Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Friday, 7 Mar 1930

Vol. 33 No. 12

Agricultural Produce (Fresh Meat) Bill, 1929—Report (Resumed).

Debate resumed on the following amendment:—
"In page 27 to delete Rule 3 of the Schedule"—Séamus O Riain.

I want to say that the Minister may have a lot of other points to make against the amendment, but last night the only point he made was that, if the amendment were carried, everyone throughout the country could ask for an inspection of his premises to see whether they were suitable. I made a mistake, as the Minister pointed out, when I said that each application would have to be accompanied by a fee of £12 10s. Under the Schedule £12 10s. would have to be paid if the application was granted. The Minister admits that everyone who applies for inspection has only to pay a fee of £1 so that, after all, if this Rule 3 were deleted things would remain as they are in regard to applications. If Deputy Dr. Ryan's amendment were carried all that anyone who wanted his premises inspected would have to pay would be £1, as they have to do at present.

Deputy Aiken made a point last night that there ought to be sufficient powers in the Bill, without these provisions for a minimum fee, to prevent what I fear would occur, actually occurring, namely, the establishment of small factories in almost every backyard in the country. He pointed out that before a factory could be established and allowed to operate it would have to conform to many regulations enshrined in the Bill, that that could be met under the powers in the Bill, and that that would be sufficient to prevent the springing up of small and inefficient factories. I think that the experience of the administration of the Department of Agriculture shows that it is not sufficient. These regulations have not to be conformed with until a factory is established. There is no doubt that prices in the pork trade fluctuate a good deal from time to time, being extremely good perhaps for a period of five or six months and then suddenly falling off. If we have a period when prices suddenly or for a particular reason become extremely good, I do not think that there is any doubt but that there will be a very large number of applications for the establishment of dead-meat factories from areas in the country very widely separated. You do not require anything in the way of expensive plant, a very high degree of technical skill, or very expensive labour to kill and disembowel animals in a rough and ready fashion for export. You do not require expensive plant, machinery, or labour to establish a factory that will conform to the regulations under the Bill.

These applications would come in from enterprising shopkeepers and business men of all kinds who would decide to get suddenly into the business and to hop out again the moment the prices fell. They would be in a somewhat similar position to the pirate bus in transport which comes in at a particular moment and does not particularly care whether it is put out of business at the end of six months. We must have sufficient staff always to meet any possible contingency, a staff that will be big enough to deal with every application. If a very large number of applications come in and, even though a large amount of them are refused on the ground that the plant, lay-out, or position of the factory was not as it should be, we would still have to have a sufficient number of veterinary surgeons to inspect, to carry on correspondence, and so forth. I am advised— and I have no reason to doubt from my experience of the administration of the Department—that if we pass this Bill without some provision for minimum fees it will increase the cost very considerably of the administration of the Bill. This Bill will cost entirely about £17,000 or £18,000, and an increase of, say, 10 per cent. would amount to no more than £2,000. People might say that does not matter very much, but, after all, £2,000 here, there and everywhere in connection with every other scheme of administration, not only by the Department of Agriculture but by every other Department, is the sort of thing that increases taxation and increases the expenses that have to be borne by people in a particular trade or business, such as the farmers of the country, or by the ratepayers generally. What advantage are you going to get from it?

People have gone so far as to say that this Bill is going to bring about a monopoly. That is absolutely absurd. There cannot be a monopoly in a country where there will be thirty to forty firms competing with each other for the dead meat trade. There will always be thirty to forty first-class firms competing with each other in the meat business. For instance, the factory in Limerick has to compete with the factory in Castlebar. The Waterford factory, the proprietary factory, has not only to compete with the cooperative factory beside it, but it competes just as strongly with the factory in Castlebar. It affects prices at the fair of Loughrea just as much as in Waterford. So that it can be taken that practically all the factories in this country, with some exceptions, are competing with each other, and there can be no question of a monopoly. Neither can there be any question of the knocking out of small men as such. The small man is not going to be under any great expense. The fees per capita have been reduced considerably and if the Bill is to have any effect, or to increase to any extent the prices which dead meat fetches on whatever market it is to be sold, the increase, no matter how small, will be a very big increase compared with the small fees imposed per capita. The minimum fees have been considerably reduced, but I find that the minimum fees will not in reality be paid by ninety-five per cent. of the factories. The fees go as part payment of the per capita fees, and they will only operate in the case of five per cent. of the factories that should not really be operating as they are uneconomic.

I pointed out on the Second Reading of the Bill, in answer to people who feared that when this Bill became an Act and when it was administered that it would interfere with the trade in certain factories that were, in the opinion of people who spoke for them, doing good work at present, that if we did not kill off these factories Dutch competition would do it. We are not professedly aiming at a very big business, but we cannot have business so small that it becomes uneconomic. No matter how efficient, how good the intention of the very small man, he cannot be allowed, by reason of circumstances over which he has no control—because he has not sufficient wealth, because he has not sufficient technical skill—to interfere with the reputation of our produce as a whole. He must go, but even after he goes there will be any amount of small institutions and big institutions, and they will be well able to handle the trade. So far as they are concerned these minimum fees do not affect them. They will go in part payment of the per capita fees which I hold are quite reasonable. The only effect of the minimum fee will be to prevent quite considerable costs of administration being piled up against the farmer on the one hand and the taxpayer on the other, and the cost of administration which will have no set off, in the way of helping to increase the price of the farmers' produce or in any way to put him in a better position to meet his liabilities. I could not agree to accept the amendment. I think the fees are quite reasonable, and I ask the Dáil to agree with me.

The Minister in one sentence expressed a point of view with which we could not agree. He said that five or ten per cent. of the factories that should not be operated at all will be affected by this. That is to say that the Minister appears to agree that the small factories who would not do sufficient business to pay in the year fees that would bring them up to the minimum fees should not be in business. That is a point of view with which we could not agree. I think it is possible for a small factory to be a desirable thing in the country and we must insist on the amendment.

I want to know what the Deputy means by a factory? The word factory has a distinct meaning. Anybody can start a factory if you suggest that a factory is a shed in a lane or backyard with a few hooks and knives. That is what is happening in many places. A few fellows get together. They have no capital but they buy a few knives and hooks.

Mr. Hogan

That is the only factory that will be interfered with.

It is not a factory, it is only a shed. To call it a factory is a misuse of the word. They get into the trade for a month or so and they go out again. It is neither a factory nor anything else. The pork or bacon is not inspected. There is no veterinary inspection.

You must have veterinary inspection under the Act.

Mr. Hogan

Is it worth paying an inspector to inspect those places?

Why not give him a chance of developing?

Mr. Hogan

If he develops it is all right.

How many of these so-called factories, as Deputy Gorey calls them, are in existence at the present moment?

Mr. Hogan

I had the number on the Second Reading stage.

There would be about half a dozen.

Are there any in Waterford?

There are, I believe.

Why does not your factory wipe them out?

I believe there are some in Youghal.

Your factory must not be efficient enough to wipe them out.

Any fellow going around with a ton lorry and gathering these things—that is your type of factory.

Question put: "That the words proposed to be deleted stand part."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 63; Níl, 43.

  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Bourke, Séamus A.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Broderick, Henry.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Byrne, John Joseph.
  • Carey, Edmund.
  • Cole, John James.
  • Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
  • Connolly, Michael P.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Craig, Sir James.
  • Daly, John.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • De Loughrey, Peter.
  • Doherty, Eugene.
  • Dolan, James N.
  • Doyle, Edward.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Duggan, Edmund John.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Gorey, Denis J.
  • Haslett, Alexander.
  • Hassett, John J.
  • Heffernan, Michael R.
  • Hennessy, Thomas.
  • Hennigan, John.
  • Henry, Mark.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Jordan, Michael.
  • Kelly, Patrick Michael.
  • Law, Hugh Alexander.
  • Leonard, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
  • McDonogh, Martin.
  • MacEóin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Nally, Martin Michael.
  • O'Connell, Richard.
  • O'Connell, Thomas J.
  • O'Connor, Bartholomew.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, Dermot Gun.
  • O'Reilly, John J.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Reynolds, Patrick.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Shaw, Patrick W.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • Tierney, Michael.
  • White, Vincent Joseph.
  • Wolfe, George.


  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Buckley, Daniel.
  • Carney, Frank.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Colbert, James.
  • Corkery, Dan.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • O'Hanlon, John F.
  • O'Kelly, Seán T.
  • O'Leary, William.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Fahy, Frank.
  • Flinn, Hugo.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Kent, William R.
  • Kerlin, Frank.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Duggan and P.S. Doyle. Níl: Deputies G. Boland and Allen.
Question declared carried.

Mr. Hogan

I beg to move:—

In page 28, Schedule, to delete Rule (4) (3), lines 15 to 17 inclusive, and substitute the following:—

"(3) For the purposes of this rule—

(a) a calf which, when flayed and disembowelled, does not weigh more than one hundred pounds shall be reckoned as one-fourth of an animal only, and

(b) a pig, the offals only of which are intended to be exported, shall be reckoned as one-half of an animal only."

Amendment agreed to.
Question:—"That the Bill, as amended, be received for final consideration"—put and agreed to.

Mr. Hogan

I am anxious to have the Final Stage taken to-day, because it would suit my time-table in connection with the administration of the Act.

Ordered: That the Fifth Stage be taken to-day.
Question:—"That the Bill do now pass"—put, and agreed to.