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Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 20 Jul 1933

Vol. 49 No. 3

Cement (No. 2) Bill, 1933—From the Seanad.

The Dáil went into Committee to consider amendments from the Seanad.

I move that the Committee disagree with the Seanad in amendment 1.

Section 3, sub-section (2). A new paragraph added at the end of the sub-section as follows:—

(c) a person born in Ireland in the area not comprised in Saorstát Eireann who at the relevant time is ordinarily resident in Saorstát Eireann.

The Bill defines as a national of Saorstát Eireann a person born in the Saorstát or a person ordinarily resident there for five years. That definition, consequently, makes nationals of Saorstát Eireann for the purposes of the Bill persons who might otherwise be regarded as aliens. It seems to me that we have gone far enough to meet the situation which exists in the absence of permanent legislation dealing with the definition of nationality. The term "ordinarily resident" has a certain meaning but, in any event, we think there should be ordinary residence for five years in order to comply with the provisions of this Bill. The only parts in respect of which the question of nationals arises is in the matter of the provision of employment, the investment of capital or the control of the industry. In these circumstances, we think that extension of the definition should not be agreed to.

I should like to ask the Minister is not broadly the effect of this amendment by the Seanad to make it possible for a person born in the Six Counties to come here under the definition on the same footing as a person born in the Saorstát?

To put it in another way. Is not the effect of the refusal to accept this amendment placing people born in the Six Counties in the same position as people born in England?

A person born in the Six Counties is placed on the same footing as a person born in the Saorstát provided he has been resident here for five years. That is the definition of "national" in the Bill. We do not think it is necessary to go beyond that.

That is a very important reservation. My point is that by excluding this amendment you have left a person who was born in the Six Counties, but who has not been resident here for five years, in the same position practically as a person born in England. I do not wish to make a speech on Partition, but I think the Government ought to make up their minds how far they ought to exclude expressly people born in the Six Counties. There have been certain other Bills in which this clause has cropped up and there are different definitions of a Saorstát national. At the same time, I suggest to the Government that they should cease legislating against people born in the Six Counties. The Minister when replying can tell us whether there is any instance of retaliatory legislation by the people in the Six Counties in placing any bar against people born in the Twenty-Six Counties. Whether there is or not, I suggest to the Minister that the continued differentiation between people born in the Six Counties and people born in the Twenty-Six Counties is not in the interests of anybody. I do not know whether it will ever arise under this Bill or not, but they have very efficient cement works in Northern Ireland and it might just come about that a person who had a very precise knowledge of the manufacture of cement, whom the Government would wish to see brought in here, will be debarred under this provision. I ask the Minister to consider it very sympathetically.

In that connection I should like to say that our main task at present must be to provide employment for the people of the Saorstát and to regulate the affairs of this part of Ireland so as to ensure the greatest good of the greatest number. Whatever our wishes may be in respect to the Six Counties, our job is to look after the Twenty-Six Counties at present and to provide employment for the people here in preference to providing employment for other people. The Deputy asks if there is any example of retaliatory legislation in the Six Counties. I do not know whether it is retaliatory legislation in so far as it has existed from a date preceding by a considerable time the advent of this Government to office, but legislation there practically debars any citizen of the Saorstát from taking any insurable employment in the Six Counties until there has been three years residence. No citizen of the Saorstát going into the Six Counties is eligible to draw unemployment insurance benefit until he has been resident for three years. There is no such retaliatory——

What about the Dublin gentleman who was appointed city accountant in Belfast within the last few weeks? He was not a resident.

A very large number of Belfast citizens have been appointed to positions in the Saorstát. That has nothing to do with it.

What we want is further intercourse between the two. We do not want any partition of that kind.

The Deputy can give that advice where it is most required and that is not here.

The Minister said that our people suffered disadvantages in Northern Ireland, and I gave as an illustration the case of the Belfast city accountant to show that residents of the Saorstát were quite free to take appointments in Northern Ireland and can take them.

The disadvantages to which I have referred were brought forward for discussion at a meeting of the International Labour Office by our predecessors as being contrary to an international convention to which the British Government had subscribed, but they have not been removed. They are still there and we have not retaliated. This question of definition has nothing to do with the bringing into the Saorstát of people with specialised knowledge to carry out operations in relation to this or any other industry where Saorstát citizens have not got the skill to do it. If such persons are required they can be brought in.

Under licence?

No, there is no question of a licence. In relation to this industry we take power to regulate the extent to which employment will be confined to Saorstát citizens, but, no doubt, the persons operating the industry will from time to time make the plea that special workers are required for special operations and must be brought from outside until Saorstát citizens are trained for that work, and they will be accommodated by my Department, the same as persons have been accommodated in respect of other industries.

Must they not be admitted by your Department?

In virtue of our common citizenship they will not require a licence coming from Great Britain.

Then how will the Minister get rid of them at the expiration of the period which has been thought sufficient?

In so far as the question of bringing in persons with special knowledge is concerned, this definition has nothing to do with it. This definition relates to the sections of the Bill which give the Minister power to prescribe the extent to which employment is to be confined to nationals of the Saorstát. It is concerned with the extent to which the control or the ownership of industries in Saorstát Eireann is confined to citizens of Saorstát Eireann. In that connection we have given a most liberal definition of nationality—a much more liberal definition of nationality than is given in other countries. No doubt, there will be other legislation introduced on that matter, but, pending the introduction of such legislation, we have confined ourselves to this definition which, in our opinion, is much more liberal than the definition given in other countries.

I submit that we are not going to get rid of Partition by measures of this kind.

I am not so sure about that.

The Minister says that the main object of this measure is to provide employment for our nationals. I should like to point out to the Minister that, before you do that, you have got to provide industries. If you have not the industries, there will be no employment. This is an industry of which we have no knowledge whatever in the Free State and of which there is knowledge in the Six Counties. There is no cement industry running here at the moment and nationals of this State have no knowledge of the industry.

That has nothing to do with what we are discussing.

I think it has something to do with it. It will be necessary to get some people from the Six Counties in order to establish a successful industry here.

If necessary, we will get them.

I tried to point out to the Minister for Finance during the absence of the Minister for Industry and Commerce—and may I say that we all regretted the Minister's absence, and may I also say that I am very glad to see him back here again—but, as I say, I tried to point out, during his absence, to the Minister for Finance when the same principle was under discussion, in connection with one or two other Bills which came before us, such as the Industrial Credit Bill, and similar Bills, that other matters were more essential than the provision of capital for industry, and I think the Minister for Finance agreed that experience was one of the essentials. Seeing that we have no nationals with experience of this industry here, I think we will all agree that, in order to make the industry a success, we must get people into the industry who have a knowledge of it. I think the Minister will agree that that is a primary requirement in any industry, and I think he will also agree that it would be much better to encourage people with the necessary experience from Northern Ireland, rather than from another country.

That is not the object of the Seanad amendment.

I think the object of the Seanad amendment, as far as I understand it, is to bring in men of experience in the industry from any part of Ireland. They are all Irishmen, no matter what part of the country they come from, and I think, seeing that that is the object of the amendment, it ought to be supported in this House. Furthermore, I think that if we support the amendment we will be helping to establish a successful industry here.

The Seanad amendment at least requires that these people should be ordinarily resident in the Saorstát, and, consequently, it has nothing to do with the bringing in of specialised workers from other countries—whether it be Belfast or anywhere else.

Does not the Minister agree that the object of the amendment is to provide free ingress from the North of Ireland or anywhere else?

As far as that is concerned, there is nothing in the Bill to prevent them coming from China or any other country.

Does that mean that they can stay here?

Oh, no. It means that, in so far as they have specialised knowledge of the particular industry, they will not be debarred.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment 2.

New section. Before Section 9 a new section inserted as follows:—

9.—(1) The Minister shall, as soon as may be after the commencement of this Act, by order under this sub-section appoint by reference to quality the standard to which Portland cement manufactured by holders of cement manufacture licences is to conform.

(2) The Minister may from time to time by order under this sub-section amend the order made under the immediately preceding sub-section.

(3) Every order made by the Minister under this section shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made, and if a resolution annulling such order is passed by either House of the Oireachtas within the next subsequent ten days on which that House has sat after such order is so laid before it, such order shall be annualled accordingly, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under such order.

(4) If any holder of a cement manufacture licence manufactures any Portland cement the quality of which does not conform to the standard for the time being appointed under this section, such holder shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds.

The intention originally was that a standard quality of cement should be fixed, to which all cement produced in the country would have to conform. Ordinarily, the standard is fixed by Governmental institutions, but in the special circumstances here I cannot see any objection to having it fixed by the Minister. It will ensure that a standard quality of cement will be fixed by order.

I take it that the Minister's idea really is to have the current standard specification at the time conformed to. Is that the idea of this Amendment?

The intention is to define the standard in consultation with engineers.

There will be no standard applied to imported cement?

I agree with the Minister on that.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendments 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, as follows:—

3. Section 11, sub-section (1). After the word "subject" in line 5 the words "to the provisions of this Act relating to standard of Portland cement and" inserted.

4. Section 12, sub-section (1). After the word "cement" in line 9 the word "manufacture" inserted.

5. Section 12, sub-section (1). Paragraph (h) deleted.

6. Section 12, sub-section (1). Before the word "controlled" in line 46 the words "to be" inserted.

7. New section. Before Section 14 a new section inserted as follows:—

14.—(1) The wages paid by the holder of a cement manufacture licence to persons employed by him for the purposes of the business authorised by such licence shall not be less than would be payable if such business were carried on under a contract between the Minister and such holder containing a fair wage clause similar to that for the time being contained in contracts made by Ministers and Government Departments.

(2) If any person who is the holder of a cement manufacture licence acts in contravention of this section, such person shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds.

Question put and agreed to.
The Dáil went out of Committee.
Amendments reported. Report agreed to Message to be sent to the Seanad accordingly.