INTOXICATING LIQUOR BILL, 1927—SECOND STAGE.

This Bill was ushered in in the customary journalistic setting of war and rumours of war, and as one presumably of the parties to the alleged war, I would like to make the comment that so far as I am concerned, I have allowed and will allow nothing to drive me into an attitude of hostility to the licensed trade. I have maintained that attitude throughout the preparatory stages of this Bill as I intend to maintain it through the various Stages of the Bill in the Dáil and Seanad. In the position which I hold, it falls frequently to my lot to introduce legislation, in regard to which the particular interest is in conflict to some extent with the general interest, and I have to decide, just as Deputies will have to decide, whether in the case of a conflict of that kind, it is the particular interest or the general interest that should prevail. This Bill is based broadly on the report of a public Commission. That Commission took all relevant evidence from all interested parties and brought in its report, and the Bill which I move now is based broadly on the unanimous report of that Commission. It is divided into five or six parts. The most important parts, Deputies will agree, are the parts dealing with the scheme for the reduction of licences, the part dealing with hours and the part dealing with endorsements.

I would like to deal first with the scheme for the reduction of licences. There is one matter at least on which the licensed trade and myself have been in complete agreement for many years, and that is that there are too many licences, that the trade is overcrowded, that the competition within it is too intense, and I, from the start, have drawn the conclusion that a good deal of such laxity, such breaches and excesses as existed are due in no small measure to that unduly intensive competition within the licensed trade. There is scarcely enough legitimate business to go round, and there is scrambling — there is almost inevitable scrambling — for illegitimate crumbs, crumbs gleaned through the back door, crumbs gleaned by selling intoxicating liquor to customers during prohibited hours. The Commission, which was asked to inquire amongst other things whether in fact the number of licensed houses in the country was in excess of the reasonable requirements of the public, reported that beyond question such an excess did exist, and in the Schedule of their report gave a great many examples of places in which they considered the number of public houses was out of all proportion to the reasonable requirements of the public in that respect. They recommended that machinery be set up which would enable the gradual elimination of that redundancy to take place, and one portion of the Bill which I am moving provides that machinery.

Before entering on an explanation of the scheme which is embodied in the Bill I should perhaps utter a word of warning both to those who are unduly enthusiastic and to those who are unduly apprehensive as to what can happen and what will happen under this portion of the Bill. The redundancy, the excess that exists, did not spring up in a night. It came gradually over a long period of years. It can only disappear gradually. Nothing spectacular, nothing dramatic, can be expected from the operations of this Bill in that respect. The most that can be claimed for it is that it provides the machinery which enables a reversal of the engines to take place on that process which gave the excess. We know the process that gave the excess. We know that the honorary magistrates over a long period of years flocked into the annual licensing quarter session and dealt out licences in the most casual and haphazard fashion without any real advertence to the requirements of the public, without any real advertence to the question of whether or not they were not creating within this trade an excess and redundancy which would have evil social reactions within the country. It remains to provide for the elimination of that excess and to provide for it with due regard to the equities of the case. It is unnecessary, I think, to embody in propaganda circulated to Deputies and other people an insistence on the fact that there is property in these licences, that they are a form of property, that they are a vested interest. To talk about the Clitheroe case and other cases as establishing that point is not the question. That is admitted and this portion of the Bill is based on an adequate recognition of the fact that there are property and vested interests in the licences that are held by licensees throughout the State.

Now for the scheme. It is proposed to take as the compensation unit the area tapped for summary jurisdiction purposes by the District Court, not by a particular District Justice, but by a particular District Court, and as it happens, that is the unit for licensing business—the area served for summary jurisdiction purposes by the District Court. There are 340 such areas in the State, and Deputies must envisage my Department crediting to each such area a Compensation Fund. Now the process commences down in the country by the appropriate police officer, the Superintendent, let us say, challenging a particular licence on the grounds of redundancy. The first stage in the procedure takes place before the District Justice who simply tries the issue of whether or not there is a prima facie case of redundancy established and a prima facie case established for the extinction of that particular licence rather than any other. If the District Justice is satisfied of that he makes, what is termed in the Bill, a Reference Order. He refers the matter to the Circuit Judge. The Circuit Judge proceeds to try two issues: Is there in fact redundancy? Is the number of licensed houses in that area out of proportion to the reasonable requirements of the public resident there; and, positing redundancy, is that the most appropriate licence to extinguish? If the Circuit Judge finds affirmatively on these two issues he proceeds, with the assistance of a valuer appointed ad hoc, to assess compensation. He makes the Abolition Order, which will not become operative until the day for the annual renewal of licences in the following year, and he proceeds then to assess compensation with the assistance of his valuer. When the compensation figure is arrived at, all interested parties being heard on the matter, all relative evidence being considered, he notifies the appropriate Minister — in this instance the Minister for Justice — and the compensation is paid forthwith by the State to the person whose licence is to be abolished. And over a period of twenty years, at the rate of £7 10s. 0d. for every £100 paid out in compensation, the State recoups itself from the survivors in that area — the surviving licensees in that area; or, putting it differently, the licence duty on the surviving licences of that particular area is adjusted in such a way as to recoup over a period of twenty years the compensation money paid by the State. I have said that this process must be a gradual process and that nothing dramatic, nothing spectacular can happen under this portion of the Bill. The rate of extinction will be regulated by my Department and will be regulated with advertence principally to two factors — the amount of money which the State can afford to have out at any one time on this particular business, and the burden of recoupment on the surviving licensees. Those must be the factors which will regulate the rate at which redundancy can be eliminated.

Before the Minister passes from that portion will he say whether there is to be a rehearing on the question of redundancy before the hearing as to the question of this particular licence is considered?

Certainly. The District Justice merely refers the matter to the Circuit Judge. The Circuit Judge tries ab initio in the first instance the two issues. If he finds there is redundancy he proceeds to try. “Is this the appropriate licence to be extinguished?” And only in the event of finding affirmatively in both of these issues does he issue an Abolition Order. He then proceeds to assess compensation with the assistance of his valuer. Have I answered the Deputy?

It is clear to me, but it may not be clear to others. My point is whether the question of redundancy is a general one, or whether it has relation to any particular proposal for the reduction of particular licences. Is that first question to be tried anew every time there is a proposal to abolish a licence?

Yes, but presumably the trial will not be so exhaustive in the case of the second proposal, because the Judge will have satisfied himself really on the first trial as to the extent of the redundancy that exists, and consequently the extent of the reduction desirable. But the issue will be there and can be challenged on each occasion. That, broadly, is the scheme for the reduction of licences. Deputies must endeavour to judge it now on paper and in the abstract. But I submit that whatever latent defects it may contain will really manifest themselves only when the scheme is in active operation. It is the best scheme that we have been able to arrive at. Other suggestions were made, in particular a suggestion as to the unit that might be taken for the compensation area. There were suggestions to take the entire area of the State. There were suggestions to take the area served by each District Justice, which would give you thirty-three areas instead of, as in the Bill, 340 areas. We have endeavoured to keep close to the principle that the recoupment of compensation ought to be confined to the area which benefits by the disappearance of a particular licence or a certain number of licences — that, if the State borrows, if it pays out money towards these objects and has to recoup itself from the surviving licences, then those who bear the burden of recouping the State for the compensation paid for the abolition of particular licences should be as nearly as possible those who benefit by the disappearance of those licences. If you take a larger area, if you take, say, the entire area of the State as your compensation unit, then you would have the licence-holders of Donegal, let us say, paying for extinguished licences in Wexford, in Mayo, in Kerry, or in Cork; and you would have consequent discontent.

I agree that, even taking this small administrative unit which we are taking as our compensation unit, there will not be equality of benefits by the disappearance of a particular licence. That is inevitable. However small you make your area you cannot put the entire burden on the man next door, and it will be the case that licence holders at one end of the parish will have to bear some portion of the burden of compensation for extinguishing licences at the other end of the parish, but so far as it is humanly and administratively possible to do it we are keeping to the principle that the area that will bear the burden of compensation will be the area that will benefit by the elimination.

Perhaps I could pass from that portion of the Bill to the portion which Deputies may consider next in importance — the portion dealing with endorsement. On that I want to make my position perfectly clear. Deputies are aware that prior to the Act of 1924 I formed the view that if the licensing laws were to be kept as they ought to be kept then we ought to move away from the position in which the normal consequence of a definite full-blooded breach of these licensing laws would be a fine. I want to explain the philosophy of that. If you so frame your licensing laws that a man can consistently break the law and make money by it, you can take it as certain and inevitable that the law will be widely and frequently broken. I take it Deputies will agree with me that it is not a wise principle to make laws that will be broken, and we want the laws we make kept. If you want to have these laws kept then you have to move away from the fine as the normal consequence of a definite, full-blooded breach of your licensing law. It would pay a man on the double to consistently break these laws and pay the odd fine when he was caught out — to pay the five or the ten pound fine from time to time, making his £50 or £100.

Why not apply that to the milkman?

This is not a milk Bill. And so in the 1924 Act I asked Deputies to agree, and Deputies, with some exceptions, did agree, that endorsement rather than fine should be the normal consequence of a major breach of these laws regulating the licensing trade. I have not altered my view on this matter. Deputies will observe that the Bill makes provision for endorsement as the consequence of a serious breach of these licensing laws, but the Bill breaks new ground in the matter of endorsement, for whereas hitherto an endorsement once recorded against the licence stood for ever, the Bill proposes to attach a lifetime to an endorsement. First of all, it gives to every trader in the State a clean licence as from the date of the passing of the Act. No endorsement recorded prior to the Act will be operative or have any effect whatever under the provisions of the Act. Then it provides that the first endorsement after the Act will have a life-time of five years, the second a life-time of seven years and the third and all subsequent endorsements a life-time of ten years —five, seven and ten years. When I speak of the third and all subsequent endorsements Deputies must not misunderstand me. A licence holder having three life endorsements at any one time goes out of trade. Let us take an example: If after this Bill passes, when and if it does pass, a licence-holder is convicted of one of the offences set out in the Schedule and his licence is endorsed, there is a life-time of five years on that endorsement. Let us suppose that after three years he is again convicted; in that event he will have a danger period of two years, in which if he gets a third endorsement he goes out of trade as a person unsuitable to carry on that particular trade. On the other hand, if he runs out the five years' period his first endorsement disappears and is not effective. I am anxious to meet the point of view of the opponents of this system of endorsement so far as I reasonably can, and to create the situation that a man with one endorsement can by running his establishment correctly, by observance of the law, win out again to a clear licence, and so we are introducing this system of attaching a life-time to the endorsement.

There is another point of view I was anxious to meet, and propose to meet on the Committee Stage, and that is the contention that an endorsement is in effect a reduction in the value of the man's property by one-third. It has been contended to me that the effect of this legislation is to make the licensed trader unable to borrow as much on the security of his premises as he was hitherto able to borrow. There is a certain amount in that, and it is a matter to which we have given very close consideration. It was urged that the endorsement should not adhere strictly to the licence, that it should be to some extent personal to the licence-holder, and that the licence-holder after even one or two endorsements on his licence should be free to sell a clear licence. If we have not met that hitherto it was for the reason we feel that such a proposal would give rise to the bogus sale — the bogus transfer to a relative simply for the purpose of getting rid of the endorsement and getting a clear licence again. On the Committee Stage of this Bill I am prepared to bring forward an amendment which will enable a licence-holder whose licence has been endorsed to sell a clear licence provided he can convince the court that it is a bona fide sale, and that there is no element of subterfuge.

Deputies will notice that this portion of the Bill, unlike the Act of 1924, provides for an appeal to the Circuit Judge. Under the Act of 1924 the appeal of a licence-holder lay to the High Court, and if he wished to get rid of an endorsement or if he felt that the offence which occasioned a particular endorsement was of a trivial or technical character, the onus was on him to convince the High Court of that fact. This Bill provides an appeal on that issue to the Circuit Judge. We say to the trader who has been convicted of any of the offences which have an endorsement as a consequence that if he could convince the Circuit Judge of his area that, having regard to the attendant circumstances, the offence which occasioned that particular endorsement was trivial, or purely technical in character, it shall be competent for the Circuit Judge to order that that endorsement be, for all practical purposes, inoperative and of no effect. I have been pressed on this matter and I am prepared on the Committee Stage to make even an advance on that position. I want to be very clear on this. I do not propose on the Committee Stage or on any other Stage of this Bill to revert to the position that a fine rather than an endorsement will be the normal consequence of a definite full-blooded breach of these laws, but I am prepared to give favourable consideration to some form of wording such as this: "That the District Justice shall, unless, having regard to the attendant circumstances, the offence is of a trivial or purely technical character, endorse the licence." That wording conveys my idea. No doubt in the hands of the Parliamentary draftsman it would be altered somewhat, but that is the idea. I will give that, provided that there will lie with the Superintendent of the Civic Guard of the area an appeal to the Circuit Judge if he considers that an over-indulgent view has been taken of a particular case. I am anxious to meet the trivial case, the purely technical case. I am anxious to meet the case of a man whose clock is five or seven minutes wrong and who has been detected no doubt in a breach of the licensing laws, but not in a deliberate, premeditated breach. I am anxious to meet the man who is caught out under a technicality and whose offence is trivial, but I do not propose to revert to the position that a fine rather than endorsement would be the normal consequence of a definite, full-blooded breach of these laws. I may seem unduly insistent on this matter, but I am anxious not to be misunderstood, and if we leave to the District Justice a certain discretion to meet the purely trivial or technical case, I ask in exchange for that that there shall lie with the police officer, the superintendent of the district, an appeal to the Circuit Judge if, in his considered view, an over-indulgent view has been taken of a particular case and of the circumstances of a particular case — that he may go a step higher and go to the Circuit Judge and ask him whether he considers that that offence in its setting was of a trivial or technical character.

I pass from the endorsement section to the section dealing with hours. The proposals with regard to hours are the recommendations of the Commission. Deputies will notice that there are really three divisions under the proposals bearing on hours. There is the division of the Dublin Metropolitan area and the cities of Cork, Limerick and Waterford. There is the further division of urban county districts whose population exceeds 5,000 under the last census, and then there is the rest of the State. There is some diversity in the recommendations in respect of these three areas. The proposal for the cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford is, on week days other than Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. — a ten hour day with a two hour break—and on Saturdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. — a nine and a half hour day with two hours break — and on Sundays 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. as at present. You have there for the first time in our legislation, or in legislation applying to this area, the introduction of the broken day — a two hour closing in the middle of the day. In that connection I would like to read to Deputies a short extract from the report of the Intoxicating Liquor Commission. At the bottom of page 3 I find the following:—

"We desire to add that during our proceedings we considered the liquor laws of various countries, and we are satisfied that in no hard-drinking country has the problem of drink control been so successfully handled or so much improvement secured as under the British system."

In that connection I have an extract from the English Licensing Act of 1921. I find the following in it:—

The hours during which intoxicating liquor may be sold or supplied on week days in any licensed premises or club, for consumption either on or off the premises, shall be as follows: that is to say: eight hours, beginning not earlier than eleven in the morning and ending not later than ten at night, with a break of, at least, two hours after twelve (noon); provided that: (a) in the application of this provision to the metropolis "nine" shall be substituted for "eight" (that is, a nine hour day for London instead of eight) and "eleven at night" shall be substituted for "ten at night." (In other words, the metropolitan area is given an hour longer in the day, that hour being the last hour at night.) "(b) the licensing justices of any licensing district outside the metropolis may by order, if satisfied that the special requirements of the district render it desirable, make, as respects their district, either or both of the following directions:—that this provision shall have effect as though "eight and a half" were substituted for "eight" and "half past ten at night" were substituted for "ten at night"; that this provision shall have effect as though some hour specified in the order earlier than eleven but not earlier than nine in the morning were substituted for "eleven in the morning."

That gives a certain discretion to the local magistrate to make some adjustment and modification of the hours. Deputies may take it that the most general division of hours prevailing in England is as follows:—The hours between 11.30 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon, and between 5.30 in the afternoon and 10 at night. That is, 3½ and 4½ hours — an eight hours' day — with a 2½ hours' break. The question arises occasionally as to the purpose of setting up Commissions. People have been uncharitable enough to suggest, from time to time, that Commissions are set up with a view to shelving inconvenient questions.

That is never done.

I have never taken the view that this is an appropriate use to put the findings of a public Commission to. A Commission, as I see it, is set up to give intricate questions of sufficient importance that detailed consideration which could not be given them by the Departments of State owing to the pressure of other business. Any Commissions that have been set up by the Executive Council have been set up in good faith with a view to legislation, just as this Intoxicating Liquor Commission was set up. Whether it be a Banking Commission, a Town Tenants Commission, an Intoxicating Liquor Commission, or anything else, it is set up with a view to having detailed examination made, and an important public matter examined in more detail and more fully than could be done by the Departments concerned. This matter of licensing laws has been so examined by a public Commission. All interests were represented and relevant evidence tendered and considered, and we must take the recommendations of that Commission seriously.

Is the Minister quite sure, and is he not going back on a previous statement, when he says that all interests were represented? Is it on the Commission he means?

No, represented before the Commission. I consider it bad in general to give representation on Commissions to the interests that might be affected by the findings of the Commission. You try to get an impartial Commission and you invite the conflicting interests to make their case before it.

That is different to the Banking Commission.

The Banking Commission obviously was one that called for experts and specialists.

Overloaded with directors.

We will talk about that after the adjournment. This matter of the licensing laws and the appropriate hours for the sale and consumption of intoxicating liquor has been examined in this way by a public Commission, and I, at least, take its recommendations seriously. I adopt them and I put them before the Dáil. I do not see any hardship whatever in the introduction, in four of the largest cities of the State, of the broken day. I think it is an eminently desirable social reform. It sends people about their business for two hours. It sends the long sitter about his business for a couple of hours. It sends him away to get a meal or to attend to his affairs, and, at any rate, it clears the licensed house for two short hours in the middle of a ten hours' day in four cities. People will say when one reads extracts from English legislation that conditions are entirely different here. I wonder. If they are different, is not the difference rather against than in favour of the opponents of a measure of this kind? Most of the big cities in England are better served in train service than the city of Dublin, Cork, Limerick or Waterford. You have more people pouring into these cities. You have more people coming from each economic hinterland to do their business or shopping, and yet they have a two hours' break in the day, and in most cases a two and a half hours' break. We must not have it here, because we are told conditions are different.

Then we are asked what about the long sitter, what about the man who is ruining his health and his business by spending his entire days in the publichouse? What about it? Am I my brother's keeper? It is an old question, and Deputies, Senators and Ministers have to find their own answer to it.

What are we here for? Is it not to legislate, as we believe, in the best interests of the State and its people? Do any of us believe that a twelve hours' drinking day is in the best interests of the State and the people — a twelve hours' drinking day without a break? Can we afford it — we, who hope to make so much of our new found freedom? Does it make for national efficiency, this twelve hours' drinking day? How many a man went under to the drink fiend who might have been saved by a little stricter legislation, by a little more restriction in the matter of hours, by that simple little break of two hours in the middle of the day, which has five hours added to each side of it. Every man that goes under, every man with brains, every man with capacity, is a loss to the State that it would be difficult to measure in terms of pounds sterling.

"Let them go to the devil," I have been told. Should we let them go to the devil? That is the question. If we should, well and good. Then Deputies can reject those proposals or any other restrictive proposals introduced, if that is their point of view. But I submit that is not the point of view of the majority of the men and women, the adult population of this State. Now the general interest and the particular interest conflict, and the particular interest is organised and vocal, very much in evidence, and there are few to raise their whisper in the general interest. Everybody's business is nobody's business. And so the particular interest very often prevails, and very often wrongly prevails.

There is a certain amount of confused thinking, a certain amount of loose thinking about this matter of licence holders and their property and the iniquity of any infringement of that property. Let us go back to the beginnings. What was it? People got from the State a monopoly in a particular commodity, subject to such restrictions, to such regulations as the State might think fit from time to time to make around the trade. Does anyone suggest that licences were given on the basis that for all time there would be a twelve-hour drinking day? Does anyone suggest that an encroachment on that is in any real sense of the word an encroachment on property? Is there or is there not a property in a twelve-hour drinking day? Is there a right to it? Or is there a right in the State, in the Government and Parliament for the time being, in the light of conditions as we find them, to make any modifications or alterations that they think are in the public interest to make? That is the issue. Is it or is it not in the public interest to make this particular modification? I am not in a position to put this particular issue to the Dáil as a matter of confidence, a matter a defeat on which would involve the resignation of the Executive Council. But I was unwilling to say that I disagreed with a recommendation of the Commission which I do not disagree with, and I put this recommendation to Deputies, and I put on individual Deputies, irrespective of party, the responsibility of saying whether or not it ought to be accepted or rejected.

Passing from the four cities and this proposal of the broken day, one comes to urban county districts and the hours recommended there by the Commission are the hours in the Bill. On ordinary week-days, other than Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and on Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 9.30 p.m. Elsewhere, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. during summer time, and the rest of the year, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Long before the Committee Stage I will circulate to Deputies this table which I am using, which sets out rather more clearly than they would get from the print of the Bill the position with regard to hours.

Will the Minister place in that list the present position as well as the future position?

I will circulate both. On Saturdays in these places elsewhere throughout the State, 10 a.m. to 9.30 p.m. in the summer time, and 9 a.m. to 8.30 p.m. throughout the rest of the year. Then we come to Sunday. Sunday is, I think Deputies will agree, the most difficult day of the lot to legislate for in the matter of the sale and consumption of intoxicating liquor, because there you have a new factor, the factor that it is a day set apart by Christian religions for religious observance, a day to be unlike other days.

It may be no harm to pause for a moment on what the position has been hitherto on Sundays — the position as the Intoxicating Liquor Commission found it. You had in the four cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford a 2 to 5 opening, and elsewhere the normal position was closed doors — no sale — with this important exception, that in the country a man who had travelled the statutory distance, the regulation three miles in the country and five miles from the city of Dublin, and who was worn out after his journey, was entitled any time after 1 p.m. — in the 1924 Act we said no bona fide traffic between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m.; we cut out from the bona fide traffic the hours of Mass, the hours of Divine Service — to drink without limitation, other than physical limitations, on into the next day. I do not know whether Deputies when they come to discuss this Bill will find grave fault with the recommendation of the Commission that bona fide traffic on Sunday should end at 7 p.m. The proposal of the Commission in fact is that it be confined to four hours — from 1 to 3 and 5 to 7.

I want to say a word on that close down. It would be a matter of extreme difficulty for the police to administer that "close" between 3 and 5 p.m. Bona fide traffic, unlike other traffic, is a closed door business. You knock and explain that you have travelled the statutory distance; that you are worn out and must have a drink. You walk in and the door is closed again. If the police were to administer effectively that two hours' break in the bona fide traffic on Sundays it would involve a visit to as many of the licensed houses in their area as they could reach in two hours to make sure that there were no "clients" at work; it would be very difficult, and I think the normally constituted police sergeant would get very heartily sick of it after two or three months. I am quite willing to accept an amendment striking out that break. The break in the bona fide traffic between 3 and 5 would leave it a matter of a straight run from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Then there is the proposal with regard to distance. These distances were fixed, I think, eighty years ago. It will not be denied that the individual has become somewhat more mobile in the last eighty years. The bicycle has come into use since those distances were fixed, as has the Ford car; and the bicycle and the Ford car have revolutionised the conditions with which we are endeavouring to deal.

And the charabanc.

And the charabanc, as Deputy Johnson says. The proposal is a modest one in my opinion and not ideal. I suppose there was no ideal. At any rate the Commission have groped very hard for it and did not find it. The proposal is to double the distances, to say that a man must travel six miles in the country before qualifying for a drink and ten miles from any of the four cities in which 2 to 5 opening exists. The Commission examined the idea of a complete abolition of the bona fide traffic and a limited uniform opening throughout the State. Deputies will be interested in that portion of the report which deals with the matter and I might possibly be allowed to read part of it:

"As we felt that a case had not been made out for complete closing of licensed premises on Sunday; that there was no greater harm in drinking on a Sunday than on a week day, though possibly in view of the fact that so many people were at leisure on that day there might be a good case for special restrictions to prevent excessive drinking, we considered whether the publichouses might not be allowed to open generally between limited hours as a substitute for the bona fide traffic. To this proposal there seemed to be almost universal opposition. Temperance societies regarded the opening of publichouses in the country on Sunday as a retrograde step. The licensed trade as a whole would be prepared to accept limited opening, but the representatives of the publicans who at present serve bona fide travellers demanded such opening hours as seemed to us unreasonable. The police were, in general, in favour of limited opening as a substitute for bona fide traffic, on the ground that it would be more easily controlled and that their task of supervision would be lighter. This, while a strong argument, was not, however, conclusive. On this point Mr. Williams, who owns twenty-two publichouses in the vicinity of Tullamore, gave us great assistance. He explained that these publichouses are controlled by managers, and in view of the risk which would be involved he has forbidden these managers to serve bona fiide travellers. He made it clear that he had no objection on principle to drinking on a Sunday, but that as a business proposition he felt the risk was too great. It is obvious, therefore, that it would be to his financial interest if limited opening on Sundays were allowed, as such an alteration in the law would place him in as favourable a position as the owners of competing publichouses, who, at present living on the premises, can afford to take the risk of serving travellers. Notwithstanding this, he advised strongly against such opening. He stated that in most of the villages where he owned publichouses groups of young men loitered round the streets on Sundays. Were the publichouses opened they would probably all go in, and he felt that no good result would accrue."

Now reading over that portion of the report it struck me to contrast the two concluding sentences of the paragraph with a sentence higher up. This person said:

"In most of the villages where he owned publichouses groups of young men loitered round the streets on Sundays. Were the publichouses opened they would probably all go in, and he felt no good result would accrue."

Higher up in the same paragraph we read that:

"He made it clear that he had no objection on principle to drinking on a Sunday, but that as a business proposition he felt the risk was too great."

I think we ought to try to clear our minds on the matter of drinking on Sunday, whether we regard it as an indifferent thing like taking one's lunch, or whether we regard drinking on Sunday as on a parity with drinking on Thursday, whether, in short, the abuse consists in the drinking or in excessive drinking.

Temperance reformers meet any proposal for the extension of the facilities that exist in Dublin, Cork, Waterford and Limerick with a cry of "It is a retrograde step." One wonders whether they envisage that at any time these facilities that exist in these four cities are likely to disappear, or whether they consider that while there is two to five opening in the four cities and anyone can turn into a publichouse nearby and drink within these three hours, what is right in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford would be outrageous in Kilkenny, Sligo, Galway or Tullamore. I have my own view upon that matter a view not fortified by any recommendation by the Commission, and in consequence not embodied in the Bill. I put the recommendation of the Commission to Deputies. I would like to hear discussion on the matter, and I would be glad if in the course of that discussion any proposal emerged that seemed more desirable, more reasonable, than the proposals of the Bill.

My view about the proposal of the Bill is this: That if you set your face against the idea of an extension throughout the State of the facilities that exist in the four cities, then the proposal in the Bill is a reasonable and logical basis. The extension of the distances can certainly be defended on the grounds of the increased mobility of the individual, and I think a restriction of the hours is desirable. I think it is not reasonable that a person who has travelled three miles may by virtue of that stupendous fact drink all day and all night on Sunday.

One word about clubs. The recommendation for clubs is that the hours be the same as for licensed premises. In so far as a club deals with the sale and the consumption of intoxicating liquor it is the application to a particular commodity of the co-operative idea, and naturally enough the orthodox trader and the ordinary licensed trader looks askance at any differentiation between the hours for the sale and consumption of intoxicating liquor in clubs and in his establishment.

What about hotels?

Hotels are on a different footing.

They are a form of club.

On the ordinary week day the club hours are the hours that prevail in the licensed premises of that area. What I mean is that the hours for clubs in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford would be the hours that prevail there for licensed premises. The hours in an urban district with a population exceeding 5,000 people would be the same as the hours for licensed traders, and elsewhere the same. With regard to Sundays, the proposal is 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. There are certain details or Committee points, as they might be termed, that I have not covered in my statement with regard to hours, certain matters bearing on the position of hotels and the serving of drink with a substantial meal between certain hours and so on, but I think that I have covered in a general way the major provisions. I do not think that in any important particular the Bill departs from the recommendations of the Commission that was established to investigate this whole question, and that is the reason that I do not find myself in any important particular in disagreement with the Commission's Report. I recommend the Bill to Deputies. Inevitably on a Bill of this kind one has cross voting. Inevitably on a Bill of this kind a Minister finds himself compelled to look for support outside the ranks of the Party to which he belongs. I am in that position. On certain particulars of the Bill I am looking for support from other benches, from the Farmers' benches—after all, it is Deputy Wilson's Bill largely — from the Labour benches, who, I am sure, will not let down the Labour Senator who signed the Report, and from the Independent benches, who will certainly rally around Deputy Sir James Craig. I think it is a reasonable Bill; I think it is a moderate Bill. I admit the conflict between the general interest and the particular interest, but I submit that the particular interest is not harshly or unfairly dealt with, and I think that on an issue of this kind the particular interest ought not to prevail if we are to discharge, in a manner consistent with our responsibilities, our duty to the State and to the people. Deputies are entitled to see that there is equitable treatment of the particular interest; Deputies are entitled to see that there is no unnecessary or unavoidable encroachment on property or on property rights, but Deputies are also entitled to see and insist that where this inevitable conflict takes place the general interest prevails.

We are behind other countries in the matter of restrictions on the sale and consumption of intoxicating liquor. We have at present, and unless and until this Bill passes, a twelve-hour day, while a neighbouring country, far wealthier than ours, has an eight-hour day. We have that twelve-hour day without a break, while they in their eight-hour day have a break varying from two hours to two and a half hours. The Deputy who, in the solitude of his own mind, will put to himself the question, "Am I my brother's keeper?" will find his own answer to that question. Is it any concern of ours whether people are temperate or intemperate? If it is not, throw out the Bill and let them, as I was told, "go to the devil," but if Deputies think that it is a concern of ours, that we are put in the position of leadership of the people, that we are supposed to lead in social thought, in political thought, and in economic thought, then I submit that there is a case, and a strong case, for the Bill in its major and more important provisions. On Committee Stage we can go into more detail, and will certainly go in more detail into the sections and sub-sections in all their bearings, but I ask now for a vote of general approval of the principles of this measure.

I did not expect to have the opportunity of speaking in this debate immediately after the proposer of this Bill. I thought that lot would naturally fall to the Leader of the present Opposition, but as he does not seem to desire to take advantage of his position, I certainly cannot allow the Second Reading Stage to pass without having a word or two to say upon the principles embodied in the Bill and upon the proposed methods of carrying out these principles. The first question that arises to my mind, especially from the concluding portion of the speech to which we have just listened, is: Is this a Government Bill or is it not?

The Minister says that it is. Well, if it is a Government Bill how can he say that the fate of the Government does not depend upon it? In the first place he says that he seeks assistance elsewhere; that he does not expect to get it from the members on his own benches. He has actually enumerated the various parties in the House from which he hopes to get help. He is willing to leave some of the most important sections and proposals in the Bill to a free vote of the House, and yet he says it is a Government Bill.

Certainly.

I want to know what is a Government Bill?

If you defeat the Second Reading the Government will resign. There are certain matters in the Bill which I am prepared to put freely to the Dáil to accept or reject.

May I ask the Minister whether these matters are mere details or whether they are the main principles upon which the Bill hangs? Is he prepared to put to a free vote the question of automatic endorsement? If he is, then I say that is one of the main questions which arises under this Bill.

Does the Deputy want an answer?

Subject to what I said as to the amendment I propose to put forward, I will make that an issue of confidence upon which the Government will resign.

Then I understand the position is this: that a Bill has been drafted, that not only has it been drafted by Government draftsmen, who had considerable time since the publication of this report, along lines, I suppose, dictated them by the Government, but it has been introduced into this House, printed and circulated, and now the Minister comes forward and says it is a Government Bill, and at the same time he says that in some of its most important and controversial points, he is going to leave it to an open vote of the House. I do not know that a Government member, even a Minister of the Government, has not got the right of a private member in this House to introduce a private Bill during the period allotted for that purpose, but I do not think it is strictly in accordance with the modern conception of Parliamentary Government that a Minister should introduce a Bill, admittedly on behalf of the Government, calling it a Government Bill, and at the same time claim assistance from other quarters and admitting that he may not get the support of the members of the Government itself. Well, that is the position.

I congratulate the Minister upon his Private Bill, and I only think that he might have introduced this Bill during private members' time, like other members have had to do. I know I have heard others twitted in this House when introducing Bills which they have had to admit, on the First Stage, might require amendment at a later stage. Private members have been twitted on that, but here we have a Government Minister with all the powers and facilities of experts, legal and others, at his disposal, and he produces a Bill which he cannot, and does not, for the moment, in its entirety, stand over. The Bill is a measure to restrict further the sale and consumption of intoxicating liquor in the Saorstát. It is true that a Commission was held; it is true that evidence was taken before that Commission, and it is true that that Commission, appointed by the Government, made a report, but that all being so, I still combat the suggestion that there is a genuine demand — the very split in the Government Party will show there is not — for a further measure of restriction on the ordinary individual citizen's rights to procure intoxicating liquor, according to the law as it now stands. However, the Minister — he says the Government — has thought otherwise, and he has introduced this Bill. It deals in a very comprehensive way with a large part of the subject of the sale of intoxicating liquor, but it does not certainly suggest, or go to the extent of doing what is seriously required in regard to licensing, and that is to codify the existing licensing laws. That would be a suggestion which, to my mind, would be exceedingly sound and also properly urgent, but this Bill only takes certain aspects of the state of affairs.

The Bill proposes, first, to restrict further the hours of sale and of consumption. I do not know whether the promoter of the Bill — I will not say promoters — thinks that it will encourage temperance. He seems to claim that if we do not pass this Bill we are in favour of intemperance. I say that is an entirely fallacious and unfair suggestion to make. There is no reason why any member in this House cannot vote against this Bill in its entirety and be as strong an advocate of temperance in its proper sense as is the Minister for Justice to-day. It is proposed, not only to curtail but also to alter the hours. What have been termed split hours have been introduced. It is said that the system has been introduced and has been found to have worked well elsewhere. Of course, no one would be foolish enough to deny that. The Minister has gone so far as to say that people have said to him: "Why not allow the twelve hours opening period to continue. Let them go to the devil." I would like to ask the Minister seriously who in a responsible capacity ever said to him: "Let them go to the devil." He has mentioned it upon more than one occasion this afternoon, but does he really and seriously mean to say that because houses are entitled to be open for twelve hours, that therefore there will be the means of supplying twelve hours continuous drink to the same set of people? The fact that the houses are open for twelve hours only means that at any time during these twelve hours anyone who so desires can obtain drink. It surely does not mean, and it does not follow, that because they are open for twelve hours, the same people will be in there soaking drink for the period of twelve hours. It is suggested to cut down the period from twelve to ten hours and to introduce an intervening period from three to five during which no drink shall be supplied. It is said "This is done in England; why should we not do it here?" There is this great difference — and the Minister knows it just as well as I do, though he did not deem fit to bring it before the Dáil — between the English case and ours, that by far the great majority of licensed houses in this country are mixed trading houses. I would go so far as to say that even in the City of Dublin there are mixed trading houses — that not less than eighty per cent of them are mixed trading houses. Surely there is a difference between asking houses that are conducted solely for the purpose of selling drink as they mostly are, if not all, in the cities and country districts of England, to close down for a period of two hours a day, and asking houses which are engaged in the sale of other commodities also to do likewise.

They are not asked to do it.

Perhaps "compelled" is the word I should use.

It is not proposed to compel them to do it.

The Deputy has not read the Bill.

It is not proposed that mixed houses should have split hours?

It is proposed that they shall have split hours for their licensed business, but they are not asked or compelled to close their doors. They will be free during the split hours to conduct their non-licensed business.

And, therefore, I understand that the position will be that they will sell intoxicating liquor at one counter and goods at the other; or, perhaps, intoxicating liquor and other commodities at the one counter, and that such a house will also be kept open to sell the unlicensed goods. I am glad to understand that is the case, because I personally cannot see how it can be carried out. I cannot see how anything like supervision can be exercised on a house where you have mixed trading, and how you can possibly enforce the law whereby they are not to be allowed to sell intoxicating liquor at one counter and are allowed at the same time at the other side of the counter to sell bananas.

The Bill also deals with the question of bona fides. We are in a different position here as regards the law in England in that respect. Long ago in England it was recognised that a fixed period for opening was preferable to the system which we know as the bona fide one, but the Commission has, it is true, reported that they did not consider, in view especially of the representations made to them by temperance advocates, that this would be a wise substitution. I am not now concerned with the question of whether it should or not. What I am concerned with is the Minister's proposal in his Bill. Now, we have proposals emanating from a caucus party meeting which are not contained in the Bill. But I am now dealing with the proposal contained in the Bill which was, and is, so far, that bona fides should only be served between the hours of one and three and five and seven on Sundays. Now the Minister, after holding two, I am sure very successful, Party meetings, comes here and tells us that he is willing to accept an amendment permitting the hours to extend from one to seven p.m. on Sundays. I do not know how to describe this. Perhaps I might describe it as the Party Bill as opposed to the Minister's Bill. Its hours are from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Still there is a definite alteration in the existing law. According to the Act of 1924, there is no limit to the serving of bona fide travellers from 1 p.m. on Sundays. Now the Minister, I presume, is willing to concede that the hours shall be from one to seven. But along with that, he is proposing to extend the distance from the various centres whereby it shall be legal for these persons to be served. I do not think the Minister was quite accurate — if he does not mind my correcting him in this respect — when he said that the present bona fide limit was settled over 80 years ago. I am afraid that is not quite the case. The Minister painted a grand picture of 80 years ago. Of course, things were different then; there were no bicycles, no motor cars, and people had to trundle along over the highways to get a drink. But it was not 80 years ago that the limit was extended from three to five miles. It was only in 1906 that the limit was extended from three to five miles.

I was speaking of the three mile limit.

The Minister was speaking of the existing bona fide limit, and he suggested that that bona fide limit was rather a bit of an anachronism, that it had been instituted at a far-off distant age, and that it was now altogether different from 80 years ago. That was true of the three-mile limit but not of the five-mile limit, which was fixed in 1896 for the exempted cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford. And even if the limit was not changed from the three miles in 1906 does the Minister suggest that the framers of the 1906 Act had not the three mile limit before them when they were discussing what the future limit should be, from the exempted cities? They had. Therefore my contention is that it was not 80 years ago that that three or five mile limit was fixed, and that both were considered as short a time ago as 1906. What is the proposal now? It is that both in the case of the exempted areas and others the present limit should be doubled. I do not think the Minister has given any reason at all, much less an adequate reason, why these limits should be doubled. He talks about mobility, that there is greater mobility now. I say in all sincerity that to double the limit at the present time is placing a premium upon the wealthy and upon people who have facilities for mobility — that is to say because a man is able to pay for or keep a motor car to travel out ten miles from Dublin he shall be entitled to a drink, whereas the man who is not able to do that and who goes for a walk of five miles shall not have one. I say that is nothing short of class legislation.

Now to come down to the question about cities other than Dublin. There was a considerable amount of discussion, if I remember rightly, before the Liquor Commission — I happened to be present at most of it — on the subject of tourist traffic. There is something, but not very much, in this Bill about hotels and restaurants, but not very much about facilities for tourist traffic, especially in the summer time. I will take the case of Tramore, which is about seven miles from the city of Waterford, one of the exempted cities. Under this proposal nobody can be supplied in Tramore on Sunday who has slept the night before in Waterford. Tramore, as most of the Deputies must know, is a prosperous seaside resort, drawing most of its support, naturally, from the city of Waterford. According to this Bill nobody can go to Tramore from Waterford by foot, train, car or by any other means on a Sunday and be supplied with a single drink. I do not know whether the Minister would be prepared — perhaps he might, as he seems to be in an amenable mood — to consider the question, especially in regard to the tourist and seaside aspect of the case, whether it would not be possible to reduce the limit of miles for a place such as Tramore. There are other such places, and Castleconnell, outside the city of Limerick, is one. I hope the Minister will do something to prevent these places from being practically ruined. Supposing that the limit was reduced, say from ten to six miles, as is proposed in other than exempted areas, even then according to the Minister's present proposal the visitor coming out from Waterford to Tramore might get a drink there, being a bona fide traveller, but he would only get the drink between the hours of one and seven.

Would the Deputy mind if I qualified that somewhat? Hotels and restaurants can open at any hour for food and can supply liquor with meals between the hours of 1 and 3 and between the hours of 6 and 9 p.m. on Sundays, so that the unfortunate Waterford man who goes to Tramore can, at least between the hours I have mentioned, get liquor with meals.

I have alluded to the section which deals with hotels. What the Minister has said is quite true, but the number of hotels in a place like Tramore is exceedingly limited. It is not everyone who goes there who can afford a substantial meal if he requires a drink. My point is, supposing on a hot summer afternoon a person, after his business, has his meal and goes out from Waterford to Tramore, then probably he does not require at Tramore a substantial meal, and possibly if he did he would not be able to afford it. Under this Bill such a man is deprived of getting anything in the nature of intoxicating liquor. That will prove to be a serious, if not a fatal injury to seaside resorts like Tramore, Castleconnell, and others. If there could be some means of providing for such cases I would ask the Minister to consider the question. As the Bill now stands, even with the alteration he himself has suggested, namely, that the hours for bona fide travellers might run from 1 to 7, it would certainly be of the most serious consequence to the people of Tramore, and not only to licensed traders, but to others, for people would not go to Tramore if they were not afforded the facilities which they heretofore enjoyed. It would mean, in effect, that places like Tramore would be practically put out of existence. That is one aspect of the situation. In regard to bona fide travellers I cannot see on what grounds the Minister has doubled the distance. Why did he not treble it? Is there any basis that he has gone upon except, as I admit, the basis of the report of the Commission? But my argument lies also to the same extent against that report. I do not think there is any sound basis whereby the present bona fide system should have, in the first place, its hours further curtailed, and in the second place, the limit doubled.

There are many other important proposals, some of which the Minister has touched upon and others which he has not. There is one provision in this Bill which I must certainly oppose, and that is Section 29. That section proposes that Section 1 of the Probation of Offenders Act of 1907 shall not apply where any person is charged before a Justice of the District Court. If the Justice is to have discretion there certainly will be no need for that section. At present we are a bit in the dark and do not know whether or not he is to get discretion, for it is not in the Bill. As I have said, if he is going to get discretion there is no necessity for this section, as there will be no such thing as automatic endorsement, but if he is not going to be allowed to exercise his proper function and use his discretion, then I must oppose the section, because it proposes to take away from the individual citizen one of the greatest rights that have been conferred on him in this country, and in England, for many years.

It is merely this: that where a person has been convicted, the magistrate or justice, as the case may be, owing to the character or antecedents of the person, or even to the extenuating circumstances of the case, may consider that that person should have another chance, that he should not be penalised to the full extent of the law, this probably being his first offence—then the district justice shall have the right of exercising that discretion. I think that is a most humane Act of Parliament. It has been found to work well in the interests of justice, and I think it would be an exceedingly retrograde step for us to take to repeal an Act which has been passed, and which has worked so well both for order in the State and meting out not merely justice but mercy, if needs be, to an individual who has proved himself a delinquent. Therefore. I think that is an entirely obnoxious suggestion and one that should be foreign to any social legislation in this country. If we appoint, as we have, district justices; if they are, as they are, independent judges; if they are supposed to act, as they do, impartially on the bench and administer the law according to their interpretation and their conscience, then I think it is a very poor compliment to pay both themselves and ourselves if we are to deprive them of the right of saying whether in particular instances, owing to the circumstances of the case, the person should not get the benefit of the Probation of Offenders Act.

I know that this is not the occasion for going into every detail of the Bill, but I object to the Bill, first, because I think it is nothing but the Minister's own Bill. I object to it, secondly, because I think there has been no particular demand for it from any except certain parties who advocate, in some instances, prohibition, and, in others. stepping-stones to prohibition. I have called it the Minister's own Bill and said that I object to it on that account. I object to it, not because he should not introduce a Bill, or not because he, in fact, has introduced it, but I object to it being introduced by him as a Government measure, taking up Government time, and supposed to be the policy of the Government when he himself and others, through the Press and otherwise, have stated that the Bill is not, in all essentials, the considered proposal of the present Government, and that in certain details, which I consider to be of sufficient importance to make them principles, the Government intend leaving the Vice-President's Bill to the free vote of the House. I do not think that that is the way for the Government to conduct their affairs. Either they must take the responsibility for this Bill or they must not. Are they going to do so? If they will not, let them say so. Then it is not their Bill. If they are, let them say so, and let them vote for it and answer afterwards to their constituents.

I think we must congratulate the Minister upon the moderate, clear, and reasonable way in which he has introduced the Bill. The last speaker said that there is no need for the Bill. There are several things in regard to the Bill which are called for by everybody provided the details are eventually carried out satisfactorily and fairly to all parties. I cannot understand where the opposition to the Bill comes from—perhaps from Waterford. Waterford may be suffering from a considerable ebb and flow in its tide of liquor; at least, I see no other reason for its opposition. Tramore has been mentioned, and we have been told that the Waterford gentleman is going to suffer because he cannot go to Tramore to get a drink. Let him remove himself on a Friday to Dublin and he will get as much drink as he wants.

Will you give him the money?

The Bill is clearly necessary. I am giving my views after several years' experience and study of this matter, and we all know that the Minister is absolutely correct. I do not think that there is any member of the Dáil, except the member for Waterford, who would oppose the idea that some Bill is necessary. There is an overflow of publichouses in the country, and I am perfectly clear that it has to be checked fairly and honourably. The result of that overflow is detrimental to the publicans themselves. There are too many publichouses. There is too little to do, and there is too little money for expenditure on drink. The consequence is that sometimes publicans are forced to sell during prohibited hours owing to the large number of publichouses and the necessity of putting butter upon the bread of their children.

Mr. BYRNE

The tied houses?

No, I am not talking about tied houses. I will give the Deputy all the information he wants about tied houses bye and bye. I am talking about the licensed trade generally. Publicans have come to me and said that they had very nearly to give up business without any compensation whatever; that they could not carry on. Now they are offered reasonably fair compensation for a necessary reduction in numbers. Where does the opposition come from? There are several details in the Bill that we, on both sides, are not in agreement on. These can be rectified in Committee. I think a great number of the statements made by Deputy Redmond can be fairly met in Committee. As far as I understand it, we might pass the Second Reading of the Bill now and let it be reconsidered and, if necessary, reconstructed in Committee. There is urgency, on the whole, for this Bill. Under the circumstances this direct attack on the Bill arises, I might say, from some subterranean cause. We heard this Bill criticised in the House because there were parties and meetings. There may be some subterranean reasons—I do not want to be rude— but I fail to understand this wonderful opposition to a Bill which, when amended, we all trust will be for the benefit of the State. We can deal with the opposition on the Committee Stage. Let the Bill pass the Second Stage now and let us hear on the next Stage the wonderful ebb and flow of oratory from Waterford. I am absolutely in favour of the introduction of the Bill.

I wish to support Deputy Redmond's remarks. I will content myself by saying that I believe that this is a class Bill, a rich man's Bill. The Minister for Justice pointed out as against the three-mile limit that a man could have a motor car or could ride a bicycle. I would like to see a man with a flock of sheep riding a bicycle. That man will want refreshments. He is really a bona fide traveller. Men like that will want a drink on Sundays after a three miles walk, or after being at work in an office all the week. If it were found that such a man was in the habit of going the three miles every Sunday for drink that would be an infringement of the present Licensing Laws. He could only be supplied if he was not an habitual customer and was able to satisfy the publican that he wanted the drink to enable him to travel.

I agree, owing to the present state of the licensed trade, that there is a necessity for a reduction in the number of public houses. That was brought about by the strangled condition that exists and owing to the oppressive taxation that has been maintained for the last five or ten years. Oppressive taxation was maintained despite the appeals of Deputies during the Budget discussions during the last two or three years. Deputies asked for a reduction in the price of stout and the request was not granted for fear any revenue would be lost. A reduction was also asked for in the price of whiskey. I never interested myself so much in having a reduction made in the price of whiskey as in the price of stout. I do not agree with the terms of the Bill, especially in regard to closing in the middle of the day. That will be only a trap for the police to catch the publican, as he will have to be watching for them at 3 o'clock and at 5 o'clock. A publican will be doing nothing but a policeman's work in his own house if this Bill passes. I content myself now by protesting against the introduction of the Bill.

There are many clauses in the Bill with which I am not in complete agreement and, on the Committee Stage, I intend, if necessary, to vote for reasonable amendments. On the other hand there are many clauses in the Bill with which I am in complete agreement. I believe that when the Bill emerges from the Dáil it will not be at all as drastic as it is at present, or as interested persons in the licensed trade have endeavoured to suggest. With regard to the trade having to pay compensation for extinguished licences, I say that it is not able to shoulder any further liability. When I say that I am speaking of the country trade and not of the cities. In the city of Dublin those in the licensed trade are immensely wealthy. I believe if they had to pay compensation they would be able to do it, while in the country the case is quite the opposite. We must all admit that there are too many publichouses and that in the country towns now these houses are not paying their way. They are not able to pay expenses. On the Committee Stage I hope that there may be a possibility of the Minister saying that the State would come to the rescue, for at least portion of the compensation.

In connection with compulsory endorsement I am very pleased that the Minister has agreed, partially, to change this most unjust clause. When the Minister has sufficient confidence in District Justices to empower them to take away the liberty of a man, and send him to Mountjoy for six months, surely they ought to have the discretion that they should be able to decide what would be a serious or a trivial offence. That offence may be committed through the carelessness of an assistant or in many other ways. There are a very large number of highly honourable men in the licensed trade. These men would not, deliberately, break the law but, owing to some technical breach of the Act, might find themselves convicted in a public court with a stain on their honour, by a compulsory endorsement of their licence. I hope that power will be given to the District Justices, to decide whether there should be endorsement or not. I have very little doubt, from the manner in which they have investigated and decided the cases that have come before them, so far, that there will be no fault to be found with them either by the Minister for Justice or the publican who may be brought before them.

With regard to split hours, while the question does not concern my constituents—its effect is confined to cities— I suggest that serious objection is taken to it by a large number of persons, and that a reasonable compromise might be effected by the licensed trade following the example of other houses, and shutting down for an hour for dinner. That hour could be decided upon by arrangement. I hope that the Minister may see his way to accept such an amendment on the Committee Stage. I understand that the Minister will agree to an earlier opening hour than ten o'clock in houses where a mixed trade is conducted—that is to say, in the departments devoted to the sale of groceries, milk and so forth, so as not seriously to inconvenience customers.

In regard to clubs, there are three hours allowed, I think, from 6 to 9 p.m. I suggest that these hours ought to be from 7 to 10 p.m., because in the summer time nobody would go into a club before 10 o'clock or, at least, before 9. Persons could go out and enjoy themselves in the open air if that extension were made. It would not increase the number of hours. That would leave them as they are at present, namely, from 7 to 10.

In connection with bona fide travellers, the extension of the distance from three to six miles will have practically the same effect on the country areas as complete extinction of the bona fide traffic, because no person will come a longer distance than six miles to Mass or to Church, and those persons who came from inside the three-mile limit, had a drink and went home, are not now eligible. I say they had a drink. For years I have never seen one of them going home with the slightest sign of drink on him. I hope that that will be one of the matters that will be met. The hours are from one to seven in the country towns, such as the one I come from. I believe that two hours would suffice, because the only time that there is any bona fide traffic is between 1 and 2, and probably 5 and 6, after a football match or something of that kind.

I do not find any difficulty in supporting the Second Reading of the Bill. I believe that the really controversial matters may be compromised on the Committee Stage, and that the Bill, which has got such prominence, is really not at all so drastic, when people understand it, as we have been led to believe. A large number of licensed houses would benefit very considerably by having the convictions which are on the licences at present removed, and, as the Minister also explained, if a man has two convictions on his licence, through, I presume, his own fault, he will be able to come along and sell his interest in the house, if it is a bona fide sale, with a free licence, the convictions being obliterated. I do not believe that five per cent. of the licensed traders know much about this Bill, but they listen to certain disinterested persons who come along and say that the Bill will put them out of existence. I do not believe a word of that, and I have great pleasure in supporting the Second Reading.

I do not intend to follow Deputy Shaw in supporting the Second Reading of this Bill. The Bill has not been brought before the Dáil in the way that it was originally intended, as the Minister had agreed, at a Party meeting, not to adhere to the compulsory endorsement and other provisions. I am not in favour of giving too many facilities for drinking to the ordinary man, but the House should try to legislate for the masses of the people and not for any particular class. There is nothing in the Bill to prevent a man taking a case of whisky or stout to his own home and drinking it night and day, even on Sundays, Christmas Day and Patrick's Day. What the Government have done is to bring forward legislation to prevent the ordinary man, who has to earn his living by the sweat of his brow, from getting a drink when he requires it. I wonder do Deputies realise that the majority of drunkards do not belong to the working classes, but to that class of people whom this Bill allows to take home as much drink as they like, and who can well afford to purchase it. I fully appreciate the benefit of temperance, and I hope that in the near future this will be a temperance country. I do not, however, believe that it is right for any legislative assembly to try and force that on the people against their will.

I hold that the split hours proposed for the cities will do a great injustice to the trade, not only to the traders, but to their employees, because so many employees will not be required. Unless a trader is able to make sufficient money on the sale of drink, he will not be in a position to pay his staff, and the result will be that he will have to do with one or two less, thus adding to unemployment. I was very pleased to hear Deputy Shaw say that the licensed traders were very wealthy men.

Only in Dublin.

Even in Dublin they had to build up a trade through their own efforts and their own industry in order to be looked upon as wealthy men. If the licensed houses are compelled to close from 3 o'clock until 5 o'clock each day, we will be following the law in England. I wonder how many publicans in England are not directly under the brewers? Deputy Beamish, of course, can speak here as to his support of the Bill, but all of us have not a brewery at our back. Deputy Beamish has made a considerable amount of money out of the liquor trade. He asks us to agree with him that this Bill was absolutely necessary and that he could not see why Deputy Redmond opposed it. As Deputy Redmond said, what applies to Tramore, seven miles outside Waterford, also applies to places like Dun Laoghaire and Lucan, where a big trade is done on Sunday.

Is the Deputy quite sure that Dun Laoghaire does a big trade on Sunday?

Then the Deputy is wrong.

I have seen it. If a person in the city of Dublin pays a visit to a place within the ten miles limit he cannot get refreshments if he requires it. I do not think that is fair. I for one shall certainly oppose this limit of ten miles for the cities and six for the country districts.

The Minister told us that the publicans in a particular district would not have to pay the whole compensation to a fellow-publican who was going out, but that it would be spread over the publicans of a whole parish, which may mean a district of six or eight miles. The publican at one end of a district will have to pay a fair proportion of the compensation. This was agreed upon by the Liquor Commission as the only and the best means of compensation on the ground that the existing man would get all the custom that the other man had previously, but that, in reality, is not so. I would like to know how a man who is six miles away, at one end of a parish, could get the custom that went to another publican at the other end. That might apply very well in a town, but it would not apply in country districts. If I were to stand up here and to ask the Government to bear a portion of the compensation that will have to be paid to the publicans who lose their licences, would I be charged, as I was in 1923, with looking for something that the public were not prepared to pay? Would I be told that I was placing extra taxation upon the citizens of the State who do not really benefit, and that it should be paid only by the existing publicans?

The Government is certainly going a long way in this Bill to wipe out the existing publicans completely by putting this extra licence compensation duty upon them. I certainly hope that the Minister will agree to accept amendments as he has indeed suggested he would do. At the same time one may ask why did he not draft a Bill which he could bring before the House and say: "This is the Bill that I am fathering"? Owing to the alleged warfare that has been waged he comes forward now and says: "I will agree to such and such amendments." with the result that people who were completely opposed to the Bill, as it originally stood, on hearing of the concessions that are to be made, will vote for the Second Reading of it. A certain amount of pressure has been brought to bear on the Minister for Justice, and he said: "I will put the Bill forward as it is; I will make a long statement proving the necessity for this legislation," but at the same time pointing out that although it is a Government measure, if certain provisions are defeated that the Government will not resign. We have been often threatened that the Government will resign. When anyone goes against legislation brought into this House we are met with the threat that the Government will resign. Well, I say let them resign. There are plenty of men in Ireland to form a Government and to look after the interests of the people. There are plenty of good men in Ireland to look after the interests of the people and to see that they are not crucified by drastic legislation and high taxation such as they are faced with at present. It is all very well for the Government to say we must legislate for this liquor trade. Why should they not legislate for any other class of trade? Why not deal with men with carts and with shops? The fact is the liquor trade is the only trade that is keeping the Government in their places to-day. The President declared recently that the Finance Department was getting seven and three-quarter millions a year from the trade.

What about the funds of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party?

Yet these are the very people that the Government are trying to kill. It looks like the story of the boy who killed the goose that laid the golden egg.

Deputy Redmond in the course of his observations appeared to make a great deal of play out of the fact that he was aware that there had been certain party dissensions over this Bill. One would never have thought that he had any experience of parties himself or had been associated with a party which was frequently in a state of political disruption as a result of grave difference of opinion. The Deputy went on to twit the Minister with the fact that this was not a Government Bill but the Minister's own Bill, and he upbraided him because he felt constrained in the course of his remarks to appeal to various sections of the House for their support. I fail to see why Deputy Redmond or any other Deputy can find fault with the Minister for introducing a Bill of this kind. He has agreed to submit certain rather contentious portions of the Bill to the free vote of the House. I fail to see how anything could be more reasonable than that.

With regard to the Bill as a whole, personally, I think that with the amendments the Minister has consented to, a great deal of the sting is gone out of it. I believe, like Deputy Shaw, that there has been a tremendous amount of exaggeration as to the effect this Bill will have on the interests of the trade. I can speak with personal knowledge, because I am associated with the trade to a very great extent and have a very material interest in it. One must recognise, whether associated with the trade or not, that the general interests of the people, as a whole, deserve some recognition. On the other hand the Minister, in his statement, acknowledged that the licensed trade had a property in their licences. He recognised the principle of legitimate compensation and, in one or two respects, I would like to see him give a little more energetic effect to his appreciation of that fact in the Bill.

On the question of compensation, which is one of the most thorny in the Bill, he has decided that the surviving licences are to pay for the ones that are blotted out. Well, prima facie, that would appear a reasonable suggestion; there is a great deal to be said for it, but there is this point of view, that when a certain number of licences. are blotted out in an area some of the total trade of that area disappears. I do not think it can be held that all the benefit of the trade taken from the houses that will be closed will be spread over the others. I think that a certain amount of it will disappear altogether. I think, on this general principle of compensation, that if the State considers it is their duty—and I recognise their responsibility in that respect—to legislate to improve the moral fibre and moral tone of its citizens, I do not see why in reason it should not contribute something to provide the compensation for any vested interests that are partially destroyed in the interests of the community as a whole.

On that point, I would like to know from Deputy Egan if he includes in his demand compensation for the abolition of certain positions, such as managers of licensed houses and of assistants?

Mr. EGAN

I was not thinking of that at the moment. I was referring to the value of the licensed property which is being closed down. The matter that Deputy Davin raises is a different one altogether. As a general principle I think that if it is desired to improve the community at the cost of any particular interest, that then that interest should be compensated, and I would ask the Minister to reconsider that particular section of the Bill. On the Committee Stage I would like to urge him to agree that the State should bear a reasonable proportion of this compensation which at present it is intended to distribute evenly over the surviving licensed houses. There is one matter in the Bill that is not as clearly defined as one would like, because a lot will depend on the individual opinions of the Circuit Court judges— the licensing authorities—who will have to deal with it. I refer to the question of the reduction of licences. The Bill as it stands provides that the number of licences may be reduced if they are considered too many. That is a rather elastic phrase, and it may be interpreted in a great many ways. What one person might consider too many another might not, and there does not appear to be in the Bill any machinery by which the term "too many" can be defined. There is no question, for instance, of allocating a certain number of licences to a definite unit of population. I recognise, of course, that a suggestion of that kind would present certain difficulties because of the uneven geographical distribution of population, but surely there should be some attempt made to give some guidance to the people who are to administer the Act and who are to decide whether too many licences do, in fact, exist. There is nothing in the Bill to indicate the ultimate total number of licences which are going to be blotted out. The Minister said that the process will be slow and gradual, and that just as the present number of licences grew up gradually so will the machinery for reducing the present total number of licences proceed gradually.

There is no indication in the Bill as to what is aimed at, that is to say, what eventual number of licences per head of the population or per area is aimed at, or what amount of money will be involved. All the Minister said was that the rate will be regulated by the amount of cash available. As I understand it from the Bill the operation will be somewhat like this: In the first instance when it has been decided that a house is redundant, the licensee will go before the District Court, and then before the Circuit Court Judge as the final authority, who will fix, with the aid of an assessor, the amount of money to be paid for the licence that is extinguished. That amount will then be distributed over the remaining publicans in the district. The State, in the first instance, will find the money. It is only committed to advancing money from the time the Circuit Court Judge makes his order until the final allocation has been made, all the circumstances having been gone into, so that it does not appear to me that the State at any one time is going to be much out of pocket except in regard to the advances. The money will then be paid off over a period of years. I would like to see some estimate of the number of houses it is contemplated that will eventually be blotted out, and of what the State's commitments are likely to be. In other words, I would like to know a little bit more about the eventual financing of the whole scheme. Subject to the observations I have made on these points, I think the Bill on the whole is worthy of the support of the House. Having heard the Minister's speech this afternoon, I cannot see that there is any hard grievance in it which I believe at least cannot be satisfactorily amended in Committee. I believe that a reduction of licences all over the country will undoubtedly be a tremendous improvement on the present state of affairs.

The Minister, when appealing for support for the Bill, which apparently is not the real Bill, asked Deputies to exercise their independent judgment on the merits or demerits of its different sections. The Minister made the case for the introduction of the Bill from the point of view that he was, in effect, putting into operation the recommendations and the report of the Commission appointed to submit proposals in regard to the licensing laws. There is just one question I would like to ask the Minister: At whose request was this particular Liquor Commission established and who created the agitation that led up to its establishment? If the case for the introduction of this Bill is that there is a greater amount of drunkenness in the Free State at the present time than there was at any period during the last fifty to eighty years, then I think the case for the introduction of restrictive liquor legislation falls to the ground. I have before me figures in regard to the number of convictions for drunkenness recorded in Ireland between the years 1890 and 1919. I propose to read those figures for the purpose of having them put on record.

From the figures given to me I find that in the year 1890 the number of convictions for drunkenness was 96,671; in the year 1900 the number was 92,927; in the year 1905 it was 75,932; in the year 1910 the number was 60,412; in the year 1913 the figure was 55,537; in 1914 it was 50,700; in the year 1915 the figure was 43,043; in the year 1917 the figure was 22,321; in the year 1918 the number was 11,660. The latest figures that I have are for the year 1919, and they show an increase on the previous year, the total being 15,339. I would ask the Minister, when he is replying, to give us the latest figures that he has at his disposal in regard to the number of convictions for drunkenness in the Free State area. We have in the Free State at present a type of people who want to make out that we are a people who are continually indulging in intoxicating liquor and to such an extent that the position is dangerous and has become a menace to the State. I have given the figures with regard to the number of convictions for drunkenness between the years 1890 to 1919, and I ask the Minister to produce the figures in relation to the same matter from 1919 up to the present. I am certain if he does so the figures will prove quite the opposite to the case that these people are trying to make. As a Deputy representing a rural constituency, I would like to know what authority or mandate the Minister has for introducing a measure of this kind, especially in view of the fact that we are to have a General Election within four months or so. Is the measure so important and so urgent that it requires to be introduced and passed through all its stages in the Oireachtas within a period of four months before a General Election? The Minister, in attempting to make a case for the Bill, said that there would not be any spectacular work in regard to the elimination of licences. He gave the House roughly to understand that only a few houses would be eliminated in the early stages after the passage of the Bill.

That, in addition to the fact that there has been no demand as far as I can see, speaking from my knowledge of my own constituency, for the introduction of the measure, prompts me to ask the Minister is he under any obligation to bring in this measure, particularly when it is brought in in such a hurry and a few months before an election? If the President and the Minister are so confident of the return of their Party to the House in increased numbers after the election, why did they not wait until after the election to bring in a measure of this kind? As far as I know from reading the leading articles in the Irish Times and from reading the different propaganda one receives from time to time from temperance and prohibitionist sources, it is not the type of Bill that is looked for either by the Irish Times leader writer, the temperance party or the prohibitionists, who are really hiding behind the temperance people in this country. From my own personal observation and experience when travelling in other countries—in England and elsewhere—it appears that the greater the liberty and the freedom that is allowed the less drunkenness there is. I do not know whether the Minister is in a position to controvert that particular argument. That bears out the case as far as I am concerned, from observation in towns in England and elsewhere where you have greater freedom than you have in this country, even at present.

The Deputy should not expect me to produce statistics as to the number of drunken men he saw in his travels.

I expect it is the duty of the Minister to produce the figures from 1919, so far as he can, to show whether there is any necessity for this Bill from the point of view of the increase in drunkenness in the Free State. I have not been able to get the figures after 1919. I hope the Minister will get these figures from that date in order to prove his case from that point of view. The Government have already introduced a Land Bill. They subsequently introduced a Railway Amalgamation Bill, and one heard, particularly from the Independent Benches, that these Bills were an encroachment upon private property. I wonder will Deputies Hewat and Good take the same view of this measure? Will they regard this Bill as they regarded the Town Tenants Bill, the Land Bill and the Railway Amalgamation Bill?

I think the Deputy must be wrong in saying that I opposed the Amalgamation Bill because it was an attack on private property. I do not think I did.

I certainly remember the Deputy using the words in regard to the recent Town Tenants Bill. He put that view forward as his reason for opposing that particular measure, and I think, generally speaking, he took the same view in regard to the 1923 Land Bill and the Railway Amalgamation Bill.

I think Deputy Davin is entirely wrong if he tries to form the impression that his action in opposing this Bill is in any way similar to my action in opposing either the Town Tenants Bill or the Railway Amalgamation Bill.

Perhaps the Deputy will make his view more clear on the matter when he speaks, and will state in a positive and clear way whether he regards this measure in the same light as he did the recent Bill introduced by Deputy Redmond for the relief of town tenants. I am prepared to admit to the Minister that a case can be made for the elimination of a certain number of licensed houses in the Free State at present for the reasons he himself put forward, but I take the view that this is not an opportune time to bring in a measure of this kind, for reasons which I will give. When the Minister for Industry and Commerce introduced the Railways Amalgamation Bill of 1924, he so arranged the capital of the concern in the Amalgamated Company, known now as the Great Southern Railway Co., that powers would be given to secure the same revenue as the amalgamating companies had in the three years prior to the European War. The position that the Government and the Minister for Justice take up in regard to this Bill is quite different. They proceed, first of all, to depreciate the value of the licensed houses which they eventually propose to eliminate, and they abolish the licence at a time when the trade and the profits of that concern are at the very lowest level. That is a different proposition and a different policy to that which they adopted with regard to the amalgamation of railways. It gave certain rights and certain revenue under certain conditions to the Great Southern Railways Company. Perhaps the Minister for Justice will deal with that difference in policy between his Department and the Department of the Minister for Industry and Commerce when he comes to reply.

I propose to discuss the Railway Bill very fully when replying!

The Minister may think it is a small point.

Oh, no; it is a very big point.

The passing of the 1924 Licensing Act, which refused to give district justices a discretion with regard to the question of endorsement, in my opinion created a situation which resulted in the banks restricting credit facilities to licensed houses on the grounds that at any time a technical offence might be committed which would compel the justice to endorse the licence of that trader and thereby reduce the value of the house. That was a deliberate attempt which has resulted in depreciating the value of the houses. It has restricted credit facilities as far as these licensed traders are concerned. That is my main reason for opposing the Bill. I agree that the Bill contains many good points while there are very few bad points in it, and the bad points are now much smaller than one was led to believe on first reading the Bill. I take the view that this particular measure favours the motorist as against the pedestrian, favours the City of Dublin traders who have been doing a ready cash trade as against the country traders who do a mixed trade and who give a certain amount of credit facilities to persons in the rural areas. For that reason I regard this as class legislation in favour of the moneyed interests as against the poorer classes.

Deputy Egan referred to the point that no provision has been made in the Bill for compensation from State sources. I only mention this for the purpose of endeavouring to ascertain from Deputy Egan and from those who support him behind the Minister as to whether or not they are prepared to support compensation for the managers of tied houses. Deputy Egan is the owner of tied houses, as is Deputy Beamish. If they get compensation from State sources or from the sources provided for by this particular Bill, if it becomes an Act, are they prepared to compensate their assistants who are thrown out of work, in the same manner as they want to be compensated if their houses are closed? It is a question of depriving people who own houses of the means of earning a livelihood, and also in the case of tied houses of doing away with employment for assistants and managers, as the result of the bringing into operation of certain clauses in this Bill.

Untied as well.

I make a further point to the Minister, and I hope that the Minister will talk about the need of it and deal with it in reply. The compensation unit in this particular case under the Bill, if it passes in its present form, is the area of the district court. In other words, 340 compensation units as against one. If the area was one and covering the whole Free State there would be less administrative difficulty and expense. That is one result as far as I can see. Now, say we have in a rural area 15 publichouses, and the Minister for Justice, advised by his officials and advised by the local superintendent of the Gárda Síochána, says that three publichouses are sufficient, therefore twelve would be abolished and the three that remain must find the compensation for the twelve that go out. That means that so far as that area is concerned the Bill will remove from any financial liability such centres as Dublin, Cork, Waterford and Limerick, and the licensed vintners, particularly the Dublin licensed vintners, who are making high profits will have no financial liability for the elimination or abolition of the licences in the rural areas.

Therefore it is that I say that the compensation unit should be the Free State as a whole rather than the 340 areas covered by the District Courts at the present time. I say, and with strong reason, that the expenses of administering 340 units will be far greater than the expense of administering one unit. There should be a greater financial liability upon the publican in the city who does a cash trade than on the less favourably circumstanced rural trader or publican scattered all through the country. I would like to know if the Minister would favourably consider the setting up of a compensation unit of the Free State as a whole as against the unit now suggested and covered by the District Courts. If the Minister is not prepared to do that, I would like to know what is his approximate or probable administrative expenses for administering the compensation fund in 340 areas as against the expenses of one entire unit for the Saorstát? The Minister referred to and dealt with, and some other Deputies also dealt with, the question of the split hours in the cities and towns. The only and one view that I take of that—otherwise I am not seriously concerned about it—is that it will lead to greater unemployment in the particular areas where that restriction is brought into operation. It will mean that there will be less employment available in the various cities where the split hours will come into operation as a result of the passing of the measure in its present form. If the Bill is passed in its present form, and that is rather doubtful from what we heard from the Minister, it will lead to unemployment. Under the Bill as it stands a person who is a member of a club in Dublin will be in a position to go into a club on Sunday and to drink from one o'clock to two o'clock. He can then go into a public house from 2 to 5 o'clock. After leaving the public-house he can go over to Westland Row Station, drink there until he leaves for Bray; when he reaches Bray he can drink there until 7 o'clock in the evening.

I mention that as showing the facilities given for drinking in the cities as against the restrictions in the rural areas, where people will be prevented under any circumstances from having a drink. I do not know whether the Liquor Commission made any report or recommendation which the Minister might consider for the purpose of doing away with such a ridiculous state of affairs in the cities. But that is the position, and that will be the position if the Bill passes in its present form, so far as it affects a member of a club resident in Dublin or in the exempted cities who wants to drink on Sunday.

On the general question of the opening on Sundays, so far as I can gather from the Minister, in a speech he made during the passage of the 1924 Act, he favoured the view—I hope I am not misrepresenting his view—of having a general opening on Sundays from 2 to 5, on the grounds that those who would support that view would agree to support the extinction of the present bona fide limit.

The Deputy is all wrong. It would take too long to correct him.

I took it the Minister was favouring that view, and I understood in his speech this evening that he asked for an expression of opinion from the Deputies on this matter. As far as I am concerned, I believe it would have a better effect and you would have far greater supervision if you had them open from 2 to 5. There would be more supervision than at present with the bona fide limit even extended to six miles. In the country areas, whilst the bona fide limit is now three miles, there is a good deal of drinking which would not be the case if you had a general Sunday opening.

As far as I personally am concerned, I would be prepared to consider a unified opening from 2 to 5 p.m. throughout the State in exchange for the complete abolition of the bona fide traffic.

We have the Minister's views that he would be prepared to give the licensed trader liberty to sell during a certain definite number of hours on Sundays. Now, I want to refer to another matter—that is the question of the payment of compensation by those who will remain, for a period of twenty years. I would like to know from the Minister whether the period of repayment could be extended beyond twenty years? In the case of the Land Act, we have arrangements made that the annuity should be paid over a period of 68½ years. Now, I would like to know from the Minister what are the reasons why he limits the period of payment of compensation to 20 years as against the longer or further period? The Minister referred in his speech to the question of the method to be adopted for the abolition of licences, and he made it fairly clear, I think, that there would be no haste whatever on the part of the superintendents of the Gárda Síochána to eliminate any large number of houses during the earlier part of the life of this measure if it becomes an Act. Now, the effect of that measure, as far as I can see, will be that, immediately after this Bill becomes an Act, the banker who has allowed an overdraft to a trader in the country who is doing a mixed business will restrict or reduce that overdraft, for the reason that he will come to the conclusion that this is a house the licence of which may be abolished. The abolition of the licence, at any rate, will remain a matter of doubt, and will remain a matter of doubt for a considerable period. That will affect the trader's position with the banker. I would much prefer to see the Act put into operation as quickly as possible rather than have this cloud hanging over the heads of licensed traders in the country for a doubtful period. The Minister must be aware that the average licensed trader doing a mixed trade in the country has, during the past five or six years, given a considerable amount of credit, and he has done that because the bankers have allowed him a certain amount of overdraft.

If the Bill passes in its present form, and if, as suggested by the Minister in his speech, the process of elimination will be slow, it will have the effect of the bankers limiting credit facilities to the traders. I would like the Minister to give a clear and definite statement as to the number of publichouses that will be abolished in the course of, say, five years after the passing of the measure. The Minister said that the process must be gradual rather than otherwise, and he also said that redundancy had not sprung up in a night. Well, the number of licensed houses at present in the Free State was created as a result of the State law and the machinery in existence previous to the establishment of the Treaty.

It appears that the challenging authority in the case of the abolition of licences will be the superintendent of the Civic Guards. Perhaps the Minister will say whether the Superintendent will be allowed freedom of action and absolute discretion without interference from his Department in deciding whether a certain number of licences should or should not be abolished. The Minister made an offer in regard to the endorsement clause that he will be prepared to give freedom of action to the District Justice in deciding whether an offence was a technical one or not, and consequently to endorse the licence, on the grounds that liberty would be given to the local superintendent to appeal against any unfavourable decision to the Circuit Court Judge. It seems to me that the whole frame of this Bill could be objected to by the licensed trade as calculated to impose on the trade the obligation to have legal advice and reference from one legal tribunal to another on every conceivable occasion where a licence is proposed to be abolished and where the superintendent is not satisfied with the decision of the District Justice.

The present licensing Bill is the best measure that has been produced from the point of view of the legal profession, but the licensed traders who remain after the process of abolition has begun will have to pay for the legal work that must be done to protect their interests in the future. I do not regard myself as being under any great obligation to licensed traders as regards a matter of this kind. In concluding his speech the Minister referred to the pressure that comes from interested sources as against the general interest. I think, from what we have seen, as well as from what we have learned from the Minister's speech, that the pressure has come from the people who sit behind him and beside him rather than from any other section of the House. Perhaps the other Parties can view this measure with less alarm than the people who sit behind the Minister. I think the effect of this Bill is to unduly penalise the rural trader without in any way interfering with the traders in cities and towns, who have been making huge profits during the past three or four years. I would appeal to the Minister to see if he could reconsider his attitude as regards the compensation unit and have one unit for the Free State as against 340 suggested or provided for in the Bill.

The opposition to the Second Reading of this Bill seems to be dwindling away, and probably there will be no division, so that I do not think it necessary for me to make any long statement on the measure. I am one of the culprits responsible for the report on which this is founded. As far as legislation is concerned, there would be no need for it if there were not abuses in the use of alcohol and of the laws which regulate the licensed trade. As far as the reduction of licences is concerned, I am surprised to find that anybody would stand up and support the proposition that there is no necessity for any reduction.

We have had before us evidence after evidence that there are villages with between 150 to 200 inhabitants and 10 or 15 publichouses dependent on the amount of alcohol they could sell to people who come in on a fair or a market day. I was particularly keen on getting licences taken away from what are called the cross-road publichouses in the country. These I consider very injurious to the young men of the neighbourhood. I consider that they are too far out of the way to be properly supervised. We had evidence to show that it was quite a common thing to put a boy up a tree to give notice when the police were coming, so that these people could sell drink any hour of the day or night.

I was surprised to find that the only argument put up against my cross-examination was that these cross-road publichouses were the birthplaces of the greater part of the religious community in Ireland. You could scarcely believe that that was given in evidence, but it was given by a gentleman on behalf of the licensed trade. He told us that the greater number of priests and nuns in Ireland had their birthplaces in these cross-road publichouses. I do not know what they might not fall back upon when arguments like that were put forward. We had it in our minds that we should endeavour to do away with houses in an insanitary condition. I regret to say a considerable amount of evidence was brought before us to show that many of these houses were in an insanitary condition. I have no desire to give details, but they would surprise Deputies if they knew what the conditions were. In publichouses frequented by women as well as men, the lavatory accommodation was astounding. With regard to the bona fide traveller, I must say that after consideration I was more inclined to favour a general opening on Sundays if any opening had to be done at all. I was not opposed to the real bona fide traveller, but to the mala fide traveller. I have seen with my own eyes, and heard from others—and we had before us plenty of evidence on the point—of the terrible abuses that exist with regard to this evil.

I have seen, when driving in from County Meath and County Kildare on Sunday afternoons, such crowds around publichouses six miles from Dublin that there was scarcely a passage for a motor car to get through. In the end, I gave way to the view of the majority of the members of the Commission that the distance which a bona fide traveller would have to travel should be increased. I wanted to increase it further even than ten and six miles, the distances upon which agreement was reached. So far as the question of the endorsement of licences is concerned, I do not think that anything can be fairer than the Minister's proposal, namely, that when a man is once convicted and his licence endorsed he can wipe out the endorsement by decent trading within five years, and that if convicted a second time he can wipe it out at the end of seven years. Further, if the house is to be sold, the Minister will see that there will be no endorsement as regards the licence. I agree with the Minister also in regard to the question of compensation. There is no doubt that many years ago, when magistrates, who, I think, were called Morley's magistrates, were sitting, there sprang up throughout the country a great number of licences which were given to houses unsuitable for them. That is the reason why to-day there is such a big number of licences. As the Minister stated, these magistrates, when granting licences, paid no regard either to the sanitary conditions of the publichouses or to the harm which the licences would do. As I say, it would not have seemed proper to me as one of the individuals who signed the report of the Commission if I did not stand up and say that I was willing to support this measure. I may say, as regards the members of the Commission, that I never met individuals who set themselves in a more fair-minded manner to arrive at conclusions which were very difficult to arrive at.

The mixed trading question took up our time for a considerable period, and I think the members of the trade ought to be grateful to us, for we felt that while these houses ought eventually to be wiped out, the time had not yet come for doing so. A great number of small houses have mixed trading and we felt it would be utterly impossible from a structural point of view to divide the premises. From my own point of view, I thought that the owners of these houses ought to have an opportunity of setting them right, that if they wished to retain their licence they could do away with the other forms of trading, and that in a few years, with further legislation, they would be able to hold their own. I was further of the opinion that if these people did not, in the intervening period, make up their minds to get their premises structurally altered they should be the first to go when a case came before a judge. I hope that there will be no division on this Bill, and that the Dáil will realise what the Minister said. Although some of us are not teetotallers we have the good of the country at heart and, from a medical point of view, I may say, as a person attending hospitals for the last 38 years, that I can vouch for the terrible harm which is done to men by excessive drinking. They are not capable of doing their work when they are filled with drink and, while I have nothing to say against the temperate or moderate person, I will do all I can to further legislation that will prevent men from using all their means in getting drink, thus leaving their wives and families unprovided for, or provided for in a very poor way. It was stated here before that it was necessary for poor men to have a palace of light to go to in the evening because of the conditions of their homes. There is no consideration for the wife and children. I say again that if, instead of spending his money in the publichouse, he spent it on his wife and children at home, such a man would stay at home in the evenings.

I would gladly support this Bill if I could see that it tends towards temperance reform. I cannot read into it that it does. This Bill does not provide for the abatement of the drink evil and yet, if passed into law, it may impose greater hardships on a large section of the rural community than would necessarily be a sequence to that much-needed reform. There is a provision in it whereby two may be weaned in order that four may be suckled. I mean the social enticement of a larger company. The machinery which this Bill proposes setting up to determine compensation would be as important as the funds at its disposal are inadequate. Section 34 says:—

(1) Any officer of the Gárda Síochána may apply to the district court at the annual licensing district court for a licensing area to have the question whether a particular licence attached to premises situate in such licensing area should or should not be abolished referred to the compensation authority.

There and then that little business, set up, perhaps, by that licensee's grandfather and nursed by the family all these years, is well on the road for extinction, whilst the compensation coming from such meagre funds will only suffice to pay for the berths on the emigrant ship. In the constituency I represent mixed trading is the general rule, and custom has made it a necessity. The passing of this Bill, a Bill that, as far as I am aware, has not been demanded by any responsible section of the community, and at a time when business is very bad, would be nothing short of a gross injustice as far as the traders in the towns and rural districts are concerned. The Bill, as far as country traders are concerned, is unjust and is not desired by the rural community. Consequently I oppose the Second Reading.

This Bill is intended as a serious contribution to this problem, and as such deserves, on the merits, sympathetic consideration from the Dáil. I take the Minister's own reference to it as an assurance that he intended it as a serious contribution towards temperance reform. He asked: "How many men have gone under to the drink fiend because of the want of a little restrictive legislation?" He also asked: "Is it nothing to us whether people are temperate or not?" I am prepared to agree that it is a vital concern of ours, and that it is a widespread concern to see that the people of the nation are temperate.

While I accept sincerely the measure as an attempt at temperance reform, I am not at all convinced that we are going to reach the desired end by the road the Minister proposes to travel. If it is intended as reform, that is the only reason for the Bill, because it has not been called for from any source and, to my mind, the Minister has not proved conclusively that there is a sufficient need for this measure at the moment. There is a dwindling problem of intemperance. As to the references that were made to Morley's magistrates granting licences ad lib, proof would be required that when these licences were not in existence there was greater temperance than there is now.

The Bill, to my mind, has two angles of perspective. One might be called the moral or ethical angle, and the other the economic angle. If we view it from the moral angle, and try to show what will be the result of this measure in the matter of creating temperance, we have only to take the parallels that we find in other countries where restrictive legislation of this kind has been applied. What has been the result of dealing with intemperance by restrictive legislation of a similar kind in America? Has it solved the intemperance question, or, rather, has it created a number of other problems which the American Government will have to face? There are other vices that the human being is subject to, and, when the Government of other countries restricted their scope in certain areas, did they, or did they not, suppress these vices or create what one might describe as a series of subsidiary vices in place of the one they first proposed to deal with? Intemperance is, of course, a growth of artificial origin, and it may be said that it is the outcome of an artificial civilisation, and systems of education.

In this respect it would be very useful to ask what have the temperance advocates done to form the minds of the citizens of this or of any other State when those minds were plastic? What have we in the matter of literature to form character in the young mind? As far as I know, there is scarcely any literature, with the exception of one book, which I am proud to say was written by a Clare man— Canon Halpin. What use has been made of the cinema for the dissemination of the evils of intemperance? What attractions have been founded by the temperance people as a counterbalance to the public house? As far as I know, none. Yet here is a field where temperance advocates and the Minister himself might lend a hand in trying to form the character, and influence the plastic minds of youth, in an endeavour to stem intemperance.

I do not agree with the Minister that there is such an amount of intemperance at all in the country. The evidence that was before the Commission, on whose findings the Bill is based, more or less proved that the problem was a dwindling one. After all, it must be admitted that the sale of intoxicating drink is legitimate. If you interfere with it, you have the onus of proving that there is justification for the interference. The Minister so far has not proved that the restrictive legislation which it is proposed to apply is going to achieve that desired end. Of course, there is the economic aspect of the matter, but before we pass to that, does the Minister seriously suggest that the limitation of publichouses is going to be really a step towards curing intemperance? Does he think that two hundred, three hundred or four hundred publichouses less is going far towards a solution of the intemperance question? Does he not think that the limiting of the floor space in publichouses might have the very same effect in curing it? Does he think that the suspension of the bus services would be a cure for the bona fide traffic?

The economic situation is that thousands of employees will probably be displaced and put on an overloaded unemployment market. That is a serious consideration, and I would like to stress with Deputy Davin the point that, while you are considering this social evil, you ought also consider the social evil of displacing so many people. There is, further, a dislocation of credit. Publichouses do not grow in a night, and, as the Minister said, they will not disappear in a night. Banks which advanced money to publicans in circumstances when they needed it will be very slow to advance money when they do not know whether these houses will be the ones that will be wiped out or not. I have no objection to the Minister blazing a new trail through the wilderness of intemperance, if he will prove that legitimate interests are not going to be interfered with unnecessarily, and if he will prove that interference with legitimate interests is going to have the desired end.

I must say that, although the Minister has made his case for the need of the Bill, and the results he will achieve in the matter of temperance, he has not, so far, at least to my satisfaction, proved that these restrictive measures are going to have the results he claims for them.

I think every one must admire the earnest, thorough, and I might say courageous manner in which the Minister has dealt with this most important subject, going, as it does, to the very heart of economic conditions in this country. The Dáil has already passed two measures dealing with this question. It was obvious that it was necessary to put a top on what had been done, as the work was incomplete. It is obvious that there are too many licences in the country. The question had to be gone into thoroughly, and in order to do so the Government set up a Commission. That Commission has presented its report after evidence from all sides had been taken. The Bill represents fairly well the report of the Commission. It has, of course, four principal points with many others that are supplementary. Of the four principal matters that we have to deal with, the most important is the question of compensation for the reduction of licences, where that may be considered necessary. This compensation is to be awarded by an authority to be set up for the purpose. I am rather with my colleague Deputy Egan in what he said, that it might be necessary for the State to consider whether they could not give a certain contribution towards that diminution of licences along with the contribution from the trade. That is a matter which, I think, is worthy of consideration.

You will get it all right.

Does the Deputy think so?

It is looking like it.

Then there is the matter of the automatic endorsement. As that stands in the Bill, I think it is too drastic. The Minister has promised, however, to make alterations, and if what he suggests is embodied in the Bill I think it will take away any unreasonable hardship that might result from the precipitate endorsement, if I might call it so. There might be certain cases, such as the Minister mentioned, of the clock being wrong, or things of that sort, that without some further provision might be dealt with in a manner that would be too severe. We will consider that at any rate on the Committee Stage, and I feel confident that it will be settled satisfactorily. I take the view that Deputy Shaw takes on this question of the split hours. As regards my own constituency it does not apply, as it is a rural one. Nevertheless, I think it is unnecessarily aggravating. I do not see very much benefit to come from it. With Deputy Shaw, I think, if it is necessary to close during the day, that one hour would be sufficient. That also is a matter which can be settled on the Committee Stage.

As to the bona fide traffic, personally I should like to see it done away with altogether. I sat for many years as a magistrate in the county I live in, and a large proportion of the cases of drunkenness that came before the magistrates occurred on Sundays when the front doors of the publichouses were shut. Long ago I came to the conclusion mentioned in the report, which the Minister alluded to, that a general opening of publichouses in the country from 2 to 5 on Sunday would be better than the present arrangement, and that there would be less drunkenness. With the reduction of publichouses it would be possible for the Gárda Síochána to have a more strict supervision over the houses that remain than has been the case previously. Apart from that, I think the reduction of the hours during which bona fide travellers can be served is important. That also is a matter that can be gone into on the Committee Stage—as to what are the best hours for the bona fide trade.

Altogether I think that the Bill will make for the greater improvement, morally and bodily, of the youth of Ireland. A great Irish orator once declared that he would rather see Ireland sober than free. Ireland is free now and she is in process of being a very sober nation. I have been a good many years in the world, and I have seen a great improvement in the last few years in the condition of the country in the matter of sobriety. I think that within the course of a few years we will be glad of this measure being put before us, that it will have an uplifting effect on the youth of the country on whom we have to depend. I am positive that before many years the youth of Ireland will be looked up to all over the world as a pattern of what young people ought to be, and that the example of Ireland will be followed by other nations who have not got so far as we have.

I intend to support the Bill. As I say, there are certain provisions in it that require alteration, and that perhaps I would not support without alteration. I am satisfied that when the Bill passes through Committee it will be as satisfactory as such a controversial Bill can ever be. It is generally a sign that a Bill is satisfactory when it does not satisfy anybody thoroughly. Probably that is what will be said of this Bill. I am confident, however, that the result of it will be good, and I hope that when it passes through Committee it will fulfil our expectations in every way.

The Minister in his opening statement held out hopes that some sections would be amended. There is one section which has been touched upon by Deputies Davin and Hogan which I think ought to be amended, and that is Section 37—"Allocation of compensation." I am tempted to draw attention to this section after the speech made by Deputy Beamish, in which he apparently supported the proposal for the abolition of licences. I notice that Section 37 says that the lessor or owners are the persons to be compensated. That would include a well-known firm of brewers in Cork who have a number of tied houses. There is no provision in the Bill, however, that those losing their employment, probably after very many years' service, and with good characters, will get any compensation. I hope the Minister will consider the question of asking the compensating authorities to remember the employees of those houses, tied or untied, who may lose their employment, and that they shall not be thrown out of their employment without compensation, simply because the authorities recommend that licences should be abolished. If the lessor or the owners are to be compensated, I claim that those who carried on those houses and worked in them for many years should not be forgotten by the compensating authorities. The least they should get would be compensation to enable them to live in the same comfort for a year or two. I know if it is left to the owners or lessors to deal with these people, that once they get the compensation themselves their employees will get very little of it, and that they will be thrown out and added to the long list of unemployed. That is the only section I intend to draw attention to, and I hope that the Minister will give consideration to the point and see that there is no injustice done to any section of the community by the closing of those houses, which he says is in the national interest.

I have been listening to this discussion, and the result of the listening makes me come to the conclusion that from the point of view of the general interest the Minister ought to withdraw the Bill. I approach the whole question as one who believes that the general interest would be well served if there were a reduction in the number of licensed houses in the Free State, in the quantity of alcohol taken in the form of intoxicating liquor, in the amount of money spent on intoxicating liquor, and in the amount of drunkenness. I should like to see a Bill which would further those ends. The Bill as produced was an attempt—I think an honest attempt—to do something in that direction, but full of faults from that point of view, in my opinion. I wonder what all the pother is about. People talk about drastic regulations. I do not think any temperance measure, at any time, in any Parliament, was ever produced which was less drastic, in view of the needs, than this. One might well say from a temperance point of view that it is "very small beer." But the Minister, having produced the Bill, finds himself opposed from all sides. The dogs of war are let loose and he is on the run. From all the evidence, there is going to be very much more concession given before the final reading than has been indicated. What is going to be the resultant of this alleged temperance reform measure if more is given away, such as Deputies Egan and Wolfe have indicated—that there is something to come from the State towards the compensation fund—and a few odd things like that that Deputy Shaw referred to? I can see all the signs of the Minister giving away even more than he indicated. Is the measure worth it? Would it not be better to leave the compulsory endorsement of the present law for the licensed vintners to uphold? They are opposing this measure in favour of the present situation. Let them have it so. I fear that the Minister has got himself into a very great difficulty for something hardly worth while. As a temperance reform measure it is very unsatisfactory, and I am very loathe to go into detailed criticism, because I feel that any criticism now of some of the defects as to administration in the measure will seem to be merely adding to the fire of the attack upon the Minister.

I agree that there are many unwise proposals in the Bill regarding administration. I cannot reconcile these proposals regarding the reduction of licences, the compensation proposals and the area of compensation, and that all this is to be left pretty well at the control of the Minister for the time being. I think that is the flaw in the whole scheme. The Minister is proposing to accelerate the decay in the licensed trade by compensating those who are already decaying. He proposes to do it by taking 340 areas of the country, some of which might be spoken of as congested areas, some of them very much the reverse, and there is to be a submission to the District Justice that there is congestion in the number of licences in a particular area; that is to say, there is redundancy, in the phrase of the Bill. In the very congested area where the overcrowding is too great there ought to be a larger number of eliminations than in the less congested area. That proposal, as it seems to me, would require a much faster rate of diminution in those areas, and consequently a much greater levy upon those houses which remain. There is no sign in the Bill of any maximum levy. I think there ought to be. It is unfair, for instance, that in some of those congested areas where congestion is so great, and, by presumption, the evils sought to be remedied are greater, that the elimination must be at the rate determined by the state of the finances, and that the Ministry will have the control of that rate of diminution. Judging by the signs we have had of the resurrection, shall I say, of the political power of the licensed vintners, backed up by the Sinn Fein Party—just imagine that—some of the Sinn Fein Party—this phenomenon of to-day is most interesting and, I am sure, will be the subject of very close analysis by future political psychologists.

But imagine what is going to be the result of this resurrection of licensed vintners in politics as an organised force. The lever which is going to control the rate of diminution of licensed houses is to be in the hands of the Minister—not the ordinary processes of police authority. The Minister is going to regulate that rate of diminution, partly by financial considerations and partly by his view as to whether there is going to be too great a burden levied on the remaining publicans or not, and the temptation at once is there for the organised licensed trade to endeavour to get control of the Minister who is going to control. Now, I think that is a danger that we ought to take note of, and I am going to back any effort that is to be made to resist the encroachments of the organised licensed trade upon the politics and government of this country. I have met very estimable men in the business, but past experience has proved in this country, and in other countries, that the organised power of the brewer on the one hand, and of the publican on the other, is an evil in the State. That does not mean to say that they have to be treated unjustly and unfairly, and I do not take the ground that the Minister concedes that there is this vested interest and that it must be preserved at all costs. Undoubtedly there is a reasonable claim for compensating those who have been displaced from a means of livelihood.

Undoubtedly, but it applies to the licensed holder not because he has got a property in his licence but because it is a means of livelihood. On the same grounds I plead for a social responsibility for the man who loses his job at the docks and cannot get employment, and therefore cannot get a livelihood. I am prepared to do something for the man who is being deprived in the common interest of the means of livelihood through the abolition of his licence, but not on the grounds that he has a property in that licence. As the Minister has emphasised, the licence is a yearly licence. It is given on conditions, which conditions can be altered, and for anybody to treat that as something that is permanent and immutable and can be sold without reduction in value—well, the man that makes that bargain is making a foolish bargain, because it can be lessened in value at the will of the State.

I think the machinery in the Bill with regard to the reduction of licences is defective. In regard to the endorsement of licences, I think the Minister has done fairly and wisely in making the concession that he has proposed. I am not sure that it is the best way of meeting the case made by the vintners. I think they are entitled to the case that where a minor or a technical offence has been committed that that ought not to go clearly to a reduction of the amount of a man's compensation or the value of his means of livelihood. I think that on the other hand the whole history of the licence ought to be on record, and that every conviction, technical or otherwise, ought to be on the back of the licence. This may be considered to be merely a matter of debating, but it seems to me that what is required is not the abolition of the endorsement in respect to technical offences, but the abolition of the penalty attaching to that endorsement. I say that it is a desirable thing that in five, ten or fifteen years' time the authority who is examining the licence should know what the character of the licensee has been in respect to the licence. Technical or minor offences may be committed, but they ought not to carry with them the same amount of liability as major offences, quite apart from the question of fines. If there is a repetition of those technical offences, if there is a multiplication of minor offences, it is fairly good evidence of laxity, apart from deliberate breaking of the law, in the supervision of his house, and that ought to count against the licensee in proving that he is not able to fulfil the function which has been allotted to him and for which he has accepted responsibility. My suggestion on this matter would be rather that every conviction, minor or major, ought to be recorded, but that some special consideration should be given where minor offences or technical offences only are in question: that they should not have the same value and weight in respect to the abolition of the licence as a major offence which is culpable.

The question of split hours is one that has excited a good deal of interest, and I am not able to satisfy myself that much is going to be done in the way of a diminution of drinking by this method, and I think there is likely to be an increase of difficulty in the administration. I think also that there might be some unfairness in some of the towns. I take it that we do recognise the difference between a city like Dublin and, say, a town like Waterford or Limerick, which are largely market towns, where there is constant traffic in from the country and out to the country. I think that makes somewhat of a difference in the character of the trade that is done, but unfortunately there is the bona fide element to be taken into account. A man, say, comes in from the country to the City of Limerick or Waterford with a cart-load of farm produce from outside the bona fide limit. He may get a drink at any time, even during those split hours in the afternoon. If he is getting a drink it is ten to one that he is going to take a friend in with him, and that friend, as likely as not, will be a resident. I think there is going to be a great deal of difficulty in the administration of that particular portion of the Bill, and I do not think any great good is going to come from it. I would be inclined to distinguish between the City of Dublin and perhaps the City of Cork from the other towns or cities which are much more agricultural centres, and where there is a country trade concentrated. I think it is worth considering whether if this provision is to be maintained it should be made applicable to the four cities as proposed in the Bill. I am, however, doubtful altogether of the value of it from the point of view of promoting temperance.

I think, too, that on this question of the bona fide trade, it is unfortunate that we should be forced to use language in a way which really belies the meaning of the words. We are not really dealing with the bona fide trade at all. All the discussions, even the report of the Commissions, speak of the bona fide trade when they really meant the mala fide trade. I think it is essential that the bona fide trade should be retained. I think there should be a provision made for the bona fide traveller to get refreshments when he is a bona fide traveller; but what is a bona fide traveller? I do not know whether Deputy Daly has authority for his interpretation of the law, but he is an experienced man and he probably knows something on this matter. He said that a bona fide traveller, or a traveller seeking drink as a bona fide traveller, was supposed to get that drink to enable him to travel. I wonder whether, in fact, that is the legal and the right definition and if it is only allowable for the publican to serve a traveller during prohibited hours to enable him to travel further? I think if that definition could be embodied in the law we might solve a good deal of the trouble, and I hope Deputy Daly will enlighten us a little further on this question. If he can get any authority to back him up I think he will be doing the State a good service, because I do not think it requires the drinking of a bottle of stout or a gallon of stout to enable a man who has got as far as Bray, let us say, to go to Wicklow in a charabanc. He can travel in a charabanc without intoxicating liquor to assist him.

It seems to me we have a right to take into account the needs of the man who is really bona fide, but as to the rest of them, for whom we are obviously legislating in this Bill, who pretend that they need drink to help them travel, men who are really going out for the purpose of drinking, we are not solving that trouble at all in this Bill. I do not think we are assisting a solution by extending the limit from three to six miles, or from five to ten. I do not know whether it is a practical thing or not, but I am inclined to prefer the suggestion that there should be an all-round opening on Sunday for certain hours in the day. I really cannot justify to myself the proposition that a man living in Dublin may be thirsty enough to require the sustenance which a bottle of stout would give, and that a man living in Tullamore, let us say, does not need that sustenance or refreshment and so should be deprived of it. I cannot understand that and I am logician enough to make the plea that if we are going to have Sunday opening in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford at any hour, then the residents of the smaller towns are entitled to that particular privilege, if it is a privilege; to that particular punishment, if it is a punishment.

On the other hand, I would make the penalty for serving a man who is not a legitimate traveller a very severe one indeed, upon the bogus traveller and the man who serves him. I am not sure whether it would be impossible—I suppose at this stage at any rate it is hardly practicable, but I would like to see it—to devise some means, if only to deal with Sunday traffic in the outside areas, of disinterested management, so that a man who is a legitimate traveller needing refreshment could get his drink—not his drinks—and record the fact, that there should be no temptation to the publican to sell him drink, that it should not be a profitable thing for the publican that he should sell drink to the bona fide traveller, and that the bona fide traveller is going to a publicly managed publichouse where there is no interest in pushing the sale of drink and where it is really intended to provide for the refreshment of the jaded traveller. The proposition that we must increase or should increase the limit for the mala fide traveller who wants to go out into the country for the purpose of drinking does not, to my mind, help the cause of temperance very much. I really agree with those who say that the fact of increasing the limit from three to six or from five to ten miles in the city is not going to help us.

An increase from five to ten miles in Dublin makes no difference at all except to the particular publican who is just on the outside or just on the inside of the present limit. From the point of view of the consumption, I am afraid it is going to be of no value whatever. Deputy Hewat will be probably able to say if the tramway company receipts, and in the case of the railway companies those members of the Oireachtas who are directors would be able to say whether it will increase the traffic on the suburban lines. We will probably have new excursions arranged to just beyond the limit. As I say, I do not think it is going to assist the cause of temperance very much, and I would much prefer to deal with this bona fide problem on different lines altogether. The Minister quoted the report of the Commission frequently as the basis of his Bill, and I commend to him one line, page 13, which says: "It occurred to us that it was useful to require that a man in the country should walk three miles before he obtains drink." Can we do that, I wonder—that he shall not get a drink unless he can prove that he came, not in a conveyance or on a bicycle, but that he walked the distance? I commend that part of the report to the Minister so that he may embody it in one of his amendments and rely on the report in that respect, as he has relied on the report in so many other respects.

There are many points in the Bill that will, no doubt, come up for discussion if the Bill reaches Second Reading, if the Minister does not take my suggestion and decide to withdraw it, so that the licensed vintners of the country would continue to run the risk of having their licences forfeited, by a continuation of the compulsory endorsement clause. I confess that I am tempted to do a great right by doing a little wrong. If I thought there was a chance of the Minister being defeated on this Bill, I think I would do that little wrong to help that defeat. I am afraid the risk is not great. The Minister is on the run. He is going to secure the backing of the majority of his Party by concessions, and he is going to make this Bill of less use than it was when he produced it. Now if the Minister stiffens his back on this as he has done on so many other occasions, I hope to be able to support him. I shall support the Second Reading unless the unexpected happens and that my vote would turn out the Government. If that would appear to be the position I would quite gladly do it, and do a great right by doing a little wrong.

Will the Deputy bring in a Bill on this matter himself?

I will; I will guarantee that.

On a point of order, is Deputy Johnson going to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds?

No. I am not a Black-and-Tan. I am not one of the hounds. I am going to join the hare and I am going to try and encourage the hare to turn and face the hounds and run the risk.

And get devoured.

Probably. On this matter if the Minister will stiffen his back and strengthen the Bill from the point of view of introducing a measure to promote temperance, I would back him with much greater happiness than I am backing him at the present moment. This Bill arouses no enthusiasm from the point of view of the temperance advocate, and consequently I am quite prepared to do what the Deputy suggests, to turn out the Government if my vote would do it, but as it is not likely to do it, I am going to vote for the Second Reading.

It seems to me we are discussing three Bills—the Bill I have in my hand, the Bill as it emerged from the Party meeting, and the Bill that Deputy Johnson is going to introduce when the Government is turned out. I propose to confine myself to the first Bill. There is one remark of Deputy Johnson's so important and so valuable that it should be placed on record. Deputy Johnson said that he thought the organised power of the brewer on the one hand, and the publican on the other hand, was an evil to the State. I would go further than that. I would say that the organised power of any body of men exercised for their own personal advantage, even though they are members of a trade union, is an evil. We should, in discussing public matters, divest ourselves of all thought of our own particular interests. In this matter we should look to the general interest and not to the particular interest of the citizen— in this—and also, as I would remind Deputy Johnson, on other questions.

Hear, hear.

One thing that surprised me on the part of Deputy Johnson was that he complained that the Minister for Justice was accessible to argument. My complaint of the Minister for Justice in the past was the reverse of that, and I think that was Deputy Johnson's complaint also. I am delighted that the Minister for Justice is willing to consider the views of his own Party. I hope that the process will develop and that he will even give some heed to the views of members of other Parties. I am encouraged in that hope by something I see in the Bill. A little more than two years ago, when discussing the Act of 1924, I urged on the Minister an amendment making provision for serving liquor to be consumed with a meal, but the Minister consumed me with his scorn. He said that the result of my amendment would be that every public-house would keep a dusty sandwich, which would be known as "Cooper's meal," and set before the man who wanted his drink.

Now I find, in Section 11 of this Bill, that provision is made defining that a person may have intoxicating liquor if it is ordered at the same time with a substantial meal. What is the difference? On these benches we have no objection to the word "substantial." I would have no objection to "substantial" if that was the only difference between the Minister and myself. What it comes to is this, that whereas it was a sandwich that was to be taken down and described as "Cooper's meal," it will now be a plate of steak-and-kidney pie that will be taken down and described as the "O'Higgins' meal." I think the Minister should put in a clause defining what is a "substantial meal." Is an egg a substantial meal? If not, how many eggs will make a substantial meal?

I am personally satisfied that the ideas that I suggested have germinated even after two years, and that the Minister has made some provision for supplying liquor with a meal. There is a process of development, and, if we go on, in 30 or 40 years, and if we have 200 or 300 Party meetings, who knows but the Minister may qualify to be a member of the Ancient Order of Froth Blowers? Once a great mind like the Minister's begins to work, we do not know where the development will end. I am not going to delay the Minister's reply. I will sit down after five minutes, but there is one point that I want to make. First, there is the suggestion made by Deputy Shaw and other Deputies that the State should contribute some portion of the compensation to be paid to traders whose licences are abolished under this Bill. Well, I am glad that the Minister for Finance is in his place, for I want to tell him that if he opposes that suggestion I shall back him to the very utmost extent of my powers. I will not be a party to subsidising the licensed trade from the pocket of the general taxpayer. Deputy Lyons told us that some of those country traders are in such a position that they could not afford to pay the compensation. They are no worse off than their neighbours, the country shopkeepers and the country farmers. There is a very privileged position conferred on the licensed trade. It has a monopoly, and through the courts restricting the issues of licences that monopoly value is worth, in the case of individual publicans in Dublin, for instance, thousands of pounds. If the number of those licences is reduced, if the monopoly value possessed by some of those licences is removed, the people who benefit by that removal should pay the compensation, and not the general body of taxpayers.

I have heard many Deputies describe this as a drastic Bill. I wonder would they know a drastic Bill if they saw it? It is, in my opinion, less drastic than the Bill of 1924. There has been a more recent desire on the part of the Minister to meet objections and try and make provision, for whom I might perhaps represent, the moderate drinker who requires a drink with his meals and in certain circumstances. It is a very much better Bill than that of 1924. We are told that these are revolutionary proposals. The Minister told us that in England they have an eight hours' day, and that we have a twelve hours' day. But the eight hours' day is arranged on terms much more convenient to the trade than those proposed in this Bill. Instead of opening at 10 and closing at 10, with a break of two hours, the English trader opens at 11.30 and is allowed to remain open up to 11. That is shorter, but it is probably more convenient to him and to the public. I hope the Minister will give some justification for the opening hour. It is 12 o'clock in some parts of London. For the ordinary man who wants a drink, 10 o'clock is too early, and it is too late for the man who attends a fair. Is there any particular reason for choosing 10 o'clock?

With regard to the bona fide traveller, I am inclined to agree with Deputy Johnson and also to agree with the Minister. If we could wipe out the bona fide trade and have fixed hours of opening and closing, I think that would be more satisfactory. Deputy Johnson contemplates the Tramway Company running excursions outside the ten-mile limit, but the places most affected. Howth and Dalkey, are each about nine miles from the city. We do not want bona fide travelling in Killiney. It will injure Howth. Fixed hours of opening would obviate that injustice. On the whole I say it is a moderate Bill. I ask Deputies who oppose it to consider what the alternative is. If any measure at temperance reform for reducing the admitted redundant number of public-houses in the country, effecting reform on moral lines, is to be opposed as unjust, and because there is no mandate, as we are told, what will be the result? Not reform on gradual and moderate lines, but prohibition. I dislike prohibition under any conditions. I cannot imagine myself being happy in a country where prohibition was in force, for I should become a lawbreaker; but if those who are associated with the trade and speak on its behalf say that no reform is to be passed, that the existing state of affairs is satisfactory, then slowly and surely they will create a state of affairs in which prohibition will be the only alternative. On the whole, I think this is an attempt to deal with a serious problem in a sane and moderate spirit, and I am going to support the Second Reading.

The Bill before us is based on the findings of the Liquor Commission. The intention is to try and reduce excessive drinking. I claim there is no excessive drinking. When you compare the drink bill for the past year with the drink bill of a few years ago it will be seen that there has been a considerable reduction in the amount of drink consumed. Some years ago something like £13,000,000 was spent on drink, and this year the figure stands at about £17,000,000, but in the former period drink cost three and a half times to four times less than it does to-day. If people were now drinking as much as they did formerly the annual drink bill would be about £40,000,000, and it is, therefore, obvious that there is not one-third the consumption of drink that there used to be. I hope the Bill will emerge from the Committee Stage as a milder measure, and that the Minister will amend the clauses to which objection is taken. I am sure he will be reasonable, as he is always open to a fair and reasoned argument, and that he will give favourable consideration to the views favouring amendment which have been put before him, and so make the Bill acceptable to the House and to the people of the country. It is only right that we should consider the will of the people. They have elected us to legislate wisely and according to their will. I always keep that in mind and consider the people who elected me. I examine my conscience to know am I doing what they would wish me to do. In taking up the attitude I do on this Bill, I feel I am only voicing the opinions of the people who sent me here. Regarding the compensation portion of the Bill, we have heard many expressions of opinion. My opinion regarding a reduction in the number of licences is that some of these traders are doing such little business that if we left them alone and said nothing, time, which is a curer for everything, is on our side. Having regard to the reduced consumption of drink, we can see that there is a temperance wave, and that traders would in time be obliged to go out of business altogether. Therefore, it would be hardly fair to the remaining traders to ask them to compensate traders who will be passing out because the amount of trade they will derive from these people will be very little, if not absolutely nil. I hope that the Minister will be reasonable and accept reasonable amendments.

We have all been so much harassed about this Bill by our constituents, and as I intend to vote for the Second Reading I would like to give expression to my opinions on the Bill. With regard to the endorsement and the system for eliminating redundant public houses, the opposition to the clauses dealing with these is, to my mind, grounded on a very poor idea of citizenship. All the sympathy of the propagandists on the licensed trade side is with the black sheep of their own flock. We have in this country a system of licensing laws, and for their better enforcement this Bill proposes to eliminate, by compulsory endorsement, people who persist in infringing these laws. It is a measure that does not affect the decent publican who conducts his house properly.

To my mind, there are two aspects of the licensed trade—the legitimate and the illegitimate. The legitimate trade is that of the man who caters for the ordinary man who desires a drink, and the illegitimate trade is that of the man who caters for the man who desires not merely a drink but who is, what is vulgarly called, "a drunk." The provisions for split hours will help to remedy that, and it would be no harm if similar provisions were extended to the county towns. On fair days we know that men often come in and drink for a long time, whereas if there was a break in the hours they would go home earlier. With regard to the recoupment for the elimination of licences, one difficulty strikes me. How will it apply in Dublin? As regards the licence eliminated in Dublin, I do not think that an equal share of the contributions from the other licensees in that district court area would be equitable. Perhaps the Minister could devise some means by which the Circuit Court Judge could apportion the amount to be paid by each licence-holder with regard to the situation of his house in relation to the eliminated licence, because he will probably benefit most from the elimination. Deputy Davin said that there had been no increase in drunkenness. I wonder has there been any corresponding decline in drunkenness. Has drunkenness declined in the same ratio within the period referred to by Deputy Davin as it has in other countries? As to the infringement of private property rights, licence-holders are not exactly in the position of ordinary property holders. They have a certain limited monopoly, and that, I think, disposes of that argument. With regard to the bona fide traffic, I consider that that traffic is the root of a lot of trouble in this country. It is unfair in a number of cases, because the tendency is to restrict the number of houses and leave the trade in the hands of houses which will have an opportunity of supplying bad stuff. Men will go a distance of six miles and stay there a long time. If an amendment were introduced in the Committee Stage which would substitute universal opening on Sundays for the present bona fide law, I would support it—not a continuous opening for three hours, but an opening in country districts from 1 to 2 o'clock, and, perhaps, for two hours later, with a break between. I presume that the existing state of affairs in the four exempted cities would still be found best.

As I listened to the Minister for Justice making his case on the Second Reading of this Bill and saw the crowded House that listened to his speech, and the crowded gallery that came here interested in this matter, I could not help making a comparison between that condition of things, that condition of excitement over little or nothing, and the very few Deputies and visitors who thought it worth their while to come here to listen to the debate on the question of unemployment, which affects not merely 14,000 people but, roughly, 40,000 or 50,000 people who have absolutely no means of livelihood and who are dependent on the charity of friends to keep them out of the workhouse. When people talk about class legislation I think there is in the attendance to-day the best evidence of class legislation which I have seen for some years past. I remember, when we were discussing the unemployment question, only twelve members of the Government Party thought it worth their while to sit here and consider that problem. That compared very unfavourably with the remarkably large attendance which is here to-day. For the Bill which has just been introduced I have no particular affection as it is drafted. There are some phases of it with which I find myself in considerable opposition. It is proposed in the case of county boroughs, and I speak with particular reference to Dublin, to close between 3 and 5 p.m. The Minister, in my opinion, did not make any adequate case for the closing of public-houses between those hours.

He said that the idea was to shift the long sitter and to get the person out who is disposed to sit in a public-house for a long time. Beyond expressing the view, the Minister, in my opinion, did not give any evidence of long sitting. On the contrary, I think there is very little long sitting in Dublin. No statistics were quoted and no effort was made to show that the 3 to 5 clause is desirable or necessary to deal with any grievance. It may be thought that closing from 3 to 5 will mean relief for the assistants. It is not possible to guarantee that they will be relieved from duty during that time. It is, in fact, likely that the publicans will find ways and means of utilising the assistants' time between those hours, notwithstanding the fact that the houses are closed. They may suggest that they may have their dinner during those hours, or be utilised in other classes of work, and the people who are doing that class of work at present may be displaced. My fear is, that instead of giving relief it may mean unemployment for some, at least, of the assistants. The Minister made a case for the extension of the bona fide distance on the ground that there was greater mobility to-day than there was years ago. In other words, that six miles, and in some cases ten miles, are reasonable in comparison with the five miles of old. That may be so, but it does not check, in any way, the abuses inherent in the bona fide traffic. It is possible, under this Bill, to carry on all the abuses of that traffic so long as one is prepared to travel the required distance. In my opinion, and I think it is fairly generally shared, the bona fide traffic leads to abuses, savours of something illicit and some-think surreptitious. Something else ought to be done with it than merely extending the distance. Personally, I would favour universal hours of opening on Sundays—three hours on Sunday for all houses would be preferable to a distance limit where you could carry on the present abuses under the bona fide traffic. Automatic endorsement is another objectionable phase of the Bill. The Minister indicated that he is prepared to accept a modification of the Act of 1924 and to give the District Justice some discretion.

Now that we have a different system of judiciary to the one we had in the past, I think it only right that the District Justices, who are men of learning, education and independence, should be allowed some discretion and not be asked to impose endorsements which will carry such penalties, without any regard to the circumstances of the case. Notwithstanding my objection to this phase of the Bill, I intend to vote for the Second Reading. I want my vote to be regarded as a vote for the closing of redundant public houses in this country, for the closing of places which are masquerading as publichouses, and which, in my opinion, are only filthy drinking dens. I believe there will be fairly general agreement amongst all parties, that this country cannot afford, and that it is undesirable that it should allow, the present number of houses to continue. Some of them are most undesirable dens. A considerable number of them are not necessary to supply any legitimate demand. That can be provided by the decent-class publichouse. In the interests of decent environment, and in order to raise the standard of the people, I think something should be done to abolish that undesirable type of publichouse, which is unfortunately fairly common in this country.

When the Bill is dealt with in Committee, with many of the amendments which all parties, I think, are keen upon and a considerable number of which will be carried, it will be a moderate and reasonable Bill. In anticipation of it reaching that stage I intend to vote for the Second Reading. When certain amendments are made I do not think publicans in Dublin can find fault with the Bill. It will be well for them to remember, and also those who agitate against the Second Reading, that if the Bill passes now it will be possible to reconsider the position of automatic endorsement, whereas if the Second Reading is defeated it will not be possible to do so. Whether my attitude is popular or unpopular with publicans I am not greatly concerned. I am mainly concerned about doing what I consider right in this matter, keeping my eye on the real views and the real feelings of my constituents, as well as on the general public good. I intend to vote for the Second Reading, and to take no notice whatever of the compulsion by letter, telegram and resolution which has been exercised within the last fortnight in connection with this Bill.

I am opposed to the Second Reading of this Bill. I will content myself with dealing with the general principles, reserving anything I have to say to a further stage should the Bill got a Second Reading. I think the opposition of some Deputies can be summed up by saying that there is no general desire and no general demand for the Bill from those who live in rural areas. Perhaps it would be well to mention, in view of the references that have been made to the rural areas, that at present there is no drunkenness there. Those of us who have been in country towns at fairs or markets during the past six or twelve months know that at an early hour the towns are empty, and also the publichouses. We have no knowledge of any grave abuses of the licensing laws or of drunkenness in country towns.

The Minister appealed to Deputies to-day to find an answer to certain questions and to act in accordance with the answer. I have no difficulty in finding an answer to the query as to what my attitude towards this Bill is going to be. I can claim to have no brief for or against the Bill. I believe in temperance and I practise it. I am not at all concerned with any agitation that has been got up about the Bill. It is well to remember that the agitation is not confined to one particular section, and that the propaganda during the last three or four weeks was equally for and against the Bill. At the introduction of the Licensing Bill of 1924 some of us opposed the clauses that provided for compulsory endorsement. I think we are justified in the attitude we took then, as the Minister has now indicated that he is willing to drop it for reasons I do not know. I take it it is because he has seen that the principle has not been a success.

Mr. MURPHY

The Minister relied very largely to-day on the recommendations of the Commission. I put it to the Minister that what the Commission really discovered early in the course of their deliberations was that they had a very bad case to report on. They discovered that in a comparatively short period drunkenness had been reduced in this country by one-fifth. If people expected very alarming disclosures, they were disappointed, as there was nothing alarming to report about. The report, as relied upon by the Minister, is the best evidence of that.

I was not here when Deputy Sir James Craig was speaking, but I understand he devoted part of his speech to a pretty severe condemnation of public-houses in rural areas, and to the scenes he had witnessed at cross-roads. If the Minister's plea is carried to a logical conclusion, does it not come to this, that the rural population, who are not drunkards, should be denied all facilities for obtaining drink, but that these facilities should be available in the larger towns? I may say that if there is any case to be made for temperance reform, it can only be made in the big cities. I suggest to Deputy Craig that his attitude is not fair or just. I put it to him that one of the sections in the Bill dealing with clubs is the best condemnation of the Bill. It is provided definitely that wealthy people can go into clubs and hotels at 1 o'clock in the day.

Do you stress wealthy people?

Mr. MURPHY

Not necessarily.

Are there any clubs to which people who are not wealthy belong?

Mr. MURPHY

I am afraid I know very little about clubs.

That is evident.

Mr. MURPHY

I will not press that point. People, whether wealthy or not, can go into clubs on Sundays at 1 o'clock, remain there until 3 o'clock, and then go into the ordinary public-house, remain until 5 o'clock, and afterwards get other facilities of obtaining drink. In my opinion, that is one of the most effective condemnations that could be advanced against the Bill. Some of us who believe in temperance are anxious to see all the people of the country temperate, but we do not believe that temperance is going to be achieved by Act of Parliament; it is going to be achieved by education and social work. If the Minister desires to see temperance achieved along the right road he has a very big field for his activities in the directions I have mentioned, and he will find that road much more effective than any Bill he can introduce, drastic or moderate.

Deputy Wolfe, who supported the Bill, made a very eloquent plea on behalf of temperance, but at the same time he pointed out that he is only supporting the Bill because certain amendments were going to be put into it. In other words, Deputy Wolfe, ardent temperance advocate as he is, would not support this Bill if the terms of it were not changed very much. I suggest to him that if he is sincere in his advocacy of temperance he should oppose the Bill, because it is not a temperance Bill.

I wish to see justice done to everybody although I am an ardent temperance reformer.

Mr. MURPHY

I do not know whether my argument has been upset in any way. I suggest that from the point of view of the narrow temperance advocate the Bill is a weak, shrinking, half-hearted measure, that from the point of view of the general community it is unnecessary and ought not to be supported. I should like to endorse the plea made by Deputy Byrne on behalf of the tied houses. Those who run the tied houses are largely in the hands of people like Deputy Beamish, who supported this Bill. I suspect that Deputy Beamish's support of the Bill was largely influenced by the provisions in connection with compensation, and which will be of very much importance to him.

If the Minister thinks there is a good case for the Bill, and a very general desire for it, he will have an opportunity very shortly of getting the opinion of the people on it. There is nothing very urgent about the Bill, and it can easily wait for two or three months. If the Minister is desirous, the people who have to decide on all matters of this kind can be afforded an opportunity of deciding for or against it. If the Minister comes back from the country with the mandate of the people——

When he comes back!

If he comes back.

Mr. MURPHY

If the Government come back.

When he comes back!

If and when he comes back.

Mr. MURPHY

If and when he comes back with a mandate for a Bill of this kind, or even a more drastic Bill, he certainly will be irresistible in his arguments in favour of it. Nobody will be able to deny his right to introduce it or pass it into law. I submit that he has not had any opportunity of consulting the opinion of the people generally in connection with the matter. I am not speaking for any particular interest, or because I am influenced in any way by the propaganda in favour of or against the Bill. I believe the view I have expressed is the view of the people generally on this question.

It has not been fashionable for some time past for Deputies to preface a speech by saying that they do not intend to give a silent vote on the measure before the House. I have no wish to revive that usage. But the Minister appealed to the House individually and collectively that the Bill should be allowed to pass its Second Reading. The Secretary of the Licensed Vintners' Association informed me yesterday that his Association had no wish or desire or expectation that the Bill would be rejected on Second Reading. I do not think that the story of the hare and the hounds can be applied to me when I say that I am voting for the Second Reading to please the Minister and the Licensed Vintners' Association. There is another very important matter that I should like to refer to. I would not really seriously like to see a general election before the month is out.

If the Minister is prepared to conclude the debate to-night before 8.30 I shall give way to him.

Yes, I can conclude before that time.

Then the Deputy is giving way to the Minister to conclude?

Yes; if he is going to conclude before 8.30.

Deputy Redmond and other Deputies concentrated a good deal of attention on the proposals in connection with the bona fide traffic. Deputy Redmond pointed out its reaction on Tramore and other places similarly circumstanced. It is inevitable if there is to be any shifting of distances, any change of the line, that places on the present circumference will be injuriously affected and places on the new circumference will be benefited. Circumstances of that kind are incidental or accidental to the general question of whether we think that there is a case for a change in the distances, apart from the incidence of that on particular areas.

Deputies generally struck me as being not reluctant to go into Committee on this Bill and to discuss its provisions in detail in the way in which it can be done on Committee Stage. Deputy Johnson was pessimistic. He said the Minister was likely to give way even more than he had indicated to-night. I think that perhaps I may be able to relieve the Deputy upon that at a later stage. I indicated this evening certain intentions with regard to amendments that I would bring in on Committee Stage. I may say that one of these was not under pressure of any kind but was simply arrived at after the Bill had been printed and circulated on consideration of the matter in my own Department. That is, what I said with regard to enabling the licensed holder to sell a clear licence even if he himself has had the misfortune to have endorsements. The other matter I do not regard as very material —the proposal to vest in the District Justice a somewhat similiar discretion to that which the Bill presently vests in the Circuit Judge with the check of an appeal to the Circuit Judge, for that is what it comes to, on the part of the police officer.

Section 29 was objected to by Deputy Redmond—the Probation of Offenders Act. That section is really for the removal of doubts, if there are any doubts. I think it was decided some time ago in the High Court that the Probation of Offenders Act did not, in fact, apply to breaches of the licensing laws.

I can assure the Minister that was not decided. It was decided to apply, but not in the particular case.

Very good; I am prepared to take my stand that the Probation of Offenders Act ought not apply to this particular kind of offences. We are told that there is no mandate for this Bill and no general demand for it. On this question of mandates, how many people would undertake to say, after any General Election, what a Government has a mandate for? Had we a mandate for the Shannon scheme, for the sugar beet project, for the Land Act?

Or for the reduction of old age pensions?

For any piece of legislation that we have passed in the last three or four years?

It may be necessary for you to get it the next time.

We will get everything we ask for.

You may get more than you ask for.

Deputy Batt O'Connor said there was no excessive drinking in the country. That, of course, is a question of angles. What is excessive drinking? I do not take it that excessive drinking means that you fall over a man every five yards on your way home. If we are drinking beyond our resources there is excessive drinking. Seventeen-and-a-half millions was spent across the counter on drink in the financial year 1925-26. Is that excessive drinking? Some people would say "No," some people would say very differently. At any rate, I object to the criterion that drunkenness, and drunkenness alone, is to be the test of whether or not there is excessive drinking.

How much has been spent on betting and gambling?

Or on railways?

I will move the adjournment of the discussion if the Minister is not prepared to finish.

I suggest that the Minister might reply to the various points of detail on the various sections when we come to Committee.

I think that would probably be satisfactory. I am not at all dissatisfied with the way the Bill was received. I expected dissent. It is inevitable when you introduce a Bill of this kind, in which certain vested interests are affected, that there will be dissent, and that that dissent will be reflected in the Dáil. I was not expecting that there would fail to be in the Dáil a reflection of the dissent that exists outside the Dáil, but I believe that always in this assembly there will be found a majority prepared to consider in detail a measure of this kind and who will not be simply influenced by organised clamour outside to such an extent as to refuse to go into Committee on a Bill. There have been important points raised in the debate, points bearing on the reduction scheme and points bearing on hours, and, in particular, the hours on Sundays, which I would like to hear discussed very much more fully than has been the case in this debate, but I do ask Deputies— except those Deputies who are inveterately opposed to restrictive legislation of any kind in the matter of the sale and consumption of intoxicating liquor, and I must simply accept the hostility of those—to vote for the Second Reading of this Bill.

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 50; Níl, 36.

  • Earnán Altún. Richard H. Beamish.
  • Earnán de Blaghd.
  • Seoirse de Bhulbh.
  • Próinsias Bulfin.
  • Séamus de Burca.
  • Bryan R. Cooper.
  • Sir James Craig.
  • John Hennigan.
  • Patrick Leonard.
  • Seosamh Mac a' Bhrighde.
  • Donnchadh Mac Con Uladh.
  • Liam Mac Cosgair.
  • Seán MacCurtain.
  • Maolmhuire Mac Eochadha.
  • Tomás Mac Eoin.
  • Pádraig Mac Fadáin.
  • Patrick McGilligan.
  • Eoin Mac Néill.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Pádraig Mag Ualghairg.
  • John T. Nolan.
  • Michael K. Noonan.
  • William Norton.
  • Peadar O hAodha.
  • Seán O Bruadair.
  • Máighréad Ní Choileain Bean Uí Dhrisceóil.
  • Michael Egan.
  • Patrick J. Egan.
  • Osmond Grattan Esmonde.
  • Desmond Fitzgerald.
  • John Good.
  • Thomas Hennessy.
  • Risteárd O Conaill.
  • Máirtín O Conalláin.
  • Eoghan O Dochartaigh.
  • Séamus O Dóláin.
  • Peadar O Dubhghaill.
  • Eamon O Dúgáin.
  • Fionán O Loingsigh.
  • Risteárd O Maolchatha.
  • Séamus O Murchadha.
  • Máirtín O Rodaigh.
  • Seán O Súilleabháin.
  • Andrew O'Shaughnessy.
  • Mícheál O Tighearnaigh.
  • Caoimhghín O hUigín.
  • Seán Príomhdhall.
  • Patrick W. Shaw.
  • Liam Thrift.

Níl

  • Pádraig Baxter.
  • Daniel Breen.
  • Seán Buitléir.
  • John Conlan.
  • Louis J. D'Alton.
  • John Daly.
  • Séamus Eabhróid.
  • Seán de Faoite.
  • David Hall.
  • Connor Hogan.
  • Séamus Mac Cosgair.
  • Risteárd Mac Fheorais.
  • Pádraig Mac Fhlannchadha.
  • Patrick McKenna.
  • Liam Mag Aonghusa.
  • Patrick J. Mulvany.
  • James Sproule Myles.
  • Ailfrid O Broin.
  • Criostóir O Broin.
  • Tomás O Conaill.
  • Aodh O Cúlacháin.
  • Liam O Daimhín.
  • Tadhg O Donnabháin.
  • Eamon O Dubhghaill.
  • Mícheál O Dubhghaill.
  • Seán O Duinnín.
  • Mícheál O hIfearnáin.
  • Seán O Laidhin.
  • Pádraic O Máille.
  • Domhnall O Mocháin.
  • Domhnall O Muirgheasa.
  • Tadhg O Murchadha.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (An Clár).
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (Luimneach).
  • William A. Redmond.
  • Nicholas Wall.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Dolan and Sears. Níl: Deputies Redmond and Daly.
Motion declared carried.
Ordered: That the Committee Stage be taken on Thursday, 24th February, 1927.
The Dáil adjourned at 8.40 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday, the 17th instant.