Scrap Iron (Control of Export) Bill, 1937—Committee.

Sections 1 and 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 3.
(2) If any person exports or attempts to export scrap iron or scrap steel 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 one hundred pounds.
(4) The provisions of this section relating to the prohibition of the exportation or attempted exportation of articles shall have effect as though those provisions were included in the Customs Consolidation Act, 1876, and that Act and any Act amending or extending that Act shall apply accordingly, and if any person shall export or attempt to export in contravention of an order made under this Act, or bring or be in the act of bringing any article to any quay, road or other place whatsoever for the purpose of such exportation or attempted exportation, or shall aid or abet such exportation or attempted exportation, such person shall be liable to the same penalties, detention, and proceedings as those to which a person is liable under Section 186 of the Customs Consolidation Act, 1876, for illegally importing prohibited goods.

I move amendment No. 1:—

To delete sub-section (2).

This amendment is considered necessary because there is an apparent conflict between the provisions of sub-section (2) and sub-section (4). The same has occurred in the Sheepskin Bill from which this Bill is copied. The penalties provided in sub-section (2) are different from those set out in sub-section (4) even though they relate to the same offence. We propose deleting sub-section (2) so that the penalties for the offence will be the penalties provided under the Customs Consolidation Act, 1876.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 2:—

In sub-section (4), lines 6 and 7, to delete the words "in contravention of an order made under the Act" and substitute therefor the words "any article in contravention of this section."

This is a drafting amendment.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Section 3 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 4.
Question proposed: "That Section 4 stand part of the Bill."

In connection with this section, I should be glad to know if sub-section (3) is taken from any other previous measure or whether it is brought into this Bill as a result of abuses which have arisen in connection with licensing provisions under other statutes. We are all aware of cases in which people have got licences on making certain representations to the Minister. After the licence was issued and an article had been imported under that licence, it was discovered that a false representation had been made. There was one case in Donegal in which, I think, a licence was sought by a trader to import flour on the representation that it was required for a bakery in Dungloe. The Minister then discovered, after the flour was imported, that it was in fact shop flour which was sold as a retail commodity to the detriment of that trader's competitors. When I brought the case forward here, I remember the Minister replied that he had no means of penalising a person who made representations of that kind, that if by any representation he succeeded in getting a licence he could fire away and import any flour he liked, and if it subsequently transpired that the representations he made were misleading, that was just too bad. I would be glad to know if it is as a result of what happened then, the Minister has introduced sub-section (4) of this Bill.

The answer to all the Deputy's questions are in the negative. The Deputy's statements, as usual, are untrue.

Is it not true that on a previous occasion a licence was secured by misrepresentation but no remedy was available?

Is it not true that this is the first time, with the exception of the Sheepskin Bill, that this provision is inserted giving the Minister the right to invoke a penalty on any person who secures a licence to import or export, despite prohibition, through misrepresentation?

This Bill and the Sheepskin Bill are the only two Bills passed to regulate exports. In the case to which the Deputy refers, the difficulty did not arise over the representations that were made, on the strength of which the licence was given, but the Act gave me no power to distinguish between one type of flour and another, nor is it chemically possible to distinguish between them.

Had the Minister any power to impose a penalty if a misrepresentation had been made?

No false representations were made to me to my knowledge.

Had they been made, had the Minister any power to invoke a penalty on the individual guilty?

He has power to refuse a licence.

After the wool was pulled over his eyes and his leg was pulled, had he any means of invoking a penalty on that person?

The only person whose leg was pulled in that matter was Deputy Dillon.

The gentleman who successfully got away with the swag was not subject to any penalty?

All this happened, a Chinn Comhairle, in 1932.

Quite. It takes a long time to teach the Minister sense. It took the Minister six years to learn many other things which he has learned. I take it if anybody does follow the example of this pioneer, in the matter of pulling the wool over the Minister's eyes, he will be caught and punished, so it would be well to spread the word in West Donegal that there is no use in trying out another quick one in the future.

Did he over-charge anyone?

Question put and agreed to.
Section 5 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Bill reported with amendments.
Report Stage ordered for Wednesday, 16th February.