INTOXICATING LIQUOR BILL, 1927—REPORT (RESUMED).
Question proposed —"That the Bill, as amended, be received for final consideration."
Ordered —"That the Bill be recommitted for the consideration of further amendments."
I move amendments 1 and 2:
In page 4, Section 1 (1), line 13, to delete the word "on" and substitute therefor the words "either on or off."
In page 4, Section 1 (1), line 13, to delete the word "and" and between lines 13 and 14 to insert the following words —"the expression ‘off-licence' means a licence for the sale of intoxicating liquor for consumption off the premises, and."
The first two amendments might be taken together. No. 2 introduces a definition for off-licences which it had not been necessary hitherto to define. In view of the provision made on Tuesday last in respect of those licences it has become necessary to define the words "off-licence." Amendment 1 merely emphasises that the "on-licence" premises sell for consumption both on and off the premises. The new definition for "off-licence" makes it clear that off-licence premises sell for consumption off the premises only.
Will the Minister look into a small point to which my attention has been drawn in connection with wine licences? It is stated that chemists and druggists are entitled to sell wine, and I was asked if the Minister would insert the words "pharmaceutical chemists and druggists." There may be difficulty later on if the three are not definitely mentioned, as there is a difference between chemists and druggists and pharmaceutical chemists and druggists.
I will look into that, but it scarcely arises on these amendments.
Amendments agreed to.
I move amendments 3 and 4—
In page 4, Section 2 (1), to delete in lines 30 and 31 the words "or between the hours of half-past two o'clock and half-past three o'clock in the afternoon" and in line 32 to insert immediately after the word "evening" the words "or (subject to the exceptions hereinafter mentioned) between the hours of half-past two o'clock and half-past three o'clock in the afternoon."
In page 4, Section 2 (1), to delete in lines 34 and 45 the words "or between the hours of half-past two o'clock and half-past three o'clock in the afternoon" and in line 36 to insert immediately after the word "evening" the words "or (subject to the exceptions hereinafter mentioned) between the hours of half-past two o'clock and half-past three o'clock in the afternoon."
These are merely drafting amendments. The words "between the hours of half-past two and half-past three in the afternoon" are changed to the end of the paragraph for the purpose of getting in the words "subject to the exceptions hereinafter mentioned" without causing any confusion or doubt.
These amendments, I presume, are to enable off-licence premises to open between 2.30 and 3.30 in the afternoon.
That has been already decided.
I understand that, but I want to know whether it would be possible, even at this stage, to give the mixed traders an opportunity of opening for the purpose of taking verbal orders.
Amendments agreed to.
I move amendment 5.
In page 4, Section 2, to add at the end of sub-section (1) (as a new sentence and not as a continuation of paragraph (d) the following words —"The exceptions referred to in paragraph (a) and (b) of this sub-section, are—
(i) that between the hours of half-past two o'clock and half-past three o'clock in the afternoon on any week day the holder of an on-licence attached to premises situate in a county borough may receive on such premises orders (accompanied or not accompanied by payment) by post, telegraph, or telephone but not otherwise for intoxicating liquor to be consumed off the premises and to be delivered by such holder at the residence of the person so ordering the same or at a railway station but not otherwise and may so deliver the intoxicating liquor so ordered, but the person so ordering such intoxicating liquor shall not for the purposes of any other section of this Act be a person to whom intoxicating liquor may be lawfully sold or supplied on such premises between the said hours on the said days, and
(ii) that between the hours of half-past two o'clock and half-past three o'clock in the afternoon on any week day the holder of an off-licence attached to premises situate in a county borough may receive verbally or otherwise on such premises orders (accompanied or not accompanied by payment) for intoxicating liquor to be consumed off the premises and to be delivered by such holder at the residence of the person ordering the same or at a railway station but not otherwise and may so deliver the intoxicating liquor so ordered and may open and keep open the said premises for the purpose of receiving such orders and may expose on such premises intoxicating liquor for sale on such orders,"
and consequential thereon to delete the following new sub-section previously added on Report at the end of Section 2—
"(6) Nothing in this section shall in the case of licensed premises situate in a county borough prohibit between the hours of half-past two o'clock and half-past three o'clock in the afternoon on any week day the receipt by post, telegraph, or telephone of orders for intoxicating liquor for consumption off the premises or the delivery at or dispatch to the purchaser's residence or a railway station of intoxicating liquor sold for consumption off the premises."
This deals with the exceptions mentioned in amendments 3 and 4 —"subject to the exceptions hereinafter mentioned." The principle was accepted on a previous occasion, and this is merely an improved wording to effect the same thing, namely, that orders may be received by post, telegraph or telephone for liquor to be consumed off the premises by delivery either at the residence of the person ordering it or at a railway station. Persons will not be permitted to enter licensed premises for the purpose of giving such an order. That is on on-licensed premises. On the other hand, off-licence premises will be in the same position as regards orders, except that in recognition of the fact that their doors will be open from 2.30 to 3.30, the orders may be taken verbally in the shop, provided that delivery is not made across the counter. As I say, this is merely an improvement in the drafting — the principle has already been agreed to.
We only got this draft this morning. I think there is one difficulty that might arise, and that is that delivery is only to be made at the place of residence or at a railway station. I can appreciate that the Minister does not want to adopt any formula that will tie up the Bill too much, but I should like a definition of "place of residence." Very often people motor up to Dublin from the country and stay a night in a hotel or a club, and they give an order for wine which they intend to take back with them. Would a wine merchant be empowered to deliver to a hotel or club? Would a hotel or a club be, temporarily speaking, a place of residence of the person giving the order?
There is also another point. How will this apply to hotels and restaurants, principally restaurants, where the manager or managing director does not reside on the premises? Would they be prevented from replenishing their stock during the prohibited hours? I do not mean getting in liquor for immediate consumption — that would be obviously wrong—but to have a dozen or two dozen of bottles of whiskey or beer delivered. It would be all right in a hotel where the manager lives on the premises, but where the manager lives off the premises, as is the case in some Dublin hotels or restaurants like the Metropole or Clery's, it might create some difficulty. It would certainly create a difficulty for the off-licence holder, because he could not very well send out a van with one delivery for hotels and restaurants in the morning and another for private houses in the afternoon. It would mean having a special round. If it does not open the matter too wide, I suggest to the Minister that he might add "residence or place of business." If he will consider that before the Bill goes to another place, I daresay this amendment will be moved there, or he might even get it moved himself.
It is very largely a question of the spirit in which the Act will be administered. The Deputy can take it that the entire object of preventing physical delivery across the counter is to prevent abuses which some people foresee or think they foresee in connection with the broken day of drinking about the street. As a matter of fact, delivery to any residence will not be made the subject matter of a prosecution. The Deputy may be quite sure of that. If a person were in town and wanted a delivery made, it could be made to any residence he named such, for instance, as the residence of a friend. The Deputy can take it then that there would not be a prosecution for delivery to a hotel or a club. The whole idea is simply to ensure that within that hour there will not be promiscuous drinking in bye-ways or anything like that. Once the goods are delivered to any residence, hotel, or club then we will not try to follow them any further.
While I agree that that is the principle, I hope the Minister will look into the second case that I mentioned. It presents rather more difficulty I think than the other. The wording of the section is "at the residence of the person ordering same." I hope that the Minister will look into the matter further from the point of view of the hotels, because if that is the law it would be open to an individual police officer to bring a prosecution possibly, and it is just as well to have the law in harmony with the practice.
We will look into that. There might be something to be said for delivery to an address given by a purchaser or something like that.
That, I think would meet it.
Would the Minister explain whether the purport of the last part of sub-section (1) of the amendment is merely to prevent verbal orders being taken, or is it for some other purpose?
The only purpose of that is to prevent physical entrance on unlicensed premises during that broken hour.
Amendment agreed to.
I move amendment 6: —
In page 5, Section 3, before sub-section (2) to insert a new sub-section as follows: —
"(2) Where any non-licensed business is carried on in any premises to which an off-licence is attached and the portion of such premises in which such non-licensed business is carried on is not structurally separated from the remainder of such premises, the opening or keeping open of such premises for the purpose of carrying on such non-licensed business shall for the purposes of this Act be deemed to be an opening or keeping open of such premises for the sale of intoxicating liquor save and except in a county borough on week days between the hours of nine o'clock and ten o'clock in the morning and between the hours of half-past two o'clock and half-past three o'clock in the afternoon."
The purpose of this amendment is to make it clear that off-licensed premises may open from nine to ten o'clock in the morning for the purpose of carrying on their non-licensed business, and also that they may open between the hours of 2.30 and 3.30 p.m.
Amendment agreed to.
I move amendment 7: —
In page 9, before Section 11, to insert a new section as follows:—
A person who is at the one time the holder of a six-day licence and the holder of an on-licence which is not a six-day licence (in this section called a seven-day licence) shall, if the premises to which the said licences are respectively attached are situate in the same licensing area, be entitled to have the seven-day licence transferred at the annual licensing district court to the premises to which the six-day licence is attached but subject to the condition that on such transfer being made the six-day licence shall not be renewed and that the premises to which the seven-day licence was attached before such transfer shall for the purposes of the Licensing (Ireland) Act, 1902, be deemed never to have been licensed."
As I indicated on the last day, I am introducing this amendment to enable the holder of a six-day licence to transfer a seven-day licence held by him in the same licensing area to the six-day premises on the original seven-day licence being extinguished.
It is rather hard to understand this amendment, and I should like if the Minister would make it a little more clear. I would like to know whether the meaning of the amendment is this: If the holder of a seven-day licence in a licensing area goes out and forfeits his licence, will the holder of a six-day licence in the same area be entitled to get the seven-day licence for his premises?
Well, then, will the Minister say what it means? Does it mean that the holder of a six-day licence on purchasing premises to which a seven-day licence is attached can get that seven-day licence transferred to the premises in respect of which he holds a six-day licence? If that be so, I do not think it is meeting the case at all of the six-day licence-holder. You have 2,000 such licence-holders in the Free State. When it was argued here on the last day that we had such a large number of these houses in the State, the Minister said that a very large number of them had lost their seven-day licences either because of misconduct or by voluntary surrender. It is true that a large number of them lost their seven-day licences, but as regards those who surrendered them, what happened in many cases was that the holders did not reside on the licensed premises and had no intention of carrying on a Sunday trade. They, therefore, surrendered their seven-day licence because it meant a reduction in the Excise duty they had to pay. What has happened in many cases is that later on these premises were sold and the new owners are now residing on them. It is a hardship on these people not to have the seven-day licence.
I do not think it would be any abuse of the licensing laws if the proprietors of these houses were to be given the opportunity of getting a seven-day licence. The amendment, as it stands, will not go any way at all to meet the case of these six-day licence-holders. It is a well-known fact that in a number of country towns many of these six-day licence-holders are not in a financial position to purchase new licensed premises to which a seven-day licence is attached. I think that in licensing areas where a seven-day licence-holder is obliged to forfeit his licence, and where you have in the same area a six-day licence-holder conducting his premises in a proper manner, that the Minister should give the latter the opportunity of applying to the District Court for a seven-day licence. The Minister, I think, could give discretion to the District Justice to deal with applications of that kind. As I said before, this is the only class of trader that the Minister has not, in my opinion, met in a straight and fair way in connection with this Bill. I am sure, however, that if the holders of six-day licences were members of a strong organisation that they might have been able to bring pressure on the Minister to do something for them — just as was done for the seven-day licence-holders. These six-day licence-holders did not do that. They left the matter to the good-will of the Minister, and this is how he is treating them. I think he should do something for them.
Amendment agreed to.
In page 19, Section 39, before sub-section (7) to insert a new sub-section as follows: —
"(7) Sub-sections (3), (4), (5) and (6) of this section shall not apply where the occupation interest is subject to a covenant, agreement, or condition that the owner thereof shall sell only intoxicating liquor purchased from or through the immediate lessor (whether such covenant, agreement or condition extends to all intoxicating liquors or only to one or more particular class or classes of intoxicating liquor), and in lieu of the said sub-sections the following provisions shall apply, that is to say: —
(a) the compensation payable under this section shall be the loss of value, ascertained as hereinafter mentioned, in respect of the interest of the immediate lessor by reason of the abolition of the licence, together with such additional sum as the compensation authority shall consider reasonable in view of the fact that the parties receiving the compensation (including the holder of the licence) have to bear their own costs of all proceedings in relation to the compensation and, in the case of the holder of the licence, of the reference order and the abolition order;
(b) the said loss of value shall be the difference between the following values, that is to say: —
(i) the value in the opinion of the compensation authority, after consultation with the assessor, of the interest of the immediate lessor in the open market on the day before the date of the reference order if sold with all trade fixtures belonging to the immediate lessor and in the licensed premises on the said day and on the basis that the occupation interest had been determined, and that the licence was attached to the interest of the immediate lessor, and that clear possession of the licensed premises would be given to the purchaser, and
(ii) the value in the opinion of the compensation authority, after consultation with the assessor, of the interest of the immediate lessor in the open market on the day before the date of the reference order if sold without the said fixtures and on the basis that the occupation interest had been determined, that no licence was attached to the licensed premises, and that clear possession would be given to the purchaser;
(c) when fixing the amount of the compensation the compensation authority shall also by the same order determine how much of the compensation is to be paid in respect of the occupation interest and in making such determination shall have regard to the nature of the occupation interest, the conduct of the owner thereof, the length of time during which he and his predecessors had been owners of the said interest, and the circumstances in which he acquired the said interest, and shall also have regard to the fact that the owner of the occupation interest has to bear his own costs of the reference order, the abolition order, and the proceedings in relation to the compensation, and
(d) every covenant, condition, and agreement (whenever made) whereby the owner of the occupation interest would be bound to pay to or hold in trust for the immediate lessor the portion or any part of the portion of the compensation determined to be payable in respect of the occupation interest shall be void and of no effect, and
(e) so much of the compensation as is not determined by the compensation authority to be payable in respect of the compensation interest shall be deemed to be payable in respect of the interest of the immediate lessor."
This amendment was referred to on the last day. It is a special provision for compensation where the relationship of brewer and tied tenant exists. Deputies who have studied amendment 8 will see the publichouse will be valued as an ordinary publichouse with or without a licence, the difference representing the compensation, and the sum arrived at will be apportioned by the compensation authority on the merits of each case between the brewer and the tenants in occupation. It leaves unprejudiced to the Compensation Tribunal the question of the apportionment of the compensation it assesses as between the brewer landlord and the tied tenant licensee. The only matter in the amendment I want to refer specially to is the provision in paragraph (d): —
Every covenant, condition, and agreement (whenever made) whereby the owner of the occupation interest would be bound to pay to or hold in trust for the immediate lessor the portion or any part of the portion of the compensation determined to be payable in respect of the occupation interest shall be void and of no effect.
That is put in with the consent and approval of the brewery that is most specially interested.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment 9 is as follows: —
In page 24, section 51 (3) (b) (ii), lines 21 and 22, to delete the words "half-past eight" and substitute therefor the word "nine."
Licensed premises under the Bill are permitted to remain open until nine o'clock on Saturday evenings in winter in the smaller towns and the rural areas. It is proposed to extend that concession in time to clubs.
Amendment agreed to.
Question —"That the Bill, as amended, and as further amended on recommittal, be received for Final Consideration"—put and agreed to.
Question—"That the Fifth Stage be taken to-day"—put and agreed to.
Question —"That the Bill do now pass"—put and agreed to.
Can the Minister give any information to the House when it is likely this Bill will become law?
It depends largely on the eloquence of Senators.
Will the Minister give a certain number of days to the Seanad to discuss the measure?
The Minister could not answer for the Seanad.