INTOXICATING LIQUOR BILL, 1927—REPORT STAGE.

Ordered: That the Bill be re-committed for the consideration of sections proposed to be amended.
The Dáil went into Committee.

I move amendment 1:—"In page 3, Section 1 (1), line 23 to insert after the word ‘Day' the words ‘or Saint Patrick's Day.'"

This is a drafting amendment. Christmas Day and St. Patrick's Day are special days in respect of which there are special provisions throughout the Bill. In the Bill as it stands, Saturday, where it occurs, does not include the Saturday which is Christmas Day. It is clear that St. Patrick's Day should also be excluded because if St. Patrick's Day falls on a Saturday the provision in respect of that day should apply and not those in respect of ordinary Saturdays.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move amendment 2:—

In page 3, Section 1 (1), after line 30 and before line 31, to insert the words "the word ‘town' means and includes any town having Commissioners under the Towns Improvement (Ireland) Act, 1854."

This is a minor amendment. On the Committee Stage the word "town" was introduced in addition to "urban county districts." It is necessary to provide a definition for the word "town," and this amendment supplies the definition.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Section 1, as amended, put and agreed to.

With regard to amendments 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 to Section 2, they all deal with the same point, namely, whether the closing hour in the afternoon on ordinary week-days and Saturdays shall be half-past-two to half-past-three or three to four. I think that a decision might be got by putting amendment 3. If half-past-two is inserted, presumably the break will be from half-past-two to half-past-three and the other amendment will be consequential. If the word "three" is allowed to remain in the section the next amendment I would propose to put would be amendment 5 in the name of Deputy Martin Conlon on the question as to whether the break should be from three to four or from three to five. The whole question of the break will arise on amendment 3.

I think a further question arises as to whether the break should be two hours or one hour. How are we to get a vote on that?

If half-past-two is inserted on amendment 3 that would be a victory for the one hour proposal I think. If the word "three" remains, and if on amendment 5 the word "four" is rejected, then the break will be from three to five.

I am in favour of two hours as against one hour, and as regards one hour I am in favour of half-past-two to half-past-three as against four to five. I want to know how we are to vote on that?

I suggest that Deputy Shaw, Deputy Hennessy and Deputy Conlon should meet and decide the matter.

It is not for me to dictate to Deputy Cooper how he should accomplish his purpose, but if I understand him aright I would vote against amendment 3 if I were in his position.

I move amendment 3:—

In page 4, Section 2 (1) (a), line 30, to delete the word "three" and substitute therefor the words "half-past-two."

When this Bill was before the House on the Committee Stage I was in favour of an hour's break. I was not quite in agreement with the section which provided for a two hours' break, nor was I in agreement with the amendment moved by Deputy Heffernan, which provided for no break. The general effect of my amendment throughout the Bill will be that there will be an hour's break from 2.30 to 3.30. I may be asked why I split the hour. My answer is that the hour between half-past two and half-past three has been found to be a very convenient one. It is a luncheon hour, particularly in those places where bar luncheons are served. The people who patronise these bars do not finish their luncheons until about 2.30, and that applies particularly in the case of houses closing for an hour and where luncheons are taken in relays. I find from views expressed by these people that if the break was before 2.30 p.m. it would be too early. I think it will be found that the most convenient hour is from 2.30 to 3.30, and that those who have amendments on the paper advocating other hours will be ready to withdraw in favour of this.

I do not attribute very much importance to a break at all. I think it will be only a kind of refresher for the man who is drinking. Give him an hour or two hours, and he will come back with increased absorptive power. However, those engaged in the liquor trade, especially the assistants, have long hours, and it will serve one purpose in that it will give them a clear hour off for dinner. I hope the Minister will see his way to accept it. I think he might regard the vote on the last occasion as a drawn battle. There was only one of a majority, and I was that one, but I expressed my intention of voting for a one-hour break on another occasion.

If this amendment had been moved in Committee, I believe it would have been almost unanimously approved. However, as it was not moved, the Minister brought off a hundred-to-one chance by a very narrow margin of one. Deputy Hennessy and myself and other Deputies have lodged an objection. The grounds of the objection are that a dead heat would have been a fair verdict, and the Minister would only have got half the stakes. Our amendment is to give the Minister half the stakes—in other words, to split the split hours. I hope the Minister will agree to accept the amendment, or if not, that he will, at least, leave it to a free vote of the House. With regard to what the hour should be, I believe the general consensus of opinion amongst persons interested is that it should be from 2.30 to 3.30, as proposed in the amendment.

There is an important matter as to which I should like to get some information from the Minister. It is in connection with the position of the family grocery trade. Their difficulty is that under the Shops Act, 1912, any employee not engaged in the selling of intoxicating liquor must get his dinner hour between 11.30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m.— the dinner hour must be completed before 2.30 p.m. Those engaged in the sale of intoxicating liquor are not bound to obtain the dinner hour within the above hours, but could have any hour commencing not later than 2.30. The family grocers are concerned as to whether they will be obliged to give two dinner hours— one under the Shops Act to those not engaged in the sale of intoxicating liquor during the earlier hours above mentioned—they at present close between one and two for the dinner hour for all hands—or whether, if the closing hour from 2.30 to 3.30 is carried, they will be able to make that the dinner hour for all hands, overriding the particular clause regulating the dinner hour in the Shops Act of 1912. In other words, to sum up the matter, they want to know whether under this Licensing Bill they can adopt a dinner hour from 2.30 to 3.30 for all hands, and if the clause relating to the dinner hour in the Shops Act of 1912 will be superseded by this hour.

I have not any doubt that the Minister will accept the amendment, because it seeks to make the break two and a half hours instead of two hours. I am rather thinking of what the Minister did the last time. I wonder what the position of Deputies Hennessy and Shaw would be if the Minister were to leave this amendment to a free vote of the House and get it carried, and then tie up the House on the other amendment. Deputies Hennessy and Shaw, and several other Deputies of the Government Party told us to vote for the two-hour break. They were going one better now, and want the House to vote for two and a half hours.

We have expressed our conditions.

It is one thing expressing conditions, but if the Minister and the House decide to carry this amendment, it means that there will be a break of two and a half hours. I suggest to Deputy Hennessy that he has not any guarantee that the House is going to carry the subsequent amendment. If the House refuses to carry the subsequent amendment, instead of having the shops closed for one hour, they will be closed for two and a half hours. From what I know of the Minister's mind in this matter, so far as I could gather on the last occasion, he would be only too glad to accept the amendment and do his best to induce the House to reject the consequential amendment.

Deputy Morrissey's speech convinces me of one thing, that it takes a Tipperary man to understand another Tipperary man. With regard to Deputy Shaw's speech, I did not quite gather the grounds on which he wanted to lodge an objection to the Minister. Surely it was not that he won by a short head. I hope the objection is not going to be taken on the more familiar ground of boring. So far as I can see, if we are to have a one-hour closing, from 2.30 to 3.30 is the most convenient time, but I should like to ask the Minister's intentions. He has not any amendment down on the Paper, as far as I can see. If this amendment was carried it would apply only to shops doing a liquor trade and not a mixed trade. On a previous stage the Minister announced that if there was to be a one-hour closing it would be extended to establishments doing a mixed trade, and they would be closed for all purposes for one hour. The point put by Deputy Shaw is a substantial one. At present in County Dublin townships it is the habit of grocery establishments with an off-licence to close for dinner from 1.30 to 2.30. If the Minister extends that closing hour for all purposes under this amendment from 2.30 to 3.30, that will mean a two-hours' dinner interval, which will cause very considerable inconvenience to those who deal in those shops, and will also be the cause to the shops themselves of some loss of custom, because the housewife would be tempted to go to the telephone and ring up a Dublin grocery establishment that does not do a mixed trade and get her orders filled there. I think before we can profitably discuss this amendment we ought to know the intention of the Minister. There will be no later stage in the Dáil, but is he at a later stage in the Seanad going, if this amendment is carried, to extend it to shops doing a mixed business? Until we know that, we are talking and will be voting in the dark.

I have no objection to the Minister accepting this amendment, if he is not going to shorten the period of closing. I have no objection to closing from 2.30 to 4.30, but I do object very strenuously if the Minister is going to accept the proposal to close for one hour only. This matter was fully discussed at the Commission, and only on the assumption of a two-hours' closing in the afternoon did certain members yield not to have an hour earlier closing at night. There was a question of whether the closing hour should be 9 or 10 p.m., and when the matter arose it was suggested that if there was a two-hours' closing in the afternoon the people who objected to the later closing hour of 10 p.m. should yield, and they did yield on the point. Therefore, I should be sorry if the Minister yielded on this point. I am sorry that I was unable to take part in the division on this matter in Committee, because if I had been able to vote the Minister would have won by a head, not by half a head or a short head— he would have won by at least two votes. I urge him not to yield on this matter, because the Commission were very strong in the view that either there should be an earlier hour of closing, or a complete two-hours' closing in the afternoon.

I wish to support the amendment. In discussing this matter previously the Minister said the object of the break was to have an effect on the "long sitter." He said that there were certain members of the community who habitually sat in publichouses for a long time and that a break in their sitting would put them out in the open air and perhaps induce them to go home. I claim that a one-hour break will have that effect, and that is the reason I support the amendment. On the last occasion I voted against the two-hours' break for the same reason—that I think the one-hour will have the effect that the Minister had in mind of preventing the "long sitter" remaining too long in the publichouse.

I support the amendment and I feel sure that the Minister will accept it. It is all very well for Deputy Sir James Craig, who was a member of the Liquor Commission, to put forward the views of the Commission here. But every Deputy has read the Report of the Commission and by accepting this amendment the Minister will be carrying out the original idea of the Bill for split hours. One hour will achieve the object as well as two hours of compelling men to leave publichouses who, it is stated, remain there from eleven or twelve in the day until four or five in the afternoon. If the two hours' break is insisted upon it will mean that a large number of assistants will be disemployed. I have visited several publichouses in the city to make inquiries in regard to this matter and the employees have told me that that is what will happen. No trader can possibly afford to keep a large staff if he has to close for two hours in the middle of the day. I am further convinced that the licensing trade will raise no objection to one hour, and that the hour specified in this amendment will be the dinner hour. Certainly it will not mean the hardship on employees that closing from three to five would. With regard to Deputy Morrissey's interpretation of the amendment, if he looks at amendment 4 he will receive enlightenment as to whether the houses will be closed for two and a half hours or not under this amendment. If this amendment is carried, naturally amendment 4 also will be accepted by the Minister. I ask the Minister not to request the Dáil to divide on the amendment. He almost agreed in Committee to accept a one-hour closing, and the only question is as to when the closing hour should be. An hour has been agreed upon by the licensed trade. I have been speaking to a few individuals of that trade. They do not represent the Executive, but they agreed to this hour. When the licensed trade have agreed to the hour, I think it should suit all parties.

I think we are groping in the dark until we hear from the Minister. This hour should run concurrently with the present hour. If there is such a thing as an hour already recognised, let this hour abolish it, and let there be only one hour altogether— say from 2.30 to 3.30. Until the Minister enlightens us, however, we are in the dark.

I am in favour of a one-hour closing, and that that hour should, for the sake of general convenience, be between 2.30 and 3.30. One aspect of this question has not been stressed at all. There are a number of people in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, and, perhaps, Waterford who are employed as agents and representatives of wine and whiskey merchants. They have no fixed salary, but work on a commission basis. If the publichouses are closed from 3 o'clock to 5 o'clock, it will mean that these men must cease work at 3 o'clock. After this two-hour closing, the hour from 5 to 6 will be a very busy one, and no proprietor of a publichouse would listen to a traveller soliciting orders during the rush. That would practically mean that travellers for wine, spirit and whiskey houses will be compelled to try and make a weekly wage on the basis of half-a-week's work. Then, people who provide supplies in vans for publicans would find their vans tied up at three o'clock. It is unlikely that they would allow their vans to go out again for one hour from five o'clock. The result would be that these vanmen would be compelled to do store-work— bottling, cleaning, and so on—in the afternoon, and the men at present in the stores would be disemployed.

The question of the breweries then arises. Only in those cases in which publicans have gratings in front of their premises would it be possible for beer in barrels to be delivered. In those cases where beer is received in stores at the back of the premises, delivery could not be made after three o'clock, so that this two-hour closing would be an inconvenience to vanmen, to storemen, to brewers' draymen and to commercial travellers. The commercial traveller working on commission would be obliged to make a week's wage out of half-a-week's work. For these reasons I favour a one-hour closing, and as I think it would be more convenient to have that closing between 2.30 and 3.30, I am in favour of that hour.

I should like to support Deputy Hennessy's amendment. I think it is generally conceded that many provision shops are now closing for an hour in the middle of the day to enable their employees to get dinner. If that is necessary in the case of provision shops, it is more necessary in the case of publichouses. I think there should be a break in the day, and that the most convenient time should be chosen for it. I think a two-hour break is too long. I would prefer to have two hours rather than to have no break at all. But, in fairness to both sides, I think a one-hour closing would be sufficient. Therefore, I propose to vote for the one-hour break which Deputy Hennessy proposed.

I do not know if you, A Chinn Comhairle, have been asked for a ruling, but as far as I can gather the intention of this amendment is to change the period from two hours to one hour. If the amendment as it stands is carried it would really extend the period from two hours to two and a half hours. I do not know whether this amendment could be taken in conjunction with the next amendment.

We will have to trust to our general common sense to see that if this amendment is carried, amendment 4 will be properly treated. There is no doubt that that will be done.

I agree that if amendment 3 is carried, amendment 4 might very well go, practically without discussion and, I should hope, without division. The object of the two amendments is to reduce the break in the day from two hours to one hour and to make that one hour lie between 2.30 and 3.30 p.m. I did not say on Committee Stage, as Deputy Lyons suggested, that I would accept any such amendment. I am quite clear as to what I did say. I said that I would leave the Dáil to vote freely as between a one-hour and a two-hour break. I have no intention of departing from that assurance. I, myself, will vote for a two-hour break if there is a division. It is, I think, quite a reasonable proposal. Had I brought in a proposal for a three-hour break. I would probably find the Dáil as enthusiastically in favour of two hours as it is now in favour of one hour. It is, perhaps, a bad lesson to instil into any Minister, but my experience with regard to this Bill, and Bills of this kind, is, that you have got to ask twice what you want and then there will be enthusiasm and unanimity almost in favour of the thing you want. I am inclined to regret now that I did not insert in the Bill provision for a break of three hours or four hours in the day and then we would have the Dáil at least as clamorous for two hours as it is now for one hour. I do not see anything unreasonable in a break of two hours in the day, which is a long day even under the provisions of this Bill—a very much longer day than is allowed in the wealthier country adjoining. We discussed the question of hours very fully on Committee Stage, and I do not want to delay the Dáil very long in dealing with it. I take it that Deputies are fairly clear as to their intentions.

Dealing with this question of the off-licence holders—the spirit grocers and wine merchants—an amendment will be brought in on the day when the actual Report motion will be taken bearing on that question. If the Dáil reduces the break in the day to one hour, then the mixed houses will be closed entirely for that one hour, as will also the off-licence holders. An amendment would be introduced, in that event, dealing with wholesale and retail wine merchants. With regard to wholesalers, the position has been for a long time that there were no restrictions, as regards hours, imposed upon them. There is no necessity for any such restrictions and the present Bill will leave that position unaltered. With regard to the retail wine merchants, they will be compelled to close their premises, but it is proposed to bring in an amendment which will enable them to carry on business to this extent—that they can have a card in their window stating that they are compelled to close for that hour, but that they are free to accept orders by phone or by letter through the letter-box and that they are free to deliver to the house of the purchaser, or to a railway station. It is not proposed to interfere with delivery during the one-hour break in the day—delivery either to a station, for the purpose of consignment to an address in the country, as might happen, or delivery to the house of the purchaser. I will bring in before the Bill leaves the Dáil an amendment to that effect, if this one-hour break is carried.

Deputy Shaw raised a point which will require to be looked into—that is as regards the provisions of the Shop-Hours Act. If this proposal for a one-hour break is carried by the Dáil, I will have to examine whether it will not be necessary, or highly desirable, to square the Shop-Hours Act with the present Bill by amending the former ad hoc—by declaring that the one-hour break for these on and off-licence-holders will be sufficient to meet the requirements of the Shop Hours Act. That is a matter I am prepared to look into. My own position is this: I prefer a two-hour break to a one-hour break. I will vote for a two-hour break. If the Dáil, by a majority, prefers a one-hour break to a two-hour break, then the question of what that hour is is practically a matter of indifference to me. Any hour in the afternoon would be as good as any other, and the hour from 2.30 to 3.30 would, of course, be quite as acceptable as from 2 to 3 or from 3 to 4. It, at any rate, establishes the principle of a break in the day which I think is valuable in itself, even if the application of that principle be, for the moment, limited in degree.

Could the Minister say what is the extent of the break in Northern Ireland and what are the hours selected?

I must confess that it is difficult for me to find where the Minister discovered the enthusiasm for the one-hour break.

The Deputy came in rather late. We had about twenty speeches in favour of a one-hour break before the Deputy came in.

I spoke against any break and I voted against any break. But a break was carried by a majority of one. Now it is a question of a two-hour break or a one-hour break. Because a one-hour break is less injurious to the public——

To the publican.

I am in favour of it as against the two-hour break. Now, the hour as suggested is not of very great importance, but it is desirable that it should not be alongside the hour that the shops are bound to close under the Shops Act. I am glad that point has been raised and if this amendment is carried it will be provided that the hour under the Shops Act shall not be any addition to this hour. I presume, therefore, if amendment 3 is carried that there will be no question of opposing amendment 4.

What will the position of mixed traders be if the one hour closing is not carried by the Dáil? Will they be compelled to close for two hours?

Under the two-hours' break the mixed house would be allowed to keep open for the non-licensed portion of its business. If the proposal for the one-hour closing is carried the mixed house will close its doors the same as the house that is only a publichouse.

As to the question of the Shop Hours Act, the position differs as between the ordinary licensed trader and the spirit grocer. The position of the on-licence holder is there must be an hour for lunch and that hour must commence not later than 2.30. The position of employees who are not engaged in the sale of intoxicating liquor is that they must get a lunch hour and that lunch hour must end not later than 2.30. Take the case of a large spirit grocer, the owner of the bigger house; he may have some men engaged amongst other things on the sale of intoxicating liquor and some who are not so engaged. That is the point raised by Deputy Shaw—would such people be obliged to have two distinct dinner hours, one for the employees engaged in the sale of intoxicating liquor and one for employees not so engaged? I intend to look into that point if this amendment and amendment 4 are carried. My inclination is to provide, if the proposal to make the closing hour half-past-two to half-past-three is carried, that it should be adequate for the purposes of the Shop Hours Act with regard to houses closed for the hour. I expect that is the obvious solution to apply to that minor difficulty.

Amendment put.

I think the amendment is carried.

I challenge a division.

The division bells having been rung and Deputies having assembled,

Does Deputy Sir James Craig insist on a division?

Well, unless the position is made more clear——

The position can easily be made clear. The carrying of this amendment would mean an hour's break, beginning at half-past two, and it is understood that if amendment 3 were carried, amendment 4 would not be opposed. The break in the day would then be from half-past two to half-past three.

Those who vote against the amendment will do so because they want a two hours' break.

Is the division still being challenged?

How many Deputies are challenging a division?

More than five Deputies rose.

The division will proceed.

The Committee divided: Tá, 50; Níl, 19.

  • Pádraig Baxter.
  • Richard H. Beamish.
  • Séamus Breathnach.
  • Seán Buitléir.
  • Seoirse de Bhulbh.
  • Próinsias Bulfin.
  • John Conlan.
  • John Daly.
  • Séamus Eabhróid.
  • Michael Egan.
  • David Hall.
  • Thomas Hennessy.
  • John Hennigan.
  • Connor Hogan.
  • Patrick Leonard.
  • Séamus Mac Cosgair.
  • Maolmhuire Mac Eochadha.
  • Pádraig Mac Fadáin.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Pádraig Mag Ualghairg.
  • Martin M. Nally.
  • Tomás de Nógla.
  • John T. Nolan.
  • Ailfrid O Broin.
  • Criostóir O Broin.
  • Seán O Bruadair.
  • Tomás O Conaill.
  • Parthalán O Conchubhair.
  • Máirtín O Conalláin.
  • Séamus O Cruadhlaoich.
  • Aodh O Cúlacháin.
  • Liam O Daimhín.
  • Séamus O Dóláin.
  • Eamon O Dubhghaill.
  • Mícheál O Dubhghaill.
  • Peadar O Dubhghaill.
  • Eamon O Dúgáin.
  • Mícheál O hIfearnáin.
  • Seán O Laidhin.
  • Fionán O Loingsigh.
  • Pádraic O Máille.
  • Domhnall O Muirgheasa.
  • Tadhg O Murchadha.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (An Clár).
  • Seán O Raghallaigh.
  • Máirtín O Rodaigh.
  • Seán Príomhdhall.
  • William A. Redmond.
  • Patrick W. Shaw.
  • Nicholas Wall.

Níl

  • John J. Cole.
  • Sir James Craig.
  • Máighréad Ní Choileáin Bean
  • Uí Dhrisceóil.
  • James Dwyer.
  • Osmond Grattan Esmonde.
  • John Good.
  • William Hewat.
  • Liam Mac Cosgair.
  • Risteárd Mac Fheorais.
  • Risteárd Mac Liam.
  • Eoin Mac Néill.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Peadar O hAodha.
  • Risteárd O Conaill.
  • Donnchadh O Guaire.
  • Séamus O Murchadha.
  • Seán O Súilleabháin.
  • Caoimhghín O hUigín.
  • Liam Thrift.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Nagle and Shaw. Níl: Deputies Craig and Good.
Amendment declared carried.
Amendment 4—In page 4, section 2 (1) (a), line 31, to delete the word "five" and substitute therefor the words "half-past three" (Deputies Thomas Hennessy and P.W. Shaw)— agreed to.
Amendment 5—In page 4, section 2 (1) (a), line 31, to delete the word "five" and substitute therefor the word "four" (Deputy Máirtín O Conalláin)—not moved.
Amendment 6—In page 4, section 2 (1) (b), line 34, to delete the word "three" and substitute therefor the words "half-past two" (Deputies Thomas Hennessy and P.W. Shaw)— agreed to.
Amendment 7—In page 4, section 2 (1) (b), line 35, to delete the word "five" and substitute therefor the words "half-past three" (Deputies Hennessy and Shaw)—agreed.
Amendment 8 not moved.

I move:—

In page 4, to delete paragraph (b), lines 52-54, and substitute therefor the words—

"(b) On any Saturday—

(i) during a period of summer time before the hour of ten o'clock in the morning or after the hour of ten o'clock in the evening, or

(ii) during any time which is not a period of summer time, before the hour of nine o'clock in the morning or after the hour of half-past nine o'clock in the evening, or."

On the last day, when this Bill was in Committee, I withdrew my amendment on condition that the Minister was going to consider the question of allowing the closing hour to be ten o'clock in summer time in certain districts on a Saturday night. Since then the Minister very courteously informed us that he had considered the matter but could not see his way to accept the amendment. Under the circumstances I have put it down again. I am not asking for very much. Some urban areas have a population of over 5,000, and as the areas surrounding do not keep summer time it is hard on them to have the closing hour 9.30 on a Saturday night.

On the Committee Stage I asked the Deputy not to press the amendment, and I undertook to give it consideration before the Report Stage. I looked into the matter since, and, as the Deputy states, I wrote to him and said that he had better put down the amendment in his own name, as I could not see my way to accept it, and would have to oppose it when moved. The amendment seems a very small thing. It is pressing for an extra half hour over and above what the Bill provides for larger towns in the country on Saturday nights, but Saturday night is just the night in the week when one hears of trouble arising from the consumption of intoxicating liquor. It is the night when one hears of incidents in connection with the last train from Bray and so on. On reflection, on looking again into the police view in favour of earlier closing on Saturday night instead of other nights, and seeing the statistics of offences arising from drunkenness on Saturday night, compared with ordinary nights, I have decided that it would not be in the general interests to accept the amendment, slight as the matter is, a question of an extension of half an hour to towns with a population of over 5,000. I do not think that there is a case for it. I do not think it is desirable. The Deputy spoke about summer time not being observed on farms. Even on that basis, a 9.30 closing on Saturday night inflicts no hardship on anyone. I prefer to adhere to the 9.30 closing than to accept an amendment which extends the hour to 10 o'clock.

I do not think the Minister is justified in complaining about what happens in connection with the last train on Saturday nights. I never heard of such incidents occurring on a Saturday night, but I admit that something happens on a Sunday night which I certainly do not stand for. The rural areas surrounding these towns keep old time, and it takes the people some time to get into town.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 20; Níl, 47.

  • Pádraig Baxter.
  • Seán Buitléir.
  • John J. Cole.
  • John Conlan.
  • John Daly.
  • David Hall.
  • Séamus Mac Cosgair.
  • Maolmhuire Mac Eochadha.
  • Patrick J. Mulvany.
  • Tomás de Nógla.
  • Criostóir O Broin.
  • Aodh O Cúlacháin.
  • Eamon O Dubhghaill.
  • Mícheál O Dubhghaill.
  • Mícheál O hIfearnáin.
  • Seán O Laidhin.
  • Pádraic O Máille.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (An Clár).
  • William A. Redmond.
  • Nicholas Wall.

Níl

  • Richard H. Beamish.
  • Séamus Breathnach.
  • Seoirse de Bhulbh.
  • Próinsias Bulfin.
  • Sir James Craig.
  • Máighréad Ní Choileain Bean
  • Uí Dhrisceóil.
  • James Dwyer.
  • Patrick Leonard.
  • Liam Mac Cosgair.
  • Pádraig Mac Fadáin.
  • Risteárd Mac Fheorais.
  • Risteárd Mac Liam.
  • Eoin Mac Néill.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Pádraig Mag Ualghairg.
  • Martin M. Nally.
  • John T. Nolan.
  • Peadar O hAodha.
  • Seán O Bruadair.
  • Risteárd O Conaill.
  • Tomás O Conaill.
  • Parthálan O Conchubhair.
  • Séamus Eabhróid.
  • Michael Egan.
  • Osmond Grattan Esmonde.
  • John Good.
  • Thomas Hennessy.
  • John Hennigan.
  • William Hewat.
  • Connor Hogan.
  • Máirtín O Conalláin.
  • Liam O Daimhín.
  • Séamus O Dóláin.
  • Peadar O Dubhghaill.
  • Eamon O Dúgáin.
  • Donnchadh O Guaire.
  • Fionán O Loingsigh.
  • Domhnall O Muirgheasa.
  • Séamus O Murchadha.
  • Séan O Raghallaigh.
  • Máirtín O Rodaigh.
  • Seán O Súilleabháin.
  • Caoimhghín O hUigín.
  • Seán Príomhdhall.
  • Patrick W. Shaw.
  • Liam Thrift.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Myles Keogh and C. Byrne. Níl: Deputies Dolan and Sears.
Amendment declared lost.

I move: "In page 5, Section 2 (3) (b) (iii), line 17, to delete the words ‘half-past eight' and substitute therefor the word ‘nine.'

On the Committee Stage, I undertook to provide that on Saturdays in winter time, in rural areas, licensed premises might remain open until 9 p.m. instead of 8.30 p.m., as provided in the Bill when originally introduced. This amendment carries out the undertaking which I gave.

Amendment put, and agreed to.

I move amendment 11:

"In page 5, Section 3 (1) (a), lines 49-50, to delete the words ‘between the hours of three o'clock and five o'clock in the afternoon, and.'"

It is merely consequential on amendment 3.

The effect of it is to carry out what I have said, that if there was only an hour's closing instead of two hours then we could not leave the mixed houses open for the non-licensed portion of their business.

Question put, and agreed to.

I move amendment 12:

"In page 6, Section 4 (1), line 5, to insert immediately before the word ‘grant' the words ‘after hearing the officer in charge of the Gárda Síochána for the licensing area.'"

It is a drafting amendment. It provides that when application is made for a general exemption order the Justice must hear the representations of the police before adjudicating. It is obviously right that the police should have an opportunity of making representation as to the necessity of granting a general exemption order. For example, if on a previous occasion when such order had been granted there had been gross abuses it would be the duty of the police to inform the District Justice that such abuses had taken place.

I think when this Section came forward before the House in Committee the Minister said that he would look into the question that I raised as to whether the District Justice would have the power to grant on one application an exemption order for consumption on one occasion.

He has complete power in that matter.

Question put and agreed to.

I move amendment 13:—

In page 6, Section 4, before sub-section (7) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

"No general exemption order shall be granted for any time on any Sunday or Saint Patrick's Day, Christmas Day or Good Friday."

I think it will probably be agreed that there should be no exemption orders on the days mentioned by way of exception to the general rule. It is my intention, as I stated in the Committee Stage, to introduce an amendment permitting exemption orders to be granted on occasions when an unusual concourse of people is expected and when the police are satisfied that it would be impracticable to administer the ordinary laws respecting the supply of liquor to bona fide travellers. It is proposed to have no exemption order whatever on these days mentioned in the amendment. Deputy Morrissey raised here the last day the question of an enormous crowd flocking into a small town and the impossibility of administering the bona fide traffic system in such a situation. There are four or five amendments that I intend to introduce before this Bill leaves the Dáil on the day when the actual Report motion is to be taken. An amendment covering the situation referred to by Deputy Morrissey will be one of them, but the person certifying must be the Chief Superintendent of the area and the concourse of people must be so great that in his view it would be impossible to administer the bona fide traffic laws adequately, and the total opening shall not be greater than three hours.

I suppose on the occasion of the introduction of this amendment we shall have an opportunity of discussing it?

From what I have heard from the Minister, I would not like to say that his proposal exactly meets the situation I met by way of a new section in the Committee Stage, that there should be an exemption order on Sundays for football and hurling matches, because he has laid down certain conditions which were not considered on the Committee Stage.

I did not purport to meet exactly and never promised to meet exactly the Deputy's wishes in the matter. It is simply my own solution of the problem that was indicated when that amendment was under discussion. Deputy Morrissey raised it and subsequently Deputy Redmond. I will meet, by an amendment, the position of an enormous crowd of people flocking into a small town when it would be impossible to administer the bona fide traffic laws. That situation can only be met by a limited opening, but that limited opening can only take place on the certificate of the Chief Superintendent that it would be impossible to administer the bona fide traffic regulations.

The section that I proposed was a new section after Section 4; it was to enable exemption orders to be made for occasions of football matches and hurling matches, and it was not on the ground of the impossibility of the bona fide system to satisfy the needs of these people, alone, that I made that request.

That is the only aspect that I will meet.

I also pointed out to the Minister especially in regard to the exempted cities that there would be no bona fide system when this Bill leaves this House, that the very hours during which these football and hurling matches take place are the hours during which the licensed premises are open, and I suggest that it would be advisable and desirable that hours other than these should be provided in the exempted cities for such purposes. As far as I can understand the Minister's suggestion, he is going to provide by way of a subsequent section, that on such occasions when a certificate is issued by the Civic Guard as to the number of people likely to be in the various towns and as to those numbers being difficult to deal with by the ordinary bona fide traffic laws, then there shall be certain hours available for the sale of drink. I must admit that I have some difficulty in discussing the matter now, because I have not the actual proposal in front of me, and I will not detain the Minister any further, beyond saying that as far as I am concerned at present if the proposals that are put forward now are the ones that he is going to put forward eventually they certainly will not quite meet the proposal that I made.

I take exception to amendment 13—that no general exemption order shall be granted for any time on any Sunday or St. Patrick's Day, Christmas Day or Good Friday. I quite agree that no exemption order should be granted on any Sunday, Christmas Day or Good Friday, but on St. Patrick's Day a large number of markets are held. Despite all the temperance Acts of the Minister for Justice and the efforts of the temperance parties of Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is not looked upon as a day when no business of any description should be carried on. Even for last St. Patrick's Day, I am sure the Minister for Justice is aware Justices were requested to grant exemption orders for places where markets were held. I think until such time as the Government legislate to prevent people driving donkeys and carts along the road or selling or purchasing any commodities, District Justices should be allowed to grant exemption orders. If a man or a woman goes to a market, leaving home probably at 7 or 8 o'clock in the morning, they would want some refreshment, and the bona fide house might not be in a position to give them the refreshments they would require. They may want provisions, and they cannot go into a licensed house notwithstanding the fact that they are customers. The same thing applies to people living in the towns. I think people living in a town should have as good right to get a drink on St. Patrick's Day as anybody living outside it. I think the Minister should delete St. Patrick's Day from the amendment. If the amendment is passed, no matter what the Minister's intentions are, the District Justice cannot give an exemption order; his hands would be tied completely. St. Patrick's Day at least should be exempted until such time as it is looked upon as a general holiday, when people will not do anything in the way of profit-making.

I do not agree altogether with Deputy Lyons when he says that there should be exemption orders for St. Patrick's Day for the purposes of fairs and markets. In my district there is a general closing of the fairs and markets on St. Patrick's Day, but you can never get the idea out of the heads of Irishmen that St. Patrick's Day is a day for sport, a day for races and for football and hurling matches. Last year there were races in my county and the people did not know whether they were going to have a tent on the course or not. They were all at sea about the law of the matter. I suggest that for hurling matches, football matches, race meetings and events of that kind we should at least be in a position to grant exemption, but for no other purpose. The old Irish people were better people than we are and that was one of the ways in which they spent St. Patrick's Day. They took out their bands and they played them, and I think as far as sports are concerned that we should allow ourselves at least to be in the position to grant exemption orders so as to be able to celebrate a real sporting day, not to get drunk. We are all proud to see how the young people have advanced. They are abandoning the idea of getting drink, and as one who sells drink I am as proud of that as any other Irishman. I am proud to think that these young people are getting better ideas into their heads. At the same time when we go to the sports field, whether it be to a hurling or a football match or to the races, we would feel lonely if not able to have a drink there.

Amendment put and declared carried.

I move amendment 14:—

In page 6, Section 4, before sub-section (7) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

"A general exemption order shall not be granted unless the applicant therefor has, not less than one week before making the application, served upon the officer in charge of the Gárda Síochána for the licensing area a notice of his intention to apply for the order setting out his name and address and the place, occasion and time for which the order is sought."

The object of this amendment is to ensure that when an exemption order is to be applied for the police shall have one week's notice. The purpose of the amendment is obvious. The police should have an opportunity of making a case against the application if there be cause for doing so. Such orders are required for markets or fairs and occasions of that kind, and it should not be difficult for the applicants to give at least a week's notice of their intention to the police.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Section 4, as amended, agreed to.

I move amendment 15:—

In page 6, Section 5 (1), line 59, to insert immediately before the word "grant" the words "after hearing the officer in charge of the Gárda Síochána for the licensing area."

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment 16:—

In page 7, Section 5 (4), line 8, to delete the words "twenty-four" and substitute therefor the words "forty-eight."

In the case of special exemption orders the Bill, as it stands, provides for 24 hours' notice. This is rather short notice for police purposes, and 48 hours seems reasonable. The amendment provides that.

Amendment put, and agreed to.
Section 5, as amended, agreed to.

I move amendment 17:

"In page 7, Section 6 (2), line 22, after the word ‘Court' to add the words ‘and such consent shall only be given by such Justice in open court and after hearing the officer in charge of the Gárda Síochána for the licensing area.'"

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment 18:

"In page 7, Section 6, to delete sub-section (3) and substitute therefor the following sub-section:—

(3) The consent of the Justice of the District Court mentioned in the foregoing sub-section shall not be given unless the applicant therefor has, not less than forty-eight hours before making the application, served upon the officer in charge of the Gárda Síochána for the licensing area a notice in writing of his intention to apply for such consent, setting out his name and address, and the place, occasion, and time for which the occasional licence the subject of such consent is desired."

This amendment alters, in a purely drafting way, the existing sub-section (3), and in addition specifies forty-eight hours for twenty-four, the latter being too short.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 6, as amended, agreed to.

I move amendment 19:

"In page 7, Section 8 (2), line 58, to delete the word ‘licence' and substitute therefor the word ‘certificate"'

This is a purely drafting amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

With regard to amendment 20, I would like to have some explanation of it. I am not sure whether it deals with anything already in the Bill.

My amendment refers to six-day licence holders who may apply for a seven-day licence.

I will hear the Deputy on it.

I move amendment 20:

In page 8, Section 8, to insert after sub-section (5) a new sub-section as follows:—

"Nothing in the foregoing sub-section shall prevent a Justice of the District Court, whereon the occasion of an application for a certificate for a new on-licence or a certificate for a transfer or renewal of an on-licence in granting the applicant a certificate for a seven-days' on-licence, if so applied for: Provided—

(a) that the business carried on in the premises has been properly conducted;

(b) that the accommodation of the said premises for customers is satisfactory in character and extent;

(c) that the sanitary accommodation of the premises is adequate;

(d) that the situation of the premises is such as to render proper supervision thereof by the police easy."

On neither the Second Reading debate of the Bill nor the Committee Stage was there anything said either by the Minister or any supporter of the Government Party, or indeed by any member of the House, concerning the six-day licence-holder dealt with under Section 8. The Liquor Commission, in their report, on page 6, paragraph (c), dealing with the question of "bar licence" state:—

The bar licence shall include the present publican's six-day and early closing licences and the beer retailer's "on"-licence. While we considered that from the point of view of simplicity it might be desirable to abolish those restricted licences and grant to the owners full bar licences, we felt that on the whole it would be unwise to increase the facilities for drinking and to enhance the value of such properties at the expense of the neighbouring competitors. We recommend, accordingly, that no extra privilege should be granted to the holders of the present early closing six-day and beer retailer's "on"-licences.

In the first paragraph of their report the Liquor Commission expressed the view that it would be easier to deal with six-day licences if all traders had the one class of licence—that is, a seven-day licence. But, apparently, they are afraid to put anything in their report that would abolish the six-day licence-holder and the granting to him of a seven-day licence for fear that it might do harm to his next-door neighbour and competitor in the trade with a seven-day licence. It is for the purpose of remedying that that I put down my amendment. I think that if the six-day licence-holder conducts his house on the lines indicated in my amendment he should be granted a seven-day licence. The number of six-day licences does not represent more than two per cent of the total licences in the State. Traders holding a seven-day licence and Deputies interested in the licensed trade may say that if my amendment were passed it would mean increasing the valuation of the six-day licensed business. I do not agree with that at all. If, for instance, a six-day licence-holder is now given a seven-day licence and that in twelve months' time the District Justice refuses to renew his licence, the compensation to be paid in that case would be on the basis of the six-day licence that he held previous to getting the seven-day licence. Therefore, what I am asking is not going to increase the value of a house to which a six-day licence is attached.

The acceptance of the amendment will, as most people know, give the members of the Civic Guard less work to do. We all know that in cities and towns where there are six-day licence-holders the Guards have to keep them under observation all day on a Sunday. This applies particularly in towns with a large tourist traffic. It is a hardship not only on the holders of the six-day licence but on the general public who visit towns of that kind that they cannot serve refreshments to tourists on a Sunday. I am aware that the Minister for Justice has decided to adhere to the report of the Liquor Commission. I would like to point out that the amendment provides that the holder of a six-day licence will only get a seven-day licence on the condition that his premises are suitably situated, and that he will carry out the other conditions mentioned. I think the Minister should stretch a point and give a discretion to the District Justice to say where he is satisfied no abuses will take place by the granting of seven-day licences to people at present with six-day licences that he should have the power of doing so. In connection with these six-day licences it is well to point out that the majority of the holders of them did not come into possession of their present properties yesterday or the day before. In the majority of cases the business has come down to the present holders from their grandfathers or fathers. That is a point that should be considered. I hope the Minister will consider my amendment favourably, and see the justice of enabling six-day licence-holders to get a seven-day licence.

The amendment, I think, would not achieve any of the things that Deputy Lyons has talked about. The foregoing section referred to in the amendment is not what prevents the granting of a seven-day licence. A seven-day licence cannot be granted because it is, in fact, a new licence, and under the Act of 1902, no new licence can be granted. The granting of a seven-day licence to premises to which a six-day licence is at present attached is in fact the granting of an entirely new licence. The present holders of six-day licences fall under one or other of two heads: They are either persons who had a seven-day licence which was reduced for misconduct, or else they bought a six-day licence. It is not proposed to make such persons a present of a seven-day licence. There are 2,000 of them—one in six of the total number of publichouses in the country, and it is not proposed simply to turn round and in a casual way by legislation present those people with a seven-day licence.

If there is anything which might be considered in their connection it would lie along the line of providing that where the holder of a six-day licence buys out and extinguishes within the same licensing area a seven-day licence, then the question of granting him a seven-day licence instead of the six-day licence which he holds could be considered. There might be something in that, because it opens up the prospect of a potential reduction by 2,000 of the number of licensed houses. In so far as I am giving any attention at all to the question of the six-day licence holders, it is along the lines of considering the advisability of a provision of that kind. That is a very different line of country from that which the Deputy's amendment opens up, which simply is that we should empower a District Justice, without any compensating advantage, to grant a seven-day licence to the holder of a six-day licence, provided his premises comply with certain not very onerous conditions which the Deputy lays down under four heads. There might be a case for granting a seven-day licence to the holder of a six-day licence who extinguished another seven-day licence in the same area, and I am considering that case. But I would not be prepared to consider this amendment for a moment.

Am I to take it that the Minister means where the holder of a six-day licence has two publichouses?

No, I do not mean anything of the kind. I mean where he buys out and extinguishes a seven-day licence in his own licensing area, that then there might be a case for the granting to him of a seven-day licence.

Will the same thing apply to the holder of a six-day licence who is only the tenant of the house he lives in if he purchases that house—will the Minister grant him a seven-day licence?

We are dealing with the amendment on the Paper. I am not accepting that amendment. If I bring in any other amendment we can discuss it when it is before the Dáil.

Is the amendment being withdrawn? This amendment does not read properly—it does not hang upon Section 8. I do not want to put an amendment which in fact does not accomplish something.

I want to get some definite understanding with regard to the proposal which the Minister intends to bring forward concerning the holder of a six-day licence. If the holder of a six-day licence purchases a seven-day licence in the same area, I do not see how he could be refused a seven-day licence for the premises he has purchased. That is not going to help the six-day licence holder. I want something that will help the person living in a house for which he has a six-day licence. I fail to understand, if the holder of a six-day licence purchases another premises in the same area with a seven-day licence attached, how the granting of a seven-day licence to him for the premises he has purchased could be refused, provided he has conducted his own premises properly. I do not think there is anything in the statement of the Minister.

That is not the Deputy's amendment.

It is not, but I am asking the Minister to give us some idea of what he intends to do in the interest of the six-day licence holder.

I did not say I intended to do anything. I said I was considering a particular matter, but the Deputy is not either assisting or expediting the consideration of it by talking about it now.

The Deputy has not the trained mind of the Minister.

The Deputy is demonstrating that.

Not having the trained mind of the Minister, I cannot find the right interpretation from a legal point of view of what he intends to do.

What I am going to do at the moment is to reject the Deputy's amendment.

I understand that perfectly well. I knew that even before I handed it in. I think the Minister is not treating the six-day licence-holders in a fair or decent way. He says that there are over 2,000 of them at present, or one to every six publichouses; that some of them lost their seven-day licence through misconduct, and the remainder purchased their six-day licence. Because of that a District Justice is not allowed to use his own discretion as to whether he would grant a seven-day licence, even if the applicant is a most respectable trader carrying on his premises to the satisfaction of the police for 30 or 40 or 50 years. I want to give the District Justice power to grant a seven-day licence if a genuine case comes before him of a six-day licence-holder applying for a seven-day licence.

Deputy Lyons is entirely wrong as far as I can read the law, and I have got some little knowledge of the licensing laws. It is perfectly clear owing to a law enacted many years ago, that a six-day licence cannot be turned into a seven-day licence. The offer of the Minister, that if a six-day licence-holder were to purchase and extinguish a seven-day licence there might be some chance of his six-day licence being turned into a seven-day licence is one that ought not to be obstructed by such a proposal as this. I really think the Deputy is arguing against his own clients in trying to press this illegal matter. I think it would be better to withdraw the amendment in the interest of our trade and chance the holder of a six-day licence buying out a seven-day day licence and extinguishing it, and by that means getting his six-day licence turned into a seven-day licence. That is a fair proposition in the circumstances. Do not let us try to say that there is no law against what the Deputy proposes, because the law is there, and says that to turn a six-day licence into a seven-day licence will require the granting of a new licence. Therefore, let us try to get the six-day licences turned into seven-day licences by the purchase of some of the smaller seven-day licensed premises. I would advise the Deputy to withdraw his amendment and await future developments.

I began by asking for an explanation of this amendment, and I will in any event refuse to put it from the Chair, because it does not hang upon Section 8.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

We will take amendment 22 before amendment 21. Amendment 22 is consequential upon another one. Amendment 21 can be argued on the motion that Section 9 stands part of the Bill.

Amendment 22—"In page 8, Section 9 (2), line 26, to delete the word ‘licence' and substitute therefor the word ‘certificate"' (Mr. Dolan)— agreed to.

Question proposed: "That Section 9, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

My amendment to Section 9 dealt with the question of the early closing of six-day licensed houses. According to Section 9, the early-closing houses are compelled to close one hour earlier than the holders of the ordinary six-day licences. The ordinary six-day licence-holder can keep open his premises until the same hour as the seven-day licence-holder. In the case of the early-closing, six-day licence-holder, he is compelled to close one hour earlier than the ordinary six-day or seven-day licence-holder in the same town. If the Minister made up his mind beforehand to reject amendment 20, I am sure that his mind is not made up for the same reason with regard to amendment 21. It is a well-known fact that there is great hardship where traders in towns are compelled to close an hour earlier than the ordinary licence-holder. I remember on one occasion when four policemen, led by a sergeant of the R.I.C., took the names of eight or nine people in an early-closing premises about five minutes past nine o'clock. The people there did not know that the house was supposed to close at nine o'clock. The same thing applies to the Guards to-day. They must be always on the look-out for the early-closing house. If the other shops close at ten, these shops must close at nine. I am aware that they are allowed some amount off the licence duty because of early closing, and I would be quite satisfied if the Minister gave power to the District Justice to grant an ordinary six-day licence to applicants of this class if they apply for it. I only ask to have the early-closing houses put on the same level as the six-day licence-holders. Many of these licence-holders carry on a mixed trade. Their customers in many cases are workmen and their wives. In many cases, the workman's wife cannot get in for the week's supplies, on her husband returning home with the money, before the early-closing house is bound to close. I think the Minister should agree to my suggestion to permit the District Justice to place these licence-holders on the same level as the ordinary six-day licence-holders.

I do not propose to accept this amendment. The arguments against its acceptance are similar to those which induced me to reject the previous amendment. There are a certain number of these early closing licences throughout the State. They came about by the proprietors applying to the Court for that kind of licence and paying, I think, a somewhat smaller licence duty because of the new form of licence which they were taking. That was the origin of these licences. Later, people came along and bought those licences in the same way as people bought six-day licences. They knew what they were buying and they got what they bought. There does not seem to be any reason for proceeding to give them something more than they bought. The codification of licences is not being attempted in this Bill. That is being left over for a later Bill but, in any case, I see no reason for legislation giving the holder either of a six-day licence or of an early-closing licence something other than he bought. Either he bought the licence or he, by his own act, got that kind of licence from the Court by application. There can be only two histories to an early-closing licence, just as there can be only two histories to the six-day licence. It does not seem to me to be reasonable that in a Bill, the general trend of which is to reduce facilities for the consumption of intoxicating liquor, we should proceed in a casual, haphazard way to extend those facilities and incidentally to increase the valuation of certain premises. To make a six-day licensed premises into a seven-day licensed premises would mean a very considerable increase in the value of these premises. To give to the holder of an early-closing licence the same licence as the ordinary licensed trader holds throughout the State would mean an increase also, though a lesser increase, in value of the premises concerned. I see no reason for doing either the one or the other in this Bill—certainly not without some further consideration and without laying down some conditions that might constitute a compensating advantage to the general public for the advantage given to the individual trader. I, therefore, ask the Dáil to reject the Deputy's amendment.

In putting forward amendments 20 and 21 I should like to explain that I did not do so without being authorised.

I was requested by the holders of the six day licences in the constituency of Longford-Westmeath to bring forward an amendment to the effect I did. Many of these houses have been in the same families for generations. It is for the same purpose that I desire to delete Section 9, dealing with the early-closing licences. It would bring satisfaction to a large number of citizens if the Minister would accept an amendment granting the same licence to all six-day licence-holders. The Minister has not treated this amendment fairly. It would be a different matter if there were a large number of these early-closing licences or if they had been purchased within a few years. But that is not the case in my constituency. The licence duty in the case of some of these early-closing premises in Athlone is £13 10s. per year. One would imagine that a person who paid that amount should get the same privilege as his neighbour who has a six-day licence and who can keep open till 10 o'clock. The Minister adheres to the report of the Liquor Commission and holds that no extra facilities should be given for drinking. The early closing of premises does not mean that there will be any diminution in drinking. The man who walks out of an early-closing house at 9 o'clock will probably walk into another publichouse in the same street. The result will be increased intoxication, because he will meet new friends in the second house. If he were allowed to remain half an hour longer in the first house he would probably go straight home.

If the Liquor Commission was serious, and if it really had any grasp of the liquor traffic situation in this country, it would recommend the abolition of the early-closing six-day licence and the granting of the usual six-day licence to all. It is really encouraging people to drink more if they are put out of one publichouse at 9 o'clock and can walk into another publichouse and remain there until 10 o'clock. They could either do that or take home with them half-a-dozen bottles of stout or half-a-gallon of porter. That is what sometimes happens. I ask the Minister to do something in the true sense of temperance, and grant a similar licence to all six-day on-licence-holders, and not make fish of one and flesh of another. As it is, I can walk out of one house at 9 o'clock, enter another, and remain there until 10 o'clock.

The Minister often did it himself, and if it is a shame for me it is a shame for him.

I do not mean that personally. I do not mean that for the Minister. I daresay he often saw people do it. I want the Minister to make all six-day licence-holders close at the one hour.

The question now before the Committee is: "That Section 9, as amended, stand part of the Bill." If this question is carried it will dispose of amendment 21 in the name of Deputy Lyons.

Question put and agreed to.

Before amendment 23 is moved, it is proposed to take amendment 24. If amendment 24 is carried it will then be possible to move amendment 23.

I move amendment 24:—

In page 9, Section 13 (1) (b) (ii), lines 45 and 46, to delete the words "three o'clock in the afternoon or between the hours of five o'clock and."

I do not think there is any need to make remarks upon this amendment. Deputy Dolan has a similar amendment, and I presume it is the Minister's intention to accept it.

Amendment agreed to.

I beg to move amendment 23:—

In page 9, Section 13 (1) (b) (ii), line 45, to delete the word "three" and substitute therefor the word "nine" and to delete all words after the word "afternoon" in line 45 up to and including the word "afternoon" in line 47.

By passing amendment 24 I see that we have now placed St. Patrick's Day in the same position as a Sunday in regard to bona fide traffic in licensed premises situate outside the four exempted cities. I need not, perhaps, have mentioned the fact that it was in reference to bona traffic outside the exempted cities, but I think it is well for us to recollect what the position is in regard to bona fide traffic.

According to this Bill there is to be no bona fide traffic in any of the exempted cities. Therefore, we are now dealing with areas other than the exempted cities and we have now, by amendment 24, placed those districts in the same position in regard to bona fide traffic on St. Patrick's Day as they have been placed in this Bill in regard to Sunday. My amendment really is to substitute the word "nine" for the word "seven." I would like to have it made perfectly clear when proposing this amendment that in view of the fact that on the Committee Stage I proposed to leave the bona fide traffic on St. Patrick's Day to be the same as it is at the present moment, namely, that there should be no limit in the evening in point of hours, in proposing the present hour of nine I am not doing so with enthusiasm. I am doing so having regard to the fact that as the Bill now stands it is proposed that the hours should be from one to seven.

The object of proposing nine o'clock is that in a subsequent amendment I propose to make the hour nine o'clock for bona fide traffic on Sundays at the ordinary periods of the year and to have it at ten o'clock during what is known as Summer-time. Therefore, in proposing the hour of nine o'clock now for St. Patrick's Day I suggest that it should be the same and I hope that the Dáil will accept my subsequent amendment and make it nine o'clock for Sundays.

I do not think there has been any very great case put forward for the closing hour of seven o'clock for bona fide traffic. It is not as if these hours were hours of continuous opening whereby people in the neighbourhood could go into licensed premises whenever and as often as they chose and obtain refreshment. Bona fide traffic is a different system from that. The principle underlying it has always been merely that the licensed premises should be available during those hours for any genuine traveller who happened to have travelled a certain distance and desired refreshment. To say that those hours should be limited from one to seven is, I think, cutting that period rather fine. Seven o'clock even in the month of March, in which St. Patrick's Day occurs, is not very late in the evening for a traveller to be away from his ordinary domicile and to be in want of some refreshment. I think the hour that I have suggested, nine o'clock, is a reasonable hour and, though I dislike having to put any limit upon the time during which a person who is a bona fide traveller should be entitled to get refreshment, at the same time I think it would not be unreasonable to say that the hours should be at least from one to nine o'clock. The hours according to the amendment we have passed are from one to seven o'clock; I am suggesting they should be from one to nine o'clock.

I will deal with the question of Sundays upon the next amendment. I suppose the question of summer-time does not arise in regard to St. Patrick's Day. I appeal to the Minister to consider whether the two hours extra that I am asking for are not unreasonable, and also to consider that it is not asking for a continuous opening of these houses for the space of two hours, but is merely asking that the licensed premises should be available for travellers who have complied with statutory regulations and who are bona fide travellers at least up to nine o'clock on St. Patrick's Day.

The Report of the Intoxicating Liquor Commission recommended that the hours on St. Patrick's Day be identical with the hours on Sunday. There are, I think, a good many people in the country who would favour a complete closing on St. Patrick's Day. Some years ago, at any rate, there was a strong national sentiment to that effect. Apparently it is somewhat less strong now, and the Commission has contented itself with recommending that the hours be the same as the hours on Sunday. The proposed hours for Sunday are from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the non-summer time period, and in the summer-time period from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., or, at the discretion of the District Justice, from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., a period of seven hours in all, whether it is taken as from 1 p.m. or from 2 p.m. The Deputy asks, in connection with St. Patrick's Day, that the period be from 1 o'clock to 9 o'clock, an eight hours' spell; that it ought to be two hours longer than the Sunday period.

I would remind the Minister that I am proposing a subsequent amendment, that the hours should be from one to nine o'clock. I am in favour of having St. Patrick's Day the same as Sunday.

Yes, but the Deputy wants, on both Sunday and St. Patrick's Day, a spell of eight hours for bona fide traffic. Confining myself for the moment to St. Patrick's Day, I think that what gave rise to the feeling in favour of complete closing on St. Patrick's Day was that there was a tendency to abuse on that day, that people were, perhaps, more inclined to abuse intoxicating liquor on that day than on other days. Reaction from that sprang up and took the shape of strong advocacy of complete closing on that day. Deputy Daly rather stressed the fact, in connection with an earlier amendment, that St. Patrick's Day is a day on which people naturally indulged in sports and recreations, race meetings, coursing matches, and football matches. As realists, we must accept the fact that these things bring together a concourse of people in a sporting mood and the result is that more intoxication takes place on such a day than on ordinary occasions, ordinary week-days or Sundays.

I am wholly opposed to the Deputy's suggestion that there should be a straight run of eight hours on St. Patrick's Day for bona fide traffic. Technically and theoretically, he makes the case that a man may start out at six o'clock in the evening, reach his destination at seven, and find the tap turned off just at the psychological moment when his need is greatest. We cannot deal in legislation with special cases, and this is a special rather than a normal case. The normal case is that on that day, which is a day of leisure and a day on which business is not transacted, a person leaves his home in the early afternoon and goes to some place or public resort, travels the necessary statutory distance and is equipped with all the statutory privileges of the bona fide traffic. The thirstier souls take care not to lose half an hour of the statutory period. They are there just as the tap is turned on. It is a question for individual opinion as to whether eight hours, as suggested, is a proper period, or a period of from one to seven o'clock.

I think we all know that on Sundays, arising out of bona fide traffic, there has been considerable abuse, and as reasonable men we must take it that the longer the hours the greater the intensity of abuse. Therefore, we deal with the problem by pruning the hours at both ends. In the Act of 1924 we said that the bona fide traffic shall not run from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is now proposed to take a large slice off the other end of the day, and say that it shall not run after 7 p.m. in winter and after 8 or 9 p.m. in summer. I think that that is an eminently proper provision, and if it is a proper provision for Sunday, a fortiori, I think it is a proper provision for St. Patrick's Day, which is a day on which there is rather more reason to fear abuse in the matter of intoxicating liquor than on Sundays. Deputy Daly voiced old-time shamrock-drowning sentiments, that the thing to do was to thoroughly soak yourself on that day in honour of the Patron Saint of the nation. That idea is dying, but it dies hard, and we must take steps, so to speak, to deal with the danger of its convalescence. To that end, I ask the Dáil to reject the amendment of Deputy Redmond, which seeks to add two further hours to the bona fide traveller's period on St. Patrick's Day.

I must say that I cannot agree with the general principle enunciated by the Minister, that the longer the hours the greater the intensity of abuse. It is, of course, a matter of opinion, but I have always held the opinion that it is by the curtailment of hours that the intensity of abuse increases. That, however, is not quite germane to the question of bona fide traffic, because the length of the hours, as I endeavoured to show previously, and the availability, if I might say so, of licensed premises to bona fide travellers are not quite on the same plane as the actual keeping open of premises for the sale and consumption of liquor during the whole of a certain period. The amendment we are now discussing deals entirely with St. Patrick's Day, and the Minister has told us that he will resist it. In saying so, he has dealt rather with the purport of my subsequent amendment which deals with Sunday. In view of what he said, I do not think that there would be any use in my proceeding to discuss either the question of St. Patrick's Day or to put the matter to a division. I shall reserve what I have got to say until the next amendment, but I would suggest to the Minister that if, by any possibility—I am afraid such possibility at the moment seems rather remote—he were to reconsider the position in regard to Sundays, he might, perhaps, give me an assurance that similar treatment would be accorded to St. Patrick's Day.

Certainly.

Amendment put and negatived.

Amendments No. 25 and 26 will be taken together. It is proposed to take a decision on the two amendments simultaneously.

I move amendment 25, which is as follows:—

In page 9, Section 13 (1) (b) (iii), line 50, to delete the word "eight" and substitute therefor the word "ten."

The amendment proposes that in future the hours for bona fide traffic on Sundays shall be from one to ten o'clock in summer time and from one to nine in winter time. As the Bill stands, the proposal is that in summer time the hours shall be from one to eight, and in non-summer time from one to seven. The same remarks apply, mutatis mutandis, in regard to the Sunday bona fide hours in non-summer time —the remarks that I have just made in regard to St. Patrick's Day, with possibly this bit of difference, that a Sunday might not be regarded, even by the Minister, as quite so sacrosanct and quite so necessary to have perfect from his point of view, as the one day on which we celebrate our Patron Saint. As regards summer time, I submit there is a difference. Summer time, I need scarcely say, does not enter into the question of St. Patrick's Day, but it is proposed by this Bill that the bona fide hours in regard to Sunday during summer time shall be from one to eight o'clock, or, as the Minister stated, where desired from two to nine o'clock. I would like to remind Deputies what effect is brought about by summer time. In the country generally, and this whole question deals with the country and has nothing to do with the exempted cities, there are really three times. There is what is known as God's time, which is really the time by the sun. There is what is known as old time, and then there is summer time. If you take, say, eight o'clock summer time, that is the period when it is proposed that the bona fide hours shall cease upon Sundays. That is really only 6.30 o'clock by the sun and it is only seven o'clock by what is known as old time. Every one in the country does not go by summer time, and most people in taking their recreation, especially in regard to seaside resorts, go by the time of the sun. Therefore, it would only be up to 6.30 by the sun that bona fide travellers would be permitted to partake and consume intoxicating liquor. I suggest that that is a very early hour, and that if there is to be any curtailment at all in this regard, the necessity for which I dispute, it should not be a curtailment so great as would be brought about by the hours at present proposed. If a person goes to the seaside to have a swim in the summer, if he does not go by summer time but by the sun, if it is only about 6.30 by the sun, and if he wants to have a little refreshment on Sunday evening, though it is really only the afternoon, he will be prohibited from doing so by these hours. I seriously submit to the Minister that the hours in regard to the summer are too early.

It is true that permission has to be given to change the period from 2 till 9, but 9 o'clock summer time is really only half-past seven by the sun. I think that my proposal that in the summer time 10 o'clock would be quite sufficiently early to have the premises closed for bona fide purposes is a reasonable one. As far as the winter time is concerned, I have suggested 9 o'clock, but I will say this to the Minister—I have suggested 10 o'clock for the summer and 9 o'clock for the winter— that if he would consider the question I would be prepared to say: Have an all the year round opening of from 1 to 9 o'clock. I do think that 8 o'clock in the summer is very early by summer time, and 10 o'clock in the summer is not very late by summer time, and to suggest 10 o'clock I do not think is an extravagant suggestion. It is not made without any thought or without any grounds. I have specially in view the places I have already mentioned during the course of these debates—seaside resorts. I would like if the Minister would favourably consider even to have an all-round winter and summer opening of from 1 to 9 o'clock.

I rise to support Deputy Redmond. I do so more for the summer months than the winter months. In the district that I represent, and the Minister for Justice knows it very well, you have Youghal, Ballycotton, and Cobh. People leave the City of Cork and go down to these places in the evening, and it would be very hard on them to leave just at the very time that they would like to have a walk around and a drink —at 8 o'clock. It would also be very hard on the publicans to be closing up their doors, I might say, in the middle of the day. I am stressing this point only for the summer months. There is some reason perhaps for closing a bit early in the winter months, when the evenings are dark, and when supervision is not as easily carried out as it would be in the summer months. I am thinking specially of those who would be inside counters, perhaps for six days of the week, and who have only the one day to go out to the seaside to enjoy themselves and recoup their health. For that reason I would ask the Minister to leave it even from 1 o'clock until 9, or to give power to the District Justices with regard to seaside resorts. I support Deputy Redmond altogether as to the summer months. I do not like to interfere as regards the winter months for the reasons I stated.

In the original Committee Stage of this Bill, I had an amendment down to extend the bona fide hours from one o'clock indefinitely; that would be until twelve o'clock at night. I overlooked the necessity for putting down a similar amendment for this stage, but I take advantage of this opportunity to support Deputy Redmond's amendment, because it is an advance to some extent in the direction of my proposal. The arguments that I intend to use are not the arguments which have been made by Deputies Redmond and Daly. It seems to me that to a certain extent their arguments are based on the idea that Sunday bona fide traffic is abused. They are inclined to cater for the man who travels, particularly on Sunday, having in view the possibility of getting a drink at the end of his journey. I am inclined to deal with it from the point of view of the principle of the whole question of bona fide traffic. My idea of the bona fide system is that a man who is travelling genuinely on business should be entitled to enter a licensed premises provided he is three miles from the place where he slept the night before if he requires a drink, no matter at what hour. If we accept the principle that a genuine traveller is entitled to a drink if he requires it, we cannot accept the principle of confining him within definite hours. By confining it to definite hours we are acknowledging to a certain extent that we are giving that privilege to people who are going to abuse it. A man who is genuinely going about his business should be entitled to get a drink at any hour on Sunday as a bona fide traveller, perhaps more so at nine, ten or eleven o'clock than at five in the evening. If we acknowledge the principle that a genuine traveller is entitled to a drink within definite hours, I say he is entitled to a drink at any hour. The Minister will answer me by saying that there are definite hours for closing on week days. I would point out that week days are not days on which men travel as much as on Sundays. I would appeal to the Minister to consider the point of view I am putting forward, that of the traveller who is a genuine traveller, and I believe there are more genuine travellers——

There is in the Museum.

There are many others. I do not know whether that remark applies to me personally, that I ought to be in the Museum, but I have often found myself in the position of being a genuine traveller and of wanting a drink, perhaps the only drink of the day, at 11 o'clock at night. One may be attending election meetings or other kind of meetings. One may be very weary and tired and may really need a drink. This amendment is a compromise. If I had not overlooked the putting down my original amendment I would not support this compromise, but not having done so, I ask the Minister to accept the amendment which is in Deputy Redmond's name.

I am afraid we are speaking with two voices from these Benches. But, in deciding what is good legislation and what is bad legislation, I think we must take the whole circumstances into consideration. What would be good law ten or twelve years ago with regard to late hours, would not be good law to-day. We know that at the present time seaside resorts are practically filled on Sundays by motors from very long distances, and it is not an unusual thing —every county has had the experience; mine has had it within the last year—for accidents to occur and for lives to be lost, some of them innocent lives, the lives of ladies who, unfortunately for themselves, were not at the driving wheel. The individual who happens to be at the driving wheel is not always capable and these accidents occur. I take the view that one life is of much more importance than whether an individual could get a drink now and again. You must face up to the position that our modern traffic on Sundays is carried in fast run vehicles, and if accidents at seaside resorts occur, the Legislature must step in and minimise them. I think this is a step in the right direction, and I ask the Minister not to accede to this amendment.

Deputy Redmond proved to us conclusively by X and Y that because of the difference between what he calls God's time or old time and new time, an individual requires two additional hours for the consumption of intoxicating liquor. He pointed out that 9 o'clock, by the official time, in the summer months, is 7.30 or thereabouts. If that is so, it is also true that 1 p.m. is 11.30 a.m., and it seems to me that we need not go into intricate questions of old time and new time and real old time, so long as what we are really considering is how many hours in the day it is reasonable to allow this bona fide traffic to run, for how many hours in the day a person who has travelled a particular distance shall be free to obtain intoxicating liquor. In Deputy Redmond's profession, if you have a bad case you have got to make the best of it, and consequently we were entertained to a lot of rather intricate discussion about times and variation in time, Greenwich time, Irish time, new time, and so on.

The thing is whether Deputies consider that the period from 1 o'clock to 8 o'clock, a period of seven hours, in the summer months is reasonable; whether it is taken as 1 to 8 or 2 to 9. If they consider it reasonable, then presumably they will not vote to add further to it. Deputy Heffernan said there should not be this restriction on the bona fide traffic lest we should be acknowledging, or even seeming to acknowledge, that this privilege is being abused or might be abused. Well they must be excellent people, and I have no doubt they are, in Tipperary, but here around these counties of the Pale we know that in fact the privilege is abused. We know that the bona fide traffic has given rise to very considerable abuse in the past, and it is because of our knowledge of that that we are moving to drastically prune the number of hours on Sundays in which it shall run. There should be no restriction at all, says Deputy Heffernan, and it is only as a compromise and in the most reluctant way that he would even vote for Deputy Redmond's amendment. There should be no restriction at all, he says, because after all if a man is entitled to have a drink in the forenoon, having travelled a particular distance, why should he not be entitled to have a drink at 9 o'clock, 9.30, 10 o'clock or 10.30 or all the night through? He is not a less genuine bona fide traveller because of the lateness of the hour. In fact we may assume from Deputy Heffernan's argument that he becomes more and more genuine as the night wears on. Really if the Deputy will get the official report of this discussion, bring it home and lock himself up in a room and put a wet towel around his head and study his own speech, I doubt if he will find it very convincing on this matter of the bona fide traffic.

Deputy Gorey, if I might say so, and not for the first time, said the sound thing on this matter. Legislation of this kind must change with the changes in the habits of the people, and the whole habits of life of the people have changed, and changed beyond recognition, in this matter of the normal observance of the Sunday inside the last 15 or 20 years. The whole character of the bona fide traffic has altered. It has been altered radically by the advent first of the bicycle, then of the motor car and the motor cycle, and now again with the char-a-banc. Any Parliament and any body purporting to legislate in accordance with the requirements of the community must watch the changed fashions and the changed habits of the people and legislate accordingly. It is true that the traffic which began by being to a very large extent of the pedestrian character has now become predominantly of the motor vehicle character. This is the age of the Ford cars, the char-a-bancs, motor bikes with carriers and so on, and as I say the bona fide traffic is now largely a matter of the motor vehicle character. People will take their turns more skilfully on the way home by the pruning of these hours and they will be a less danger to their neighbours.

One o'clock to seven in the non-summer-time period and one to eight or two to nine in the summer time is not a hardship. I hate the word "hardship." One hears it improperly used with reference to everything. When I think of the hardship involved in only having seven hours to drink on a Sunday my soul shudders. Really, if one were to believe all the talk that goes on in the Dáil and in the Seanad when a Bill of this kind is under consideration, you would be led to the view that drink has an appalling place in the lives of the people, but you try to keep your sanity through all the discussion and you try to remember that a great deal of the talk is just talk, very empty talk, and, if I may say it quite impersonally without reference to any Deputy, very drivelling talk, window-dressing, and a very vague kind of idea that this is good stuff for the electors and so on. Drink does not, in fact, occupy the appalling place in the lives of the people that much of the talk here would suggest. If you were to believe some Deputies you would think that the seaside resorts and the beauty spots had no charms at all once the publichouses were closed; that all beauty went out of Greystones, Bray, Glendalough, and so on, the moment the closing hour came. I used to have an old-fashioned idea that people went to these places for their health or to admire the scenery or something like that, but the truth is out now that they go for red wine and brown stout with a white top on it. We are told that seven hours in the afternoon on a Sunday for the bona fide traffic to run is not long enough. It is a very big note of interrogation as to whether it is not too long, but I am not going to add to it and I am not going to accept the amendment. I make the rejection of this amendment a matter of Government confidence.

I am not prepared to go as far as Deputy Redmond. I have not any anxiety in the least for interfering with the time in the Bill for the winter months, but I would appeal to the Minister to give at least another hour during the summer period. That is the idea behind amendments 26 and 29. I agree with what the Minister said as to the change that has come about owing to the advent of motor traffic, but I suppose that if I were to move to have the present limits extended for the purpose of meeting the change I would be charged with trying to legislate for my own constituency. I do admit that perhaps I am influenced by the fact that a great number of people in my constituency, to use a homely phrase, get their winter keep out of this summer tourist and excursion traffic. Personally I may say that I have every sympathy with the views of genuine temperance advocates like the Minister for Justice and the leader of the Opposition, who I am sorry is not here. But there are other types of temperance people for whom I have no respect, because they have no experience in this matter. Some of them for temperamental reasons are not able to take drink. They think they are going to achieve their object by restrictions of this kind. Anyone who knows anything of the Irish character is quite well aware that they are not going to achieve their object by this sort of restriction, and I suggest that we should get at least another hour during the summer period—up, say, to 10 o'clock. I know something about this traffic. Last year I was all through the County Wicklow. I saw charabancs going around with half-barrels tied around them. I say the probability is that these people drink much more in that way than if they could get drink in a legitimate way. I think we must all realise that next summer for instance, if people like these cannot get drink in public houses after 8 o'clock, that then they will get it by some illegitimate means. I am convinced that even from the temperance point of view you are not going to do what you hope for by this 8 o'clock closing. I suggest to the Minister that if he agrees to give the extra time that I plead for he will not be doing any harm to the cause that he has at heart.

On the last Stage of the Bill, when I regret, I was not able to be present, Deputy Good made certain references to a place that I am very familiar with. The Deputy, in the course of his speech, said that notwithstanding the charms of Glendalough the amount of drinking that went on at this beauty spot on a Sunday was appalling. In connection with that statement by Deputy Good, I may say that I know Glendalough well. Very often on a Sunday afternoon when I have nothing else to do, I walk over there. I admit that there are places in my constituency or in the County Wicklow where abuses occur that I do not condone. I condemn them just as much as Deputy Good, but as far as Glendalough is concerned, I deny flatly that any abuses take place there. I have never witnessed any abuses in Glendalough. I am sure that other members of the House who have visited Glendalough will bear me out in that. I do not know of any district where the public houses are as well conducted as they are in Glendalough. There are only three hotels in the place, one of which is a temperance hotel. The proprietors of the other two are men who insist on the carrying out of the law. I have personal experience, and I know for a fact that no abuses are committed in Glendalough. I refer to this matter because we in Wicklow, for historical and other reasons, are proud of Glendalough, and Ireland, as a whole, is naturally proud of it. We certainly resent anything that would tarnish the name of Glendalough. Whatever might happen in other places in the county, we always have the consolation of knowing that in Glendalough no abuses whatever take place. I would again appeal to the Minister to increase the period by an hour.

The Deputy realises, I am sure, that under sub-section (2) there can be an opening from 2 to 9.

Mr. BYRNE

I am aware of that, but I am appealing for this extra hour during the summer period, so that there could be an opening up to 10 o'clock.

I will not accept any extension of the hours in the Bill. That is the shortest way of saying it.

Question put—"That the word ‘eight,' in line 50, stand part of Section 13 (1) (b) (iii)."
The Committee divided: Tá, 49; Níl, 19.

  • Earnán Altún.
  • Earnán de Blaghd.
  • Séamus Breathnach.
  • Seoirse de Bhulbh.
  • Próinsias Bulfin.
  • Bryan R. Cooper.
  • Sir James Craig.
  • Máighréad Ní Choileain Bean
  • Uí Dhrisceóil.
  • James Dwyer.
  • Michael Egan.
  • Osmond Grattan Esmonde.
  • Desmond Fitzgerald.
  • John Good.
  • Thomas Hennessy.
  • John Hennigan.
  • Connor Hogan.
  • Donnchadh Mac Con Uladh.
  • Liam Mac Cosgair.
  • Pádraig Mac Fadáin.
  • Risteárd Mac Fheorais.
  • Patrick McGilligan.
  • Risteárd Mac Liam.
  • Eoin Mac Néill.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Liam Mag Aonghusa.
  • Pádraig Mag Ualghairg.
  • Martin M. Nally.
  • John T. Nolan.
  • William Norton.
  • Peadar O hAodha.
  • Seán O Bruadair.
  • Risteárd O Conaill.
  • Tomás O Conaill.
  • Parthalán O Conchubhair.
  • Máirtín O Conalláin.
  • Séamus O Cruadhlaoich.
  • Liam O Daimhín.
  • Séamus O Dóláin.
  • Pádraig O Dubhthaigh.
  • Donnchadh O Guaire.
  • Fionán O Loingsigh.
  • Séamus O Murchadha.
  • Máirtín O Rodaigh.
  • Seán O Súilleabháin.
  • Mícheál O Tighearnaigh.
  • Caoimhghín O hUigín.
  • Seán Príomhdhall.
  • Liam Thrift.

Níl

  • Séan Buitléir.
  • John J. Cole.
  • John Daly.
  • Séamus Eabhróid.
  • David Hall.
  • Séamus Mac Cosgair.
  • Patrick McKenna.
  • Patrick J. Mulvany.
  • Tomás de Nógla.
  • Criostóir O Broin.
  • Aodh O Cúlacháin.
  • Eamon O Dubhghaill.
  • Mícheál O Dubhghaill.
  • Mícheál O hIfearnáin.
  • Séan O Laidhin.
  • Domhnall O Muirgheasa.
  • Tadhg O Murchadha.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (An Clár).
  • William A. Redmond.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Dolan and Sears. Níl: Deputies Redmond and C.M. Byrne.
Question declared carried.

Amendments 25 and 26 are therefore negatived.

Amendments 27, 28, 29 and 30 not moved.

I move amendment 31:

In page 10, Section 13, after sub-section (5) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

"For the purposes of this section no driver of a motor car, char-a-banc or other motor vehicle used for the purposes of hire shall be supplied with any intoxicating liquor as a bona fide traveller in any licensed premises during the prohibited hours on any Sunday."

I desire to make my amendment applicable only to Sundays and have therefore struck out "or Bank Holiday." If one thing has been made clear in the discussion we have had, it is that we have in this Bill to meet new conditions which have been very largely brought about by development in motor traffic. It has also been pointed out that the development of motor traffic has given an extraordinary impetus to the bona fide traffic. We have had reference made to those conditions, and the aspect of the question that I should like to direct special attention to is the driving on Sundays of char-a-bancs and other licensed vehicles that carry a large number of passengers. Notwithstanding what has been said by Deputy Byrne, these vehicles pull up at almost every publichouse. Even if they do pass road-side publichouses, they pull up at every village. As I said previously, it seems to be part of the courtesy attaching to this new form of traffic that the passengers in these vehicles should extend hospitality to the driver. The drivers, like the rest of us, can stand a certain amount of hospitality, but they often reach a stage when the hospitality gets a little beyond them and they are unable to discharge the duty of driving those vehicles and being responsible for the lives of those in them. I admit that there is a difficulty in controlling that particular kind of traffic. It has been done in different ways in other places. In some places they make the drivers wear a distinctive uniform. I had some idea of proposing that, but it might be looked upon as another injustice to the Free State, and I think we have injustices enough already to deal with. The method I propose here is that the obligation should be put upon the publican of refusing to supply intoxicating liquor to a driver of one of those vehicles. I think anybody who has listened to the debate here will agree that it is wholly desirable that this particular proposal should be carried through in some form. I do not say that my form is ideal, but a control is essential, in the interests of the large and increasing number of people who are carried in these char-a-bancs and other licensed vehicles. Deputy O'Byrne has pointed out that what I said on a previous occasion in connection with this matter was wholly exaggerated and that he, as a publican, was much more capable of judging the rights and wrongs of this matter than I as an ordinary citizen.

I do not think I ever said I was a publican. It is the first time I heard I was.

I am glad to hear even that from the Deputy. As I understood, the Deputy stated that what I had said about Glendalough, on a previous occasion, was wholly exaggerated. I am glad the Deputy withdraws that statement.

On a point of correction, I understood the Deputy to say that I, as a publican, had made some assertion. In reply to that, I simply pointed out that I was not a publican. I did not withdraw anything that I had said.

That clears the air. The Deputy represents the important county of Wicklow and, if my geography is correct, Bray is in the County Wicklow. I would ask the Deputy to visit Bray on a Sunday night during the summer and tell me if the conditions there are not a scandal. Everybody who knows the circumstances is aware that Bray is a positive scandal on Sunday nights during the summer, owing to the conditions brought about by this new development of traffic. That is one of the cases I want to deal with. We find a large number of people brought to Bray by these char-a-bancs. I want to see these people protected. The man responsible for their protection is the driver of the licensed vehicle. Not alone is he subjecting his passengers to considerable risk if he accepts of this hospitality that I have spoken of, but he is subjecting other road-users to considerable risk. Those of us who have occasion to use the roadways have evidence of that fact. We want some protection provided in this Bill, and some method of dealing with what is rapidly becoming a scandal. I do not suggest that the method I propose is ideal. It may not cover all the circumstances, but that a control of this aspect of the problem is essential is obvious to Deputies. I, therefore, move the amendment.

I am sorry that Deputy Good did not tell us why he did not go the whole hog and apply this restriction to every person who drives a motor vehicle.

I have no objection to doing that.

Does Deputy Good make the case that the owner-driver is not as likely to drink to excess as the man who drives a hired car? Does Deputy Good realise that most of the drivers of hired cars are employed because they are temperate and that temperance is generally made a condition of their employment? A man who is employing another person to drive a char-a-banc, which has cost him a lot of money, will take good care that the man into whose charge he gives it will not be likely to drink to excess. It seems to me that this is class legislation—that the man who can afford to keep a car and drive it can drink as long as he likes and as often as he likes, and that he can go rolling home or driving home—whichever he pleases.

If the Deputy will add his proposal to my amendment, I shall be glad to support it.

I want to know why the Deputy did not include the driver-owner. Deputy Good's whole outlook on this matter seems to be that the people who cannot afford to buy their own cars are simply a nuisance on the road to people who can afford to do so. It is an intolerable nuisance to Deputy Good, when he goes out on a Sunday afternoon or on a bank holiday driving his own car, or being driven by a driver on whom he keeps a watchful eye to secure that he does not obtain an undue amount of refreshment—it is an intolerable nuisance to him that these char-a-bancs should come along raising a cloud of dust on the road which should rightfully be left to the Deputy and people like him. It seems to me that that is the gist of his contention. I object to an amendment drafted such as this is. I venture to suggest that the hired driver of a motor vehicle of any sort is as well able to judge as to the amount of drink he should take as Deputy Good or any other owner of a car. May I point out to Deputy Good —perhaps the Minister will bear me out —that the majority of motor accidents are due to negligence or want of skill or excessive drinking, not on the part of drivers of hired cars but on the part of drivers of private cars. It is well known to anybody who reads the reports of motor accidents in the newspapers that in most cases the private motor cars are responsible. I think the House should not accept this amendment. If Deputy Good desired the House even to consider the amendment, he should have provided that no driver of a motor car should be allowed to get a drink at any time on Sunday.

I support the attitude of Deputy Morrissey on this amendment. As far as I can see, Deputy Good's contention is that in future, in addition to the questions already asked at a publichouse, the question should be put: "Do you drive a motor car?" I would like to point out to Deputy Good that when I was referring to Glendalough I made it clear that there were parts of County Wicklow where there were abuses which I condemned as strongly as Deputy Good. Certain things occur at late hours in Bri Cualainn that I certainly do not stand for. Deputy Good did not make the case against Glendalough that he made here the last day. I contended then, and I contend still, that there are no abuses at Glendalough. It is one of the places that that can be truthfully said of. Some people may get drink passing along the road, but that is not the fault of the people at Glendalough. The attitude of Deputy Morrissey is, I think, the right attitude and I support it.

I think there is a great deal of substance in Deputy Morrissey's objection to this amendment. There are, of course, other objections that I would like to mention, but it is not reasonable to put down an amendment of this kind and confine it to the hired drivers of motor cars. I am bound to say that in the cases that have come under my personal notice of prosecutions of persons for being drunk in charge of motor cars, the majority were not hired men but private owners of motor cars. If we are to take the line that it is a danger to the public that persons in charge of motor cars should be supplied with drink—and the abuse may some day reach proportions which will demand that that line be taken—it must be taken without discrimination as between the hired driver and the man who owns and drives his own car. I just want to say that I agree with the objection Deputy Morrissey has urged to this amendment as it stands.

Now, let us put that on one side and proceed to consider the amendment as if it contained no such discrimination —as if it applied to all persons driving and in charge of motor cars. My objection to that is briefly stated. It is that legislation of that kind would be impossible to administer. That is a rather serious objection to any amendment. The thing you have to guard against is the insertion of sections or sub-sections which cannot be administered in Acts of the Oireachtas. The aspiration may be of the finest, but if it cannot be reduced to practical administration it is no use. It is worse than useless, because it is an addition to your code of laws of something which is merely a pious aspiration. The less of that we have in our legislation the better. (Amendment quoted.) Let us suppose that that provision applies to all persons driving motor cars, and let us take a specific case. A car with five or six persons drives out to Greystones or to Tramore, or any other place of public resort on a Sunday or holiday. The car is parked somewhere; it is shoved into a shed or into the yard of an hotel. Who is the driver three minutes after the party has got out of that car? The Lord knows, and only He. The publican certainly does not, nor does the barmaid in the hotel. Take the case, then, of a person driving his own car and having no friends accompanying him. He will park his car fifty or seventy or a hundred yards from the hotel or publichouse, and he will walk down as an honest pedestrian. It is not of any use putting in an amendment of that kind. It would be imposing too severe a task on the vendors of intoxicating liquor, who already complain that they are hedged round with onerous restrictions. It is necessary to hedge them round with restrictions. I am all for that, as Deputies know, but I am also all for seeing that the restrictions be of a reasonable character— that you do not put on the barmaid in a hotel or publichouse the task of knowing, by looking at a man, whether he is the driver of a motor car or not. I would not know a man who could drive a motor car or a man who could not, if I met him on the street.

If you met him on the road, you would.

Still less would I know a man who had driven a motor car within five hours from a man who had not. There is no special mark, and the upshot of it all is that the remedy for the danger that does exist lies along other lines—lies along lines of vigilance by the police and severe treatment in the courts of persons found in a condition of intoxication in charge of motor cars. But it is undoubtedly a danger, a very real danger, to have persons going at the rate of 35 or 40 miles an hour along a road, not normal, not in full control of their nerves, and not in the full acuteness of their senses because of indulgence in intoxicating liquor.

I admit there is that danger, that very real danger; but I say this amendment, supposing it extended to all drivers of motor cars and had not this unreasonable discrimination as between hired men and private owners, is not a solution because it could not be reduced to practical administration. Where is a man to put his car? He will put it, perhaps, a hundred or a few hundred yards away from where he is having his drink. One cannot introduce legislation of that kind; it would be purely a farce. The owners of cars will park them probably outside the towns; they will shove them into the back-yards of friends or simply leave them 50 or 70 yards away from where they go for their drink. One could not administer the amendment, and because of that I very much deprecate its insertion in the Bill; in fact, I ask Deputies to reject it.

Deputy Morrissey stated I was anxious to make this traffic a class traffic. Quite the opposite is what I have in mind. I want to make this traffic safe for those who are engaged in it. I want to encourage the traffic, and you will only encourage it by making it safe for those who are engaged in it. Will the Deputy tell me we are making it safe for those engaged in it by allowing the conditions which prevail in many villages at the moment to continue?

I do not suggest for a moment that the conditions which the Deputy alleges are in existence should be allowed to obtain.

We all know those conditions exist.

I suggest the Deputy is not going to alter them by this means.

When I was moving this amendment I pointed out the difficulties of dealing with the problem. But it is a problem that ought to be ventilated, and if there are difficulties we ought to see how they can be dealt with. By running away from it we will not deal with the subject. There are recognised difficulties that arise by reason of this new development. We have to make the roads, and traffic on the roads, safe for the public if we want this particular class of traffic to develop.

I had a case brought to my notice a short time ago in connection with one of the busses running from Carlow to Dublin. On one Sunday evening that bus stopped at the different villages and there the driver and the conductor had refreshments. After they left the last village, Naas, and started on the road into Dublin, the driver was in no condition, as one will understand, to take charge of the vehicle. The result was that there was a serious accident almost immediately outside Naas. The lady who told me about the matter said she had had a most miraculous escape. That is the type of difficulty that we must face, and we must protect the public against such occurrences. We will not do that by running away from the matter.

I quite agree that there is as much danger, at least from one point of view, in the case of the private owner under the influence, and I would be in favour of dealing just as drastically with him. But the private owner has not charge of so many lives. The problem in his case is much less, from one point of view.

If he collides with a char-a-banc does it not come to the same thing?

We would have to know more about the matter before we could decide. If he collides with a char-a-banc probably, as he would be in a lighter car, he would suffer more severely and the char-a-banc might not suffer very much. These are cases in which one would have to consider the circumstances. I am really anxious that something should be done to deal with this problem. I am willing to go the whole hog with Deputy Morrissey and the Minister in dealing with the problem. We will not deal with the problem if we shut our eyes to existing conditions. It is a matter that has to be dealt with and the sooner we deal with it the better for the public.

I agree with the Minister that what Deputy Good seeks through his amendment cannot be achieved in the way he suggests. It can be achieved by the infliction of a severe penalty, by the imprisonment of any motor driver found drunk in charge of a car and by the withdrawal of that man's licence for a stated period.

I would not have intervened in this debate were it not that there came to my mind a case that occurred some time back in Co. Dublin, in the constituency that Deputy Good represents. Less than a year ago a gentleman holding a very high position in Dublin City, when driving home after business hours, knocked down a woman and broke her leg. He was driving at a furious rate through a particular town. He drove the woman to a hospital and he himself was subsequently driven to the police station. The police superintendent took the precaution of getting the local doctor who certified that the man was suffering from intoxication and was incapable of driving a motor car without serious risk to public safety. That gentleman was brought before one of our Dublin District Justices and was sentenced to imprisonment.

If my information is quite right, I understand that some of Deputy Good's supporters in the county kicked up an awful furore and the result was that a petition was placed in the hands of the Governor-General and the gentleman was released before the termination of his sentence. Does Deputy Good believe that is the way to deal with such a man? That man was found driving at serious risk to the public; he was found to be intoxicated and after the charge was proved to the satisfaction of the justice he was sentenced to imprisonment. Then people from Deputy Good's constituency came along and sought for, and succeeded in getting, a remission of the sentence.

I believe there has been a sufficient number of cases of that kind to induce the Minister to bring in more drastic regulations dealing out punishment of a very definite character to people found drunk in charge of motor cars. I cite that case to show there are people who may take the view that Deputy Good is expressing, but when some of their own friends are challenged and found guilty they will do all they can to get a remission of the sentence, whether by way of fine or otherwise.

I am prepared to support any drastic legislation which will aim at deterrent punishment for people driving motor cars in a state of intoxication. I prefer to support a definite term of imprisonment if it can be proved that a person is hopelessly drunk. Some form of deterrent punishment should be introduced. There is nothing of that sort suggested by Deputy Good. He is trying to deal with the particular class engaged driving buses or cars for hire; but he does not suggest anything with regard to persons who are driving private motor cars.

There is an InterDepartmental Committee about to deal with the question of traffic, and the many problems arising with regard to traffic. This question of motor traffic and the danger of drivers not fully in possession of their senses on account of drink is one of the matters that would need to be considered. The angle of approach with regard to this matter should be along the lines of the cancellation of a driver's licence on the production of evidence that he was an unsuitable person to have such a licence by reason of the fact that habitually or very frequently he indulged excessively in drink, and, perhaps, was on an occasion found drunk in charge of a motor car. It certainly seems quite wrong to me that a man may be fined or even imprisoned for being drunk in charge of a motor car and may continue to hold his licence and drive his car with the possibility of fatal results to himself or to others arising from intemperance on his part.

There is a recommendation from the Commission to this effect, but I have not inserted any provision in the Bill on this matter, because at the moment justices, if they will do so, have the power to send persons to jail who are found drunk in charge of their cars. In Dublin, at any rate, the district justices are doing so. But the real line of treatment, I suggest, should take the form of attaching conditions to the holding of a driver's licence, one of the conditions being that the person must be a person of temperate habits and on the production of evidence to the contrary, the licence may be withdrawn. Certainly, the drunken or half-drunken man driving at the rate of 25 to 30 miles an hour is a danger to himself and to his neighbours.

In recommendation No. 16 the Commission set out that drunkards should be sent to jail for at least one month without the option of a fine on the third conviction within one year and the driver of a motor car, when drunk, should be punished by the cancellation of the licence and imprisonment. Such an offence can at present, and is in Dublin for the most part, being punished by imprisonment. The question of the cancellation of licences is one that I would prefer to see dealt with in a Bill other than this Bill. When the traffic problem is being comprehensively dealt with, one very serious matter that would need to be considered is the question of drunken or half-drunken drivers of motor cars.

I am at one with Deputy Good in his desire to make the roads safe, but I think his method of doing it is the wrong method. If the Minister will bring in legislation to give effect to the recommendations of the Commission with regard to the cancellation of licences and imprisonment, I will be prepared to support him.

I desire to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 31, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment 32 is merely a drafting amendment:—

In page 10, Section 14 (1), to insert after paragraph (d) a new paragraph as follows:—

"or

(e) an officer of customs and excise in the course of his duty as an officer."

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment 33 is also purely a drafting amendment.

In page 12, Section 19, to insert immediately before sub-section (3) a new sub-section as follows:—

"(3) In the Licensing Act, 1872, and in the Licensing Act (Ireland), 1874, the word ‘constable' shall include any member of the Gárda Síochána and the said Acts shall be construed and have effect accordingly."

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment 34 is a consequential amendment:—

In page 12, Section 19 (3), lines 6, 7 and 8, to delete the words "the word ‘constable' shall include any member of the Gárda Síochána and."

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment 35 reads:—

In page 12, Section 20, line 15, to add at the end of the section a new paragraph as follows:—

"or

(c) the sale of intoxicating liquor by wholesale in any premises which are not licensed premises."

Wholesale licence-holders were exempt from the general provisions of the Licensing Acts which are principally concerned with retail sale. It was thought well to make it clear that this will continue to be the case. It will be observed the exemption is confined to premises which are not licensed premises, and licensed premises are defined by Section 1 of the present Bill as premises in respect of which a licence for the sale by retail of intoxicating liquor has been granted and is in force. It will be clear that a wholesale merchant also a retailer will have to close his licensed premises at the prescribed time. It is only a wholesaler who is not a retailer as well who will be outside the scope of the Bill.

Amendment 35 agreed to.

I move amendment 36, which is as follows:—

In page 12, before Section 21, but in Part III., to insert a new section as follows:—

In this Part of this Act the expression "offence to which this Part of this Act applies" means and includes any offence against any of the enactments mentioned in the First Schedule to this Act or any enactment for the time being in force relating to the adulteration of drink or any offence under the provisions of this Act relating to prohibited hours.

Amendments No. 37, 38 and 39 hang on this amendment. They are drafting amendments. As mentioned in Committee, the words in Section 21: "Whenever a conviction of the holder of a licence is under this section recorded ..." are not applicable, in view of the provisions of Sections 22 and 23, whereby, in certain circumstances, the convictions are not recorded where the judge considers that they ought not to be recorded. These amendments provide for a new form of wording.

I would like to ask the Minister whether it is his intention to give any terms to licensed traders who have committed technical offences under the 1924 Act. In a speech which he delivered some time ago he mentioned that all endorsements prior to the passing of the Act would be wiped out. Is it his intention to give a free certificate to such houses?

I do not know how the Deputy makes that point relevant just now, but he knows that I said that endorsements attached prior to the passing of the Act will be ineffective after the passing of the Act. He knew that when he asked the question.

I did not; I wanted to know whether such endorsements would be wiped out.

Amendment put and agreed to.
The following amendments in the name of Deputy Dolan were also agreed to:—
In page 12, Section 21 (1), to delete the word "against" in line 19 to the word "hours" in line 23 and substitute therefor the words "to which this part of this Act applies."
In page 12, Section 21, to delete sub-section (4).
In page 12, Section 22 (1), lines 53 and 54, to delete the words "a conviction for which is required by this Act to be recorded on such licence" and substitute therefor the words "to which this part of this Act applies."

I move amendment 40, which reads:—

In page 12, Section 22 (1), lines 55 and 56, to delete the words "extenuating circumstances which shall relate only to the technical character or" and in line 58 to delete the words "such extenuating circumstances" and substitute therefor the words "the circumstances which reduce the offence to one of a trivial nature."

There was some considerable discussion on the Committee Stage on the wording of Section 22, and I undertook to have it re-worded so as to make its meaning clear. The amended form of wording can leave no doubt, I think, as to the intention. The original wording may have been somewhat cumbersome, but I think the present wording is much clearer. All the offences covered by Part III. of the Bill are prima facie serious offences, but the circumstances in which they are committed may conceivably reduce them to ones of a trivial nature. In that event the justice need not record convictions if he is satisfied that the circumstances impart triviality. Therefore, I am willing that the words "extenuating circumstances which shall relate only to the technical character or" shall be deleted and that there shall be substituted the words "the circumstances which reduce the offence to one of a trivial nature." I think that amendment is upon the lines suggested by Deputy Magennis.

Amendment put and agreed to.
The following amendments in the name of Deputy Dolan were also agreed to:—
41.—In page 13, Section 23, lines 12 and 13, to delete the words "conviction for which is required by this Act to be recorded on such licence" and substitute therefor the words "to which this Part of this Act applies."
42.—In page 13, Section 24, lines 27 and 28, to delete the words "a conviction for which is by this Act required to be recorded on such licence" and substitute therefor the following words "to which this Part of this Act applies."
43.—In page 13, Section 25, lines 34 and 35, to delete the words "convictions for which are by this Act required to be recorded on such licence" and substitute therefor the words "to which this Part of this Act applies."
44.—In page 14, Section 28 (1), lines 35, 36 and 37, to delete the words "a conviction for which is required by this Act to be recorded on such licence" and substitute therefor the words "to which this Part of this Act applies."
45.—In page 14, Section 28 (2), lines 44 and 45, to delete the words "a conviction for which is required by this Act to be recorded on such licence" and substitute therefor the words "to which this Part of this Act applies."
46.—In page 14, Section 28 (3), line 69 and page 15, line 1, to delete the words "which is required by this Act to be recorded on a licence" and substitute therefor the words "of an offence to which this Part of this Act applies."
47.—In page 15, Section 31, lines 34 and 35, to delete the words "a conviction for which is by this Act required to be recorded on a licence" and substitute therefor the words "to which this Part of this Act applies."

The next two amendments, Nos. 48 and 49, can be discussed together.

I move amendment 48 as follows:—

"In page 15, Section 32 (1), lines 42 to 43, to delete the words ‘licensing area,' and substitute therefor the words ‘the county.'"

We agreed the last day that this amendment would come up again after Deputies had been given an opportunity of having the different aspects of the question further considered in consultation with those interested in the trade. So far as I am concerned, I have the same views on the matter as I had when I first put the amendment down. From the little experience I have of those interested in the trade, I understand that the point of view that the county should be the area of compensation is more acceptable than the proposal to confine the area to that of the district court. This is a matter on which there are legitimate differences of opinion. I am aware that even the members of the trade look on the matter from different points of view and that they want, in some cases at least, to have the area such as will make it possible to have the burden which each has to carry as light as possible. We are trying to get an area which would distribute the burden equitably. I would like to know whether the Minister has had any indication from the trade as to its view. I am afraid that if the Minister does not accept the amendment the only alternative will be to take a division and let the House decide upon it.

On the Committee Stage the Minister suggested in connection with this matter that Deputies could consult their constituents as to the most suitable area of charge. So far as I am concerned, the information which I have received from persons interested in the matter bears out what I said on the last occasion, and they instruct me to corroborate what I then said, so that I have pleasure in saying now what I said before, namely, that the area should be left as it is in the Bill.

I oppose the amendment for the same reasons as I opposed it in Committee. Under this proposal, in the case of a large town at one end of a county in which twenty or thirty publicans will forfeit their licences, the remainder of the county will have to bear its share of compensation, and although there may be only a small number of publicans in that particular end of the county, they will have to bear the same amount of compensation as the others. The publicans in the other end of the county will not benefit by the wiping out of licences in the other part. If there are 85 public houses in a town of 7,000 population and if 50 traders are compelled to forfeit their licences, you will make every village in that county pay its proportion of compensation, notwithstanding the fact that it is only in the town in which the licences are wiped out that the remaining traders will get the benefit of any extra trade that results. I do not think that it is fair to make a publican in a remote part, say, of County Dublin, bear the same proportion of compensation as a trader in the city. Deputy Baxter, no doubt, has good intentions. His idea is that if the amendment is carried the amount of compensation will be less on the existing publicans, but it will have to be borne by publicans in remote parts of the various counties. Even if it were only £2 a year, it would be a serious loss to that class of publican. It is all very well for Deputy Baxter to say that he believes that he is voicing the opinions of the trade.

I did not say anything of the kind.

I asked the Deputy whether he was voicing the opinions of publicans in his constituency, and whether he inquired from the licensing trade there whether this amendment would be acceptable to them. I do not think it is. If a publican in a small village has to bear the same amount of compensation as a large trader in a city he will be seriously hampered and he will not be in a position to employ labour. He could not afford to do so. According to the report of the Liquor Commission there should be about 400 persons to each public house. If there were three public houses, for instance, in a town of 1,500 people none of them would be compelled to close down, but in a town, perhaps six or seven miles away, where there are 25 public houses to a population of 1,500 some of the licences will have to go and the publican in the small village will have to bear his share of the compensation, notwithstanding the fact that he will benefit in no way through the wiping out of these other licences.

resumed the Chair.

When this matter was discussed in a fairly lengthy way in Committee the Minister undertook to leave it over and to leave it to a free vote of the House, subject to certain limitations. The matter was left over, as far as I can gather, in order that Deputies might study the question more closely, so far as it was likely to affect their own constituencies or to give the Minister an opportunity of finding out the view of the organised body that claims to speak on behalf of the licensed trade. I do not claim to be in the confidence of the licensed trade or of its leaders, but in the constituency that I represent I have a certain number of friends in the licensed trade. Since this Bill was introduced. I suppose in common with other Deputies, I received a number of threatening communications both from people who claimed to speak on behalf of temperance bodies and from some of those who claimed to speak on behalf of the licensed trade, and this is one of the matters about which there has been a considerable amount of contention. I deeply regret that Deputy Egan, who is himself in the trade, is not in the House this evening, because I take a different view of this matter from the view which he expressed in the Committee Stage. I was anxious to learn from him whether the view he expressed was the view of the people in the trade to which he belongs himself. Studying the very important return issued by the Minister for Finance regarding the number of licensed houses in the Free State and the valuation of these houses, I find that in the constituency of Leix and Offaly there is a total of 416 publichouses. The population, as shown in the return, is 97,399. In other words there is a licensed house in that constituency for every 243 of the population. A significant thing about the return is that 178 out of the 416 publichouses have a valuation of £10 or under. Any Deputy who has studied the Bill very closely, especially that portion that deals with the elimination of redundant licences, must have got the impression that the intention is to wipe out the dirtiest and smallest houses and those of the lowest valuation.

Assuming that the intention of the Minister and of those who advised him is to wipe out 4,000 redundant licences inside a period that has been referred to as from five to ten years or from ten to twenty years, I hope they will be wiped out as soon as possible in the interests of those who are going out and particularly in the interests of those who have to remain. There are 6,161 licensed houses in the Free State, with a valuation of £10 or under, out of a total number of 13,384. Coming down to bed-rock, assuming that the Minister is going to work on the lines of the recommendations of the Liquor Commission, there will be 173 licences redundant in the constituency of Leix and Offaly. I believe it is the view, as far as I can ascertain it, of the trade in Leix and Offaly that the wider the area of compensation the better it will be, and the lighter will be the charge on the people who will have to pay for the redundant licences. As a result of the discussion that took place during the Committee Stage and of the promises given by the Minister I took the trouble of finding out, as far as I could, what was the view of people in my own constituency in regard to this particular clause. I have a communication here from the Chairman of the largest local branch of the Licensed Vintners' Organisation, in which he puts the position from that point of view. According, to this communication, for Deputy Lyons's information, a conference of the licensed trade was held in the Commercial Buildings, Dame Street, on the 14th or 15th March.

May I ask was Deputy Lyons in the Chair?

I did not get that information but, apparently, from this communication it was a representative meeting of this organisation, and in discussing the question of compensation and the liability for the payment of compensation, it appears that a new proposal was put up, namely, that the compensation to be paid by those who remained in for the licences that are to be abolished should be on the basis of increased duty—a barrelage charge or whatever you like to call it—and in the case of the Minister refusing they agreed that the unit for the compensation should be the county as against the District Court area. Deputy Lyons, I am sure, was in the same position to ascertain from his friends in the licensed trade in Westmeath and Longford whether that information is right or not. At any rate, that is the information conveyed to me by the chairman of the largest branch of the licensed traders in the constituency of Leix and Offaly.

I received a telegram yesterday from a Munster body stating that they favoured the area of the Free State as the compensation unit. I am not tied to any particular area, but I believe that the compensation unit as proposed in the Bill is too small and that there will be more anomalies and more hardships created if the clause is left as it stands in the Bill than by extending the area to the County or Circuit Court area. I would like to see general agreement upon this particular matter. There are bound to be anomalies. If you have the county as the compensation unit you will have licensed houses at the border of one county next to houses in another county. If you have the Free State the area you will have licensed premises on the Free State side of the Border wiped out, without any corresponding advantage to publichouses in the same place. You are bound to have anomalies. I think we should aim at reducing the anomalies and the hardships to a minimum. I am not tied to any particular area, but I do say here now that as far as I have been able to ascertain, the licensed traders' organisation—if I am wrong let those who speak as its official representatives in this House contradict me——

It has no official representative in this House.

Deputies have spoken here——

The Deputy cannot say that.

I willingly withdraw the remark. I will put it in another way.

Do not qualify the withdrawal. Let it alone without saying any more about it.

I give that for what it is worth as being the view in my own area. Let other Deputies say what is the feeling in their own areas throughout the country. I am glad the Minister has agreed to leave it to a free vote within certain limitations. I am not sure if he changed his views since the Committee Stage, in favour of widening the compensation unit. I consider that less hardship will be imposed by widening the area than by leaving it as laid down in the Bill.

I agree with a great deal that Deputy Davin has said. I think it has been said already in regard to the anomalies that inevitably must arrive where there will be anything in the nature of boundaries in any area of charge. The principle upon which the Minister is proceeding, as far as I understand from his statement in regard to the area of charge, is that that area shall be the area of benefit, that is as much as possible; that, of course, renders it rather difficult to define what that area should be. As far as the suggestion which Deputy Davin has given expression to, with regard to substituting some form of levy—on the barrelage of beer sold or the gallonage of spirits sold—is concerned, that is a suggestion I think that should be considered. There again, of course, the principle as to the payment by those who would be the principal beneficiaries could also be applied. If the sale of beer or spirits was increased in one locality or in one licensed premises, it might be a fair way of providing compensation that the licensee of those premises or in that locality should bear a due proportion on the amount of increased beer or spirits that he sold. However, that is not the proposal which the Minister made in the Bill. I do not know whether he ever considered the matter at all or not. I only say, in passing, even at this stage perhaps it might be worth consideration, because it certainly would do away with a great deal of the difficulty arising out of areas.

As regards choice between different areas, I confess that I find it very difficult to see a great advantage in one area over another, especially having in view the elimination of the anomalies referred to. The licensing area undoubtedly is not altogether a homogeneous area, and that is somewhat against it. The licensing area is the area which is under the jurisdiction of the District Justice, and that is by no means homogeneous. In some cases it involves portions of one county and portions of another.

The county area has the advantage that it seems to be a more rounded-off area. I must confess that I cannot see how the same class of difficulty and, possibly, of hardship might not arise also in that area. I am, therefore, in the position that, apart from the area of the whole State, which, I think, would not carry out the principle of the Bill, which is that the area of benefit should be the area of charge, I am not bound up or confined to one area or the other, but as between the licensing area and the county area, I think the county area has a certain amount to be said for it, because it would, perhaps, present a more homogeneous phase. I do not know that there is really any great argument upon one side or the other. Certainly there is bound to be a difference of opinion. It is a matter for the Minister if he is prepared to leave it to members to vote on as they choose. In that event I presume they will vote, as this possibly affects their own constituencies. There are some portions of the country where there will be great reductions—reductions even in urban areas. There are other portions of the country where, possibly, there would be very little reduction. The question as to who shall pay the compensation has now been decided. I was opposed to the survivors paying for it. I was opposed to the principle that the so-called beneficiaries should bear the burden of compensation, but that being now the settled policy of the Bill, and having been accepted by the Dáil, then the question of area is simply one to decide what would be the best means of carrying that into effect, and the fairest way. It is suggested that the State, as a whole, should be the area. As against that, I am inclined to think that would not embody the principle that the area of benefit should be the area of charge. I, personally, therefore, would be inclined, though I must say not very strongly, because I do not know that there are great arguments on the one side or the other, to accept the county as the more homogeneous area than perhaps the licensing area.

If my memory serves me right I think the Minister pointed out on the Committee Stage that he would be guided more or less by the licensed trade if they selected the area that should be the area to pay. I had a letter from the Munster Licensed Trade Association pointing out that they are in favour of the whole country paying for it. They say so on the arounds that this Bill was brought in for the benefit of the country at large, and why not the whole country pay for it then. The Bill was not brought in for any special district, and you could not equitably point out that the publicans who retain their licences will have the trade equally distributed amongst them. For that reason it would make the hardship less on the whole country than it would be, if it is unjust at all, on a particular small area. For that reason I favour the area of the twentysix counties as the paying area instead of the county area or the area of the District Justice.

Such further consideration as I have given to this matter since the Committee Stage has rather tended to confirm me in my view that the licensed area as embodied in the Bill as it stands is the proper area rather than either the county or the entire State. I found, when I got returns showing the number of licences in each licensing area, that there was a very considerable variation between one area and another even within the same county. In Deputy Baxter's county, for instance, to take an example, you have in the licensing area of Ballinagh ten licensed premises only four of which have a valuation under £10. The population of that area is 6,011. Therefore, you have one public house in that licensing area for every 600 people. That is not a very wealthy part of the county. In the licensing area of Arva there are twenty-four licensed premises. The population there is 3,698. That gives you one public house for every 154 people as against one for every 600 people in the Ballinagh area, so that you have at any rate a redundancy in the licensing area of Arva and probably no redundancy in the other area, Ballinagh. Under the proposal of the county you would have the traders of the area that is clear of redundancy paying substantially towards the extinction of licences in the other area. Therefore, I think my proposal is the fairer one. It is, of course, a little rough and ready as any proposal must be, but it is the fairer thing, that where there is redundancy, and where that redundancy is proved, that the survivors who benefit pay, but where there is no redundancy that they should not be asked to pay at all, because what do they get by the pruning that takes place elsewhere?

The more data I got to enable me to consider this question the more I was confirmed in my view that I was not likely to improve on the proposal as it stands in the Bill. I did say that if I could get a single voice from the licensed trade in favour of a change that I would accept that and I would regard a case as being made, because, after all, it is they who will pay whether they pay in detail or as a body. And so, if they could have spoken to me in favour of any one particular area, and spoken with one voice in favour of that—that would be something that I would regard as making a case for the change. Instead of that I have had three suggestions. I have had a wire from the Limerick Junction where, I think, there was a meeting of the licensed trade of Munster advocating that the Saorstát as a whole be taken as the unit. I know that is not the view that prevails up here. Then, again, you have the suggestion of the county. Well, I must simply adhere to the scheme to which we were guided by the light of our own reason, seeing that we are denied any light from the collective reason of the licensed trade as a whole. You simply have divergencies, and these divergencies follow the line of what traders in a particular area consider to be their interest. I believe the fair thing is the proposal that is set out in the Bill, and I am standing over it. I believe that we are not likely to get very much beyond that by further discussion.

The two districts in my constituency to which the Minister has just referred afford a striking illustration of how inequitably this is going to work out. The two towns he referred to are small ones. In one there is a publichouse for every 600 of the population in that licensing area, and in the other there is a publichouse for every 154 of the population. The two towns are, I think, within six miles of each other. Their licensing areas are very small. When you are up against the proposition of putting on the area of Arva responsibility for paying compensation for the licensed houses extinguished in that area, you are accepting it that the trade of the area is confined to that area, while the fact is that it overflows into this particular district of Ballinagh, which adjoins. By no stretch of the imagination can the Minister's proposal, as set out in the Bill, be said to work out equitably in that particular instance. I am convinced that if he bases his case on the information given to him and on figures supplied to him without looking into the geographical situation of the areas concerned, that then he is certainly going to make many people carry an undue share of this compensation, while others will get off more lightly than they are entitled to.

I take it that the Minister, in expressing the view to which we have just listened, is not in any way modifying the proposal he made on the Committee Stage that he would leave this to a free vote of the House. It is quite true that there are different views held in different areas in regard to this. I wonder if the Minister has received views from any source claiming to speak on behalf of the licensed trade which would lead him to believe that any section of them held the view that the compensation unit, as defined in the Bill, is more acceptable to them as a body than the county or the State as a whole. If Deputy Daly says that the Munster traders favour the Free State as a whole as the compensation unit, and if the Minister stops short at the county and makes the question of going beyond the county as the compensation unit a matter of confidence, then I presume Deputy Daly will support the area that would be wider than that defined in the Bill. The argument used here in regard to the area of benefit has been used on different occasions and for different reasons. At one time you hear it used for the purpose of proving that the community as a whole will benefit by this Bill, because it is a temperance Bill and as a measure of social reform will reduce the facilities for drinking. It was given on another occasion as an argument in favour of the £100,000 that is to be provided out of the taxpayers' pockets. On other sections of the Bill the argument was brought in for the purpose of leaving the Bill as it stands, and correcting the impression that drinking will still continue on the lines on which it has hitherto gone.

You cannot have it both ways. I do not know whether it is a fact that the Minister did not get any expression of view from the official organisation of the licensed trade. I take it if what Deputy Daly stated is correct that some official confirmation of those statements would be conveyed to the Minister. If he has not received any intimation from any source that would convince him that the area defined in the Bill is more acceptable than other areas suggested by people who claim to speak on behalf of the trade, then he should accept the view that the wider area is more acceptable to the licensed trade. I assume that the Minister is leaving this question to a free vote of the House within limitations.

What does the Deputy mean by limitations?

I gathered from the Minister, when the Bill was in Committee, that he would leave the county proposal to a free vote of the House, but that under no circumstances would he be prepared to go beyond the county as the compensation unit. Is the Minister withdrawing from that position, or is he leaving the matter to a free vote of the House?

If the Deputy means if this amendment is carried would I resign, I would not, but I do claim that we have given a much more thorough and scientific, if I might say so, examination to this matter than probably many private Deputies can claim, and that people ought to be fairly convinced in their own view before they would vote for an amendment which I am opposing.

Are we to gather that Deputies are free to vote as they wish on the proposal contained in Deputy Baxter's amendment?

In the sense that it is not a matter of Government confidence. If Deputy Baxter's amendment is carried I will not resign, but I object to the amendment and I am opposing it. From all the examination I have given to the matter, I am satisfied that the amendment is wrong.

There are two amendments—48 and 49. Amendment 49 is the wider amendment. I shall put 49 first, unless Deputy Davin withdraws his and allows a decision to be taken on amendment 48.

I am prepared to stand by Deputy Baxter's amendment.

Amendment 48 put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 21; Níl, 41.

  • Pádraig Baxter.
  • Próinsias Bulfin.
  • John Conlan.
  • Bryan R. Cooper.
  • John Daly.
  • Connor Hogan.
  • Séamus Mac Cosgair.
  • Risteárd Mac Fheorais.
  • Criostóir O Broin.
  • Tomás O Conaill.
  • Aodh O Cúlacháin.
  • Liam O Daimhín.
  • Eamon O Dubhghaill.
  • Mícheál O Dubhghaill.
  • Donnchadh O Guaire.
  • Mícheál O hIfearnáin.
  • Pádraic O Máille.
  • Domhnall O Muirgheasa.
  • Tadhg O Murchadha.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (An Clár).
  • William A. Redmond.

Níl

  • Earnán de Blaghd.
  • Séamus Breathnach.
  • Seoirse de Bhulbh.
  • John J. Cole.
  • Máighréad Ní Choileain Bean
  • Uí Dhrisceóil.
  • James Dwyer.
  • Michael Egan.
  • Desmond Fitzgerald.
  • Thomas Hennessy.
  • John Hennigan.
  • Peadar O hAodha.
  • Seán O Bruadair.
  • Risteárd O Conaill.
  • Máirtín O Conalláin.
  • Séamus O Cruadhlaoich.
  • Séamus O Dóláin.
  • Peadar O Dubhghaill.
  • Pádraig O Dubhthaigh.
  • Eamon O Dúgáin.
  • Seán O Laidhin.
  • Donnchadh Mac Con Uladh.
  • Liam Mac Cosgair.
  • Pádraig Mac Fadáin.
  • Patrick McGilligan.
  • Risteárd Mac Liam.
  • Eoin Mac Néill.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Pádraig Mag Ualghairg.
  • Martin M. Nally.
  • John T. Nolan.
  • Aindriú O Láimhín.
  • Fionán O Loingsigh.
  • Séamus O Murchadha.
  • Máirtín O Rodaigh.
  • Seán O Súilleabháin.
  • Mícheál O Tighearnaigh.
  • Caoimhghín O hUigín.
  • Seán Príomhdhall.
  • Patrick W. Shaw.
  • Liam Thrift.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Baxter and Davin. Níl: Deputies Dolan and Sears.
Amendment declared lost.
Amendments 49, 50 and 51 not moved.

I move amendment 52:

In page 16, Section 35 (3) (b), line 67, to delete the word "structural."

If this word "structural" were allowed to remain in the Bill every licence-holder who carries on a mixed trade——

This has no bearing on mixed trading.

If I get that guarantee I am satisfied and shall withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move the following amendments:—

54. In page 19, Section 39 (1), line 25, to delete the word "several" and substitute therefor the words "one or more of the," and in lines 26 and 27 to delete the words "the owner or owners of" and substitute therefor the words "interested in," and in line 30 to delete the word "several" and substitute therefor the words "one or more of the," and in lines 31 and 32 to delete the words "the owner or owners of" and substitute therefor the words "interested in."

55. In page 19, Section 39 (2), line 38, before the word "and" to insert the words "having regard to all estates, trusts, charges, and encumbrances subsisting in or affecting the occupation interest or the interest of the immediate lessor (as the case may be)."

These amendments can be taken together, and when taken together and put into their appropriate places it will be seen that everybody interested in any way in the compensation awards in respect of the occupation interest or the immediate lessor's interest will have his rights considered, and Court Orders will indicate in what proportions the compensation is payable to the various interested parties. As a specific example, I might point out that mortgagees will be entitled to come in and prove their mortgage and get paid out of the compensation money, if in all the circumstances the judge thinks that that course is reasonable. These amendments will also throw light on Section 38 (2) (a). It will be observed that it is provided in Section 38 (2) (a) that any person claiming to receive the compensation or a portion thereof may be heard by the compensation authority and produce evidence.

It will now be clear that mortgagees and other people interested in the compensation will have an opportunity of being heard. I was asked to ensure this by several people, and I want to make it clear that what is desired has been, in fact, secured by the Bill. In this connection I might, perhaps, mention that amongst amendments which I will introduce, when this Bill is again being considered, there will be an amendment bearing on the tied-house question, making it clear beyond any question of doubt that the lessee of a tied-house will be entitled to receive compensation. I am glad to say, also, that we have secured the consent of the two brewing companies interested to a provision that no agreement in a contract reciting that any compensation adjudged to the lessee of the tied house shall be paid over to the brewery owner shall be enforceable—that whatever compensation is adjudged by the courts to the lessee in respect of the extinction of a tied-house may be retained by him, notwithstanding any previous agreement to the contrary.

I am thankful to the Minister for keeping his undertaking in regard to mortgagees and interested parties having a right to representation and to a hearing on the question of the allocation of compensation. I think that that is a most important and desirable amendment. In regard to the tied-houses, it is also satisfactory to learn that the Minister is prepared to make clear the position of the licensee. It is further gratifying to know that the principal companies concerned in Cork are willing to forego their right to enforce clauses in their existing contracts, which provide that they and not the licensee shall be entitled to any money received by way of compensation. At the same time, I hope that it may be possible to have that undertaking by the companies put, in some shape or form, in the Bill.

It is intended to put it in the Bill.

I am glad to hear that, although I do not doubt that the companies would execute their undertaking.

It is right I should say that one of these companies never had such an agreement and the other has no objection to a provision being put in the Bill that any such agreement shall be unenforceable, so that the position will be that the Tribunal will be given complete discretion to apportion compensation in respect of premises, between the brewer and the tied tenant, on the merits of each case, and any agreement whereby the tenant is bound to surrender compensation will be made by this Bill unenforceable.

I am very grateful to the Minister for having acceded to the suggestions I made on the Committee Stage in both these cases.

Amendments 54 and 55 agreed to.

I move amendment 56:—

In page 20, Section 42, to add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—

"(3) So far as may be possible the total amount payable in respect of compensation annuities in any licensing area on any 1st day of October shall not exceed the total amount of the excise duties paid in respect of the year which commenced on the previous 1st day of October by holders of licences in respect of premises situate in such licensing area, and the compensation authority when considering whether to make or not to make an abolition order shall have regard to the provisions of this sub-section."

On Committee Stage, I promised that an amendment would be introduced providing for a maximum levy. This amendment is designed to that end. The total levies in any one year are not to exceed the excise duties paid in that year. Broadly speaking, excise duties are levied at the rate of 10/- in the £ on the Poor Law Valuation of licensed premises. The compensation must not, at any point of time, exceed that amount.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment 57:—

In page 20, Section 43 (1), line 41, to insert immediately before the word "in" the words "or payable."

This is a drafting amendment to provide for the case where the excise duty, though payable, has not actually been paid at the time of apportionment. Sometimes difficulties arise in practice and there is delay in payment of excise duties, pending the completion of formalities.

Amendment agreed to.

I move the next amendment, as follows:—

In page 23, Section 50 (2) (c), line 26, to delete the word "six" and substitute therefor the word "seven" and in line 27 to delete the word "nine" and substitute therefor the word "ten."

As I am desirous of helping the Minister to finish the Bill to-night, I will not say anything in advocacy of this amendment. I am seeking merely to readjust the time so that the hours will be more suitable.

I am afraid I cannot accept the amendment. It proposes to alter the hours from 6 to 9 on Sunday evening to 7 to 10. The hours in the Bill are the same as those mentioned in Section 11 of the Bill for hotels that provide liquor with meals. I would not like any later hour than 9 p.m. on Sunday. I ask the Deputy not to press the amendment.

I do not press it. I put it down because I was asked to do so by a club in my own constituency, which I know is very well conducted.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Bill, as amended on re-committal, ordered to be reported.
The Dáil went out of Committee.
Bill reported with amendments.

May I ask the Minister whether it is his intention, at a later stage, to introduce an amendment on the lines of the amendment I tabled to Section 53, dealing with wine licences?

Yes, if the Deputy will permit me, I shall run briefly over the amendments that will be introduced by me on Tuesday, 29th instant, when, I hope, we will take the actual Report motion on this Bill. If not on that day, at least the next day, I will be inclined to ask for the Fifth Reading, in view of the considerable interval that has been given between stages. The official amendments that will be before Deputies on the 29th instant will be as follows:—

There will be an amendment bearing on the position of off-licence-holders during the split hour on week-days, enabling them to carry on their business without undue restriction—to take orders over the 'phone or by letter and to deliver at railway stations or at the place of residence of the purchaser. They will not be permitted to trade during that closed hour. An amendment will be introduced empowering District Justices to grant exemption orders on Sundays to deal with unusual concourses of people coming into a town—for example, to a big football match or hurling match—where the police are satisfied, and where the chief superintendent certifies, that it would be impracticable both for them, the Gárdaí, and the traders to administer the ordinary regulations governing the supply to bona fide travellers. No such order will be granted before 1 p.m. and not more than three hours, in all, will be permitted. That is the amendment I spoke of to-day as meeting the point raised by Deputy Morrissey and others on Committee Stage.

There will be an amendment bearing on the question of unemployment directly due to the abolition of licences. An official amendment is being drafted and will be introduced on the next Stage providing for the payment of compensation to persons who are out of employment as a direct consequence of abolition of licences, where such persons can prove that, within three months after abolition, no suitable employment was obtainable. The employee must further prove that he had been five years in the service of the licence-holder prior to abolition. The amount of compensation will be subject to a maximum of three months' wages and will be paid out of the compensation fund. An amendment will be introduced to provide for the gazetting of reference orders and abolition orders, so that there may be public notice to interested parties of the contemplated abolition of a given licence.

An amendment will be introduced dealing specifically with tied houses, giving the Tribunal discretion to appotion the compensation in respect of given premises between the brewery and the tied-tenant on the merits of each case, and any agreements whereby a tenant is bound to surrender compensation, so paid, shall be made unenforceable by the Bill.

I am satisfied that there is a case for having special hours for outdoor sports clubs and, accordingly, it is my intention to introduce an amendment on next stage providing hours for outdoor sports clubs in lieu of those in the Bill providing for clubs generally. We can go into that matter when the amendment is circulated.

An amendment will be introduced dealing with wine licences. Broadly, it will provide for the abolition of miscellaneous wine licences and that wine licences may only be issued to persons who have a justice's certificate either ad hoc or for some other form of intoxicating liquor. There may be an amendment dealing with the question of six-day licences, if I decide to go ahead with the idea of enabling the holder of a six-day licence to get a seven-day licence conditionally on his buying out and extinguishing some seven-day licence. The point raised by Deputy Shaw with regard to the Shop Hours Act and the bearing of that on this compulsory closing for an hour of off-licence holders will be considered. It does not apply to on-licence holders, because the hour that is now in the Bill —2.30 to 3.30—is all right for them, and is square with the Shop Hours Act. But the question of spirit grocers and larger places of that kind may have to be dealt with by amendment. I think that will exhaust the official amendments that will be before Deputies on the Report Stage. There will be, in all, perhaps, seven or eight official amendments before Deputies.

Report Stage ordered for Tuesday, 29th instant.
The Dáil adjourned at 8.30 p.m. until Thursday, 24th inst., at 3 p.m.