fear of intoxication amongst the poorer classes. I plead that the fifty Deputies represent the poorer classes, and for these reasons I move the rejection of the amendments.

I would like to ask the Minister are we going to have a free vote on this occasion, just as we had on the last occasion? I hope we will, and, if so, I take it that there will be no change. As Deputy Beamish pointed out, it is very hard after such an overwhelming majority voting in favour of opening the houses on St. Patrick's Day to have it overruled by a small number of Senators. I believe the Seanad is composed of sixty members, out of which twelve voted to close the houses. The Minister for Justice pointed out that some time ago the majority of the publichouses closed voluntarily on St. Patrick's Day. On behalf of that majority I must say that they take it as an insult that the licensed trade must be singled out and be compelled to honour St. Patrick's Day by closing their houses, becoming respectable houses, as it were, for that day. Why not close up every other business? One would think that when a man goes into a publichouse he gets nothing but poison, and that he sees nothing but bad example. Why not put restrictions on the tobacco shops? Children are allowed to go into tobacco shops at any age and smoke cigarettes.

Not legally.

The law is not enforced. It should be enforced, as the doctors say the smoking of cigarettes by children is a very dangerous practice, and that as a result they will not grow up. It is an abominable practice. We all know that St. Patrick's Day was a day much sought after for race meetings, football matches, and all other sports, and as the Minister for Justice pointed out a moment ago, he thinks that a big congregation of Irishmen and women coming together in any field can be all teetotallers on that day. If they had to be teetotallers, instead of praying for St. Patrick, I know what they would be doing. Why not single out St. Stephen's Day, with all due respect to St. Patrick? I again repeat that the publicans resent very much the passing of a law to compel them to respect their patron saint. Drapers, bakers, grocers, farmers going to fairs, and others are not to be disturbed. That is not fair, and for that reason I think this amendment, with all due respect to the twelve Senators—you would think they were the Twelve Apostles sent down here to tell us that we should swallow everything we said on the last occasion—is a bad one. We want to tell the Senators, with all due respect to them, that twelve out of the whole sixty would not warrant sending that back here to us. I happened to be in the Seanad on that particular occasion. If my memory serves me right I think I heard the Minister for Justice pointing out that there would be a Commission sitting very soon, and that they should wait until then. Am I right?

Well, at any rate, if I am not right I thought he should have said it. That led me to the belief he should say it and I was coming to his rescue. Anyway we will have a Commission, and the licensed trade, the Labour associations, the Farmers' Union, the teetotallers, and the whole of them will get representation on it.

And Mr. Pussyfoot.

We will say nothing about Mr. Pussyfoot. I made a mistake about that before. I took it, when I was listening to the Minister for Justice outside, that he was dealing very fairly behind our backs.

I have neither seen nor heard anything that has passed that should compel the Deputies to vote in favour of these amendments. The Dáil deleted the clause about St. Patrick's Day in the Bill. The Seanad may have the best of intentions in proposing this amendment, but I would like to point out to the Dáil and the Seanad that it is not right for any democratic assembly to deny the facilities to one class that they give to another. By closing the houses on St. Patrick's Day you are depriving of drink only the man who cannot afford to buy a quantity of liquor and keep it in his own house. You are encouraging men, such as the Senators, who can afford to buy large quantities, to turn their own homes into regular drinking dens on St. Patrick's Day by inviting their friends to partake of refreshment in honour of St. Patrick. You cannot try to convert publicans into saints by having them say "St. Patrick, we adore you, and for that purpose we close." I hope every member will vote with the same open mind as when the Bill was last before the Dáil. I see no reason why the houses should be closed on St. Patrick's Day.

It has not been proved either in the Dáil or in the Seanad that there were abuses on St. Patrick's Day owing to the publichouses being opened, and I think it is wrong to deprive one section of the community of privileges which you give to another. I do not say that every workman in the Saorstát wants to have the public-houses open. A large number would prefer to see them closed altogether, and I am one of them myself. I would welcome prohibition, but not in a half-hearted manner like this. You know prohibition is not a success in the States. You have representations from all sections of the community that the time is not yet ripe for such a drastic measure as closing public-houses on St. Patrick's Day. It is the only day that some people of the middle or poorer class have an opportunity of spending as a holiday, and if they go away to a town on a holiday I do not see why they should be denied the right of refreshing themselves. People with capital can keep cellars in their own houses. I think that is not fair, and I ask the Dáil to vote against the amendment. At the very least, I think there are 90 per cent. of the people against the amendment. You may have people who are so weak that a publichouse acts as a magnet and attracts them into it. Fortunately, everyone is not like that. The amendment may have been inserted because some people abuse their privileges. I hope a free vote will be given, as it was given some time ago, and that this amendment will be rejected even if the Seanad hold up the Bill as they held up the 1923 Bill. I fail to see why any Deputy who voted before in favour of opening on St. Patrick's Day should now vote against it, as nothing since then has happened to change his mind.

I propose to vote for these amendments sent down from the Seanad. When the Bill was before the Dáil some time ago, I had not the opportunity of being here many times, as I was, unfortunately, ill, but I understood from the discussions I listened to that this question of St. Patrick's Day was to be decided by Sunday treatment; that is, to have the opening for two hours—from the hours of three to five on that day, as against keeping open all day. It seems that that was not carried, and that when the Bill passed from this House to the Seanad, St. Patrick's Day ranked as an ordinary day and that the ordinary hours applied to it. I think that was a mistake. I am not a teetotaller, and could not be classed as such, but I am what is called a very temperate person. I quite recognise that the licensed trade is a legitimate trade, and that it has rights and should be treated in all fairness, but I think St. Patrick's Day is a day that should be treated in a different way from other days.

Irishmen, and Irishwomen, all over the world look upon St. Patrick's Day as being for them the greatest day of the year. It seems to me an extraordinary thing for anyone to hold the view that the only way to celebrate a religious festival is by indulgence in liquor or what is called "drowning the shamrock." That seems to me a most extraordinary thing to have in mind. However, it seems to be there. As far as I am concerned, if a choice lies between being open all day, and closed all day on St. Patrick's Day, I venture to say that the houses should be closed all day. For that reason, and also in view of the fact that by and by there will be a commission of inquiry into this question, and into other matters, and that if the commission considers it is an injustice they can make recommendations to have it altered, I propose to vote for these amendments as sent down from the Seanad.

The Minister for Justice in relying for support for the re-insertion of this provision in the Bill, mentioned that a number of organisations had stood over and over again for a definite temperance policy during the last five years, and he included on his list the Irish Labour organisation. Speaking from a personal connection of 18 years with that organisation I cannot find that there ever has been a formal declaration of policy in regard to this particular matter on the part of the Irish Labour Party, and the proof of that lies in the fact that so far as our members in this House are concerned we were left free to vote on every clause of this measure when it was before us, and we are in the same position to-day. So to that extent the Minister's statement is inaccurate. I am opposed to the re-insertion of this provision because I believe first of all there was never any mandate received from the country in either of the elections that have taken place since the signing of the Treaty for revolutionary legislation of this kind. If the Party which the Minister so ably leads in the House had made up their minds that this was legislation which they as a Party were definitely committed to and if they intended, if returned by the electorate of the country as the Government of the country, to propose such legislation, then the intention of legislating in this way should have been put to the people when they were seeking their votes at the last election. This matter was not the issue—and it is a very important issue—and it was not put before the people by any of the parties who stood at the elections for the three or four Dáils that have sat, and the Minister has no reason to assume that he has a mandate from the country to push forward legislation of this kind.

Unfortunately the position which this country finds itself in to-day is that when a general or a by-election takes place they are asked to vote for this, that, or the other fellow, instead of being asked to vote for this, that, or the other programme of this or that particular fellow. It seems to me that there will be a most unfortunate mixup in this country until Parties get themselves separated and tell the people of the country that they stand for a definite and progressive policy or programme.

Or retrogressive—

Deputy Johnson takes the other view; he is, of course, as free to take his view as I am mine, and perhaps he is right in his view, and I am wrong. When this particular provision was discussed on the last occasion, Deputy Gorey, in supporting total closing on St. Patrick's Day, referred to the brawls and the murders that used to take place on St. Patrick's Day in former times. I should like to have from Deputy Gorey some further proof of that. These statements should not be made without being supported by facts. I think we are bad enough without painting the picture worse than it is.

If there is anything wrong with the licensing laws—and there is a good deal wrong with them—it is the failure of the administration, the failure of the Government, to watch the licensed trade, and to see that the laws in existence are administered in the way they were meant and intended to be carried out. I listened to a most uninteresting discussion upon this and other amendments in the Seanad. It was honoured by the presence of one-third of the nominated members and eight of the elected members. I have looked through the list, and, strange as it may appear, find that when the vote was taken, eight members of the Seanad who voted against this and one or two other important amendments to the Bill, were elected members of the Seanad, whereas out of the twelve who voted for the re-insertion, seven were nominated and five were elected. I ask the House to bear that in mind in voting again on this particular question. If there is anything to be counted in the power of the Seanad in regard to this particular matter it is in the fact that the elected members of the Seanad, elected by vote of this House, voted to the number of seven or eight against the re-insertion of this provision. It is a very striking thing that in the discussion that took place in this House and the other on the Licensing Bill, the Dáil was honoured by the highest number of members attending and voting upon this Bill, whereas the Seanad had the smallest attendance it was ever known to have on any Bill.

There is hardly anything to be said by any Deputy on the matter, more than to discover from Deputies who may speak here to-day, particularly those who spoke for the closing before and who have since changed their minds, any really good reason as to why they changed their minds or the votes they gave on the last occasion. I am not subject to the influence of any people connected with the trade. If I had any views upon the matter I would have felt it my duty to put those views before the electors when seeking their votes, but seeing that I did not even know that legislation of this kind was to be introduced, and that I did not indicate any particular views on the matter, I am not prepared to change the vote I gave on the last occasion, and I hope that those who voted for the deletion of this provision then will vote in the same way now, taking into consideration the small number of people who carried this in the Seanad and the very important factor that the people who voted against it, to the number of eight, were elected members of that House.

I have often heard the Seanad described as a cooling chamber—perhaps sometimes not in a complimentary sense—where cool and deliberate consideration has been given to measures passed by the Dáil. I hope that the 50 Deputies who voted against this amendment on the last occasion have given this matter cool and deliberate consideration, and I am quite sure that if they have done so they will now vote in favour of it. Deputy Lyons said that 90 per cent of the electorate are clamouring to have the public-houses open on St. Patrick's Day. I wonder does he really expect us to take him seriously; does he think that 90 per cent. of the women of Ireland— I leave out the men—are clamouring to get facilities for drinking for themselves and for their husbands on St. Patrick's Day, or for their men folk generally? Deputy Beamish says he spoke on behalf of the poor. Well, I speak on behalf of the poor also, but from a very different point of view from that which Deputy Beamish has put forward.

We all know the saying: "How oft the means to do ill deeds makes ill deeds done." With the public-houses open on St. Patrick's Day, unfortunately we are all weak and prone to temptation, and some of the men cannot resist the temptation, and, I am sorry to say, a very small proportion of the women. Deputy Beamish also said that the thirty-two Deputies who voted against this amendment on the last occasion had cellars of their own. I have no cellar of my own, as one of the thirty-two; neither am I as well acquainted as Deputy Lyons, perhaps, is, with the homes of Senators. I do not think he gave a true picture of what the homes of Senators would be on a St. Patrick's Day in describing them as drinking dens.

No argument which has been advanced has convinced me that the publichouses should be opened on St. Patrick's Day; in fact, the arguments of those who have spoken for it have had a very opposite effect on me; they convinced me that all the houses should be kept closed. We all know that intemperance, unfortunately, is our national vice, and I think there would be no better way that the Dáil, as representing the electors of Ireland, should record that as a mistaken idea than by having the publichouses closed on St. Patrick's Day.

On the last occasion that we were debating this question I think the Dáil considered carefully everything for and against. I do not see, because a small percentage of the other House passed this amendment any reason why we should change the view which we then held. The majority, if not every member of the Dáil, is for temperance, but we object to many of the methods by which the Minister is trying to make the country temperate. We believe that some of the restrictions in the Bill will be more injurious than helpful. I had hopes that there was a possibility that the houses could be opened, let us say, from three to five, when industrial and religious processions would be over. It would be an opportunity for two hours for those people, who are perhaps not in a position to go to the houses of friends or go to other places where they could refresh themselves if they so desired. There are numbers of working people and others who simply go to a licensed house to have a drink, and then go home. I think that in the interests of temperance it would be infinitely better if the respectable tradesmen, working men, small farmers, and others could go and have their drink or two in that moderation which we hope this country will adopt.

The country will only go in for moderation, to my mind, by calm and careful leading, not by force, not by driving the particular vice, which unfortunately has existed for a number of years in Ireland, under the surface. Under the surface it will be driven by anything in the nature of coercive measures, coercive measures that will not appeal to the minds or to the hearts of the people, and that certainly will not be helpful. I think for those of us who wish to see Ireland temperate, that is, if we mean good, it would be infinitely better for the father of a family, no matter what his calling in life might be, to meet his friends and have his drink in a hotel, licensed house, or club than to go to his own house where his little children are looking at him, and give an example to these boys and girls. That is where the demoralisation would start.

Is it a bad example?

What is rather new for him, but what we have been used to elsewhere, is Deputy Johnson's satirical smile. That does not carry very far. I am happy to say that it is new with Deputy Johnson, because, as a rule, he is candid, and he is rarely satirical. I believe that you are not going to help the sobriety of St. Patrick's Day by helping shebeening, which is absolutely damnable in its destruction. Speaking here before on one occasion of what I know, from those who were connected with the trade, I told the House of cases where dozens and dozens of half pints of whiskey and bottles of stout had been prepared and got out to cottages and were taken away in bags of hay, and it was all used at night in places where girls and boys were coming in, playing cards and dancing, until two and three in the morning. I say that anything that will bring shebeening back is a crime. I speak of what I know. I have no interest in the licensed trade. Some suggestions have been made that certain Deputies are interested in the licensed trade, or the liquor business, or whatever name you may wish to call it.

I have not any connection, directly or indirectly, with the trade, and I do not hold shares in distilleries or breweries. I wish that others could say the same. It might help a great deal. It has been suggested by Deputies that St. Patrick's Day should be observed as a holy day, not as a holiday except for lighter amusement, and they believe that because a man will take a drink or two on that day it is a violation of the day. Does any Deputy suggest that the man who intends to drink on St. Patrick's Day and who cannot get into a licensed house to have a drink or two will remain without it? Are we not aware that the very intemperate class in Ireland that we want to make a small class will get drink no matter where they will have to go? They will get it under all and every condition, and if they do not get it in the licensed house they will get it elsewhere. We are unfortunately aware that illicit whiskey is distilled and the treatment of those engaged in it has not been sufficiently severe to prevent it. Sufficient efforts have not been made, and sufficient punishment has not been introduced to deal with these people who are selling this illicit whiskey, depriving men of their senses and sending them to asylums. This is far more the cause of evil than anything that may be consumed in a proper licensed house.

I am aware that there are certain houses where drinking goes on, on St. Patrick's Day, but these abuses go on on every other day as well. When these houses are reported for keeping open after hours, why is not the law enforced? Why has this business been allowed to continue; why are their licences not taken from them? Of course we will be told that the law is going to regulate all these things, but the law should have prevented it in the past. If steps were taken to prevent them from selling this very bad drink, and if the law would not allow any whiskey out of bond for at least five years, and if these people who are selling this poisonous stuff were punished, it would go a long way to stamp out the vice of intemperance. These houses should be closed if they had anything in the nature of dangerous stuff. I am not aware of any country where the patron saint's day is observed by an absolute closing of all licensed establishments, clubs and hotels. I am not aware there is any such country, and I think it is a very great reflection on the people of Ireland if it is suggested that we are such an intemperate race, that we are a race who have such little self-control, that we cannot take a drink on this day without going to excess. People who go to excess on Patrick's Day go to excess on a good many other days just as well.

We are all unfortunately aware that there is far more drink consumed on Christmas Day, when all the houses are closed, than on Patrick's Day. We are all aware that there is practically no farmer's or labourer's cottage, as well as the homes of wealthy people, where drink is not consumed on this day. It is only by teaching the principles of temperance in the schools in the first instance that you will make any headway. Treat the drunkard who passes along the streets as a leper; simply treat him as he should be treated, the man who goes drunk through your streets, treat him as an outcast. That would help far more to temperance than to close up all the houses on that day, because you believe your people are so weak and are people of such small minds that they cannot be trusted with a drink or two without bringing themselves to the level of brute beasts. I hope Deputies will consider this matter carefully, not in a biassed way, or in favour of any class or section. What Deputy Davin says is true, that we were not returned after asking our constituents' views on this matter. It was not put before our constituents, but possibly that might be said of other legislation that may have to be introduced.

It would be infinitely better if the people who sent us here to represent them were informed that certain measures were to be brought forward, and if they were in a position to give us definite instructions to represent their views on these matters. I am absolutely convinced that any measure of repression, anything in the nature of coercion on the Irish people in this or any other matter will not go far. I believe in appealing to them. I believe in getting them going. When Father Mathew started his temperance crusade he did not abuse the people. He did not go in for repressive measures. He practically started the very movement that is the Pioneer movement to-day, having temperance in the schools and amongst the children. and educating the grown-up people into the necessity of having temperance in the country. If you compel the people in the country to take refreshment or drink in their homes, you are giving a wretched example to their children, and you are doing far more injury to the children when they are being brought into contact with drink in this way than if a few hundred men in different parts of Ireland were allowed to take drink on Patrick's Day in public-houses.

As I said before, those who are determined to get a drink on Patrick's Day, or any other day, will get it. If you had all the powers and the penalties of the existing laws or any other laws they will not prevent these people from drinking. You cannot stop them from drinking methylated spirits, even with the steps you have taken, because it will take time to hunt and to hound out the people who are engaged in that vice and the people who are making money by trading in it. I do appeal to the Dáil, having come to a certain conclusion on a certain matter, after careful consideration, that they should not be false to what they believed was right. As to what other Deputies may say as regards "Patrick's Pot" and all these things, I do not wish to associate myself with that in any sense. I do not associate myself with anybody who says that Patrick's Day should be observed as a day of latitude on which people may debase themselves by becoming inordinately drunk. If anybody would suggest, what some Deputies outside seemed to say, in interpreting the speeches of some Deputies in this House, that that is the view they hold I do not think they meant that that is so, and I certainly object to any such line. I have given my views according to my conscience and my mind. It is quite immaterial what anybody thinks of me or my views. I did not give them on behalf of the licensed trade. I gave them because I believe in temperance in Ireland, and I believe this is not the way to help the cause of temperance, which should be sacred to the whole of us.

As one who took a very active part in the establishing of the National Holiday movement, many years ago, I feel that I must, at any rate as far as my vote goes, be consistent and vote for the amendment.

I had the honour of being reported in the Dáil by Deputy D'Alton as having been sarcastic because I smiled at his suggestion that it was unwise to put temptation in the way of fathers of children, to have to drink their intoxicating liquor at home, before their children on St. Patrick's Day, instead of being able to go out to the tavern for it. I should say I would smile at any such argument being placed before the Dáil. I think I seldom heard a more uncandid speech than Deputy D'Alton made. He will forgive me for saying it. To profess to be speaking on behalf of temperance and good example to children and the undesirability of allowing children to see their parents drinking at all, and that it is better that parents should be induced to go to publichouses to drink, so that these children may be placed in the way of seeing scores of people drinking in publichouses rather than seeing their fathers drinking in their own homes—all that being argued in the cause of temperance, is certainly a surprise to me. Deputy D'Alton says, in opposition to the proposition that publichouses should be closed compulsorily on St. Patrick's Day, that more drink is consumed on Christmas Day than on St. Patrick's Day, and that the publichouses are closed on Christmas Day. Does he ask the House to believe that he would urge that the public-houses should be closed on Christmas Day in order to reduce drinking facilities and therefore reduce the quantity of drink taken on Christmas Day or Good Friday, though he did not mention Good Friday as a day on which an excessive amount of drink is taken? To quote Christmas Day against St. Patrick's Day and say that because publichouses are closed on Christmas Day there is more drink taken on Christmas Day and, therefore, public-houses should be left open on St. Patrick's Day, without following on and saying that the publichouses should be open on Christmas Day is uncandid. Does Deputy D'Alton desire that publichouses should be open on Christmas Day? He did not move in that direction.

By way of explanation and, perhaps, in answer to Deputy Johnson, I may say that the fact that publichouses were closed on Christmas Day did not mean that there was less drinking than on St. Patrick's Day. I clearly meant to convey that if you close publichouses absolutely on St. Patrick's Day, instead of opening them for one or two hours, you will not lessen the amount of drink consumed. Again I repeat that there is far less bad example shown to children going to publichouses, where they may see decent men taking a drink, than by their fathers drinking in their own homes with their friends. I know a number of decent tradesmen who would not take a drink in their own homes lest they give a bad example to their children.

I would say to those fathers and workmen, if they are so fearful of the effect of their children seeing drink being taken, they should carry their contentions to a reasonable limit and refuse to take it at all. If it is something to be ashamed of, and that they dare not let their children see them drinking, they should not take it, and the proposition of the Minister will encourage them in that direction. Is there not a good deal of cant talked about this? In the Bill it is proposed that on three days in the year public-houses should be absolutely closed, and the argument runs that the cause of true temperance, which means opportunity to drink in moderation or otherwise, will be better served by only having two days out of 365 on which the publichouses shall be compulsorily closed. All these needs of the people, all these urgent demands which are placed before us in the cause forsooth of true temperance, are in respect of one day out of 365. Deputy Lyons professed himself to be in favour of prohibition, but said it was not opportune. This goes one three-hundredth-and-sixty-second part of the way towards total prohibition, and it is a very little way. Surely we can induce one Deputy, at any rate, who is not here, Deputy Lyons, to go the one three-hundred-and-sixty-second part of the way towards the ideal which he himself would like to attain.

There is another aspect of this question which has not yet been touched upon, and that is the fact that it is only one of three days in the year which the persons engaged as employees in publichouses can be sure of having free. That is a consideration that might well be touched upon and might be urged strongly as an argument in favour of the proposal of the Seanad, but I merely mention it to pass on. I do not know whether the views of the publican interests in the Dáil are that the present law upon this matter is preferable to the law which will be contained in this Act, whether they would prefer to live for another nine months under the present law rather than take the new proposals which are embodied in this Bill. I think I heard Deputy Daly, who professes to speak, and I am sure does speak, on behalf of the licensed trade, lamenting the present law, and I think he must welcome the proposals in the new Bill of the Minister. I suggest for his earnest consideration that he ought to agree with the Seanad amendment, otherwise there is every probability that he will have the present law hanging round his neck for nine months at any rate. While supporting the amendment, he may be free of the incubus of the present Act, and enter into the greater spaciousness allowed by the Bill now before us, so there is going to be a very heavy obligation upon Deputy Daly, Deputy Beamish and one or two others in the House.

On a point of order, may I say that it is sometimes worthy to bear the true and honest burden.

I am afraid that I do not understand what the Deputy has said.

I am sure that Deputy Johnson would not understand it.

I am afraid that Deputy Daly, Deputy Beamish, and one or two others, will have to answer the very serious question that will be put by their constituents, or the bodies they profess to speak for here, if they insist on their refusal to accept the proposal of the Seanad in this matter, and if they insist that the present enactment that is oppressing them is to be held around their necks for nine months. Theirs will be the responsibility for that to the publicans of the country, and I would urge them to think very seriously before opposing this Seanad amendment.

The matter appeals to me in a rather different light. I have followed the agitations for a good many years in favour of a total closing of public-houses on St. Patrick's Day. I know a great deal of effort was put into that movement. I know that a good deal of the history of the last few years of Irish development has been round about the Gaelic revival, the revival of national self-respect and national self-consciousness which developed alongside this movement, and of which this movement was a part. I believe that to go back upon that by refusing the proposition to close publichouses on St. Patrick's Day is going to be a distinct sign of turning our backs on that great spiritual movement which ran through this country, and roused many of the finer spirits to a better appreciation of what was called for by Irish nationality in the higher sense.

It is no use saying that St. Patrick's Day had not been the occasion for a great deal of excessive drinking. It is only hypocrisy to deny it. It has got to the stage of the popular ballad, and popular ballads, whatever else they may be, have their sentiments usually rooted in certain facts and practices that are commonly understood and recognised, and the ballads dealing with the celebration of St. Patrick's Day almost always associated the celebration with excessive drinking. If it is true, as Deputy D'Alton suggests, that no other country celebrates the day of its patron saint by a prohibition of intoxicating liquor, surely it would be a good thing for Ireland to strike a distinctive note in that respect. Could not we say: "Here is the day Ireland celebrates, a Christian festival, and the day which celebrates national consciousness, and we are going to use it as a day of renunciation in respect of this particular appetite, and we are going to exercise our wits and activities, and express our spirit in some other way than by taking intoxicating liquor"? I say that that action, that gesture, as the phrase goes nowadays, would be a sign of distinctiveness, and because other countries have not done that sort of thing is no reason why we should not strike that note.

I believe that this particular movement which we are asked now to embody in the law, a popular movement having a great spiritual force behind it, and which became more or less fixed in the minds of many people in many parts of the country, should be embodied in the law and placed on statutory record—that this country is going to celebrate the day of its patron saint by abstinence from intoxicating liquor so far as the law can ensure it. We ought to encourage by statute a movement of this kind, having, as I say, its inception in a really spiritual force connected with the national revival, by no means a puritanical movement, though if it were I should not decry it, but one having a desire to strike a new note and to save the people who had got into a somewhat degrading habit of associating St. Patrick's Day with a pagan festival. I say that we ought to support the Seanad in this amendment, ought to support the movement that succeeded in establishing this idea in the minds of the people, and we ought to set out as far as we can, to bring into effect that St. Patrick's Day shall be celebrated in a different way from that which we are led to believe was the traditional way in which such a feast should be recognised and honoured.

I hope the Dáil will support the Minister's motion, and I hope the Dáil will see that the last division on this question was a wrong one, that it was not speaking its better mind then, and that the public, particularly the public that thinks on these matters, would desire that it should have done. Deputy Davin quite honestly, and perhaps through my fault to some extent, made a mistake, and I want to correct without blaming him. He said that nothing had been decided in recent years by responsible organisations in the Labour movement in respect of a policy on intoxicating liquor and temperance questions. He asked me a question before he spoke on this matter, and I gave him from memory the best information I could, but I have since found a resolution which was passed in the year 1920 at the annual trades congress. It was adopted unanimously, and it is to this effect: "We deplore the increasing consumption of intoxicating beverages in Ireland, despite the increase in prices, as inevitably leading to deterioration in the national morale, while adding millions a year to the funds at the disposal of the British Government for carrying on their war against this small nation ‘rightly struggling to be free.' We authorise the incoming national executive to co-operate in any well-considered effort towards curtailing the consumption in Ireland of intoxicants, and urge upon ‘the proper authority' the necessity for making plans for the utilisation of the distilleries and breweries for other industrial purposes (e.g., the distillation of alcohol for power production)."

Before Deputy Johnson goes further will he tell the Dáil, for the information of myself and other Deputies here, what the National Executive did in respect of that instruction, seeing that two-thirds of the National Executive are teetotallers?

That was reported on at the following Congress.

To what effect?

This is not the place to discuss that. As a matter of fact this resolution was promoted by the Gaelic League, and the Labour movement approved of it, and assisted in carrying the resolution, and did as a matter of fact co-operate in well considered efforts towards this end. I quoted the resolution to show that at any rate the Labour movement is not bound to support the views of Deputy Daly and Deputy Beamish, but rather on the contrary, that we should support every well-considered effort, as this is, to reduce the consumption of alcoholic liquor.

After the impassioned plea we have heard from Deputy D'Alton for the opening of public-houses on St. Patrick's Day, it may surprise him to know that in very many towns the publichouses have been closed, not altogether voluntarily perhaps, but in obedience to the great wave of public opinion that came up in the country some quarter of a century ago and which was initiated by the Gaelic League. I have heard no complaint whatever from the public who resort to those towns, or, in fact, from the publicans themselves, as to the effect of this proposal. As far as the licensed holders whom I have spoken to are concerned, they have not expressed any opposition to the proposal against the opening of publichouses on St. Patrick's Day; they would rather welcome that, because, as they told me, it meant a holiday for themselves and their assistants. As far as I know there is no demand whatever for the opening of publichouses on St. Patrick's Day.

I am not entirely impressed by Deputy Johnson's choice of old ballads as material on which to found his argument. I should have expected from Deputy Johnson—perhaps we may have them from the Minister— some statistics that will show us whether there is excessive drinking on St. Patrick's Day, or what are the records of drunkenness on that day as compared, say, with August Bank Holiday, Easter Monday or any other day. That is one of the factors which nobody has yet touched upon. I voted with Deputy Beamish on the last occasion when this matter was before the Dáil. I am still unconvinced by the debate as far as I have heard it. I do not agree with Deputy Johnson's proposition that the day should be a day of mortification for those of the community who are addicted to intoxicating drink. I intensely dislike the idea of imposing upon others a restriction which I would not like imposed upon myself. Deputy Johnson did suggest a wider issue which lies behind the amendment and which we must consider when discussing it. It is not only a question of whether publichouses are to be opened on that day or not; it is a question of whether this Bill is to be hung up for nine months.

It is not correct to say that this amendment was passed by a very small Seanad. It is an amendment that was passed on the day previous to the day on which amendment No. 9 was considered, when only twenty Senators were present. This amendment was passed in a fairly representative, normal Seanad and apparently it was passed with the approbation of a considerable majority. If we disagree with the Seanad in this amendment, we have to face the prospect that the Seanad may hang up the Bill, and its operation will be postponed for nine months. It is for every Deputy to ask himself whether or not he desires that. I find myself that it is a very hard matter to decide. There are many provisions that I consider are in advance of public opinion and are unduly restrictive on the public. On the other hand, there are many provisions which are valuable and useful provisions, particularly the ones dealing with illicit distillation and methylated spirit. I confess I should be very sorry to see this measure postponed for nine months. That may happen if we reject the Seanad amendments. We have, in our own minds, to strike a balance on this matter. Personally I shall wait to hear the end of the debate in the hope of finding some argument that will, as far as I am concerned, put that balance one way or the other. Let us not forget that there is a greater issue involved than the mere opening or closing of publichouses on St. Patrick's Day. There is involved the issue whether the Bill is or is not to be hung up for nine months.

The debate has pretty well followed the course of the previous debate on this subject. We have had Deputy Daly's humorous speech and Deputy Beamish's rollicking speech, and, generally, the case has been presented that this is a ridiculous proposal, an absurd proposal, a puritanical proposal, and a pure kill-joy. It has been suggested that the whole thing should be scouted, and that only a few demented Senators could possibly support a proposal that the public-houses should close on St. Patrick's Day. Deputies appear to be oblivious of the fact that three or four years ago, when we had not the power, or were not in the position to make thoroughly effective the demand, the whole country was crying out for such a provision and such a measure.

As I reminded Deputies, it was only the backsliding of the few that caused a breakdown, because the licensed traders themselves were well prepared to meet public opinion, and to give way, with goodwill and co-operation, on this particular point. In a speech punctuated with the popping of corks and the clinking of glasses, Deputy D'Alton told us he was strongly in favour of temperance in Ireland, but he described this provision and the Bill in which it is embodied, as a harsh, tyrannical, coercive measure, calculated to promote shebeening and other vices of that kind. It may surprise some Deputies, and Deputy D'Alton in particular, that many individual members of the licensed trade have described this Bill to me in very different terms. They described it as an extremely reasonable and moderate measure, every section and sub-section of which met with their approval. I mention that to show the difference between the rabid temperance advocate and the man who is making his living by the trade.

Did they refer to the original Bill, the Bill after it left the Dáil, or the Bill as amended in the Seanad?

They referred to the Bill as it was in the Dáil and before it went to the Seanad. They referred to the Bill, with the exception, certainly, of structural separation. That was the exception. Any licensed trader who spoke to me excepted that, and said that otherwise it was a reasonable and moderate measure. I do not like to be putting particular arguments to the Dáil as a whole. There are times when you wish you could speak to Deputy Beamish or Deputy Daly apart—have a word in their ear, so to speak. I despair of either of those Deputies reacting to the arguments based on national sentiment or anything of that kind, and I come down then to harder stuff. This is a question of a particular space of eight or ten hours in a year. As against that there is the prospect of this Bill being hung up for 270 days, with a loss in trade to the publican if that happens. That would mean, at the rate of half an hour a day, 135 hours, or otherwise 10 days of 13 hours. They give away that——

Very nice, indeed.

——in seconds, in minutes, in half hours, in hours, and in the hard cash which that means, and they can make up their minds accordingly. I have no hope if the Dáil rejects both of the important amendments which the Seanad inserted that the Seanad would simply step back from its position and say: "Well, have it so." I do believe that if both of these amendments are rejected this Bill will be hung up.

By one-third of the Seanad?

By a two to one majority—by 18 votes to 9, this particular amendment was inserted in the Seanad. Now, that is a matter which Deputy Daly and others will perhaps consider. If the Dáil were to accept one of these amendments, I might have a case for going and pleading to the Seanad for a compromise and for asking that they would give way with regard to that. I have no hope that if both of these amendments are rejected I will be able to induce the Seanad to do other than to suspend the Bill, which will mean that the existing measure, with its 9.30 p.m. closing hour, will be in operation for nine months. I was asked by Deputy Cooper to give statistics; to compare for him St. Patrick's Day with the August Bank Holiday, or Easter Monday. I am not in a position to do it, but I query that that is the comparison that we ought to make. If we are to take it that on August Bank Holiday or on Easter Monday there is an exceptional amount of abuse and an exceptional amount of intoxication, are we to say that it is only proper and reasonable that there should be the same exceptional amount of intoxication on St. Patrick's Day?

I was not suggesting an exceptional amount of intoxication on August Bank Holiday.

Does the Deputy suggest that there is not an exceptional amount?

No, I do not.

Does he suggest that it was quite like any other day? It is just a question of the difference in viewpoint. If we take the view that sobriety is a national virtue that we should aim at, and that, perhaps, is not at the moment a striking characteristic of our people, would it be any harm to mark our sense of that, and our appreciation of that, by signalising the national festival by the closing of public-houses? Are we to ignore entirely the effect of that on the peoples' minds, both the minds of our own people, and the minds of people who come into the country? Is it nothing that a stranger would have to say: "Here is a people, and the moment it regained its native institutions, it availed of its legislature and administrative powers to mark its national festival by a temperance gesture so that its people would note the effect of that."

The psychological effect of that gesture would be that you would have the people striving to fit themselves for their newly-won responsibility, by striving at sobriety, by striving at self-respect, by striving after that self-control and hardness of fibre which must manifest itself, if we are to make anything of the freedom to which we have won out. We must be indeed a soft people if we are to regard it as a tyranny, as a coercive measure, as a tremendous hardship, that we should have to spend one day, and that day the day of our national saint, without pouring stout and whiskey down our throats. A soft people indeed! The hardship of it! The tyranny of it! It reminded me of the man in the Abbey play who went around talking about his "sufferin's" and showing his wounds. Look at our sufferings if for one eight hours out of the 365 days we have to walk past a public-house without turning in! It will be worse than Cromwell! Better we had been exterminated by one of the many conquering and rampaging generals who came across to us from time to time, than that we should live to see the day when we should spend a national festival without a little drop!!! What about all the enthusiasm of four or five years ago? Is it because we did not succeed in winning out to the fulness of our claim that we ought to bury all our ideals, all our aspirations, and all the sentiments of those days and say that we are going to go back to the pot, and that we like to revel and carouse and get drunk, and that we regard it as an unwarrantable restriction on our liberty if we are not allowed to do that on the national festival as well as on any other day. Deputies should realise that on this matter at any rate the Seanad has shown better national sense, better national inspiration, and better wisdom than the Dáil showed when it took the last vote on this matter.

As a matter of personal explanation I would like to say, as Deputy Johnson has used my name very freely, that I closed my publichouse ever since that regulation was brought in by the Gaelic League on the matter of St. Patrick's Day. Now, what I do complain of, and what I did complain of, is that the publicans should be compelled to close while every other business is allowed to carry on. Every other trade of every kind is allowed to carry on. There will be plenty of drink got on St. Patrick's Day, and I agree with Deputy D'Alton when he says that it will be got without the supervision of the Gárda, and this will be a greater danger than if it were sold in the publichouse, where the Gárda would supervise. I do not, for the sake of these twelve hours, as the Minister for Justice has suggested, stand up here to oppose this amendment. I am not looking for those twelve hours, nor are those I represent looking for those twelve hours. I do suggest, however, that the people were not told at the general election that any measure of this kind was going to be brought in by the Government. If the people were told that, and if some of us stood for it, we would not be here. I hold that St. Patrick's Day should not be made an issue at any election. Everybody should be made behave himself on St. Patrick's Day, and if people misconduct themselves it is not the publican who should be blamed for it. I know, as a matter of fact, that the publicans do already close their houses on St. Patrick's Day. The majority of them do. I ask why should the publican be singled out, why should the peasants of Ireland, especially the young people of Ireland, be told that they are not fit to walk into a street in Ireland on St. Patrick's Day if there happens to be a publichouse in that street? It is an insult to the Irish people.

resumed the Chair at this stage.

Question put: "That the Committee agree with the Seanad in Amendments 1 and 2."
The Committee divided: Tá, 31; Níl, 32.

  • Earnán de Blaghd.
  • Seoirse de Bhulbh.
  • Séamus de Búrca.
  • John Conlan.
  • Bryan R. Cooper.
  • Sir James Craig.
  • Máighréad Ní Choileáin Bean Uí Dhrisceóil.
  • Seán de Faoite.
  • Desmond Fitzgerald.
  • John Good.
  • John Hennigan.
  • William Hewat.
  • Tomás Mac Eoin.
  • Risteárd Mac Fheorais.
  • Risteárd Mac Liam.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Peadar O hAodha.
  • Mícheál O hAonghusa.
  • Tomás O Conaill.
  • Partholán O Conchubhair.
  • Séamus O Dóláin. Peadar O Dubhghaill.
  • Donchadh O Guaire.
  • Pádraic O Máille.
  • Risteárd O Maolchatha.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (Gaillimh).
  • Caoimhghín O hUigín.
  • Liam Thrift.
  • Séamus O Cruadhlaoich.
  • Aodh O Cúlacháin.

Níl

  • Pádraig F. Baxter.
  • Richard H. Beamish.
  • Séamus Breathnach.
  • Seán Buitléir.
  • Louis J. D'Alton.
  • John Daly.
  • Michael Egan.
  • David Hall.
  • Connor Hogan.
  • Séamus Mac Cosgair.
  • Pádraig Mac Fadáin.
  • Pádraig Mac Fhlannchadha.
  • Patrick McKenna.
  • Pádraig Mag Ualghairg.
  • Patrick Mulvany.
  • Martin M. Nally.
  • Tomás de Nógla.
  • John T. Nolan.
  • Ailfrid O Broin.
  • Conchubhair O Conghaile.
  • Liam O Dáimhín.
  • Eoghan O Dochartaigh.
  • Pádraig O Dubhthaigh.
  • Eamon O Dúgáin.
  • Mícheál O hIfearnáin.
  • Seán O Laidhin.
  • Séamus O Leadáin.
  • Fionán O Loingsigh.
  • Domhnall O Mocháin.
  • Domhnall O Muirgheasa.
  • Tadhg O Murchadha.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (An Clár).
Question declared lost.
Amendment 3.—In Section 8 (1) the words "and before it is consumed" deleted in lines 47-48.

I beg to move:—

"That the Committee agree with the Seanad in this amendment."

This was an amendment inserted at my request in the Seanad to meet an objection which was urged by a Senator to the Bill as it stood. The Senator had an amendment:—

To add at the end of Section 8 the words: "provided that when the in toxicating liquor is consumed before it is paid for without the consent of the licence holder he shall not be guilty of an offence under this section."

I explained that the amendment could not be accepted, and it was withdrawn. There was a suggestion then that some such words as these should be added:—

"Provided that no licence holder shall be convicted of any offence under the section if he satisfies the court that the supplying on credit took place without his privity or consent,"

and I undertook to consider the matter and see what amendment could be made. I was afraid the wording suggested would provide a form of defence to the licence holder which, in practice, would render the section nugatory. It would be hard to get a conviction even where an offence had, in fact, been committed. I say that the deletion of the words "and before it is consumed" will meet the point sufficiently, without making the section difficult of application in practice. The section will then prescribe that the liquor must be paid for at the time at which it is supplied. The time of supply is a sufficiently broad term to give the licence holder a fair chance of complying with the section. If the defence is that the consumer departed without paying, it will be for him to convince the court of that. I have no doubt that, in practice, the court will be able to form a judgment as to whether the licence holder was guilty of an offence or not. The amendment will prevent the hardship complained of, that it would be necessary to demand payment before the consumer's glass was actually filled.

It is very hard to agree with the amendment, but, at the same time, the spirit in which it is moved is favourable to the publicans. I understand that if a man walked into a publichouse, called for a drink and drank it, and walked out without paying, the publican would be guilty of an offence. Now, the publican is put to inconvenience. He has got to have a face of brass and say to every customer, "Have you got the money about you: if you have not I will not supply you." That is a very awkward position. Can there be any other way out of it? Perhaps that is the only way the Minister for Justice can see out of it. It would be an offence, I think, if a man walked in and drank a half of whiskey without paying. If he was thirsty he would not take very long to swallow it and walk out. If the publican followed, and handed the man over to the police, he would be guilty of an offence, as the giving of drink on "tick" is against the law. If the next door neighbour of a publican walked into a publichouse with three or four friends and called for drinks, and if the publican said to him, "Have you the money?" what would be the opinion of that neighbour's friends except that he had "bilked" him before. An easier way out would be that if a man who went into a publichouse refused to pay, the publican should be authorised to report the matter to the police.

The amendment is in your favour.

Yes, but the publican is supposed to find out if a man is going to pay or not.

He is not.

I think so. Is a publican supposed to find out before supplying a customer if he is going to pay or not? I think he is, or otherwise he will be brought before the court and fined £5 or something like that sum. Two or three offences would automatically do away with the licence. I agree that this is a step in the right direction, but I wish that the Minister would find some other solution. Supposing a tinker went into a house, called for five or six drinks and walked out after they had been consumed, I know the payment the shopkeeper would get if he followed and asked for payment. He would get a slap of the soldering iron. In that way I think the publican should be compelled to praosecute any man or report to the police any man who would act in that way. I am at a loss to find a way out of it.

Deputy Daly does not seem to understand that this amendment is in his favour. The words "and before it is consumed" are deleted. Obviously he ought to agree to the amendment.

What is to be inserted in place of them?

Nothing.

One of the friendly Senators explained the amendment to me.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 9.
Amendment 4.—Section 9 deleted and the following new section substituted therefor:—
"(1) The Minister for Justice may by order prescribe the sizes of the bottles in which any specified intoxicating liquor may be sold, and where any such order is in force it shall not be lawful to sell or supply the intoxicating liquor specified in the order in bottles of any size other than one of the sizes prescribed by the order.
(2) Every person who shall sell or supply any intoxicating liquor in contravention of this section shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof in the case of a first offence to a penalty not exceeding five pounds, and in the case of any subsequent offence to a penalty not exceeding ten pounds."

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in the said amendment. Deputies will remember that on the Report Stage of the Bill I undertook to have inserted in the Seanad an amendment which would leave it optional with the Minister for Justice to prescribe the size of the bottles in which intoxicating liquor might be sold. The difficulty was in prescribing bottles for all kinds of intoxicating liquor such as those for foreign wines and so on. An amendment was introduced by Deputy Johnson for the purpose of having stout and beer sold in specified bottles. The section now leaves the provision in the Bill a permissive power to the Minister for Justice to prescribe the size of the bottle in the case of whatever intoxicating liquor he thinks proper. As it stood formerly, the Bill was mandatory and would put on him the onus of prescribing the kind of bottle, and it went in advance of anything sought here.

I think it is perfectly safe to accept this amendment and that there ought not to be any great opposition to it.

The only objection I have is to the form of the amendment. While the original proposition set out that there would be an obligation on the Minister to prescribe the sizes there is no obligation in the amendment, and it is left open to the Minister as to whether he will prescribe the sizes or not. As far as I am personally concerned, I would be satisfied to get an assurance from the Minister in due time, as far as he can promise after full inquiry into all the interests concerned, that there will be a size prescribed by order. If that assurance were given I would be pleased to support the amendment, although I would like it to be made a mandatory provision of the Act.

I, like Deputy Beamish, accept the amendment but would like to point out to the Minister for Justice that if he mentioned sixteen bottles to the gallon you will have a half-pint to the gallon which will be Imperial, or State measure now, and it would be much easier to determine whether the persons filling the bottles were going to cheat or be honest. If it were decided that you were to have 12, 13 or 14 bottles to the gallon it would mean at least a loss of £1,000,000. All the bottles in the State would have to be broken, and that would be a great hardship to some bottlers.

Like Deputy Johnson. I prefer that the Minister should be compelled to specify the sizes with regard to beer and stout bottles, because from our experience we know that the trade has gone from 12 to the gallon. Unless the Minister puts down his foot and specifies some size there is no reason why the next size should not be eighteen to the gallon. If the Minister gives us an assurance he will deal with it I am satisfied.

I intend to deal with it.

I would only like to question the success of the operation in this case. The section is that the Minister shall prescribe the size of the bottle, but there is nothing in the Bill to compel a man to fill the bottle. If you half fill a bottle you are carrying out the obligation.

The only thing to make one timid is the unanimity and the praise given it by Deputies Beamish and Daly. When you find those two Deputies agreeing to an amendment you have to search your conscience from the public point of view, to know what is in it.

We must not be judged by the gentleman speaking. His character and ours are totally different.

I would like the Minister to examine this clause a good deal more in view of the support given it before he will accept the amendment.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 10.
Amendment 5. In Section 10, after the word "supply," line 5, the words "or who shall allow any person to supply" inserted.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in this amendment. It was introduced to bring the section into conformity with the wording of Section 11, sub-section (1). Similar words were missing from the original Section 10, and the effect of this amendment is to supply this. It simply puts the responsibility on the licence holder if the drink is supplied regardless of who supplied it.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 11.
Amendment 6. In Section 11 (2) the word "knowingly" deleted in line 22.

I move to agree. The effect of the amendment is to omit the word "knowingly." That is, if a person sends a young person to a licensed premises for liquor he would be in a position to know the age of that young person, and the onus should not be put upon the prosecution of establishing actual knowledge against the defendant, who should be presumed to know. Accordingly knowledge is presumed.

Question put and agreed to.
Amendment 7. In Section 11 (4) before paragraph (b), line 37, a new paragraph (b) inserted as follows:—
"(b) the employment by a licensed person of a member of his family or his servant or apprentice as a messenger to deliver intoxicating liquor in sealed or corked vessels, or."

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in this amendment. The object of this amendment is to permit the carrying and delivering of intoxicating liquor in sealed or corked bottles by members of the licensed holder's family or apprentice, if such member of the family, or if such apprentice be a young person. I think it is a reasonable facility to give to the licence holder, and I ask the Dáil to agree to it.

Question put and agreed to.
Amendment 8. The following new sub-section added at the end of Section 11:
"(5) In this section the word ‘corked' means closed with a plug or stopper, whether it is made of cork or wood or glass or some other material; the word ‘sealed' means secured with any substance without the destruction of which the cork, plug, or stopper cannot be withdrawn."

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in this amendment. When the Bill was before the Dáil, portions, I think, of the Intoxicating Liquor (Sale to Children) Act, 1901, were repealed. It has been thought better to embody the draft, to re-enact the whole of the Act in the present Bill, and to include the whole of the Act in the repeal Schedule. The amendment is necessary for the purpose of improved draftsmanship.

Question put and agreed to.
Amendment 9.—Before Section 12 a new section inserted as follows:—
"(1) From and after the 25th day of September, 1927, it shall not be lawful to carry on any business (except the businesses hereinafter expressly authorised) in the same building as that in which the business of the sale of intoxicating liquor by retail for consumption on the premises is carried on, unless the portion of the building in which such sale of intoxicating liquor is carried on is structurally separated from and has no internal communication with any portion of the building in which any other business (except as aforesaid) is carried on.
(2) From and after the 25th day of September, 1927, the renewal of a licence for the sale of intoxicating liquor by retail for consumption on the premises may be objected to on the ground that some other business (not being one of the businesses hereinafter expressly authorised) is carried on in the same building as that in which the sale of intoxicating liquor under such licence is carried on and that the portion of the building in which such sale of intoxicating liquor is carried on is not structurally separated from or has an internal communication with the portion of the building in which the other business aforesaid is carried on.
(3) Every licence holder who shall carry on the sale of intoxicating liquor by retail for consumption on the premises in contravention of this section shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction to a penalty not exceeding one pound for every day on which the offence is continued.
(4) Notwithstanding anything contained in this section it shall be lawful to carry on all or any of the following businesses in the same premises or portion of a building as that in which the sale of intoxicating liquor by retail for consumption on the premises is carried on, that is to say, the sale of tobacco, matches and table waters, and the sale or supply of food for consumption on the premises.
(5) This section shall not apply to the sale of intoxicating liquor in any premises structurally adapted for use and bona fide exclusively used as a hotel, refreshment house, restaurant or railway refreshment room, or to any theatre, music-hall or other place of public amusement.
(6) No premises shall be included in the lists for revision under the Irish Valuation Acts merely on account of an alteration made to such premises before the 25th day of September, 1927, if such alteration has been made for the sole purpose of complying with the provisions of this section."

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in this amendment. The amendment means the re-inserting in the Bill of the clause on structural alteration. The Seanad made certain minor alterations in the original section, inasmuch as they enlarged the time for making structural alterations to the 25th September, 1927, and they made slight verbal alterations which will be found in sub-section (6) of the new section.

Would it not be better to postpone the undertaking of this proposition to the 25th September, 1927? Why should we accept an undertaking to do it three years ahead? We are going to cause torture for three years in the minds of those unfortunate people who have got to do these structural alterations, and when the time comes they may hardly have the money to carry out these alterations. It means in many cases thirty or forty or fifty pounds. Deputy Good might suggest eighty or ninety——

We suggest that in the country it will come to forty or fifty pounds. We are promised, I believe, a Commission which is to make enquiries into the disadvantages of the liquor trade. That is a reasonable thing, to my mind, and it will be supported by a great many members of the Dáil, including myself. I think if we were to postpone this thing until we have the Commission, it would be a good thing. Some of the existing licensed houses may not be acceptable to the Commission. They may be reduced considerably in number. Why not wait then without this threat of danger for a whole three years? It ruins digestion for one thing. They are to wait for three years to know whether or not they are to divide their houses. I do not see the advantage of it. The Dáil, probably, unlike other things, is going to live for ever, and surely when the time comes in 1927, even if a month or so was lost in discussing the question, it could be discussed by the Dáil then. Why disturb these people and bother them now? Leave them as they are until September, 1927, and you will find probably by that time, after having three years to think about it, what is right to be done. I think it is a curious thing to legislate for what should be done in three years' time, because undoubtedly no one of them will do it before the three years expire. It is a useless threat, to my mind, to hold over people. If you want to do the thing, do it, but if you do not, then, leave it over until the 25th September, 1927, when probably you will carry it with the other suggestions for improvement that the Commission may suggest. For these reasons I feel inclined to suggest that we should drop this matter now.

I think after the overwhelming majority that we had here on the last occasion when the structural alterations clause came before us that the Senate were unwise in rejecting what I described as the views of the people. The action of the Dáil on that occasion expressed the views of the people until we go to the next election and are defeated or are sent back here again. We have no mandate, as Deputy Davin pointed out earlier to-day, to make all these laws, because we did not tell the people we were going to make them. I would like to point out that there is no assembly that has a lesser claim to interfere with the licensing trade than the Seanad, because during the last forty years men of their class, against the legitimate protests of the licensing trade that existed then, swamped the country with licences; they gave licences to almost everyone who put his hand to his hat for them. Now they are trying to overtake and hunt down the evil that they themselves created. They know as well as we do that there is a Commission about to be set up, but they would not have patience and wait for it.

We, the publicans—I will shout it out because you all know I am a publican, and I speak for them—say there are too many publichouses in the country, but we saddle the right horse. We say that the class that had the management and the giving away of licences for the last forty years were the cause of this. When they were giving these licences to their friends they did not say to them: "We give them to you on condition that you are going to sell nothing else in the house except liquor." They made no condition until now, and they want to victimise, for that is the word, publicans who told them that time that they had no right to give new licences. They want now to inflict restrictions upon publicans who held their licences perhaps at that time as a birthright, because the country has been flooded with licences. The licensed traders were not the cause of that, except those who got the new licences. I think that least of all in the community the Senate should not interfere with the licensed trade. These Senators do not come out at election times, nor do they canvas the houses, nor do they go into the publichouses, nor do they know what hardship it would be to tell a publican that he would have to make structural alterations or else give up one of the businesses that help him to make a living. There is not a publichouse in Munster that I did not go into in my time; I am known in nearly every one of them.

How many were you flung out of?

I was never flung out of a public-house, because I never met a publican yet who was able to fling me out. But apart from that, I did not deserve it. It would be impossible where you would have a publichouse with a frontage of sixteen or seventeen feet to make two entrances. The time is inopportune. Let the Commission regulate this. The publicans welcome the Commission. We are told by some Senators that when a woman or young girl comes into a publichouse for a loaf of bread, she is tempted and might be forced to take a bottle of stout, and that because she went in to get a loaf of bread she eventually becomes a boozer. Well, there are more boozers made over a game of Bridge than in buying bread, in the case of this sex. I take this opportunity of apologising for mentioning that there were twenty-seven at the passing of this amendment about St. Patrick's Day, but I am almost certain that there were only twenty out of a possible sixty voting on the structural clause, because I was there. The real point at issue is that it is impossible to make the structural alteration. The real grievance and the real cause of all the trouble is that we have too many licensed houses, which is brought about by the indiscriminate granting of licences during the last forty years. We welcome the Commission, and we will be obedient to it, and I think that the Seanad, the Dáil, and all concerned, should await the findings of this Commission and bring in legislation on the basis of these findings. I think I pointed that out here seven or eight months ago.

I do not intend to say any more, except to inform the House that it is impossible in a great many cases for publicans to make these structural alterations, and that if you take away the grocery business from the house you might as well take the head from the body, because the living is gone. If you take the spirit business away the grocery business is not sufficient to carry on. In addition, at present one member of the publican's family is able to mind the shop, whereas with the structural alteration it will take two members to mind two shops. That may be all right from the Labour point of view—I see that Deputy Johnson is watching me—but I speak for a number of people who have no assistants in their houses, the poorer class publicans. I tell you that if you pass this you will be inflicting hardship on the publicans, and that hardship will have been brought about by Senators granting licences indiscriminately to their friends for the last forty years, without asking them first if they were going to make structural alterations.

I move to report progress. The consideration of this Bill to be taken up again to-morrow.

Is that motion carried?

I was assuming that it had been agreed to.

I think it would be advisable to have the whole question of this Bill disposed of this evening. It would be very much more satisfactory if the Bill were disposed of, and I do not suppose that the debate on this particular section will be very prolonged. I would ask the Minister to allow this matter to be disposed of to-night.

And that will give the Seanad more time to consider it.

There may, of course, be the possibility that the majority will be the other way to-morrow, and that it would not be safe to allow it to be postponed.

How many Deputies are challenging a division on this matter?

A number of Deputies rose.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 41; Níl, 21.

  • Richard H. Beamish.
  • Earnán de Blaghd.
  • Seoirse de Bhulbh.
  • Séamus de Búrca.
  • Sir James Craig.
  • Louis J. D'Alton.
  • Máighréad Ní Choileáin Bean. Uí Dhrisceóil.
  • Michael J. Egan.
  • Desmond Fitzgerald.
  • John Good.
  • John Hennigan.
  • William Hewat.
  • Pádraig Mac Fadáin.
  • Patrick McGilligan.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Liam Mag Aonghusa.
  • Pádraig S. Mag Ualghairg.
  • Martin M. Nally.
  • John T. Nolan.
  • Peadar O hAodha.
  • Micheál O hAonghusa.
  • Criostóir O Broin.
  • Seán O Brúadair.
  • Partholán O Conchubhair.
  • Conchubhair O Conghaile.
  • Séamus O Cruadhlaoich. Eoghan O Dochartaigh.
  • Séamus N. O Dóláin.
  • Peadar S.O Dubhghaill.
  • Pádraig O Dubhthaigh.
  • Eamon S.O Dúgáin.
  • Aindriú O Laimhín.
  • Séamus O Leadáin.
  • Fionán O Loingsigh.
  • Pádraic O Máille.
  • Risteárd O Maolchatha.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (Gaillimh).
  • Caoimhghín O hUigín.
  • Patrick W. Shaw.
  • Liam Thrift.

Níl

  • Pádraig F. Baxter.
  • Sean Buitléir.
  • Bryan R. Cooper.
  • John Daly.
  • Seán de Faoite.
  • David Hall.
  • Connor Hogan.
  • Séamus Mac Cosgair.
  • Maolmhuire Mac Eochadha.
  • Tomás Mac Eoin.
  • Risteárd Mac Fheorais.
  • Pádraig Mac Fhlannchadha.
  • Patrick McKenna.
  • Risteard Mac Liam.
  • Patrick J. Mulvany.
  • Tomás de Nógla.
  • Ailfrid O Broin.
  • Aodh O Cúlacháin.
  • Mícheál O hIfearnáin.
  • Seán O Laidhin.
  • Domhnall O Mócháin.
  • Domhnall O Muirgheasa.
  • Tadhg O Murchadha.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (An Clár).
Motion declared carried.