This Resolution concerns wine, and I would like to ask the Minister for Finance why he has not taken steps to prevent profiteering by wine merchants by charging the increased price on wines which they had in stock prior to the passing of this Resolution? I would also ask the Minister whether he has seen a letter in the Press from a parish priest concerning the increased price of altar wines. When the Minister for Finance introduces Resolutions like this, increasing the duty on wine, he should make it quite clear in regard to any commodity on which an extra duty has been placed that the stocks in hands of merchants which had not been subject to the duty should be sold at the usual price. In his letter to the "Independent" on Monday last, the parish priest says: "I called yesterday on my grocer to order my supply of altar wine as usual. The grocer informed me that owing to the new tax on wines the price of altar wines were advanced 5/- per dozen or 5d. per bottle, and I had to pay 35/- per dozen for what I bought for 30/- before the tax."
A great deal of wine is used on altars, and I think the Minister for Finance should have instructions issued to wine merchants that they should not increase prices on the stocks in their possession prior to the tax. Altar wine is not manufactured in the Saorstát. Indeed I do not know why a tax should be put upon that particular wine at all. I think it would be useful information if others besides this P.P. would write to the Press and show where profiteering was taking place. It is not right that wine merchants should get this advantage which gives them an opportunity for profiteering. I should like to know whether the Minister has anything to say in regard to the wine already in hands of those merchants before the tax was imposed. Are the wine merchants entitled to charge the extra duty to the public on wines which were in their hands prior to the imposition of the tax?