Transport Bill, 1944—Second Stage—(Resumed).

I want to urge on the House the wisdom of delaying the Second Reading of this Bill and supporting the motion put down to adjourn the Second Reading until after the report of the Railway Stocks Tribunal. I submit that it is very important that that should be done, but there are even greater reasons for it. The Minister for Finance very properly pointed out that this guarantee represented 44 per cent. of the contingent liability of the State. That is a very great percentage of our guarantees and it is one that should not be lightly undertaken, especially when it is for such a large amount.

The Taoiseach, when he was addressing the House, asked why should we postpone this Bill until after the tribunal has reported. I suggest to him that the reason we should postpone it until we have the report is that we want to know, and it is essential we should know, whose capital we are guaranteeing, and who is going to reap the benefit of the guarantee which this country is to give for this particular stock, a guarantee of £16,000,000. That is a very large sum, and while I admit the transport of this country is very important, there are other things, in my opinion, which are even more important and which require a guarantee of financial help but will not get it, at least until it is too late. I submit that the whole question has been pushed too quickly and the House is asked to come to a decision too hastily.

The Minister admits that he has had discussions with the railway people, and he must also have had discussions with the transport people. He has had the advantage of a staff and yet I would be sure in saying that there are a great many matters in the Bill of which even he has not a thorough grasp. It is obvious there are members of the Government with a greater opportunity who have not a grasp of these matters either. There is no reason in the world why the matter should be rushed. I submit there is a reason why this Bill should not be rushed. It is the recommendation of the tribunal that a five-year plan should be adopted, and in the light of the experience of the five-year plan in which, I submit, it would be reasonable to have a dictator at the head of transport, we would have information on which to base our plans for the period after that. I submit, therefore, that the House should refuse a Second Reading to this particular Bill or to pass the motion that it should not get a Second Reading until we have considered the report of the Stocks Tribunal.

I wish to support this motion by Deputy Dr. O'Higgins. I feel that to rush this Bill through in such a short period as to have it completed by the 1st July is not fair to the people in general. Such a big national scheme should not be rushed through without every Deputy getting time to examine it. So far as the text of the Bill is concerned, we have had very short notice. In my case, I got only five or six days to consider a Bill of roughly 170 sections, between 400 and 500 sub-sections and 50 pages. In a distant area such as County Mayo you would want a reasonable time to study some of the sections. It is well that the Minister should realise that people in areas like Mayo have to pay attention to different aspects of the problem. I was asked on several occasions during a period of three months whether I had got the Bill. Eventually I got it suddenly and I had not the time to tell them that it had come. In view of this, I would consider that the Second Reading of the Bill should be deferred. I do not think that it was reasonable to give such short notice to people in the country in areas where there is no railway service such as in parts of County Mayo.

Many large areas of County Mayo have had no railway service for a number of years. The railway company took away the line from Westport to Newport and Mallaranny and the branch from Mallaranny to Achill. In those areas the railway company did not come to the assistance of the people with alternative services. It was really the private haulier and the motor lorry that came to the rescue of the people of those areas, and the same situation applies in other parts of the country. They took up the railway line from Ballina to Killala and the company gave no substitute service. I support all those who want to see the railway system protected, because without a railway system we could not serve the interests of the country and I do not see how the people would be able to exist.

The railways must be protected, but I am making this point that if the railway company are to have a monopoly, there is no reason why they should not replace something which they have taken away from the people. I believe that a lot of the trouble in the railways is due to their lack of foresight between 1918 and 1933. That is the period in which road services took hold and stretched out in areas which the railway company had not touched. In my county, a considerable area is not served by the railway from Ballina to Blacksod, a distance of 60 miles. Prior to 1918 and coming from that to 1922, stock had to walk 40 to 50 miles from the fair to the nearest railway station at Ballina. Pigs had often to walk 50 miles to Ballina and the railway company made no effort to provide people with the service they required between those areas and the nearest railway station.

This was the reason for the success of the private companies, who gave the people the service they required, a good, cheap and efficient service. Private owners of these lorries went to fairs and markets without demanding a price for the day. They went on the chance of getting a load and if they got a load they were paid by the load. If they did not, they had to provide for themselves and they might have to do something for themselves in order to meet the expense of the journey. Those are the things which made the situation awkward for the railways.

Section 106 of the Bill deals with 10-mile radius men. I feel that the 10-mile radius men are very useful in certain areas, especially in my district. Those men will have to live at a certain distance from the railway. They are conveniencing the farmers and the public, and an ordinary man can go to the lorry owner and book his lorry for the day and be told whether he can get it or not. These men deserve very special consideration, and I am glad to see that under the section they will be able to continue their usual work. It seems that there is a condition that up to the present they did not need to register and that by this section they will now have to be licensed.

What I am afraid of in that section is that the Minister has retained to himself the power to add to the existing licences in the 10-mile radius or to refuse a licence in accordance with the requirements of traffic. In that case I would make a special appeal to the Minister that there are areas such as I have mentioned and that those 10-mile-radius men give very useful service. As I have stated, they are always there for the convenience of the people in the ordinary way, so far as the haulage of agricultural stuff to and from the fair is concerned. As the Minister is aware, in some parts of the country the roads are not the same as they were 25 years ago so far as horse traffic is concerned, and to my mind lorry service has come to stay, and therefore anything that would interfere with those 10-mile-radius men would seriously affect that traffic in certain districts and particularly in my own part of the county.

As far as Newport, Mallaranny, and Achill districts are concerned, the Minister gave permission for the lines to be taken up there, and the railway company have withdrawn all services in that area. As a result, complaints have come from that area that the people are not getting any service so far as the railways are concerned and that, even prior to the emergency regulations, they were not getting a sufficient supply of petrol for haulage purposes. The Minister should pay special attention to the districts of Newport,. Mallaranny, and the Island of Achill and provide these people with every possible service, even during the emergency. These people have to get in and out from the island and transport their goods, and unless they get some service, reasonably approaching what was given to them by the railways, they will not be satisfied. I ask the Minister to give special consideration to that part of the county.

The next point I want to make is that this is a post-war Bill, and I cannot see how it is so urgent that it has to be passed before the 1st July. Nobody in the House or in the country can know what will happen so far as this country is concerned when the war is over. It should be remembered that it was the post-war regulations following the last Great War that brought the lorry traffic into this country. It started in 1917, went on through 1918, 1919 and 1920, and it was between 1920 and 1924 that the lorry traffic really came into this country. That was what happened after the last war and, accordingly, with regard to post-war regulations so far as road or lorry traffic is concerned, it is very hard to decide what is going to be the post-war position.

My final point is that I do not think it is fair or right to put the control of a big combine of this kind, a State organisation, into the hands of one man. I think that this House should have some control or some say in the matter. We saw certain things happening in other cases where control was put practically into the hands of one man. We saw what happened in the case of the Pigs and Bacon Board —I do not want to mention it—where the pigs and bacon trade was killed altogether, and, certainly, a national system such as this, should be sub- ject to some control by the elected members of this House. You are putting £20,000,000 capital into this combine and giving control of it to one man. You are putting that combine into competition with the small men in the 10-mile radius, and we can easily realise what will happen to the small men. They will go out of existence in a very short time.

With that amount of capital behind them, the combine can wipe out these people one by one. Of course, the owner of a lorry may be able to carry on for a year or two, but he will not be able to bear the cost of general repairs, and it is doubtful if any of these lorry owners, when their lorries become old, will be able to replace them with new ones, and if these lorries go off the roads and the whole transport business is put into the hands of the great combine I have very grave doubts with regard to freight charges in the future. I do not think they will be as low as they are now. After all, competition is the life of trade, and my opinion is that the competition of a number of those lorries in the different areas would be very useful competition, even as far as the railways are concerned, and they would be even more useful now when you are going to have this big combine. The railway companies take every chance they can of collecting freight and charges generally. We had experience in that connection in Mayo, so far as Ballina and Westport are concerned, where the railway, as a result of the competition of goods coming into these ports, had to cut rates and charges on goods coming into those areas, with resulting benefit to the people concerned. Those are just a few remarks I wish to make. In general, the Bill has been very well discussed by all sections and by all the previous speakers in the House. The only thing I wish to say in conclusion is that I am going to vote against the Bill, principally on account of the principle contained in it.

I cannot understand the arguments that have been offered to this House about the rushing or alleged rushing of this Bill through the House. Everybody here knows, and everybody in the country knows, that the country as a whole, for many years, has been crying out for something to be done about our railway system and about the way in which the Great Southern Railways had been carrying on. For many years, the people of this country, generally, have been demanding Government interference of some kind or another with a view to bringing some order out of the chaos that existed and still exists so far as that company is concerned. This Bill could be described as an injection of penicillin through the gangrenous system of the Great Southern Railways Company. It holds out a hope that even at this late stage something will be done to put those things in order and, from that point of view, I think the Bill should be welcomed by all sides in the House.

It has been said here that whatever complaints there may be in respect of the matters that are being investigated by the tribunal that is sitting at the moment, these matters have nothing to do with the principles enshrined in this Bill. There are a few matters in connection with the Bill on which I should like more information. One is the question of harbours, and particularly small harbours, throughout the country. We, in Mayo, save something like £2,000 every year as a result of Westport Harbour being open—I am speaking of the county council—when we were importing tar through Westport Harbour. The Minister may say that the Bill does not propose to interfere with any harbour, but there are various ways in which the company in the future could interfere with such harbours. For instance, if the company closed down a line to one of these small harbours they could manufacture the excuse that the line was uneconomic and, in that way, cut out competition by the small harbours throughout the country.

That is one of the matters on which I should like more information and some guarantee from the Minister that that will not happen in the future, because there is a temptation for any company given a monopoly such as is proposed here, to attempt by every means at their disposal to eliminate all types of opposition. I should certainly like to see these harbours preserved and I hope that this company, when it is the be-all and end-all of transport in the country, will not be in a position to wipe out the traffic from these small ports by lifting the lines leading to them. I am not satisfied that it was in the best interests of the company or of its business to wipe out some of these lines in the past. I think that they now find that the closing of lines such as the Newport line in Mayo was a great mistake. It is a very easy thing to close down a line, but it is not so easy to replace it. That line has now disappeared, of course, and there is no possibility of having it reopened. I hope that the representative of the Minister on the new board will see to it that the company will be run, not so much from the point of view of a profit-making concern, as in the general interests of the community. I hope that the company will have regard to the service which it should render to the community as well as having regard to profit-making for shareholders. The railway service is vital to all sections of the community and in some instances the company will have to bear in mind that there are things more important than mere profit-making and that there are certain vital services that must be carried out irrespective of how they may be viewed from a business standpoint.

The Minister made it clear that it is not the intention of this Bill to interfere after the war with the private lorry. The position of people operating such services within a ten mile radius of places like Ballina, Drogheda, Sligo, Tralee and Westport is not clear to me. I am not clear whether it is the intention to renew the licences of the present licensees when they die out. I should like to know from the Minister whether it is the intention under the Bill to allow those people to transfer their licences, or otherwise dispose of them, or whether it is the intention to continue the present practice of allowing a father to transfer his licence to his son. I know that these people have performed an excellent service to the community during the years in which they have been operating, and I should like to see them allowed to continue that service. I think the experience of the Minister is that they have been doing it as well as the railway company or anybody else could do it. The value of these people's services was recognised before when they were allowed to continue.

Criticism has been levelled at this Bill on the ground that the amount proposed to be paid to the company is too much. I do not know that that criticism is justified. I do not know that anybody who held these investments in railway stock, certainly since the old days, have made a fortune out of them. I think the opposite is the case. Quite a number of people have held on for a great number of years without getting any return whatever for their money in the hope that at some future date something might be done for them. These people who held on to railway shares for a great number of years in the expectation of making something out of them found instead that a considerable part of their holdings was reduced by legislation time and again. These people are not making a fortune under the proposals outlined in this Bill. So far as people who bought these stocks in recent years are concerned, I do not know that anybody ever bought anything without expecting to make something out of his investment. People do not invest in enterprises of this kind without expecting to make something out of it.

I do not think there is anything extraordinary in the proposals contained in this Bill and the fact that agreement has been reached between the Minister's Department and these people is all to the good. The suggestion has been made that it would be better if the question was left to arbitration. Some Deputies have suggested that the proper way to approach this matter would be to take the figures quoted on the Stock Exchange for these shares in 1938 or 1937. It may not be a proper analogy, but if you take the case of a countryman who purchased a farm of land at the height of the economic war at a comparatively low price, I do not think it would be fair to ask him to accept the same price to-day.

That is no analogy.

To take another instance, if you asked a man who bought stock for his farm 12 months or two years ago to sell them to you today at the same price as he paid for them, I do not think anybody would call it just or equitable. We had arbitration before when the Great Southern Railways Company were taking over lorries from a number of hauliers and everybody knows that it was a farce, as far as the company was concerned. I could never understand myself why the company agreed to a system under which people were enabled to sell them old lorries without any goodwill for thousands of pounds. The company were raked and robbed under that system. They paid a lot of money for practically nothing at that time and I am glad that some agreement has been reached on this occasion that seems to be acceptable to everybody. I heard no good argument during the debate as to why we should hold up this scheme any longer. This is a Bill which is long overdue, a Bill under which we hope to see the whole question of the transport of this country brought under proper control. I hope that the Government will go further and include other forms of transport such as canals. In that way we shall have a system of transport that will not be dependent on a board of directors who have no interest in the community as a whole. At least we shall know what is going on because the facts and figures in connection with the undertaking will be laid before the House and will be brought under yearly review. We shall have an opportunity in that way of reviewing the operations of this company.

Apparently there is practically no need to engage in this discussion on the lines of the necessity for a reorganisation of our transport system but, on the other hand, now that the proposals are before the House, the argument used by almost every Party is that there is not sufficient time at our disposal to examine this Bill, and that it should be postponed for this and that consideration. I thought that this opportunity would have been availed of by the Labour Party particularly, to criticise the Government on the belatedness of the introduction of this measure. They might have been able to adduce good arguments along those lines. They must realise, of course, that the Government have been studying this question for many years, faced with the failure of the Great Southern Railways Company to give satisfactory and efficient service and the failure of those in control of it to fully appreciate and act according to their responsibilities.

Everybody knows that a tribunal was set up by the Government and brought in a report. Then the war intervened. I suppose we were so much occupied with the different aspects of the defence of our country and the awful inroads made upon our general economic position that time passed. Two years ago, the Minister for Industry and Commerce appointed a chairman of the board in control of the Great Southern Railways with very full powers. Since then, statements have been made on behalf of the Government and by the Minister. The Minister has acted and we are now examining proposals which are the outcome of those years of experience, including the tribunal examination, with the report of that body and its volume of evidence. That was a very important report but more important must be the experience of the man who was put in charge a couple of years ago to make the most of the transport facilities at our disposal. Neither the Labour Party nor the other Parties have been idle in this connection. They have made comments on our transport system. The Labour Party has been discussing the whole question of transport year in and year out. Within the past few months, some spokesmen of the Labour Party have been actually lecturing on proposed heads for a transport Bill. The Labour Party were quick off the mark in presenting a set of counter-proposals regarding the principles on which legislation should operate. I think, most definitely, that, as sensible men, we should realise that we must make up our minds some time and that, when we ask for a thing and get it, we should not ask for a postponement but rather try to get down to implementing the measure as quickly as possible.

Deputies have given many names to these proposals. Deputy Davin described this Bill as a Fascist Bill. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney advocated nationalisation which, he said, this Bill is not. Deputy McGilligan was more cautious. He would not commit himself to a policy of nationalisation but said he would prefer nationalisation to this Bill. Deputy Dockrell could not discover any difference between nationalisation and these proposals. Deputy Larkin (Junior) challenged the Minister to give his opinion on the whole policy of nationalisation. Deputy Donnellan called the Bill a dictatorial measure, and finally Deputy MacEoin said there was as much difference between nationalisation of the services and this Bill as there was between two "ones" on a piece of paper.

The truth is that it is the speculators' Magna Charta.

I do not propose to deal with the many "isms" mentioned by speakers. I do not propose to describe this Bill as akin to State socialism, capitalism managerialism or any other "ism". As practical people, we should work out a system, call it what you will, which will be most suited to our own position and be derived from our own experience. I do not think that anyone in this House can have as much experience of public control in all shapes and forms as the present Minister for Industry and Commerce.

Hear, hear.

Deputy Dillon will agree with that statement, at least. He will agree that no person in this House has as much experience, by virtue of his position as Minister for Industry and Commerce, of the various forms of public control——

He is the bureaucratpar excellence.

He has more experience by virtue of his position as Minister for Supplies.

In his opening statement, the Minister was very informative on the results of his experience. He faced the issue boldly and he comes along now with a plan in this Bill which is in many respects novel. Surely, it is not because the proposals in this Bill differ from legislation in other countries that Deputies cannot see in this measure a really honest and courageous attempt to solve our difficulties. We have many forms of public utility control. Some of them serve us well; others of them may not. We took over certain State Departments from the British Government and they are still functioning as State Departments. If we had to build from the ground a system of State organisations, we might not have planned the same way at all. Posts and Telegraphs, apparently, are well fitted into a position of State control in time of emergency but would one say in respect to the telephone service that a public utility corporation might not have given better service to the country? Deputies of the Fine Gael Party have concentrated on the composition of the Electricity Supply Board. I am not in a position to criticise either the composition or the functions of the Electricity Supply Board. I cannot discuss its successes or its failures. I am not suggesting that it has had any failures. I know very little about it. I have heard it said from the opposite side of the House that this House debates the whole question of the working of the Electricity Supply Board and its policy. I did not think that was so; I may be wrong. I thought, of course, that if the Electricity Supply Board wanted additional finances from this House, that this House would have a perfect right to discuss the entire ramifications of the Electricity Supply Board, with respect to their request for that money. The Electricity Supply Board is functioning under the control of men in whom, apparently, the State has considerable faith but none of us knows whether or not it might have worked better under a different system. It does not even have to give an account of itself to an annual meeting of shareholders. Audited accounts and a report, of course, are published and laid on the Table of the Dáil and Seanad as will be audited statements of account of this company but is there with respect to the Electricity Supply Board any users' or consumers' council such as is being set up under this Bill in respect of the users of transport? How many citizens might decry the valuation system of tariffs employed by the Electricity Supply Board if they had an opportunity? Is it fair? Is it the best system? How many citizens are in a position to criticise the Electricity Supply Board for failure to engage earlier in the greater development programme that might have served us well during the emergency? Not one. The Minister must have tremendous experience in the working of the Electricity Supply Board. He has been asked questions on many occasions and has found himself not in a position to reply because he has left the Electricity Supply Board to function as an independent corporation. He takes different powers under this Bill.

I have tried to make the point that we should discuss this Bill now. All countries are planning and we say that we should plan. I say we should go further than mere planning. We should try to set up organisations, such as is proposed under this Bill with respect to transport, that will be able possibly to implement some features of the planning before we enter the post-war period. Deputy Browne very kindly presented to the Minister a case for his action in respect of this Bill. He drew attention to the fact that unrestricted, uncontrolled, competitive transport crept in immediately after the first World War. It crept into Britain. It crept in here and although I am one who feels that competition of a good type is definitely necessary, none of us wants unrestricted, uncontrolled competition. In this particular-instance the Minister asks, not alone that we should plan as we have planned and as he and his Department have planned in connection with this Bill, but for authority to have it implemented quickly so that, even if it means only taking steps to examine some of the very big problems associated with transport, those in control of the company may be in a position to act with a full sense of responsibility. Granted, for instance, that the present chairman of the Great Southern Railways Company may be the chairman designate of the new company, how could it be expected that he would function and plan with the same forcefulness now as he would if the Bill were enacted? Is it not obvious that the two sets of conditions would be entirely different for that person? If the Bill were enacted immediately he would feel that he had the necessary power and authority in addition to his very heavy responsibility.

On the question of the general principles underlying the Bill and the type of control, I see in this Bill a scientific, democratic approach to a very serious problem. Transport is one of the life-lines of this nation's economy and with respect to the responsibilities of the new control I think our democratic institutions will have as much control over the workings of the transport board proposed in the Bill as they would have under any form or make-up that has been proposed during this debate. The chairman has great powers. He will be answerable to the Minister. Why should not he have great powers and be answerable to the Minister when under the proposals this House is accepting the greatest responsibility? That is agreed. He will have associated with him those representing the common stockholders of the company. Those directors will be elected annually by the stockholders. They will realise that unless the company can earn more than will be required for the debenture holders the people they represent will get nothing. Surely that must provide a considerable spur, if suitable directors are appointed?

To raise freight rates, yes.

The chairman will have unlimited powers. I do not know whether Deputies have found the super-man, the man who will act as chairman of this board and will take no notice, or very little, of the remarks or the influences of those co-directors who will be, in all probability, representing very vital sections in the economic life of this country—industrialists, commercial men, agriculturists, and so on. If that were not deemed sufficient he has introduced an advisory transport committee into the Bill, which provides the country with a triumvirate of interests, a chairman, directors representing the common stockholders and the advisory committee. That triumvirate should make for a solution of the many problems associated with the finance, working, and operation of the transport system. It will be agreed that there is very little use in making the point that the common stockholders are being presented with a gift of complete ownership of a concern which is valued from £15,000,000 to £16,000,000. As far as I understand the fixed profit, it means nothing more than a national utility corporation. It would be better if instead of criticising any person who may be designated as the responsible chairman of this board, we were to consider if we could possibly find such a person here willing to assume the tremendous responsibility of the office envisaged under this Bill. It has been claimed that he is not a railway technician. Must he necessarily be that? It will be admitted that the chairman of such a company could be a person with the broadest possible experience of management of company affairs and that such a man could be found in this country.

If the position is advertised at £2,500 a year you will have a rush of applications.

Technical advice can be purchased and will give control with integrity, breadth of vision, and sense of responsibility towards this country's interest rather than control by technicians. I can visualise many matters that would have to be reviewed and, in all probability, attempts may have to be made to put some of them into operation before the post-war period. There is the question of zoning of the country with respect to deliveries and charges. Something like that might be done now as part of the policy of such an individual. There is also the study of transport developments in other countries; electric traction about which so much has been glibly talked, and about which so very little appears to be known outside Cork, or the ability of this country to pay for it. The question of Diesel locomotives would have to be examined; also the standardisation of equipment. I read yesterday that in one of the belligerent countries the number of parts in the building of a locomotive has been reduced by 1,000 owing to standardisation. I know nothing about the building of locomotives, but I did not think there were so many parts required. There is also the question of minimising the rehandling of traffic between rail and road to its ultimate destination. That is most important and may take years of planning and studying before any scheme could be implemented which would cut out waste and keep together a fine body of Irish workers, as well as improving their conditions of employment. When we talk of the transport system we seem to forget that in addition to the stockholders and the users of railways there are others who depend on the industry as their primary method of livelihood.

I do not propose to go into the various sections of the Bill now, as that can better be done in Committee. I join with members of the Labour Party and with other Deputies in drawing attention to Sections 40 and 45, of which some explanation is due. I feel that can be best given in Committee.

The financial proposals can also be best discussed in Committee. The proposals outlined in the Bill received considerable discussion in Cork, and I understand that there was considerable criticism of the terms offered stockholders and debenture holders. An amount of such material will provide ready ammunition for those who may wish to score off the Government on the financial provisions. I prefer to reserve my remarks about a Cork pamphlet until such time as it sees the light of day.

There is one suggestion that I would like to make to the Minister while not necessarily requesting that it be put into the Bill. Generally speaking, with respect to all forms of State or public enterprise under the control of the State, or guaranteed by the State, I feel that it might pay us well to have a re-examination of such enterprises by experts every five or ten years. I have not given the matter very much study. I can see tremendous difficulties in the way of finding-persons to conduct such a re-examination. I do feel, however, that as the tempo of this war had developed the Minister could find some body to make such a re-investigation to see how those various State or public concerns, concerns guaranteed by the State, would have functioned over a period of five or ten years.

I feel that this Bill is deserving of a Second Reading even if only from the point of view that we are being put to the test with regard to a call for planning. When the plan is before us we refuse to accept it and want to postpone it. If Deputies feel that this is a Bill that does not fulfil all that they would wish to see in a transport Bill, they can get down to a discussion on it in the Committee Stage. I, at any rate, feel that the Bill should get a Second Reading from the House. That is due as a tribute to the many years of effort on the part of the Minister responsible.

I desire to raise my voice in support of the amendment. I do so not in a spirit of vindictiveness or against the Government, but simply because I think such a course would be for the good of the country. Several speakers have pointed out that there is a great deal of uneasiness in people's minds in regard to this Bill. After all, if we come here to represent the people it is surely our duty to say here in Parliament what their wishes are. The people whom I have the honour to represent feel that there has been too much hurry about the Bill, and that for a time at least the Government should not proceed with it. The Government have set up a Railway Tribunal to carry out an investigation into certain matters. I am of opinion that the Bill should not be proceeded with until that tribunal has reported. I would ask the Minister to consider that point. If the tribunal find that there is nothing of a dishonourable nature to be reported on, why then the necessity to hurry the Bill through? We do not want Parliament to be brought into disrepute by trying to cover up something that, possibly, is not there. In order, therefore, to alleviate misunderstandings or any grievances the people may feel they have, I think it is in the interests of the country, of the House and of the Government that the further consideration of the Bill should be postponed.

There are a few points in the Bill that I desire to deal with. One concerns the position of private lorry owners and of hackney car owners. These men have as much right to live as anybody else. Personally, I have a great dislike to monopolies, no matter what they may be. There is an old and a true saying that "competition is the life of trade". For that reason I think that the rights of the people I refer to should be safeguarded in the Bill. It has been said in the House that these people have nothing to fear. I would like to have a definite undertaking from the Minister that they have nothing to fear. I know that they are very doubtful in their minds as to the interpretation that may be placed on this Bill when it becomes an Act. For that reason, I would like to have an undertaking from the Minister on the lines that I have indicated.

With regard to the chairman of the new company, I think that no matter what kind of man he may be, what ability he may possess, or what capabilities he may have, the powers which it is proposed to confer on him are too great for any one individual to have. I think he should be put in the position that he would have to take directions from his colleagues on the board. I understand that he will be the one man who will really count. After all, we are dealing in this Bill with the railway system of Ireland. It is a huge undertaking that concerns the whole country. In my opinion, the powers which it is proposed to confer on this one individual are too far-reaching and too wide. It may be that later we will repent that we gave him such powers. The people feel uneasy about this, no matter how capable the man may be, or how qualified he may be to fill the post. I hope the Minister will look into this and make certain that this individual will, in some way, have to take directions from his colleagues on the board. Even though the Bill may have to get a Second Reading, I would again ask the Minister to defer proceeding with the further stages of it until such time as the tribunal has reported. I would ask him not to hurry it through, so that we may have time to ponder over the many good suggestions that have been made in the course of the debate. I urge that in no spirit of vindictiveness, but rather with a desire to cooperate with the Government in dealing with the biggest industry that we have in the State.

Sílim gur Bille maith an Bille seo. Is léir do gach aoinne gur dhein an t-Aire géarmhachtnamh ár an gceist seo. Aoinne go bhfuil aon taithighe aca ar chóras taistil agus ar chóras iompair mar a bhí annseo le fiche blian anuas, tuigfe sé go raibh dian-ghá le hiarracht éigin chun feabhas do chur ar an scéal. Tá an Rialtas agus an tAire ag déanamh an iarracht sin sa mBille seo.

Ón am ar cuireadh an Fiosrúchán ar bun roinnt blian ó shoin—i 1939, is dóigh liom—i dtaoibh cúrsaí iompair in Éirinn, is mó ceist do cuireadh ar an Aire annseo ins an Dáil, ar cathain a thabharfadh sé Bille os ár gcomhair, chun feabhas do chur ar scéal an chórais iompair. Tá sin déanta anois aige, agus nuair tá, sé déanta, níltcar sásta, agus tá daoine ad 'iarraidh gan an scéal do bhrostú chó mór, go bhfuil am go leor againn chun an scéal do réidhteach. Ní féidir an dá phoinnte do thabhairt le chéile. Measaimse—agus measann a lán daoine nach mé, ar fuaid na tíre—go bhfuil dian-ghá le feabhas do chur ar an gcóras iompair atá againn cheana féin.

Cúpla bliain ó shoin, do chuaidh gléas taistil na tíre seo ar gcúl ar fad, agus bhí baol ann go mbéadh na traenacha ar stad. Do lean sé sin go dtí gur tháinig an fear atá ina Chathaoirleach ar an mBóthar Iarainn anois isteach. Bhí an scéal ag dul in olcas gach lá, ach ní fada bhí an fear sin ann nuair bhí na traeneacha ag rith go ceart agus in am arís. Sílim go bhfuil moladh tuillte ag an bhfear a dhein an t-athrú sin.

Ón gcainnt do chualamar ós na Teachtaí annseo mar gheall ar an gcóras iompair, do shílfeá gur ionann Baile Átha. Cliath agus Éire. Tá a fhios againn, muinntir na tuaithe annseo, nach ionann, agus nár chóir go mbéadh aon tsocrú speisialta ann do Bhaile Átha Cliath nó d'aon chathair eile. Ba chóir go mbéadh an gléas iompair céanna le fáil ag muinntir Bhaile Átha Cliath agus muinntir Éireann uile.

Má tá aon tsuim speisialta ag baint leis an mBille seo, baineann sí le háis agus gléas iompair agus taistil bheith le fáil feasta ag muinntir na tíre ar fad. Ba chóir go mbéadh an áis chéanna agus an chóir chéanna le fáil ag an áit is iargcúlta in Éirinn agus tá le fáil ins na bailtí agus na cathracha móra. Ba chóir go mbéadh deis ag an bpobal ins na h-áiteacha iargcúlta san chó maith agus chó hoiriúnach agus tá ag na daoine i mBaile Átha Cliath nó aon áit eile. Tá súil agam go bhfaghfar é sin anois, de bharr an Bhille seó.

Tá a fhios againn go léir nach raibh san ann do mhuinntir na tuaithe ins na bóithre iarainn le fada an lá. Bhí an cólucht ina gcoinne agus do theastuigh uatha aon phléidh le muinntir na tuaithe do sheachaint. Tá cúis le sin, mar bhí saol eile uair amháin ann, nuair nach raibh aon ghléas iompair sa tír seo ach na bóithre iarainn. Bhí a gcluiche féin dá imirt ag cómhairle an bhóthair iarainn annsan, agus ní ró-oiriúnach do chruthuíodar do mhuinntir na tíre.

Mar adúirt mé cheana, ba chóir go mbéadh le fáil ag muinntir na tíre seo, cabhair, go béasach, go múinte agus go cneasta ón tseirbhís seo. Tuiteann sé amach anois agus arís ná bíonn an scéal amhlaidh, ach tá réiteach air san ins an mBille seo.

Is beag eile atá le rá agamsa, ach ba mhaith liom a chur in iúil don Aire gur labhair daoine liomsa agus le mo chó-Teachtaí ó Luimneach mar gheall ar Alt 41 den Bhille seo. Tá na daoine atá ag obair ar na bóithre iarainn mí-shásta agus mí-shuaineasach mar gheall ar an alt san D'iarrfaín ar an Aire an talt san d'ath-scrúdú. Ní cóir go mbéadh ins an mBille seo aon rud a chuirfeadh míshuaineas nó mí-shástacht ar na daoine atá ag obair ar na bóithre iarainn.

Téigheann mo chuimhne siar go dtí aimsear na nDubh-Chrónach, nuair do sheasuigh na fir oibre sin go tréan agus go cóir ar son saoirse agus cirte na hÉireann. Ní ceart dearmad do dhéanamh air sin go bráth. Bhéinnse go láidir ar thaobh an ailt, agus ní bhéinn ró-shásta é d'athrú. Tá sé in am, agus thar am, dlí den tsórt san do chur i bhfeidhm. Mar gheall ar na postanna a bhéas folamh, taréis an Bille seo d'achtú, ba chóir go mbéadh dlí den tsórt chéanna do dhaoine in gach aon phost, idir mór agus beag, ar na bóithre iarainn, agus i ngach aon chólucht gnótha eile ar fuaid na tíre.

We have now had considerable discussion on the various aspects of this Bill and, before I actually deal with it, there is another matter I would like to mention. I deprecate the growing tendency on the part of certain Deputies to cast aspersions in a veiled way on individuals outside the House, who have no opportunities of refuting or answering those charges, made by Deputies under the privilege they enjoy as members of the Dáil. Occasionally, those charges are backed up by such expressions as "I know what I am talking about", or "I can prove what I say", and there and then the evidence stops. No further evidence is adduced, either here or elsewhere, in support of the imputations or aspersions cast on those individuals. Usually the individual is not named, but most Deputies who make the charges here leave no doubt in the minds of listeners or of the public as to the individuals to whom they are referring. If Deputies have charges to make and evidence on which they can base those charges, there are other places in which to make them and other tribunals to decide them. There is a deplorable tendency to use the privilege of the Dáil to attack persons or groups of persons, safe from any consequences which might result if Deputies made the charges outside as ordinary individuals.

One of the principles of this Bill is that of the amalgamation of Dublin United Transport Company and the Great Southern Railways. As I said on another occasion, I believe that that principle is a sound one but, lest I be misinterpreted in any way in opposing the Second Reading, I want to make it quite clear that, when I spoke in favour of amalgamation, the other proposals now contained in this Bill were not available. The only information then available was that the proposed amalgamation was to be portion of transport legislation. I still adhere to that view, in so far as it is in this Bill —that a unified transport undertaking is the best system. On no account, however, could I subscribe to certain matters in the Bill now presented to us. I can go further and say that if, on the Committee Stage, the Government see fit to accept amendments, which I presume will be put down— and I propose to put some down myself—then I will have no hesitation in voting for the measure.

In his opening address the Minister mentioned that this Bill contains a long-term policy. He also mentioned that the present emergency restrictions had nothing whatever to do with that proposed long-term policy of the Government. I presume that he took that precaution in view of the fact that numerous Deputies, and many of the general public, are perturbed by the nature of the restrictions and by the nature of the control now in operation. They feel a sense of danger that these restrictions may remain in the post-war period. While the Minister mentioned the fact that the present restrictions had little or no relation to the proposals in the Bill he omitted to mention the fact that at the present time, or since the emergency, the only occasion in which the Great Southern Railways was able to make a profit was during, and arising out of, emergency conditions. To try to discuss the measure in a manner detached from the emergency is, in my opinion, not possible. Whether we like it or not, we are affected in more ways than one by the impact of the present emergency and by the restrictions and other effects arising out of the conditions which the emergency has imposed. There are certain matters in the Bill which I would like to get clarified before I proceed much further. In Section 9, which the Minister has dealt with in the White Paper, sub-section (2) reads:

"The company may, with the sanction of the Minister, acquire by purchase or by the exchange of stock of the company the whole or any part of any transport undertaking carried on by any other person and the property and assets used in or in connection with such undertaking."

The Minister, in reply to Deputy McGilligan, said: "Subject to agreement," as I understood him. There is no mention in the Bill of agreement.

There is no mention of anything else.

Quite, but it says the company may, with the sanction of the Minister, acquire. The Minister has a fair amount of experience of legislation and he knows that whatever intention he may have and whatever opinions he may voice in the course of the debate will not influence the judiciary or anyone else in interpreting this Bill. I am sure Deputies have heard from time to time of judges saying that they were quite sure the law was intended to do something but they will have to interpret the legislation as on the Statute Book. If an undertaking is to be acquired it might be advisable to alter the existing section and I would ask, if it is intended to acquire other undertakings would the Minister say the number of years' purchase that would be given and if it would be the same as in the 1933 Act? Finally, would he say, if they do acquire an undertaking under this section, that the compensation payable to the employees who will not be absorbed will be the same as the 1933 Act? Coming to the financial position, I believe that there is not a great deal of difference except nominal difference between this and nationalisation. £4,000,000 of ordinary stock has been retained to give the Bill a less drastic appearance than nationalisation, but in fact it is nationalisation, possibly in its worst form. I think nationalisation might not be a bad system. On the other hand the Minister has abandoned the belief he had when a Deputy, that nationalisation was the best system. I suppose he was younger then and certain allowances might be made for youth.

I make them now.

You are making up for it now?

I am making these allowances now.

As far as I can see, the difference between this measure and nationalisation is £4,000,000 of ordinary stockholders shares. The Minister would be better advised to guarantee the whole account and have it earning 3 per cent. on the whole stock, not 3 per cent. on the guaranteed stock, and then 6 per cent., if it is possible to earn it, on the rest. Numerous Deputies have complained in one fashion or another about the treatment meted out to the stockholders, particularly stockholders who may have been induced to sell their stocks last year. We have got to realise that the stockholders had very little prospects under conditions as they formerly existed. That the State has to guarantee stockholders, or the people who invest money in undertakings, that they will be recouped for their enterprise is a suggestion to which I think few Deputies could subscribe support. It is regrettable that stockholders who had stock in the Great Southern Railways Company over a number of years had little or no return, but it is even more regrettable that the manner in which the company was worked meant that money was taken from reserve and other funds so that money was paid out in dividends which were not earned. The position has been that the company has been inefficiently managed on the one hand, and on the other it had to compete with private individuals operating transport services both for passenger traffic and the carriage of goods and live stock. I believe firmly that you cannot have on the one hand an efficient national transport undertaking and at the same time allow unrestricted free competition. There has been a good deal of loose talk to the effect that competition is good for trade. This competition that is good for trade has largely contributed to putting this railway into the position in which it is. You cannot have on the one hand transport available at all times, running according to schedule, at peak hours and at weak hours, paying dividends and providing transport for goods and passengers at a cheap rate, and on the other hand allow that organisation to run in competition with private firms which can run at the peak hours only and take the cream of the traffic, and which are not required to keep to a schedule of charges and to run at certain hours. We must realise that it is not possible to do both things. We cannot expect to have full facilities and efficiency on the one hand and then expect the national company to compete with almost unrestricted competition from private individuals. I have no desire that the private lorry owners and in particular the business concerns which run lorries, cars, or wagons for the carriage of their own goods should be interfered with.

If private operators are allowed to compete, and to give service at a cheaper rate than the transport company, which has to run at definite times, and has a far greater liability, then I am afraid some restriction must be placed on the private operator. It must not be forgotten that the railway company has far larger liabilities than have private operators. Private operators, even the largest of them, have only a certain number of lorries. I think a fairly representative figure would be two lorries. In many cases the owner drives one of them. He may pay a man or two men what he considers, and what they are satisfied, is a reasonable wage. He can charge whatever he deems necessary. The railway company, on the other hand, has to pay a standard rate of wages. It has a large undertaking to maintain, and is subject to control in so far as fares and freights are concerned.

We cannot have it both ways. We must accede to the principle that transport is a public utility, similar to the Electricity Supply Board, or Posts and Telegraphs. If we are not prepared to accede to that, and to take whatever small or undesirable consequences that may result, we will have to adopt the other system in which unrestricted private transport can proceed, but that may not serve the needs of the country, or it may only serve certain needs. No private haulier or lorry owner has the means, or is prepared, to carry dangerous goods or large quantities of heavy merchandise which a public transport company must carry.

The Minister mentioned that the railroad is the backbone of any transport system in this country. I listened to his speech and, in case I misinterpreted it in any way, I read his speech. If it is the case that the railroad is the backbone of any transport undertaking in this country, I wonder what are the Government's ideas concerning the obsolete and unstandardised equipment which this company has, or what prospect have we before we embark on a guarantee that may not be required but that leaves uneasy even the most optimistic member of the Fianna Fáil Party, with the exception of the Minister and a few back benchers who would shout "yes" if asked whether Queen Victoria outside should be painted pink. But this is more serious than merely getting up and blowing the Party trumpet.

I think the Minister is comparatively optimistic concerning the future of transport, optimistic possibly because he sees in the individual whom he proposes to appoint—I suppose there is no doubt in anyone's mind as to who the individual is—an individual who will be able, coupled with assistance, to make transport an efficient and profitable undertaking under the new company. I must say that considerable success has attended the efforts of the present chairman of the Great Southern Railways. He is principally a passenger man, but some time ago the company secured the able services of Mr. Dooley, who formerly operated a large haulier undertaking. Neither of these men is a railway man. One of them was a road transport man, and the other a road passenger man. So far as I am aware, and I think most Deputies are in a similar position, no well-known or competent railway man has been selected. If the railroad is the backbone of public transport, what indication or guarantee can the Minister give that the people who are likely to constitute the directing influences in the new company have experience of railway management?

So far as I can see, the only people who have experience of railway management are some members of the old board. I do not want to say anything disparaging of the old board, but the management of the railway by that board would not inspire confidence in any member of that board as an efficient railway manager. If we are to accept it that the railroad is to be the backbone of any transport undertaking, I am certainly of the opinion that the present chairman is the person best qualified. We know of him in so far as passenger traffic is concerned, and he is ably assisted by a merchandise man.

No indication has been given by the Government that there is any possibility of more efficient railway services being operated by the new company. I wonder is the Minister right when he says that the railroad is the backbone of any transport undertaking in this country? To a certain extent it has been the backbone up to the present. I do not want to express any opinion as to what our system of transport is likely to be in the future. This, however, is certain: that, with the exception of heavy traffic and certain military necessities, there is likely to be a change from railway services to road services. We have been discussing railway services, tram services and bus services, but we have no guarantee that in the future newer methods of transport may not be put into operation. I refer now to air transport. Then, again, we may expect heavier road transport, and perhaps, an altogether new system of passenger and goods traffic will some years hence be in operation.

This company, so far as we are informed, is to deal with transport unmolested by future legislation, and the board are to be assured that this legislation is permanent. If this legislation is permanent, subject, of course, to the changes which the Minister may make in the chairmanship of the board, have the Government any individual in mind who is capable of dealing with air transport or air development? So far as I can see, with the exception of the amalgamation, there is little change in this Bill from the system which has been in operation.

Now, I come to a section of the Bill which gives the chairman the unrestricted powers which have been the subject of so much comment in the House. It ought not to be necessary that an able and efficient chairman of the board should have such powers. If the Minister is so confident of the ability of the chairman, whoever he may be, it is hardly necessary for an able, efficient and conscientious chairman to be armed with the powers which he has under Section 35 and the succeeding sections. He can put through any proposal in the teeth of the verbal opposition of the other directors; that is what it amounts to, because under the Bill the other directors can only make their wishes felt by verbal or written opposition. So far as effective action is concerned, no power remains in the other directors to prevent the chairman constituting a meeting alone, and taking any decision at that meeting with or without their concurrence. Putting aside the question of the ability of a competent chairman to run the company alone, surely, the Minister does not consider that directors, with either ability or even legitimate pride in their own capacity to contribute to the affairs of the company, will be content to remain long on the board if the chairman, over an extended period, dissents from any suggestions, or generally from suggestions or opinions which they may offer?

I have seen it stated that the company, as administered over the past two years, has had a successful experience in connection with the chairman who has, at the moment, under the Emergency Powers Order, over-riding power. But there is no guarantee that such a state of affairs will continue— for two reasons. If the personnel of the board is changed it may mean that the harmony which has existed will no longer exist. On the other hand, if the personnel remains the same, it must be remembered that the members of the board and the chairman at the present time are operating under an Emergency Powers Order which is only, however lengthy it may be, of a temporary nature. But the moment this Bill becomes law, the chairman of the board can ignore entirely—it is unlikely that he will—any suggestions of the other members of the Board. Putting aside the likelihood of a stubborn attitude on the part of the chairman, I am sure the Minister realises that no self-respecting individuals, who believe that they can contribute something to the efficient management of the company, and who have been put on the board by the stockholders, will long tolerate continual discord, to put it no stronger, between themselves and the chairman, who can constitute the whole effective organisation alone without their influence. I suggest to the Minister that the quorum of the board should be three, of whom the chairman will be one. While the Minister may doubt that that would be in the best interests of his contact with the board, surely a company, efficiently managed, which can inspire the confidence not alone of the employees but of the general public, should need little or no interference from a Minister of State.

I now come to the question of the powers which it is proposed the Minister will have when the Bill becomes law. So far as the direction of transport affairs is concerned, after this Bill becomes law two people, acting in unison, can direct, according to their opinion, the whole of the transport undertaking. One is the chairman of the new company, the other is the Minister for Industry and Commerce. Now the Government occasionally praise the extent to which the State has intervened in the affairs of the people. Last week, in the Budget, the Minister for Finance gave expression to the view—I do not know whether it is his own view or not—that he thought the State had gone too far. If the State has gone too far already, in this Bill a step that is far more extreme than any we have yet witnessed is being taken by the Minister in his capacity as Minister for Industry and Commerce. He may regulate the fares, he may prescribe distances, he may direct the company to open or to close lines, according to his opinion, after, of course, he has received a report from the transport advisory committee.

Now the functions of the transport advisory committee in relation to the Minister remind us of the functions of the Council of State in relation to the President. The Council of State can meet and can make suggestions but, after that, the President can say: "I will have nothing to do with any suggestions you make." Here we have the same situation. The transport advisory committee can meet and consider and advise, but it stops there; the Minister need not take the advice. Now, before the Railway Tribunal, which it is proposed to abolish after this Bill becomes law, different parties affected by proposed changes in freights and fares could put their case and the railway company, on the other hand, could argue their side of the question. While it is possible that, to a certain extent, the Railway Tribunal has outlived its intended purpose, at any rate a case had to be made before the company could alter the charges which existed. Under the Bill, the Minister may receive suggestions from interested parties through the advisory council, but, after that, the Minister decides. There are two objections to that. On the one hand, the Minister may, in defiance of the company, force it to charge certain rates which the company knows, from its experience and its costings, are unremunerative, and immediately the company is faced with running unremunerative transport. On the other hand, the Minister is faced with the danger which he took good care to give warning about in relation to nationalisation: political influence and political pull. If employees of a railway or transport company can exert influence—and I have never found this Government other than amenable to political influence—under a nationalised system surely the same influence could be exerted under this arrangement. No later than to-day we had a question on the Order Paper about the Mountmellick branch line, and surely the Minister realises that, coming up to a general election, if agitation started in Mountmellick, the railways company would be ordered to proceed with all possible haste to reopen the Mountmellick branch line. Nobody knows that better than the Government.

It would be very bad political tactics. There is a tip for the Deputy.

If you got in. Before the last election, a certain colliery in Deputy Linehan's constituency, which had long been unused or which had fallen into disuse for one reason or another, was started, although four or five years ago, when a proposition was made to the Government that it should to opened, it was said that it was uneconomic and could not be worked. A month before the last election, however, when political influence could be exerted to have it opened, the Minister sent down a set of prospectors, at the instigation, I presume, of local Fianna Fáil supporters. There is nothing in the Bill to prevent such agitation starting, as the Minister knows perfectly well, as existed in connection with the Clifden railway and now exists in connection with the Mountmellick line. In fact, it is far more serious. I can visualise a state of affairs in which there would not be enough men to start branch lines, so strong might political agitation be at a time when an election was pending. If the danger exists of labour people exerting political influence on the Government, surely the danger exists of labour people, business people and others in a large area, who desire to be served by the reopening of a particular line, exerting similar influence.

I object to the excessive powers the Minister is seeking. I need not reiterate the sections and sub-sections but under the Bill the Minister, in conjunction or in disagreement with the chairman, has power to start branch lines, to prescribe maximum distances, to prescribe maximum fares and to prevent the company from charging what they believe are remunerative rates. That might be quite satisfactory, but it is my opinion that a Minister of State, and particularly a Minister for Industry and Commerce, has sufficient work to do in the discharge of the duties of his office without running the transport of a country in conjunction with his nominee. Particularly do I regard it so because the machinery in the Bill for advising the Minister as to the reasonableness or otherwise of the charges is entirely inadequate. The machinery is there; the provision is there; and the safeguards are there; but the safeguards and the provisions are entirely useless, if the Minister decides not to accept the proposals made to him.

I come now to the question of superannuation. It is undesirable that the directors of a company should be remunerated on a more generous basis than the ordinary employees. Under this Bill, the ordinary employees' remuneration is fixed according to the Fifth Schedule.

For a shorter period.

For a shorter period, and subject to the fact that redundancy takes place within six months. No more unjust proposal could come before this House. Even the greatest "yes-man" of the Fianna Fáil Party, Deputy O Briain—and this, in my opinion, is the strongest case which can be made against the section —mentioned that this six-months' period was not quite fair. Deputy McGilligan, who had considerable experience of the working of transport, said that, under the legislation for which he had portion of the responsibility, it was found that the seven-years' period was insufficient. But by this proposal, a Government which I always understood to pose as a poor man's Government and which, at any rate, was going to see that this country was not run on an imperial scale, denies simple justice. It may not deny that simple justice, but it may mean that simple justice will be denied to the redundant employees of the Great Southern Railways and the Dublin United Transport Company. Whoever advised the Minister on that section might advise him to accept an amendment on the Committee Stage.

With regard to the advisory committee and the board of directors, it would, in my opinion, be far more efficient and far less unwieldy to unite these two bodies and to put on the board of directors a person, the nominee of the Minister, experienced in industrial and commercial matters, a person experienced in agriculture and fisheries, as the nominee of the Minister for Agriculture, and a person—to use the Minister's phrase—who can speak authoritatively on labour matters. I do not know an individual in this country at the present time who can speak authoritatively for Labour. The two sections of Labour here differ. Now, under the Bill, it is desirable, not alone in the interests of the company but in the interests of the workers, that whoever speaks for Labour will speak authoritatively. As far as one can judge, from newspaper reports, the relations at the moment, or certainly which have existed up to recently, between the company and certain representatives of Labour organisations have not been marked by all the harmony that might be desired.

Now, I am not entirely satisfied that a certain amount of that lack of harmony is due to the fact that the Labour representatives are more concerned with their differences in the Labour Movement rather than with the rights of the workers or in seeing that the rights of the workers should be protected, but I do say that whoever represents the workers in this matter should represent them in the fullest sense, and not merely represent the members of a single union or, if so, that the representatives of that union should be in a position to speak for all the workers concerned, and to speak authoritatively for them. I do not know whether the Minister has more information on the lack of harmony between the Labour representatives than I have, but I understand that certain negotiations have taken place between the company and one section of Labour. If that section represents all the workers in the Great Southern Railways Company and the Dublin United Transport Company, and if the outcome is satisfactory, then it is all to the good; but during the earlier stages of this discussion it appeared to me that harmony between the Labour representatives in this House, whether or not they speak for the workers in the Great Southern Railways Company, does not exist.

I come now to a number of matters which affect my own constituency, and one of them is the question of wayleaves. Most Deputies here have spoken of their personal experiences in their own constituencies. They have mentioned their experiences in the working of transport undertakings, and particularly have we had a volume of protest or defence in regard to the Dublin citizens who may be affected— they certainly will be affected one way or the other—prejudicially by this Bill. While I do not represent Dublin City, I wish to point out that the tram runs from Dublin to Dún Laoghaire and to Dalkey, and a rather unusual situation exists there in connection with the roadway between Blackrock and Monkstown. The liability for the cost of the repair of the entire roadway between Blackrock and Monkstown falls on the Dublin United Transport Company—now, I am not referring to the pathway but to the roadway alone —but from Monkstown to Dalkey the liability for the repair of the roadway falls on the transport company only in respect of the portion inside of the tracks and 18 inches on either side. I understand that the difference there, as between Blackrock and Monkstown, arises out of an old agreement between the company and the district council in Blackrock, but in the Bill provision is made for agreement or arbitration, in connection with the payment of wayleaves between the Corporation of Dublin and the Corporation of Dún Laoghaire. Sub-section (3) of Section 50 says:—

"The company shall pay compensation to each road authority, in respect of the cesser effected by this section of the wayleaves which were immediately before the establishment date payable by the dissolved transport company to that road authority, and the amount of the compensation shall, in default of agreement, be determined by an arbitrator appointed by the Minister."

Now, in one of the few speeches which Fianna Fáil Deputies made on this Bill, one of them mentioned the fact that any matters which were in dispute could be submitted to arbitration, and of course, in the usual way in which Fianna Fáil Deputies wish Godspeed to the undertakings brought in by the present Government, he said that that is a satisfactory method, or that it ought to be. It is certainly a satisfactory method, but not when the arbitrator is appointed by the Minister. There is nothing to prevent the Minister putting someone on this, to arbitrate between the new company and the rights of the citizens of Dublin and Dún Laoghaire, who will grant compensation rather in favour of the company than in favour of the citizens.

The Minister being a representative of County Cork?

The Minister is not a representative of County Cork.

That is the point.

Oh, yes, I see. However, the Minister may appoint a fair arbitrator, but I think it would be far better if he were to put the power of appointing an arbitrator into the hands of the Chief Justice. I suppose it would have been too much to expect the Minister, as a representative of Dublin, to say that, in putting that in, he was safeguarding the rights of its citizens, but under the situation which this Bill will bring about the Minister may appoint the arbitrator, and I think that nobody—not even the Minister himself—will disagree with me when I say that the Minister's sentiments and affections are strongly in favour of the new transport company. So that, in that respect, I fear that his desire to serve the interests of South City and the rest of Dublin might come into conflict with that affection, with resultant detriment to the constituency.

Now, Sir, I do not want to detain the House much longer, except to say this. I do not propose to dilate at length on the fact that the Bill is being introduced with a certain amount of speed. The Minister has had a far longer time to consider the provisions of the Bill than Deputies have had. I am satisfied with the time that has been given to me, particularly as I took the precaution of talking towards the close of the debate, but could the Minister say that the enactment of this legislation will alleviate in any way the present situation or contribute to a more efficient transport system than that which is at present in operation? I am quite confident that he cannot, but, if he can say that it will improve the present position, then, despite the objections I have to these powers, I would almost be inclined to vote for the Bill as it stands. I do not know whether or not the Minister has abandoned the idea of having the Bill become law by the 1st July. Of course, I can quite realise that if it is not law by the 1st July, the next most suitable period would be 1st January, but, coupled with the Budget, and with the Drainage Bill, which is being shelved, I think that a certain amount of time would require to be given between now and the Committee Stage for consideration of the Bill. Whether or not, after that, sufficient time will be left to enable the Bill to become law before 1st July is a matter which it is too soon to foresee.

In connection with the amendment in the name of Deputy O'Higgins, I must say that this is one of the rare occasions in which I find myself in agreement with the Taoiseach in holding that it would be more desirable to keep the findings of the committee separate from this legislation, and that then, if necessary, appropriate action may be taken. Of course, however, the Taoiseach, in his best Machiavellian style, only stated half the case. He said that on the one hand and, on the other hand, he said: "You must leave the emergency and this Bill entirely apart."

We cannot leave the emergency and this Bill entirely apart. The Great Southern Railways Company never made a profit until the emergency, and the profit it has made is the result of the exorbitant charges which it is allowed to make and which, I may as well add, numerous public concerns are willing to pay because of the fact that such concerns are allowed to make large profits, practically unmolested by the corporation profits tax. There is hardly an industrial concern of any magnitude in this country which has not, since the emergency, made considerable profits. Those profits, in one way or another, have contributed to the rise in the cost of essential commodities. Leaving that aside, the reason that the railway company has been able to get away with these exorbitant charges is that no alternative form of transport is available to the people at the present time. You cannot consider this Bill entirely divorced from emergency conditions and, at the same time, conduct a discussion on it which must, in more than one detail, be affected by the conditions which have arisen. The reason I believe that the financial provisions of this Bill should extend to a £20,000,000 guarantee, if necessary, with a 3 per cent. rather than a 6 per cent. dividend, is because up to last year the company earned less than would be required to pay a dividend, to discharge liabilities for defective stock, etc., and to repay the redemption on the debenture stock. The Minister glows with a certain amount of pride at the success which has attended the company, but that arose only last year and then only because of the fact that no other means of transport was available. Because the country is affected by the shortage of petrol and other essential commodities the company was able to make a profit. As far as I can see from the answer to the question put down by Deputy McGilligan on this matter, the company would need to make a profit in excess of £1,000,000 a year in order to work satisfactorily. Last year was the first year that the company made anything over £800,000. Up to that the average was £600,000, or perhaps more in the region of £500,000. There is no doubt that under the conditions which have existed since the emergency and particularly since the appointment of the chairman, the company has done well.

I must say I object to the new departure which this Bill makes. The Minister instanced three boards which might be compared to the board which it is now proposed to set up—the Electricity Supply Board, the Turf Development Board and the Irish Tourist Association. So far as the Electricity Supply Board is concerned, despite the malicious criticism which was levelled against it in its earlier days— criticism actuated, I suppose, by political rather than by patriotic motives —the Electricity Supply Board has discharged its functions well. One Deputy made the suggestion that we had no guarantee that if it were put under a different kind of management it might not have done better. Negative arguments like that do not get us anywhere. If we brought over some of these fly-by-nights from Europe of whom Fianna Fáil in its early days were so fond, it might have been better managed, but we have no guarantee of that. It has been one of the most successful undertakings which the State has established since its inception. So far as the other two boards are concerned, I think that the Turf Development Board is a gigantic failure. Seeing that turf costs £5 per ton to land in Dublin; whether it is produced by the Turf Development Board or otherwise, and that a subsidy of almost £1,000,000 has to be paid in order to bring it within the reach of the consumer, it is certainly not a success. The Irish Tourist Association, in the circumstances in which it is functioning during the war, as far as I can see is more or less a haven for a few political friends who had to be compensated for services rendered. The only comparable example to the board which it is proposed to set up under this Bill is the Electricity Supply Board on the one hand, or the Department of Posts and Telegraphs on the other. I regard public transport more or less in the same category as both of those bodies despite whatever we may say about competition being healthy.

The Minister says that the two bodies are more or less similar but, if they are, why is it that under this Bill we have not the same provisions, the same kind of board, the same kind of management as the Electricity Supply Board, which has given good service and which has not been affected to any appreciable extent by political or labour interests? I desire to say, in conclusion, that if the Minister will accept amendments or if he himself will introduce amendments to meet what we consider defects in the Bill on the Committee Stage, I shall certainly vote for the Bill; but unless he does that I shall be constrained to vote against it on this stage.

On the entry of Clann na Talmhan to this House, I think we made our position very clear. We said then that we would support any Bill introduced by the Government that we thought would promote the welfare of the country in general, and that we would oppose any Bill about which we had a different opinion. As far as the present Bill is concerned, whilst we agree that transport requires to be reorganised, after giving the matter full consideration, we are reluctantly compelled to oppose it on the following grounds. We feel that we would not be voicing the opinion of our constituents if we supported a measure which, in effect, means that the Government intends to give a free cheque to the extent of £16,000,000 to this company without giving the House any details as to how it is to be applied.

We hold that it is the duty of the Government who are introducing this Bill and who are asking the Dáil to vote this huge amount to give particulars as to how the money will be spent and to give a detailed account of the prospects which the undertaking has of success. The people whom we represent resent any form of dictatorship and we feel that the present measure is leading to dictatorship. It proposes to place in the hands of one individual complete control of this new company. We have got no information as to how the money will be spent, save that £9,000,000 will go to the purchase of obsolete stock. A great many local authorities are interested in the reactions of this Bill. The people of the county I represent —Roscommon—are somewhat perturbed as to the position. They would like to have some information as to the lines on which the new transport board will develop. Will it lean towards road or rail transport and to what extent will it deal with sea and air transport? The big question so far as local authorities in rural Ireland are concerned is as to the liability for road upkeep. If the chairman of the new company gets road-minded and insists upon putting heavy transport on the roads, who will be responsible for the upkeep of those roads? For some years, due to the manner in which those roads have been made, the rural population find it very hard to travel on them. They are definitely a danger to man and beast. Speaking for my own county, I can point to sworn testimony given in the recent past as to the dangerous condition of the roads. A great number of the rural population, living a long distance from a church, including old people, are not able to get to Mass or to other church service because they are not able to bring out their horse-drawn vehicles.

Is not that outside this measure?

I am just pointing out that the chairman of the board will, according to the terms of the Bill, be entitled to turn to road services and that it is due to the people, including the people I represent, that they should have some information as to what extent the making of those roads will be subsidised or if the new board intend to build roads entirely for themselves and leave the local authorities to maintain their own roads.

There is no money in this Bill for the making of roads.

That is the trouble about it. If the chairman of the new board utilises the roads built and maintained by the ratepayers, I am afraid they will resent it. The Minister made a statement to the effect— I have not his exact words—that the new Bill would tend to bring trade to Dublin. Are we to take it from that statement that it is the policy of the Minister to utilise the new transport system to transport the wealth of the country to the city, while no less a person than the Taoiseach gave us to understand some years ago that the policy of the Government was one of decentralisation? If the policy of the Minister and the Government be to utilise the transport service to take the trade of the country up to the city, the people of the provinces will not be very pleased. The Government should consider the weighty words of the Minister for Finance in reference to this Bill in his Budget speech. While the transport services need recorganisation, even some members of the Government Party realise the serious financial problems which that will involve. For that reason, this Bill should not be rushed through but consideration should be given to every detail.

Even at this stage, I think that the Government would be well advised to reconsider the whole position. Personally, I agree with the suggestion by Deputy Dillon that a board should be set up on similar lines to those of the Electricity Supply Board, which has proved satisfactory, financially and otherwise. The Government should take a headline from that undertaking and introduce a Bill on somewhat similar lines. The Taoiseach said to-day that it was his policy, and I presume the policy of the Government, to seek agreement with the companies concerned, instead of bringing in a Bill to sweep away everything from them without consideration. There was a good deal of sense in that but I suggest that the Taoiseach and the Government should carry that feeling a bit farther. If it was so desirable to seek agreement from the two companies concerned, I suggest that it would be much more desirable to seek agreement amongst all Parties in this House. I never listened to a debate in this House which tended so much to show that general agreement could be got in respect of this problem if the matter had been approached in a different way.

If at this moment the head of the Government and the Minister concerned with this Bill would take into their confidence members of all Parties in the House, I have no hesitation in saying that they would be able to introduce a draft Bill in a short time that would have the unanimous approval of the House. In present circumstances I think it would be most desirable, for the sake of the House and for the sake of the country, and it would be an outstanding achievement, to introduce a Bill that would receive national agreement and that could be regarded as a National Transport Bill, instead of the Bill that is now presented, which can only be a Party Bill at best, forced on practically the majority of the House. In conclusion, I would appeal to the Minister and the Government not to throw away this opportunity and not to destroy that national unity which is theirs for the taking if they go the right way about it.

Níl ach cúpla rudaí le rádh agam ar an mBille seo. Some months ago I was in Mullingar. I saw 12 to 16 goods trains on the lines there. There were 50 wagons in some of the trains, and more or less in others. I asked myself what would be the position in regard to transport in this country if the railways were allowed to decline, and if we had not the railways at the commencement of the emergency. I was forced to the conclusion that railways are an essential service in this country. I understood why, in other countries, great and small, they have a Minister in control of railways. In their wisdom they learned years ago what we are learning now, that railways are the arteries of national economy.

I want to congratulate Deputy Cosgrave as being the one Deputy in the Opposition who approached this measure in the spirit referred to by Deputy Meighan, giving constructive ideas. He is the only Deputy I heard who did not denounce this Bill, bell, book and candle. He saw something in it, and came forward with constructive ideas. We all remember, not so many years ago, the competition on the roads, when privately owned buses were racing one another, seeking passengers, constituting a danger to travellers. The conductors and drivers were underpaid, and worked long hours under all kinds of conditions. The same applied to the carriage of goods by lorries. When I represented Longford-Westmeath, I saw streets in my constituency lined by these lorries, and the owners were not paying 3d. in rates for a shed to garage them. The railways, in competition with these lorries, had to pay heavy rates all the time, and trade union wages. My mind has been made up on this subject for years, and I have advocated inside and outside the Party that something should be done to end that competition. I see in this Bill something constructive to place railway transport and all transport in its proper place in the national economy. Deputies will bear out the fact that there were stationmasters in charge of marshalling yards seeking traffic for the railways at any price. That certainly was a scandal, and anything that would end that sort of thing would be desirable. I hope that, as a result of this Bill, the competition for traffic from Mullingar to Dublin, between the railway, the canal and the bus, will be brought to an end. It is a complete waste of fuel, and is false economy. I hope this Bill will put an end to it.

We had the scandal that, under a previous Bill, the Great Southern Railways Company took over certain private hauliers and bus owners, and these men, who neither paid proper wages nor considered their employees, immediately they received compensation, drove a coach and four through the Act, and set up again in competition with the railways. I do not refer to the present position, but even now they are doing funny things.

It was clearly indicated by the sponsors of the Bill that privately-owned lorries will not be interfered with. I do not want to see another loophole in a Bill by which private enterprise could secure a foothold to smash essential public services. Deputy Connolly referred to the position that would arise when this war ends, and suggested that there will only be an interval until the next war breaks out. Deputy Cosgrave contended, if I understood him aright, that railways were becoming obsolete. Where would we be now if the hundreds of wagons that I saw lying at Mullingar were not available for the transport of live stock, grain, timber, turf and other merchandise, in view of the fact that the loading capacity of the wagon is equal to that of three lorries?

If railway wagons and the permanent-way were done away with what would be the position here now? Where would we be if we were dependent on motor transport? Some Deputy referred to the farmers' views on this question. I have the greatest respect for the farming community, but if farmers were left without labour, and without services like railways, the fields would remain untilled, cows would not be milked, live stock would not be attended to. Wealth and abundance would then be of no avail. Each and every one of us has to realise that no matter what our occupation the services of all dovetail and that labour, professional people and craftsmen are all necessary in the economy of the country. The farming community would not be able to carry on for a year without public transport services.

The Road Fund is financed by contributions which originate in licences paid by lorries and motor cars. Such contributions are essential in normal times for the financing of road works. The amount so contributed for the maintenance of trunk roads has frequently been stated and has appeared on the records. It is fallacious to suggest that railways do not pay a contribution towards the upkeep of the roads. The sooner it is realised that they do the better it will be when discussing the Bill. One Deputy stated that £9,000,000 was to be given for obsolete stock. I see nothing in the Bill or in the Explanatory Note about any such amount. I saw that some stock is to be transferred from the Great Southern Railways Company to the new company, but there is nothing in the Bill about throwing away £9,000,000 in obsolete stock. Is it contended that the Dublin Transport Company is obsolete? Is it contended that the bridges and the railway stations are obsolete? In introducing the Bill the Minister pointed to lack of economy in the running of the railways, because of want of uniformity in rolling stock and locomotives. It could not be argued that everything on the railways, which is to be handed to the new company, is obsolete. In 1933 a section of the railway from Dublin to Galway was taken up and other branch lines were closed. If there had been proper development of railway transport all these branches should have been reopened. It is proper that this Bill was introduced and this is the time for its consideration.

I desire to draw the Minister's attention to Sections 36, 44 and 45 dealing with the compensation of officials. I want to see that the rights of every man are safeguarded under this Bill and that the old employees, engine-drivers or station-masters at small wayside stations, are if possible retained by the new company. There is a great tendency in amalgamations, whether of insurance companies or other concerns, to dispense with the services of old hands, irrespective of their service or ability. As there is a belief that a new broom sweeps clean, when new administrators get power they are not satisfied until all those formerly associated with old companies are swept aside. I want to see that the rights of these people are safeguarded. Apart altogether from their national contribution during the present emergency, we should bear in mind that railwaymen made a great contribution to the national cause in the past, and played a very important part in the fight for Irish independence. For that reason I would not like to see any of the railwaymen or their families suffering as a result of the operation of this Bill. As far as I am aware, their rights are safeguarded, but I would be false to those I represent if I did not point out that they want to be assured that that is so. I am wholeheartedly in support of this Bill which is a step in the right direction.

I heartily congratulate the Minister on introducing this Bill which is welcome and long overdue. It is going to give this country efficient rail and road services that were not previously available. I want to refer to the question of redundancy. If the Minister could express his views on that question he would be conferring a favour on railwaymen. There has been a lot of talk about postponing consideration of the Bill. I think it is absolutely necessary that it be passed as soon as possible. We have heard a lot of members on the Fine Gael Benches condemn the Bill. I remember that in 1926, 1927, 1928 and 1929 there were 2,000 railwaymen and shopmen working only three days a week on the Great Southern Railways. We had very few members of the Labour Party protesting against these workmen being on short time.

That is untrue.

It is not untrue.

You were not here then, and it is untrue.

It is not untrue. I am stating a fact.

Read the Dáil Debates of the time. You were not here then. You were sulking around the country.

That is as true as what you said about Mr. Reidy.

Thank you, very much. What I say about anybody is true. I can assure the Minister that the railwaymen are behind him to a man in this Bill.

How far behind?

A good deal of discussion has centred around the proposal to adjourn the Second Reading of this Bill. My colleagues and I are in favour of that course being adopted. During the course of a speech which he made this evening, Deputy Fitzgerald said that for a considerable time the country was asking that something should be done for the railways, which he said were the life stream of the country. With that statement we all agree. Later in his speech, he said that the Minister's statement, in moving the Second Reading of the Bill, was very informative. My submission to the Dáil is that the Minister was anything but informative in so far as the future of the railways is concerned. He certainly dealt at length with a number of blunders that had been made in the past, even since the legislation which he himself initiated in 1932 and 1933 was enacted by the House. I well remember the optimism displayed by the Minister when introducing the Transport Bills of 1932 and 1933.

In so far as this Bill is concerned, what I object to is that it does not indicate in any way what it is proposed to do with the railways with a view to bringing about an efficient transport system all over the country. This is a Bill of 58 pages, containing 117 sections and 10 schedules. If you read it from end to end you will find nothing in it but this fact, that the railway and transport system of the country is to be handed over to one man who is to be an absolute dictator. Nobody in this House, or outside of it. dare say a word so far as his administration is concerned, notwithstanding the fact that the Dáil and the people through the Dáil are to be made responsible for finding a certain amount of money in the event of the undertakings over which this man is to preside not being successful. I think it will be admitted by everybody that the treatment proposed for the directors and shareholders is on a very extravagant scale. I wonder what would the position have been if a Bill of this kind had been introduced immediately after the pessimistic speech which was made by Mr. Reynolds in March, 1943. I think it is correct to say that at that time the shares of the Great Southern Railway could have been purchased for £3,500,000, or £4,000,000 less than the price that has now been agreed upon for the first time. It is proposed that the railway directors should be compensated. Their compensation is on a very generous scale when compared to the treatment meted out to the ordinary railway worker. It will be admitted, I think, that the scale is weighted in favour of the directors.

Deputy McGilligan, speaking of his experience of certain legislation which he had put through this House when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce, said that it took seven years to find out whether a man was redundant or not. Under this Bill, unless it is obvious within six months that a man is redundant, no compensation will be paid to him by the company. I suggest that in the case of a big undertaking of this kind when certain proposals are, perhaps, being formulated in the mind of this dictator, it will not be possible to find out within six months whether a man is redundant or not. On the other hand, it may be obvious to the officials and to everybody concerned that a man will become redundant inside the six months, but, knowing that if they keep him for one, two, or three weeks after the six months have elapsed he will not have to be paid compensation, one can see that man being kept on after the six months' period in order to relieve the company of their liability to pay him compensation.

In view of the Minister's statement that it is not proposed to put this legislation into operation until the post-war period is reached, I cannot see why this Bill should be rushed through the House between this date and the 1st July. I think it is most unfair of the Minister to ask the Dáil to do that within such a short period, especially when we know that a tribunal, set up by the Minister, is investigating some very serious allegations against people who may be concerned in this undertaking when this legislation is passed. I think it is most improper that the Dáil should be called upon to discuss a measure of this importance at this particular time.

The Deputy should know that the tribunal was set up by the House and not by the Minister.

And that it is not investigating allegations against anybody.

It was set up by the House in consequence of representations made to it by the Minister. There is not much, therefore, in that point. I will be told that it is improper to discuss the tribunal. I think it is most improper for the House to be discussing a Bill of this kind while that tribunal is sitting. I think that is recognised in every part of the country, if it is not recognised in the ranks of the Government and their supporters. I hope that even yet the Minister and the Government will agree to postpone the Second Reading of this Bill so that we may be able to face the situation fairly. I suggest that in the present atmosphere, with this tribunal sitting, it is not possible to discuss this in a proper manner. One of the people concerned may be the dictator of this company. I submit that it is nothing but a dictatorship that is being set up.

I cannot see any reference to a dictatorship in the Bill.

The Taoiseach said it to-day.

And he is a very important man in this House.

The Taoiseach legalised it to-day.

I do not think anybody can deny that the position in which this man is to be placed will make him a dictator in every sense of the word. The House has not been told what his plans are. The Minister may know what his plans are, but in this voluminous Bill of 117 sections there is nothing to indicate what the Government or the company, under this dictatorship, propose to do as regards the future of transport in this country. In his Second Reading speech, the Minister referred to the blunders which had occurred, but if these blunders occur again the taxpayers will have the privilege of paying for them. The Minister will have power to appoint the dictator and, no matter what happens then in railway matters, the House will have no opportunity to criticise any point, good, bad or indifferent. That is a disgraceful state of affairs. If this Bill gets a Second Reading, I hope that the Committee Stage will be adjourned until we hear the findings of the tribunal which is now sitting, as those findings are bound to have repercussions on the future of transport generally.

I hope that the clauses dealing with railway workers will be altered, so that those workers will be treated at least as generously as the shareholders and directors. Railway shares have risen considerably in recent months and that rise has been taken into consideration in fixing the compensation to shareholders. Nothing similar has been done in the case of the ordinary worker. This country owes a good deal to the railway servants. We all remember that, when the country was in the throes of a revolution during the Black and Tan period, the railwaymen refused to carry the British military and ran great risks from day to day. It is very poor compensation to them now to find that, unless it is obvious that they become redundant inside six months, they will receive no compensation. As far as we know some of the people responsible for railway administration in this country, we can see that some of these men may be kept about a week over the six months, in order to avoid the payment of the compensation which the Minister obviously suggests they should get. I hope the Minister will alter the sections dealing with that point, so as to enable these people to be certain that they will be treated properly and as a grateful country should treat them.

Mr. O'Reilly

This has been a remarkably long debate and I am sure it will not do a bit of harm. To-day was the first day that I noticed many Deputies beginning to learn something about this important measure. Deputy Cosgrave succeeded better than most other Deputies of his Party, in bringing home to the House the importance of these proposals. He quoted the Minister as having said, in his opening statement, that the railway is the backbone of the transport system. Everybody will agree with the Minister on that point—even further, that the transport system in general is the backbone of the whole nation. That being so, it is not surprising to see a sectional group like the Labour Party with false ideas as to why this Bill should be postponed, whilst hoping at the same time that it would not be postponed.

There is practically no comparison between the amount of men that the transport system employs and the amount of other workers that it could affect. We have not had a suitable transport system yet, and it is quite possible that this measure will not succeed in providing one. The system we dream of would make an enormous difference to our people, and to no section would it be so important as to the farmers. If Clann na Talmhan represents the farmers, they must represent a very limited portion of them, when they object to something which will improve the condition of the farmers. On examining the question deeply, I believe that it is the transport system here that has caused the very considerable depression amongst the farming community and has increased the cost of living in the cities and towns.

This is one of the most important measures that has come before the House. The previous Government recognised the need for action when the income of the railways began to collapse in 1924. I think Deputy Corish and Deputy Norton contended that there was no unemployment in 1924. There must have been, because the income was falling. The late Government would not have introduced the 1924 Act if the railway income were not falling.

We said there was no unemployment in 1924?

Mr. O'Reilly

Yes.

I would like the Deputy to produce evidence of that.

Mr. O'Reilly

It can be seen in any statistics of railway working.

That is different. The Deputy said unemployment.

Mr. O'Reilly

I am connecting unemployment with income and profits, as those factors regulate employment. There must have been unemployment, or signs of it. That effort in 1924 to revive the railway system was not a success. It was badly thought out and badly planned. Another effort was made in 1927 and it brought about a complete collapse in the income of the railways. It left the railway assets so low that the company was not able to replace rolling stock. Then a measure was introduced to curb, to some extent, the activities of motor transport. The whole difficulty was that what the motor transport could do was not visualised. As a result, up to 1933 or 1934, there was complete chaos, until the Act to regulate motor transport was passed. It was no doubt advantageous to the farmers and the people in the city for the moment. There were very cheap rates and extensive competition but there was no guarantee at all that the railway would be able to maintain itself. Then we came to the point of the emergency when the war started. Some people held that it was the emergency with its higher prices and freights that revived the railway system and brought back some of the income. I do not think that is quite true. I believe it was a fresh mind, an energetic and intelligent mind that succeeded in reviving to some extent the railway company. The Labour Party are very much misinformed. If this semi-dictator or complete dictator as they call him had not made his appearance some years ago how many people would be employed on the railway system? Are not the people employed in that system dependent on the brilliance or otherwise of the management? If the management does not succeed these people are going to lose their employment. Consequently a merger like this is, I hold, going to do a lot of good by giving the public confidence in the railway system. I do not believe that the railways ever had popular confidence. Everyone of us knows what the attitude was to the railways previous to the last war. There was, of course, keen competition. I think you had 24 different railway companies operating here. That was advantageous to the community for a certain time and then the amalgamation started. The railway companies were never what one would call popular and certainly the management was not.

I think the object in the mind of some of the members of this House is to try to continue to make the railway company unpopular. It would appear that there is a want of confidence when the Government has to guarantee the moneys invested in the company. If we succeed through this merger in getting an efficient transport system I think the workers will have to thank the Minister. There is nothing at all to be said for the demand for postponing the Bill. Everyone knew months ago that these arrangements were being made. A very important transport company in the city here agreed to amalgamate. Their position is very uncertain and it is not easy for that company to carry on knowing the position is as it is. Consequently, the sooner the merger operates and determines what the future of that company is going to be the better. The fact that the tribunal is sitting at the present time does not come into the matter at all, to my mind. That is only a sort of political twist. There is no Deputy that does not know that that has nothing whatsoever to do with the merger. When the tribunal comes to its findings that has nothing to do with the merger and nothing to do with us. Somebody else will come to conclusions about that. We may, of course, direct that action be taken but that is a different matter entirely. All this propaganda is to a very large extent insincere. If we agree that transport is the backbone of our nation we should make some effort to bring back the people's confidence instead of trying to destroy it, for that is what they are trying to do. If the system had the confidence of the public there would be no necessity to come to the Minister and ask for a guarantee, but for the last 11 days some members of the House have been doing their utmost to undermine the confidence of the people in this system which is vital to all of us. If we do not succeed in establishing a suitable sound transport system the country will collapse. There is no doubt about it. If we have not a good transport system it must collapse. What we have to do is to get public confidence in the system. We cannot do that by talking a lot of nonsense here because the public do not know that it is nonsense. The last thing I have to say on this question is with regard to the railway employees who become redundant. I am quite sure that the Minister will not forget these people and will see that they get a fair crack of the whip. I have had some experience of the last Government's operations and I must say that most of the people concerned in that way, many of whom are now dead, were left in a pitiable condition, but I am sure the Minister and the Government will see that these people get a fair crack of the whip now.

Deputy O'Reilly invariably makes a valuable contribution to the debates in this House, but I regret that he has departed from his usual course this evening. The Deputy indicated to us what he considered to be the history of railway development for the last 20 years. He told us there was an amalgamation in 1924 and something else in 1927, I think it was the cutting down of the capital. He told us that notwithstanding all that the position of the railways has deteriorated and his sole contribution to the confidence of the Irish people in the railways was that we must dispense with an effective directorate and appoint a one-man dictator. That is how he asked the Irish people to have confidence in the scheme that is being introduced now. That was his sole contribution—that notwithstanding the fact that we tinkered with the railways in 1924 and in 1927—my dates may be wrong—the railways were deteriorating and we were so devoid of reasoning power and ability that you must take one man, jerk him up from the crowd and throw him into the position and say: "Run the railways for us." That is a very poor compliment to the business ability of our people. If this were a normal measure, such as one dealing with national health insurance, workmen's compensation, or the development of agricultural produce, a motion such as we have before us from the Leader of the principal Opposition Party would deserve very serious consideration, and we should examine the reasons why we should postpone this measure. But this is not a normal measure or an ordinary measure. It is a measure far beyond the limits of anything that was introduced into this House for years. None of us will deny that the Minister is right to take serious cognisance of the position of transport for the past ten years. The Minister has a duty to do that.

There is no doubt that transport required co-ordination and direction, but in an extraordinary and abnormal measure of this kind we are entitled to ask why we are being asked to consider it in the very limited time that is given to us. The Taoiseach, of course, trained in the art of argument as he is, endeavoured to put the onus on the Opposition of saying why it should not be considered in that time, but I listened in vain to speakers on the opposite side for an argument why it should be considered in the short space that they have given us. I endeavoured to extract from the Minister's statement a reason as to why this huge document should be flung at us and why should we be asked to consider it with all its implications for individuals, agriculture, industry and the whole country within nine or ten days. Surely the Minister does not think that it is reasonable to expect the Dáil to do that. If the Minister has so little faith in the intelligence of the business people of this country in regard to the railway transactions, why has he such an enormous opinion of the intelligence of the Deputies of this Dáil that he expects that they should thoroughly understand all the implications of this measure in nine or ten days? He says the directors of the railways cannot understand all that is in it, and we must get a superman and put him in charge. Yet he expects us to take all this letterpress and understand what it means and realise where it is leading us.

Let us look for a few moments at some of the abnormal things in this measure that it takes out of the course of ordinary legislation. First of all, we are guaranteeing £16,000,000. It is quite possible that some of the people who may be called upon to pay some of that £16,000,000 may never see the railway line. We have some experience in the constituency I represent of what paying for the failure of railway traffic means. I know people who paid for deficits in the management and running of railway lines, and they never saw the railway lines. That has happened for years. We have here flung at us, to consider its implications in nine or ten days, a measure in which the taxpayers are called upon to give a guarantee to the tune of £16,000,000. Perhaps it may not be £16,000,000 that will have to be paid; perhaps it will be only £1,000,000, but even £1,000,000 represents a heavy burden.

We were told there was a heavy burden to be put on the taxpayers when the Children's Allowances Bill was brought forward, but here we are guaranteeing £16,000,000 in order to run the transport of the country. And the control of that £16,000,000 is not in this House. The administration of the £2,500,000—or whatever amount is given towards children's allowances —is controlled by this House, but the control of the £16,000,000 which we are to guarantee does not reside in the House. The control of that amount, everything connected with the administration of it, is outside this House and will be reposed in one individual. That is one abnormal thing in respect of the guarantee under this measure. It is one thing that should make us consider very seriously the amendment proposed by Deputy O'Higgins, the leader of the main Opposition Party.

There are other matters that demand consideration. There is the power to make people redundant. We know what happened in respect of other amalgamation schemes and the unfair treatment meted out to workers in respect of alleged redundancy. Many railway workers have bitter experiences of that. What do we find in this measure? Let us imagine a branch line that employs 100 workers. What is to prevent this managing director, this dictator, from closing that branch line down for six months?

He cannot do it on his own initiative.

No, but the Minister is the controller of the dictator and we can see——

The railway company cannot close a branch line without a Ministerial Order. That has been the law for the past ten years.

Has the Minister ever refused an Order?

Will the Minister tell me why he closed branch lines?

That question will have to be related to a specific branch line.

Like Kilfree?

If I ask the Minister why he closed X branch line, will he tell me? Suppose a branch line employs 100 workers. If it is closed down after the lapse of the period mentioned in the Bill the men need not get compensation.

I think the Deputy misunderstands the position. The compensation of workers disemployed by the closing of a branch line is provided for by the 1933 Act and has nothing whatever to do with this Bill. I have interrupted several Labour Deputies in order to convey that information, but I find it impossible to get them to understand me.

We can leave the branch lines alone for the moment. There are other methods by which workers can be rendered redundant and kept on for a day after six months. Let me read the section, because it is very important:—

"Every person who was, on the 1st day of January, 1944, and is, immediately before the establishment date, an officer or servant of any dissolved company shall, if his office or situation is abolished before the 1st day of January, 1945,...”

I suggest every Deputy ought to note the following words very carefully:—

"...directly and solely as the result of the amalgamation effected by this Part of that dissolved company and the other dissolved company and not caused by decrease of traffic, reduction of renewal or maintenance work, alteration of methods of working, closing of railway lines or other economic cause..."

How does the Minister imagine a railway porter, a railway guard or a checker or anybody in any of these positions will be able to prove that it is not due to causes such as are enumerated here?

That is word for word the same as in the 1924 Act.

I opposed it then and I oppose this. I suggest it is absolutely impossible for a porter, a fireman, or any of the various employees of a railway to prove that, by graphs, diagrams or statistics or any figures which the Minister and the manager may have. How is a worker to prove that it is not due to traffic or to something else and is directly due to the amalgamation?

It is quite obvious that not a single railway worker of the classes to which the Deputy refers can possibly be affected by this amalgamation.

The Minister is merely making wild statements. I am not prepared to contradict him flatly, but I can tell him I know scores of men who were dealt with in a very savage manner because of the similar wording in the Act to which he refers. I know scores of such men.

There are hundreds, and the Minister knows it.

That was an Act to amalgamate railway companies. The railway workers will not be affected by this measure so far as redundancy is concerned.

There were hundreds of men affected in your own constituency.

"Every person who was ... an officer or servant of any dissolved company ... if his office... is abolished as the result of the amalgamation ... and not caused by decrease of traffic". How is a railway porter to prove it was not because of a decrease of traffic? How can a railway checker or any man in a somewhat similar position prove that? The Minister knows it is impossible, but he endeavours to-fight a bad case.

The Deputy must address the Chair, not the Minister.

I am not addressing the Minister. I am saying the Minister knows it is impossible and I am entitled, I suggest, to say that. With all respect, I will continue to use the expression. I am not saying "Deputy Lemass, the Minister". I say that the Minister knows he is fighting a bad case. These are two of the things that make this measure an abnormal one and that would justify us in giving very serious consideration to the amendment put forward by Deputy O'Higgins. I refer to the guarantee of £16,000,000 and the ability to throw out of employment, without any compensation or any apologia, scores or perhaps thousands of men. Now we come to the supermen. The Minister told us that there would be six men, six directors, plus this railway dictator.

Six rubber stamps.

I was forcibly reminded of the seven pillars of wisdom when I saw that there were to be seven men. We are to have six railway directors who will have no power whatever. We will have another man who will have all the power. They are to be the seven pillars of wisdom in the railway business of this country. Six men are to be put in by the shareholders, to do what? To listen to what the railway dictator has to say. What are his powers? It is just as well that we should indicate them clearly, as is done in the measure: "The chairman shall constitute a quorum at a meeting of the board." I wonder what does that mean? The chairman can do anything he likes at a meeting of the board. The Minister shakes his head. To my mind, a quorum is that number legally qualified to carry on a meeting and reach decisions. If I know anything, it is a quorum of a company or of a council, or anything else. For instance, 20 Deputies are entitled to carry on the business here.

No. Twenty Deputies are entitled to carry on the business if every Deputy has been summoned to the meeting.

No. The Minister is making a very serious mistake. No Deputy is summoned to a meeting. An indication is sent to a Deputy as to what is to be discussed; he is not summoned to it.

Twenty Deputies cannot meet in Cork and constitute themselves a quorum of the Dáil.

Twenty Deputies constitute a quorum of this House and are entitled to carry on the business of this House. It has been so ruled and the Minister knows it. Therefore, a quorum is that number of people who are members of a body and who can carry on the business of that body and reach decisions for that body.

Provided the meeting has been properly convened and every other member has been summoned to be present.

The Minister is very keen on that and I will grant it to him. Supposing a meeting has been properly summoned and nobody turns up but the chairman, what is to prevent him from doing what he likes then? He constitutes a quorum. He can do what he likes. What is the good of having these six men then? He is a quorum. He has not to adjourn the meeting and say: "I will have to summon them again." He carries on alone. He says: "I will dismiss 400 of these men," and there is nobody to say anything else. He says: "I will reduce wages" and there is nobody to say anything against him. He says: "I will run up the rates on agricultural produce." Why does the Minister shake his head?

He cannot increase the rates without a Ministerial Order.

The Minister is at the back of the dictator and, if the Minister wants it done, he can say: "I am a quorum.""No meeting of the board shall be held until the chairman is present thereat." In other words, the other six can do nothing without him. He can do everything himself. There is another section which says: "No decision shall be arrived at by the board at any meeting without the concurrence of the chairman." First of all, he can hold a meeting himself. Secondly, the six other people cannot hold a meeting without him. Thirdly, they cannot reach a decision unless he concurs. I wonder, therefore, what is the status of that individual.

A Fuehrer.

Surely the Minister will have an opportunity of explaining the rank, title and status of the gentleman who will occupy that position.

His position is very simple.

That is the reason why I think any Deputy is justified in asking the Minister why he has thrown this measure at us and why he asks us to consider it in the short space of time at our disposal. He has given us 10 days to consider a measure with these three vital and abnormal conditions which I have pointed out: a guarantee of £16,000,000; power to render men redundant and give no compensation; a dictator who can hold a meeting himself and prevent the other six people from holding a meeting, and who can nullify any decision they reach unless he concurs in it. I do not think there is any argument to justify the Minister coming before the Dáil and asking us to do that after the 20 years of railway history Deputy O'Reilly gave us. He said that we tinkered with the matter in 1924 and 1927. Now he wants the people to have confidence, to guarantee that the railway company will be in an economic position to the tune of £16,000,000 of the taxpayer's money and to have confidence in a man who will be responsible to no one.

Mise an Teachta cuireadh annseo as an gceanntar ar chraith an tAíre a mhaide mór air nuair a thóg sé an bóthar iarainn ó Ghaillimh don Chlochán uainn—an bóthar iarainn a rinne Rialtas Shasana gan pighin ná leithphighinn iarraidh ar na daoine. Ach bhí orainn fanacht le Rialtas Fianna Fáil lena chrochadh uainn. Seo é an Rialtas a gheall chuile rud don Ghaedhilg agus don Ghaeltacht, ach ba caint i mbéal i bhfad ó chroidhe an gealltanas sin. Nuair a tógadh an ráille gheall siad go mbeadh seirbhís iompair chó maith againn faoi'n réim nua is a bhí nuair a bhí an ráille ann. Ní mar sin atá, faraoir. Nuair a bhí an ráille againn tiubharfaí bhaigín beithíoch ón gClochán go Gaillimh ar choróin agus punt. Cosnuíonn sé sé phunt nó os a chionn anois. Cén dochar dhá mbeadh ceannathóirí beithíoch cinnte go mbeadh na bhaigíní féin le fáil acu. Faoi láthair tá ceannacht mhór ar eallach i chuile áit ach i gConamara. Tá leithscéal maith ag na ceannathóirí—go dtógann sé achar mór ortha féin a theacht ann agus cúpla oíche chaitheamh sna tithe ósta agus, os a chionn sin, an praghas mór a bhíos ortha íoc ar na lorries i riocht is gur ar éigin atá aonach ar bith ar fiú caint air sa límistear mór tíre sin. Beithíoch ar bith a ceannuítear, ceannuítear é dhá phunt nó trí phunt faoí n-a luach. Chuile bhuach anuas ar na daoine bochta, ach is fíor an sean-rá: "An té bhíos thuas óltar deoch air agus an té bhíos thíos buailtear cos air," agus tá sí á bualadh go maith air faoi láthair.

Timpeall is bliain ó shoin tháinic sagairt agus daoine measúla i gConamara i gceann a chéile faoi'n gceist seo féachaint a bhféadfaí tada a dhéanamh. Cuireadh ceathar ar a raibh beirt shagart aníos annseo le dhul chun cainte leis an Aire. Ní raibh an tAire sásta dhul chun cainte linn ach chuir sé chuig lucht an bhóthair iarainn muid. Chaith an toscaireacht dhá uair a chluig ag míniú cúrsaí an cháis do lucht ceannais an bhóthair iaraínn agus ón lá sin go dtí an lá atá indiu ann ní bhfuaireamar freagra "seadh" ná "ní headh". Marab in é dlí an lámh láidir níl fhios agamsa cén sórt dlí é.

Chuaidh an Taoiseach síos go Gaillimh d'fhonn na daoine ghríosadh le móin a bhaint. Do réir an dlí atá déanta ag an Aire tá daoine i mbaile mór na Gaillimhe a bhfuil a gcuid móna bainte ó anuraidh acu ach chlis glan baileach ortha lorry fháil lena tabhairt abhaile. Cén mhaith móin bheith caithte faoi'n tsíon agus sioc ar an bportach mara féidir í thabhairt as? Réir mar atá an dlí faoi láthair ní féidir le aon duine lorry fháil mara ceannaí é. Tá súil agam go n-athróidh an tAire é sin. Ní in aisce atá na daoine ag iarraidh cóir iompair. Tá siad toilteanach íoc ar rud ar bith a gheobhfas siad. Sa Líonán agus in áiteacha mar é, a bhfuil an mhóin chúig mhíle ó bhaile, caithfidh siad lorry fháil amach as Cathair na Gaillime—leithchéad míle amach agus leithchéad míle isteach. Ar ndóigh, bíonn cuid mhaith den lá imithe ar an mbealach sin gan trácht chor ar bith ar an méid petrol a hídithear. Cér chás é ach go bhfuil dhá lorry ina gcomhnuí agus meirg ag teacht ortha i mbaile an Líonáin thárla nach bhfuil cead acu dul ar bóthar. Feicthear dhomsa gurb éard atá ón Aire na daoine dhíbirt as Conamara ar fad agus an tír a leigean chun báin. Má thagann an Bille seo i bhfeidhm, is féidir lucht oibre a chaitheamh amach gan pighinn ná leithphinginn de chúiteamh réis a saothair ar feadh namblianta agus muirín mhór ar go leor acu. Ach na buic mhóra, a bhfuil an cumhacht acu, má caithtear amach iad ní fuar na folamh a rachaidh siad as oifig. Is maith an cúiteamh a gheobhfas siad. Ní ceart ná cóir é sin. Ba chóir go mbeadh cothrom le fáil ag chuile dhuine.

I think it will be agreed that only a few of the speakers who participated in this long debate dealt with the Bill as a scheme for the organisation of the nation's transport services. A large number of speakers confined their remarks to related matters and some to irrelevant matters; but only a limited number criticised the provisions of the Bill or proposed alternative provisions for the constitution of an organisation to direct our transport services. It is true that we had from the Leader of the Fine Gael Party, and from some other speakers of the Party, a declaration in favour of nationalisation of transport. It is clear that there is not unanimity amongst that Party upon that issue, and probably the Leader of Fine Gael was more concerned with the casting of a line to hook a possible coalition with the Labour Party than with the merits of his proposal as such.

It is, I think, significant that the readers of theIrish Independent would secure no hint from the reports of Fine Gael speeches in this debate which appeared in that paper or the comments of the paper's political correspondents on the debate, that nationalisation of transport had now become the policy of the Fine Gael Party. We had, of course, from the Labour Party a reaffirmation of their faith in nationalisation. They nailed their flag to that staff 20 years ago and, since then, have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. We had from the spokesman of Clann na Talmhan, Deputy Cafferky, a very vigorous defence of private competitive enterprise, which also rather surprised me.

I think that on an occasion upon which a Bill is brought forward, proposing the establishment of a new organisation to be responsible for the direction, now and in the future, of the transport services, some consideration might have been given to the merits or demerits of the Bill, as Deputies saw them, and more definite efforts made to propose alternative provisions in detail. Deputies excused themselves on the ground that they were rushed. I do not know whether any of those who stated that this Bill was being rushed expected themselves to be taken seriously by those who knew the facts. Twelve months ago Deputy Davin initiated a debate here upon the transport situation. Does he remember that? On an amendment introduced by him to the Vote for the Department of Industry and Com- merce, he initiated that debate in an endeavour to secure from the Government an undertaking that transport legislation would be promoted at an early date.

He got that undertaking. He got from me an assurance that the Government recognised the need for new legislation, recognised the need to have that legislation enacted before the end of the war and that the necessary steps towards its completion were being taken. On the occasion of the general election, a formal undertaking was given on behalf of the Fianna Fáil Party that, if returned to power, transport legislation would be introduced. Subsequently, the details of proposals relating to the acquisition of the Great Southern Railways and the Dublin United Transport Company were published. Deputies cannot pretend that they had not ample notice of the intention to promote transport legislation, and ample opportunity to make up their minds upon the principles of transport policy which they proposed to defend, and it is only with the principles of policy that we are now concerned. At this stage of the discussion of this measure, we do not deal with details but with questions of policy and principles. Deputies who did not, before this, consider questions of policy and questions of principle were, I think, negligent in their duty.

The Labour Party——

It certainly was not due to lack of notice. The Labour Party, as Deputy Davin was about to say, cannot and does not make that defence, because they, knowing that this legislation was forthcoming, established a committee of their Party, a committee which obviously went with great care into all questions of transport policy and prepared a report, a copy of which they were good enough to send to me, which showed every evidence of careful preparation and which recommended a definite line of policy. Even though I do not agree with that policy, and even though it is obvious that the Labour Party itself does not agree with all the recommendations of its own committee, nevertheless the members of that committee are to be congratulated on the comprehensive report they produced. They, therefore, cannot claim that they were rushed, because so far as the members of the Labour Party are concerned, they had not merely ample notice but they had already taken steps to ensure that they would be amply prepared for the introduction of this Bill.

It is, I think, agreed that it is good policy to enact our permanent transport legislation before the end of the war. We could, of course, postpone this measure until the war is over. We could adopt the recommendations of the transport tribunal, to which Deputy Lynch referred, and submit our whole transport situation to a five years' scrutiny. That course might commend itself to those who can get from Deputy Lynch or somebody else a guarantee that if we did postpone the matter for five years, we would not have missed the tide. Is there any guarantee of that? If we left this situation to remain as it is without change, as the transport tribunal report recommended in 1939, before the war, but as Deputy Lynch recommends now, in 1944, after four years of war, for five years, can we be certain that it will be as easy to deal with it, at the end of the five years, as it is now, that the opportunity which we now have of bringing into existence an organisation fully equipped to deal with the possibilities of the post-war period will not have been lost, and lost for ever?

I confess that I had hoped that the text of this Bill would have been available for circulation to Deputies before Easter. The fact that it was not so available was due to congestion in the draftsman's office. It was, however, circulated three weeks ago to-morrow, and, while Deputies last week might have made some case that they had not an opportunity to consider it, I thought it ludicrous to hear Deputies making that statement to-day, three weeks after the circulation of the Bill, and after 30 hours of Parliamentary debate, which probably constitutes a record in the history of the Dáil.

The Bill has been framed to come into operation on 1st July. It is, I think, fairly obvious that, unless there is more co-operation from the Dáil than there is evidence that there is likely to be, the Bill cannot come into operation on that date, and for reasons which I explained in my introductory speech, any postponement must be for a six months' period, from 1st July to 1st January; but there are reasons, and I want to put them to the Dáil, why it is desirable that the enactment of the measure should not be delayed. Let me make it quite clear that if, having given those reasons, the Dáil still thinks we should not attempt to enact the Bill before 1st July, I do not propose to insist upon it. There are no reasons why we should insist upon it— except these. First of all, considerable publicity has been given to the proposals in the Bill, affecting two important commercial organisations in this country, and it is undesirable that there should be a protracted period of uncertainty as to the future of these organisations. There is, in the opinion of the Government, therefore, good reason in public policy why a decision on this Bill should be taken early, but there is also a special consideration, which I want to put to the Labour Party, a consideration, the importance of which they can themselves weigh.

I stated, in introducing this Bill, that it is not related to emergency conditions. That is true. The passage into law of this Bill will not get rid of any of our emergency transport difficulties. That is true. It will not result in any expansion in transport services, where the curtailment of these services is due to a shortage of coal, and not to any cause under the control of the Great Southern Railways Company, or which will be under the control of the new company which we propose to establish. But this is also true: That the difficulties which have arisen between the Great Southern Railways Company's management and the trade unions representative of the company's workers are attributable to the fact that the curtailment of these services, as a result of the emergency, is involving that company in a substantial loss of revenue. The Great Southern Railways Company is losing revenue at the rate of £20,000 per week, and the position of the company, as I understand it, is that they are prepared to make available the whole of the profit of that company since the beginning of this year until the date of the curtailment of these services in order to keep all their workers in employment, but that a time will come when there will be no funds available to enable them to continue that policy.

This new organisation will have a stronger financial position than the Great Southern Railways Company. It will have that stronger position by reason, first, of the fact that it will have a much smaller burden of interest charges to meet; secondly, by reason of the fact that it will have a new revenue resulting from the amalgamation of the Dublin United Transport Company with it; and thirdly, as a last resort, by reason of the Government guarantee of debenture interest. This new company could undertake to carry the railway workers, who are temporarily redundant, much more easily than could the existing Great Southern Railways Company. It is, in my view, therefore, in the interests of the workers of the Great Southern Railways Company that this Bill should not be delayed and that this new transport organisation, with its stronger financial position, should come into operation early. I believe that it would ultimately redound to the security of employment and to the security of remuneration of the railway workers. Now, I put that case forward for what Labour Deputies may think it worth. If they, having considered it, decide that it is not a good case to justify attempting to enact this measure by the 1st July, then I am satisfied. If, however, they think it is a good case to justify attempting to do so, then, in my view, they would be taking a wise decision.

We are asked to postpone the Second Reading of this Bill for the reason which is stated in the amendment moved by Deputy O'Higgins, the reason that there is at the present time a judicial tribunal inquiring into certain matters relating to dealings in Great Southern Railways stocks. When this Bill was circulated I had contemplated discussing it, or at any rate I had contemplated initiating discussion on it, on the 26th April, and I was told by the Government Party Whips that the Opposition Parties thought that that date was too early. I therefore agreed to the postponement of the debate until the following week. If, then, I were asked to agree to a further postponement as a matter of convenience to the Opposition Parties, that request could have been considered, but where I am asked to agree to a further postponement merely for the reason stated in the amendment moved by Deputy O'Higgins, I shall oppose it, because the amendment carries an implication which the Government will not accept.

That tribunal was set up by the Government. It was set up by the Government at the request of Opposition Deputies, but also at its own desire and at the expressed desire of the chairman of the Great Southern Railways Company, so that the truth could be established concerning matters in respect of which allegations had been made. If that tribunal produces a report which shows that individuals have acted in a manner which calls for action by the Government, such action will be taken. If, apart altogether from the specific matters upon which the tribunal reports, there is an indication that there are reasons of public policy why operations upon the Stock Exchange should be brought under greater control than they are, then that also can be considered. But let us be quite clear as to what has happened or what is happening. Deputy MacEoin said that we should await the report of that tribunal so that we may know whose capital we are guaranteeing. Those were his words. Well, he is not going to get that information from the report of the tribunal that is now sitting. They are not going to do that. I do not know, but I presume that if he wants that information he can get it from the register of shares in the company. Deputy Dillon, however, had the idea that we should drop this Bill for the purpose of ensuring that those who purchased shares last year as a speculation would lose on that speculation.

That is not so.

At any rate, it was evident that the Deputy had some such idea in his mind. I think it is wrong to presume that if we were to drop this Bill now and say that there would be no legislation, there would be that drop in the value of the shares in the company that Deputies seem to assume, because let it be remembered that that company, for a year now, has had the benefit of good financial management, good financial management which was reflected in the accounts of the company last year, and that fact is well known to everyone who holds shares in the company or might be interested in acquiring them. I do not know when this tribunal is going to report. Frankly, I confess that when I moved the motion to establish it last November I thought that we would have the report by February or March at the latest. Whether or not it will report at an early date, I could not say, but I think that in so far as there is nothing in this Bill which issub judice, and nothing on which the tribunal may report which can affect the merits of the Bill as legislation, the amendment moved by Deputy O'Higgins is completely irrelevant, and I think it is quite obvous that it was just a political manoeuvre and was moved for the purpose of extending and strengthening the whispering campaign that is proceeding amongst the public in relation to this matter, and to support a suggestion that the Government is rushing this Bill through for some ulterior motive, either because they want to facilitate people who have been dealing in railway shares, or to make certain appointments, as has been stated here previously, before that report could be published.

In this connection I should like to say something that may be a matter of information and of interest to the Dáil. The chairman of the Great Southern Railways Company, Mr. Reynolds, came to me yesterday morning and asked me to drop the Bill. His reasons are purely personal. He is not a politician. He has never been a politician, and, therefore, has never been the victim of a "smear" campaign, as the Americans call it. Those of us who have had that experience are not so much inclined to be perturbed, because we know from our experience that when the truth comes out it rebounds, and rebounds with boomerang effect, on those who started the campaign. Now, we are not dropping the Bill. I am satisfied that it stands as a good measure for the future direction of our transport services, irrespective of the personalities who were responsible for its framing, or who will be subsequently responsible for its operation. I am asking the Dáil to consider this Bill on its merits as a Bill, and not to allow themselves to be diverted by side issues such as are raised in the amendment moved by Deputy O'Higgins. It was stated that I did not give enough information to the Dáil concerning the Bill when I was introducing it. There was circulated with the Bill to Deputies a printed memorandum explanatory of its provisions, and there was also available to them the report of the Transport Tribunal of 1939, which contained a wealth of historical and statistical data, giving a clear picture of the situation with which this Bill was designed to deal, and my opening speech outlined the considerations of policy based on those facts which moved the Government to introduce this measure.

I assumed that Deputies wished to know what policy the Government had in mind, and what considerations led it to recommend these particular proposals. There may, however, be need to supplement the information I gave then. Some of the queries put by Deputies were relevant queries, and I am going to answer them. I spoke for one and three-quarter hours when introducing the Bill, and I did not want to overload my statement with any statistical information which Deputies might be able to procure otherwise. I think, however, many of the requests for information arose out of a complete misunderstanding of the measure. If a company is constituted under the Companies Acts, it is not unusual to bring it into existence with an authorised capital considerably in excess of the capital that will in fact be paid up to finance the business of that company. That practice of having a higher authorised than subscribed capital is devised usually to enable a company without difficulty to finance an extension of its business or to deal with the much more usual contingency of its original estimate of capital requirements proving unduly low. The memorandum of association of the company is drawn widely to cover all the activities which the promoters of the company think desirable in connection with the undertaking. Everybody who is familiar with companies constituted under the Companies Acts knows that that is the usual practice.

This company is not being constituted under the Companies Acts, but the same procedure is being followed. We are bringing it into being with an authorised capital which will be substantially in excess of the paid-up capital on which it will begin operating. Section 9 of the Bill, about which Deputy Cosgrave addressed some queries to me—and I think some other Deputy in that Party also queried me in that regard—is the equivalent of the memorandum of association of a company formed under the Companies Acts. It sets out the purposes for which the company is brought into being, but it does not necessarily indicate that the company is going to engage in all the activities mentioned. It is not, for instance, going to engage in aviation services. It could not engage in aviation services unless it was authorised to do so under the provisions of our Air Traffic Acts. If Deputies will get that picture of a company starting with an authorised capital which represents a sum substantially, as I have said, in excess of its subscribed capital, and with a memorandum of association which indicates all the activities in which it might sometime engage, but which do not represent the immediate intention of the promoters of the company, it will help to get rid of some of the difficulties which seem to beset Deputies in relation to this Bill.

I have been asked what the additional capital will be used for. Apparently some Deputies expect me to bring forward specific plans for the construction of new railway lines, new stations and new railway engines, and attach to each such item the estimated cost of construction to the total of the £6,500,000 which represents the difference between the paid-up capital and the £20,000,000 which is the full limit of the capital liabilities which it can at any time undertake. That is not the intention of the Bill. The comparison made here by Deputy O'Higgins between this Bill and the Electricity Supply Act was completely fallacious. The Electricity Supply Act was introduced to authorise the construction out of public money of a single construction job in relation to which full plans and detailed estimates could be produced. Whether the detailed estimates that were in fact produced informed or misled Deputies is a moot matter that we need not debate now, but there can be no comparison between the legislation necessary for such construction work and the type of legislation we are now discussing. I am asked what experts were consulted. It is not a matter for technical experts at this stage. The future of our transport is now a matter for decision upon questions of policy. When the questions of policy are decided, when that policy is being implemented by the creation of an organisation empowered and equipped to carry out our decisions, then it will be for that organisation to get whatever technical experts are necessary as well as to utilise the services of the technical experts whom it has employed in designing new equipment, in determining new methods of working, and in coming to decisions on new buildings or other constructional projects necessary for its work.

Let me try to get the financial provisions of the Bill clear to the Dáil, because it is quite obvious that they are not clear. That may be my fault. I should have perhaps dealt more fully with them in my introductory speech or in the explanatory memorandum circulated to Deputies. Let me begin by saying that all those Deputies who spoke about £20,000,000 of public money or £13,500,000 of public money being paid over to the shareholders of the Great Southern Railways Company or of the Dublin United Transport Company, were completely wide of the mark. Not one penny of State money will be paid over to the shareholders. There is no proposal in this Bill to take any sum whatever from the public Exchequer to pay anybody. The State is undertaking to guarantee the principal and interest of the debentures that are issued by the new company. It is not expected that the State's guarantee will be called upon. Unless we contemplate a situation in which public transport services of all kinds will disappear, the capital invested in this undertaking cannot be entirely lost.

Many Deputies spoke as if it were intended that Coras Iompair Eireann should confine its activities to railways. It is a transport undertaking charged with the responsibility of providing any and every kind of inland transport that the business development of this country requires. It is not anticipated that any circumstances could arise which would involve the State having to make good its guarantee of the principal of the sums secured on the company's debentures. It is not expected that the State guarantee in respect of interest due to the debenture holdings will have to be implemented. Let me make some reservation in regard to that statement in relation to the war period. Nobody can foretell what may happen during the war period which may bring about a complete cessation of transport, and consequently a cessation of the company's revenue but, in circumstances approaching anything like normal, the revenue of the company should be more than sufficient to meet the debenture interest, even if we assume that it is not possible to increase the net revenue over and above the average earnings in the years between the enactment of the Railways Act of 1924 and the beginning of the war.

Some Deputies queried the provisions of the Bill which empower the Minister for Finance to pay out of the Central Fund any money that becomes due in respect of the guarantee of interest on the debentures. It is quite clear that when this Bill empowers the Minister for Finance to give his guarantee in respect of the interest payable on debentures that payment must be made if and when the guarantee falls due.

Therefore the provision in the Bill is that the Minister will pay such interest forthwith out of the Central Fund, but every penny he pays to the company in respect of that guarantee becomes a first charge on the revenue of the company. Every penny of this money must be paid back by the company out of the revenue earned within the year following, and if it should fail to repay the amount advanced by the Minister in the ensuing year, then the money will be voted by the Dáil. The Dáil will be asked to vote the money at that stage, and at that stage the Dáil can avail of the opportunity to discuss the circumstances which led to the necessity for the Minister for Finance making good his guarantees and decide what measures should be adopted to prevent a repetition of these circumstances or what amendment of the legislation would recommend itself to Deputies.

Some Deputies appear to have an incomprehensible difficulty in understanding the difference between the proposed guarantee of the interest on the debentures and a subsidy to transport. The purpose of giving a State guarantee in respect of the debentures of this company is to ensure that it will get money for capital purposes at a lower rate of interest than it would otherwise be able to obtain it. In other words, it is a scheme to cheapen transport, to reduce the charges that transport must bear and, consequently, to enable either reduced rates to operate or better services to be provided. But it is intended that the transport facilities to be provided will be sold at economic rates, that the rates will be so fixed as to recover for the company the whole of the cost of providing those services, plus the interest which the company is liable to pay. As I understand a subsidy arrangement, it is one in which transport is sold below cost, sold at less than an economic price, the difference between the actual charges in operation and what would be economic charges being made up by the taxpayer. I am against subsidised transport because I believe that subsidised transport would be inefficient, because I believe that it would, in the long run, prove costly transport—costly to the community as a whole—and because this country cannot afford to have a costly transport service if we are to secure the economic development in the post-war period which we desire or if we are to promote our competitive efficiency in international trade.

The basis upon which this Bill is founded is that the task of transport reorganisation must, in the first instance, be a matter of financial reorganisation. The whole purpose of this Bill is to rearrange the finances of our transport undertakings so as to reduce the interest charges which our transport services have to bear and to permit that new equipment to be provided which will enable a reduction in operating costs to be effected. We know that the old company could not provide new equipment because it could not raise any new capital. It is impossible for the Great Southern Railways to raise capital without Government assistance. If there is to be Government assistance, as is proposed in this Bill, in relation to the new company, then we can use it to secure that the company will in future get its capital at a lower rate of interest and, consequently, effect a substantial reduction in the overhead charges upon the company's revenue.

We are trying to do for the transport of the country, as a whole, what has already been done for the Dublin United Transport Company. Deputy Dillon referred to the Dublin United Transport as an undertaking that had always been profitable. His memory is very short. Not more than 10 years ago the position of the Dublin United Transport Company was worse than that of the Great Southern Railways. If, since then, there has been a substantial improvement in the position of the company, it has been due, not to anything done by this House, but to the good management which the company provided for itself. As a result of that good management, the position of the company has continuously improved. In the year 1935, the Dublin United Transport Company was in a position in which it had to face the redemption of stocks in 1939, for which it had no money and no prospect of obtaining money. Since then, by good financial management, there has been made available from the revenue of that company £1,400,000 for redemption of the obligations to which I have referred and for the reorganisation of the undertaking. The wages paid to the employees of that company—I refer now to the basic wages and I do not take account of the bonus permitted under an Emergency Powers Order— were increased since then by no less than 24 per cent. There has been set aside out of revenue a sum now totalling £80,000 to provide pensions and other benefits for the company's staff.

All that has been done while maintaining unchanged the rates of charge for passenger transportation. So far as I have been able to discover, the Dublin United Transport Company is the only urban transport organisation in this part of the world which has not increased its rates since the war began. We are introducing this Bill in the belief that what good management and good financial organisation have done for the Dublin United Transport Company can be done for the new company which will result from the merger between the Dublin United Transport Company and the Great Southern Railways. We believe that there is ample scope for a similar reorganisation of the finances of the Great Southern Railways. We are starting the new company off with a reduction of interest charges amounting, roughly, to £110,000. By provision of a State guarantee in respect of the company's debentures, we can immediately reduce the amount payable in interest to that extent. We can provide for this company the additional revenue available from the Dublin United Transport Company, which has paid, in the past, 6 per cent. on its preference shares and 6 per cent. on its ordinary shares, the interest obligation in future being only 4½ per cent. There will be the further revenue representing the amount now paid by that company in emergency excess profits duty.

This new company will, therefore, start off in a much stronger financial position than could ever have been attained by the old company. At question time to-day, Deputy McGilligan put a question which procured for him a number of figures relating to the past and anticipated revenue of this undertaking. Deputy Dillon, or some other Deputy on the opposite benches, made reference to that matter. He interpreted those figures as meaning that the net revenue of Córas Iompair Eireann would have to be increased to double the net revenue of the Great Southern Railways pre-war if it is to meet all the obligations that will fall upon it under this Bill. That statement is true only on certain assumptions. Firstly, it is true on the assumption that the whole of the authorised capital is utilised. Secondly, it is true on the assumption that the redemption of the debentures will be postponed until 1960 and that the company will pay into the redemption fund an amount sufficient to redeem in full the substituted debenture stock by 1955. Even on these assumptions, it is possible to do it, because, over and above the revenue which the company had pre-war, it will have this additional saving of interest of £100,000 and it will have the new revenue which will accrue from the Dublin United Transport Company. It is my conviction, as I know it is the conviction of Mr. Reynolds, that, by proper managerial arrangements and up-to-date working methods, the net revenue can be expanded to provide in full for the meeting of all these charges.

Let me explain, however, that it is intended that the redemption of the substituted debenture stocks will proceed from the beginning of the company. It is not proposed to leave all these stocks unredeemed until 1955. The Bill authorises the company to establish a redemption fund and to pay into that redemption fund such portion of its surplus revenue every year as it considers desirable. It is not being required to make any specific payment. It is being empowered to utilise that redemption fund to buy in its own debentures as they become available, and the intention is that these debentures will be continuously redeemed until 1955. We provide that they must be redeemed for cash at par by 1960. At that time, the company should be in the position that it will have only common stock, upon which no interest charge will be due unless profits are earned, and whatever new debentures are created in the meantime. These new debentures cannot be created without the approval of the Minister for Finance. They will be created with his approval when it is clear that the new capital will be utilised either to effect reductions in operating costs which will improve the net revenue of the company, or to provide additional facilities required by the company or in any other manner which will improve either the company's finances or the services which it gives to the people.

Many Deputies have queried the acquisition terms for which the Bill provides. Some of them have contended that the acquisition terms were too generous to the shareholders. Deputy O'Higgins and one other Deputy at least on the Fine Gael side suggested that so far as the Dublin United Transport Company was concerned they were too restricted. Deputy O'Higgins described me as putting a pistol to the head of the Dublin United Transport Company shareholders to get them to accept. Deputy Norton described me as their fairy godmother.

One of the suggestions put forward in the course of the discussion by Deputy Norton, and I think also by Deputy Dillon, was that we should acquire the shares of the Great Southern Railways Company or the Dublin United Transport Company at their market value in a particular year or over a particular period. That suggestion obviously relates to a different scheme from that contained in the Bill. We are not contemplating buying any shares for cash. We are proposing to give to the shareholders of these undertakings, in return for the shares they have now, shares in the new undertaking. There is no question of paying cash, and consequently no need to determine the cash value of these shares now or at any other time, but if it is seriously contended that we should determine the nominal value of the new shares that will be given to the Great Southern Railways Company shareholders, not in relation to the nominal value of their present shares, but in relation to the market value of these shares now or at some time in the past, it is tantamount to a suggestion that we should slash again the nominal value of the shares held by these people. Is not that so?

I asked Deputies, in introducing this Bill, to relate it to the Bill which we introduced in 1933. You cannot consider whether the proposal relating to the shareholders of the Great Southern Railways Company in this Bill are fair or unfair, and leave the 1933 Act out of account. In the 1933 Act we reduced the capital of the Great Southern Railways Company by more than half.

The nominal capital.

The nominal value of the capital by more than half.

That is a very different cup of tea.

The Fine Gael Party at that time protested strongly against that cutting of the nominal value of the capital of that company without consulting the shareholders, without seeking to get the consent of their shareholders. This time I decided to learn from past experience and endeavoured to secure in advance the consent of the various classes of shareholders, but, apparently, that has not pleased that Party either. We did, however, in 1933, reduce the nominal value of that capital very considerably. We cut the debentures 15 per cent. Some Deputy was asking about operations on the London Stock Exchange in Great Southern Railway debentures. Do Deputies not remember that the immediate result of our action in this Dáil in cutting the nominal value of the Great Southern Railways debentures was a decision by the London Stock Exchange Committee that no further transactions in Irish railway shares would be authorised there? So violently did the London Stock Exchange authorities react against our action, so much did they resent it, that they took that decision that never again would money for Irish railways be loaned from the English market. We cut the value of the ordinary shares by 90 per cent.

Will Deputies who talk about recent fluctuations in the value of the ordinary shares of the Great Southern Railways Company, remember that every £100 nominal value now held by these shareholders represents an original investment of £1,000? There was a time when Great Southern Railways shares were regarded as the best security in the country. Up to ten years ago their preference shares and guaranteed stock were trustee securities authorised by the Minister for Finance for the investment of trust funds. These shares paid no dividends for many years until this year. The earnings of that company were never sufficient to enable a dividend to be paid for a long time past. Even in the years following 1924, in which some dividend was paid upon the ordinary shares, as Deputy Cosgrave properly pointed out, that dividend was not paid from earnings; it was paid from certain funds which accrued to the company in respect of the time in which the British Government were operating the railway system here. I submit that it would be an act of injustice for us further to depreciate the nominal value of the shares of this company. I am not concerned, and I do not think this Dáil should be concerned, with possible fluctuations in their market value because that market value is of no significance except in relation to what these shares can earn.

Let us consider the position of these shareholders. There were these debenture holders, the nominal value of whose shares was cut by 15 per cent. in 1933 but who upon the reduced nominal value were getting 4 per cent. interest every year. In no year did the company fail to pay that interest. In no year was the company unable to pay that interest. We are proposing in relation to these shareholders that they shall accept a reduction in their interest of 25 per cent. In future, for every £4 per £100 that they got in interest they will get only £3. We are giving them, in return for that cut in interest, the greater security of a State guarantee. But remember this, that these debenture holders were not without security. I know that most Deputies here understand the difference between a debenture and an ordinary share. A debenture represents a loan given at a fixed rate of interest to a concern on the security of all the assets of that concern, and the holder of that debenture, if his interest is not paid, has the right to take over the concern. Every month of every year you will read in the newspapers of the debenture holders of some firm appointing a receiver, as he is called, to take over the concern and run it in their interest or, if he cannot run it in their interest at a profit, to break up the assets of the concern, sell them as scrap, if necessary, in order to repay the principal due to the debenture holders. The position of a railway debenture holder is somewhat different because it is at least questionable whether the Dáil would contemplate these debenture holders exercising their legal right to break up the property of the Great Southern Railways Company and sell it as scrap just because their interest was not paid. But these debenture holders were not, as I said, without security. They had that first charge upon all the assets of the company. In substitution for that first charge, we are giving them the better security of a State guarantee and, by reason of that guarantee, we are asking them to accept, and they have agreed to accept, 25 per cent. reduction in the amount of interest which they will receive.

That in respect of the Great Southern Railways Company alone, means an immediate saving of £70,000 a year. Next to the debenture holders were the guaranteed shareholders. The guaranteed shareholders had not got the same rights as debenture holders but they had rights nevertheless. In particular they had this right, that if in any year the 4 per cent. due upon their guaranteed shares was not paid, then it had to be paid in arrears in any subsequent year before a dividend could be paid on any other stock by the company. It is true that the company was unable to pay its guaranteed dividend in some years and had to make good for that inability by paying two or three years' arrears of dividends at subsequent times. The guaranteed dividend is paid up to date. These guaranteed shareholders were entitled, when they invested their money, to expect 4 per cent. in return. Even though getting it with some uncertainty they got it up to date. We proposed to these people, instead of 4 per cent., that they would be assured by Government guarantee only 1½ per cent. In effect, that is what the provision in the Bill means. They accepted an arrangement under which instead of 4 per cent. they are to get 1½ per cent. which will be guaranteed by the Government. The preference shareholders and ordinary shareholders are having their shares substituted £ for £ by the common stock of that company, stock which will not be guaranteed by the Government, and the payment of a dividend on which depends solely on the ability of the company to earn a profit. I do not think it will be seriously contended that that is unduly generous treatment of those who had already suffered very substantial capital loss involved by the provisions of the Railways Act, 1933.

In the case of the Dublin Transport Company we propose to substitute on the basis of £145 for £100, 3 per cent. debenture stock for existing 6 per cent. Preference stock and ordinary stock upon which dividends, I think, were paid every year except one, and were paid last year at the rate of 6 per cent. We regard that also as an equitable arrangement for the shareholders of that company, as that undertaking will bring to the new enterprise a revenue, even on a pre-war basis, more than sufficient to pay the interest due in respect of debenture stock issued to shareholders. Deputy McGilligan spoke about the financial construction of this company, and also made a serious effort to get the facts straight, but it was obvious that he failed to do so. He assumed that the £13,500,000 with which this company would begin life would be represented partly by tangible assets transferred by the Dublin Transport Company, and partly by questionable assets transferred by the Great Southern Railways Company. His initial error was in relation to the Transport Company. I do not know how one would set about valuing a transport company. It is obviously impossible to value a transport company on the basis of fixed property. The fixed property of the Dublin Transport Company was quoted at £2,000,000 but is valued in the company's balance sheet at £380,000. In the balance sheet of the Dublin Transport Company on the assets side the item "goodwill" represents more than 60 per cent. of the value of all the items.

What does "good-will" represent? It represents money paid by that company to buy out other operators in the Dublin area, and money invested in tramways which have disappeared. Is there any question about the ability of that company to earn a revenue to remunerate the whole of its capital? There is none. That company is earning a substantial revenue, and is capable of earning a substantial revenue in the future. Should we not value it on its earning capacity rather than on its fixed assets? It has been stated that a transport undertaking has no real assets except good-will. If the Dublin Transport Company broke up to-morrow, of what value are the buses? Who wants to buy a bus? What is of value is the position it has established in the City of Dublin, with the right to run transport services there, exclusively, as it is the only transport operator in the city area.

That is the real test of its success.

Deputy McGilligan stated that we proposed paying £13,500,000 for junk. That was a nonsensical statement. We give them no money. I want to emphasise that, in so far as they have shares, they are getting shares in return which represent value of almost the same kind. It is completely untrue to suggest that the assets of the Great Southern Railways Company are nil. I stated that its rolling stock is obsolete, that it is not merely obsolute but uneconomic to operate because it is not standardised. That is true, but the value of the rolling stock of the Great Southern Railways Company on the highest basis is not more than £4,000,000. £26,000,000 went into that undertaking, and that £26,000,000 represents the land that was acquired on which to build the railway lines, the permanent way to carry these lines, and the stations and buildings. On what basis would you value that land now? On what basis would you value the buildings now? It is impossible to determine what is the precise value of the fixed assets of the company.

Railway companies in the past always had a peculiar system of finance. They did not prepare their balance sheets or accounts in the same way as ordinary companies. It is proposed that this new company will change that; that it will get rid of the antiquated system of finance that hung like a millstone round the necks of railway companies in the past, and that we will have in Córas lompair Eireann what has been done already by the Dublin Transport Company, that we will get its finances arranged in the ordinary way—making provision for depreciation of assets as an ordinary company would make provision for depreciation of its assets. For the first time in years—in the present year—the company allocated to depreciation a sum of £550,000. It is proposed to make an attempt to value these tangible assets and to segregate tangible assets from its other assets, so that the balance sheet will present a fair picture of the position of the undertaking.

I know that many people think that the stronger financial position acquired by the Great Southern Railways company in the last year over previous years was due to increases in charges. That is a complete fallacy. Let me say that the increases in charges which were authorised did not in any case bring these charges over and above the standard charges approved for the company by the Railway Tribunal. Deputies will have to understand that.

It was contemplated when that company was set up that it could earn a revenue of £1,170,000 and, in order to ensure that it would earn that revenue, a Railway Tribunal was brought into existence, with power to determine the charges which the company would make for the carriage of various classes of goods. In practice, the company was never able to charge these rates. It could only charge these rates on the basis of getting no traffic, and it was continually going to the Railway Tribunal asking for permission to lower rates so that it could hold traffic in competition with private lorries and independent road transport operators. As Deputies know, it never succeeded in earning that revenue of £1,170,000. The total expansion of the company's revenue resulting from the increase in charges effected last year was £300,000, and arising out of the revenue of that year, no less than £550,000 was appropriated to depreciation for the first time. The improved financial position was all secured by good management, and particularly by good management on the financial side, and was independent of the increases in charges and is an indication of what can be done for that company, or for the new company which will absorb it, by similar management in the future.

You would say anything.

I never say anything but the truth. The Deputy does not understand the meaning of that word. If he does not understand it I will send him a dictionary.

The Minister would want to write it before sending it to me.

Deputy Dockrell suggested that we had reached the stage at which railways were not necessary at all. Other Deputies contemplated the possibility of fast internal air services, or was it Deputy Dockrell who foresaw a fleet of amphibious trucks sailing down the Liffey, taking goods off ships, driving up to land and off to Mullingar, so that there would be no handling of goods at all? We are dealing here with the things that we can foresee now, and so far as we can foresee now the preservation of the railways is essential to the maintenance of a proper transport service in this country. It may be, and I am not going to suggest the contrary, that at some future time a form of transport will emerge which will justify the closing down of the railways, but that has not come yet. It is not in sight yet, and there is, in fact, little prospect of the successful operation of internal air services for goods or passengers in this country. There is a minimum distance over which air services can be economically operated.

At the moment?

At the moment, and, so far as any development of air transport services during the war indicates, that will be the position in the future also. A person who wants to get from Dublin to Cork is not concerned with the time it will take him to get from Collinstown aerodrome to some new aerodrome yet to be constructed outside of Cork. That is only a matter of technical interest. What concerns him is the time it will take him to get from O'Connell Bridge to the Mall, calculating the time that it will take him to get from O'Connell Bridge to Collinstown and from the new Cork aerodrome to the Mall. Experience has shown that rail transport can beat air transport in speed in normal conditions in distances up to 200 miles, except there is a sea passage intervening. However, that is a digression.

My concern here is to repeat and emphasise what I said in introducing the measure that our railways are the kernel of our transport system, that we are going to maintain these railways because of their essentiality to the economic development of this country. There is only one basis on which we can do it, and that is by securing for them sufficient traffic to make their economical operation practicable. That means that we cannot allow development in competing merchandise services on the roads except it is controlled by the same organisation which is operating the railways, so that arising out of the combined operations of that organisation there will come revenue sufficient to enable it to carry on all the services that are necessary.

Does the Minister mean that he is going to destroy private lorry owners?

No. The private lorry owner will not be restricted. I wish that Deputy Bennett would write that down. I have said it so often, and yet I cannot get him to believe it. I would ask him again to write it down and keep repeating it for half an hour. He may then believe it. The private lorry owners will not be interfered with Deputy Bennett still does not believe it.

It is hard to believe it.

On behalf of the Government I give the Dáil the assurance that this Bill represents the whole transport legislation which the Government has in mind between now and the end of the war. It represents the whole of its proposals for the reorganisation of our transport services in so far as we can see the problems associated with the reorganisation.

What about the old Grand Canal Company?

I will deal with that later. We had then the suggestion of nationalisation which I want to deal with. I think that very few Deputies attempted to show that any real practical benefits would accrue to this country by substituting, for the proposals in this Bill, proposals for operating the transport services by a Government Department. I am told that we should have copied the Electricity Supply Board model. Let me say that of all the various types of organisation that have been devised in this State to carry on the economic activities in which the Government is interested, the very worst is the Electricity Supply Board. I do not want Deputies to take out of that statement any reflection upon the individuals who constitute the board. I am talking not about individuals, but about the constitution of the Electricity Supply Board. I think it is fundamentally wrong to have upon the managerial body people who are themselves the executive heads of departments for the direction of which that body is responsible. I hope at some time to come to the Dáil to propose a change in relation to the Electricity Supply Board which will substitute what I would regard as a more rational type of organisation. I, certainly, would not support, in any circumstances, the creation of a similar type of organisation for the management of the railway services. I believe that, of all the various types of organisation which we have devised to carry on the economic activities in which the Government is concerned, that which will prove best is the one contained in this Bill.

Let me give a reason for that. The only real difference between the proposals in the Bill, and what some Deputies describe as a public utility company, is that the common stock which it is contemplated will be created will be held, under the provisions of this Bill, by private persons and under their proposals by the Minister for Finance. The essential difference is that the directors of the company, other than the chairman, would be appointed under their proposals by the Minister for Finance, while under this Bill they will be elected by the holders of the common stock. I think it is better that they should be elected by the holders of the common stock.

I explained already that the Government had this difficulty in relation to the boards which it had nominated already: That it is not always possible to get people who will be completely independent of the Government, independent in their attitude to the Government, knowing that they are dependent on the Government for reappointment when their term of office expires. It is not always possible to get people who, in coming to decisions relating to the concerns which they are managing affecting outside interests, will not have regard to political interests, not always in favour of the Government. It is not always possible to get people who will give to the affairs of these concerns the same close and precise attention which they would give if they had a personal financial interest in the result of an undertaking's working. I think it is desirable that we should have associated with the chairman of this company directors who will not be nominated by the Minister for Finance, who will have the same freedom as the directors of a private concern, the same independence and the same interest in ensuring efficient and economical management, because it is upon the prospect of efficient and economical management that the prospect of dividends on the ordinary stock will depend, and the responsibility of these directors will be to the stockholders and not to the Minister for Finance. I think it is a good system. It is one, I think, that is worthy of being given a trial. It is, as I have said, a system which gives us all the benefits of nationalisation and none of the disadvantages.

Now, we are told here that it is wrong to give the powers contemplated in this Bill to one man. Let me say, straight away, that it is not a matter of principle with me whether the Government's representation on this board should be confined to one person or more. I am sure, however, that no Deputy will seriously suggest that we should give these powers to more than one. We are proposing that this chairman should have certain powers. Clearly, they are the type of powers that can only be exercised by one person. You could not give similar powers to two persons without producing a position of chaos on the board. Why are any powers necessary? Deputy Hogan referred to them at some length, and other Deputies spoke about them as representing a desire on the part of the Government to create a dictatorship. It is nothing of the sort. The person who goes as chairman of that company will be the Government's representative. It will be his duty to see that considerations of public policy, the aim of achieving the maximum economic development of this

State, will predominate over the aim of making a profit for the shareholders.

That will be his function and because that is his function we have to contemplate that these shareholders' directors will not be yes-men as Deputy Davin described them but people who may find themselves in conflict with the chairman. It is because of the possibility of conflict between matters of public policy and the desire to make profit for the shareholders, between the representative of public policy and the representatives of the shareholders, that we have to provide in the Bill that, in such a conflict, the matter of public policy, as represented by the chairman, will prevail.

It is for that reason that we provide, first of all, that the board can make no decision in which he does not concur. That does not mean he could impose on the board a decision in which it did not concur. It does mean that, if they are proposing to arrive at a decision which appears to be contrary to public interest, he can stop them. We provide that the chairman alone may constitute a quorum at the meeting, to ensure that in the case of such a conflict the shareholders' directors may not make the meeting abortive by refusing to attend it. We are proposing to take power to fix remuneration in certain circumstances, to provide against the possibility of the holders of common stock refusing to pay the chairman we appoint to carry out the national policy. These are the reasons that these safeguards have been made. If we contemplate establishing this organisation at all, it is clearly logical for us to ensure that the chairman appointed as the representative of the Government can give effect to the Government's will and cannot be thwarted in doing so by the representatives of the private shareholders.

Is this going to be a transport company or a civil war?

A transport company. Deputy Norton knows as well as I do that in normal circumstances there will be no disharmony, that the interests of all the shareholders will conbine and, although there may be disagreement on items of policy, usually a majority vote will settle the issue. In legislation, however, we have to provide against all contingencies, no matter how remote, as the Deputy well knows.

Many attacks have been made upon the present chairman of the company and I should like to make reference to them, as I think it will help to dispose of some of the misunderstandings which have surrounded this Bill. I am told that the Government made a mistake in appointing as chairman of the Great Southern Railways a person who had no railway experience. I wonder if the Deputy who made that remark gave a moment's consideration to the problem of the Government in selecting a chairman. The only place in which we could get a man with railway experience was in the service of that company or the Great Northern Railway, or outside the country altogether. Deputy Larkin and other members of the Labour Party will remember the occasion on which the old Board of the Great Southern Railways went outside Ireland for a railway expert.

Mr. Larkin

So did you.

The Deputy knows that is not true.

Mr. Larkin

What about Stewart? Was he not an importation?

The appointment of officials by the railway company is a matter in which I have no concern. I am reminded of the occasion on which a railway expert was brought in, and I would like to suggest that the Deputy should ask the railway workers whether their recollections of that gentleman's activities are sufficiently happy to justify members of the Labour Party in urging a repetition of the experiment.

Nobody suggested that. That is not true.

Very well, it is not true.

Why say it, then? Can the Minister not help telling lies?

I will accept the Deputy's word that it is not true. I interpreted his remarks wrongly, and I think everybody else did so too. It is quite clear that we cannot get, in this country, a person with railway experience, unless we go to the officers of the present company. That the Government was not prepared to do.

Why not?

Because we did not regard it as a suitable arrangement to pick an officer of the Great Southern Railways and appoint him as chairman of the board of directors and the Government's representative there.

He knew his job.

There were entirely different considerations. I want to resist the idea that the chairman of the Great Southern Railways appointed under an Emergency Powers Order, or the chairman of Córas Iompair Éireann appointed under this Bill, must necessarily be someone with railway experience, drawn from the existing servants or officers of the Great Southern Railways. I do not think that is necessary. This company requires at its head somebody with business experience and competence, to handle the company's finances. Do we consider it necessary to get an electrician as chairman of the Electricity Supply Board, or a sugar cook as chairman of the Irish Sugar Company? Not at all; nor is it necessary to have someone with railway experience to be chairman of a national transport company.

The best railwayman comes from the bottom, by experience.

A charge has been made against the present chairman that he has been hostile to Labour or to trade unions. I think it was said by Deputy Davin or some other Deputy that he was particularly hostile to British unions catering for railway men here.

That charge was made by one of the Deputies in the Labour Party, but not by others. I think Deputy O'Sullivan would be one of those in a position to refute it. I am aware of the fact that, when Deputy O'Sullivan sought an interview with the chairman of that company, to obtain leave of absence to take over the very dignified office of Lord Mayor of Dublin, the chairman offered him the position of labour supervisor, in charge of the company's labour relations, the management of its existing agreements with trade unions, and the negotiation of new agreements. Deputy O'Sullivan rejected the offer on grounds which are very creditable to him, but the fact that it was made is, I think, sufficient answer to the charge that the chairman of the company was inspired by any feelings of hostility to the workers or to the trade unions. I think it is worth mentioning that Deputy O'Sullivan is a member of one of the British unions to which I have been told this chairman is particularly hostile.

I also wish emphatically to deny that there is any basis for the suggestion that the policy of this company has been directed with any hostility to trade unions in general, or to British trade unions in particular. As the Dáil knows, the company is obliged by law to regulate its rates of pay, its hours of duty and its conditions of employment in accordance with agreements made or to be made between the trade unions representative of such employees on the one part, and such company on the other part. This Government has never attempted to discriminate against trade unions with their headquarters outside the country, whatever personal views members of the Fianna Fáil Party may hold as to the desirability of such unions taking an active part here. The Government has never considered that public policy required that they should interfere, if the workers of this country decided they would obtain the best protection of their interests by being members of those unions. I want to say emphatically that, in so far as the chairman of Córas Iompair Eireann will have responsibility for carrying out Government policy, he will conform to Government policy in that regard as in every other regard.

I hope I have succeeded in killing the idea that there is some attempt either to displace existing British unions which cater for Irish workers or to substitute such unions with unions whose headquarters are in this country. That is not correct. It certainly will not be the policy to be pursued when the new chairman is appointed by the Government.

Deputy Davin clearly misunderstood the provisions of Section 24 of the Bill. He interpreted that section, which empowers the company to subscribe to clubs, associations and other social activities for the welfare of the employees, as being a plan to provide for the promotion of a form of house union. That is not the case.

I accept that.

It is necessary to have such a provision in the Bill, just as it is necessary to have a provision empowering the company to subscribe to charity. Otherwise, the company would never be able to use its funds for that purpose. I said in introducing the Bill that we were leaving the existing negotiating wage machinery unchanged but that we did not know whether that course is desired by the trade unions representing the men employed in these companies. If it is not the course they desire and if they prefer that some change should be made in the existing wage negotiating machinery I invite submission of amendments either to myself for the consideration of the Government or to the Dáil on the Committee Stage of the Bill. I am quite prepared to recognise the full right of these trade unions to propose any changes they consider suitable or necessary in order to protect the interests of the workers they represent. While I am on this matter I might refer to a statement made by Deputy Hughes, because I know that this statement has been frequently made by other people. The Deputy said that he opposed this amalgamation between the Great Southern Railways Company and the Dublin United Transport Company because of the danger of a strike tying up all the transport facilities of the country. My first answer to that is that I hope that we will be able to devise ways and means of ensuring that the disputes affecting conditions of employment of workers in essential services will be resolved to the satisfaction of these workers by some other method than by the use of strikes. In so far as the situation now is, if a strike did occur it would lead to a complete tying up of transport no more after the passing of this Bill than it would before. Each of these companies has established what is tantamount to a monopoly in its own area and a comprehensive total strike would tie up comprehensively the facilities in its own areas. The risk of a greater tie-up is, therefore, not considerable. I must recognise the danger is there but I do not think that it is a danger which could be minimised by any reorganisation of the transport services. It can only be minimised by bringing common sense to bear upon these problems between public transport operators and their employees, and by agreement that we should depart from the antiquated methods which have caused so much hardship in the past.

There has been some misunderstanding also concerning the superannuation position. Let me make it quite clear that the new company will take over in full all the liabilities of both the amalgamated companies in respect of superannuation funds, but we contemplated in 1933 that in addition to all these funds there would be created pension funds for the ordinary traffic grades who have had no pension rights in the past although they did receiveex gratia pensions from the company on retirement at 65. We failed in 1933, first, because of the defects in the legislation, and secondly, because of the disimproving financial position of the company. We are proposing to start again. At the moment the existing management of the company is already working out a comprehensive benefit scheme and pension scheme for the employees. If this scheme is completed and in operation by the time the Bill is passed then the new company will take it over; but if it is not in operation the new company will take over the task of getting the scheme completed. Deputy Davin has referred to the fact that these pensions schemes are, in fact, insurance schemes. I think the Deputy would be unwise, from the point of view of the interest of the workers generally, to deprecate pensions schemes that are based on insurance principles. There is the difficulty at the present time that the Great Southern Railways gives an ex gratia pension of 16/- on retirement at 65, which it reduces to 6/- when the employee reaches 70 and becomes entitled to the old age pension. I do not think Deputy Alfred Byrne can have understood the position. If they continued to give the worker 16/- per week it is not the worker who will benefit but the National Exchequer. The worker would get 16/- pension but no old age pension. There is that problem associated with pension schemes of all industrial concerns, and I feel the Minister for Local Government will give that matter his attention and see whether it is possible to adapt the provisions of the Old Age Pensions Act so as to enable more generous schemes to be operated by industrial firms that want to give pensions to their employees.

Would the Minister say whether there would be any representation on the pension scheme board from the men?

There is nothing in the Bill which prevents it.

Mr. Larkin

We were told that the men were to get representation in 1924 and we are still waiting for it.

The difference is that under this Bill there must be a pension scheme, one from which the company cannot withdraw.

The scheme now in preparation makes no provision for representation by the men.

I know nothing about it, but I am sure that any representations made by the representatives of the unions to the company will be listened to. With regard to compensation for redundancy, let me relieve Deputies' minds. I do not care what period goes into the Bill. There is no comparison whatever between the redundancy problem which arose out of the 1924 Act which amalgamated 26 railway companies operating, competing, and frequently overlapping services, and the problem that will arise from amalgamation of the two self-contained companies under this Act, companies operating monopoly services in separate areas. There will be, in fact, little or no redundancy. And any redundancy there will almost exclusively be found in the executive and managerial grades. It is quite clear that there is on this occasion no overlapping of services which can create the redundancy which was experienced under the 1924 Act. Any redundancy which does emerge will emerge at once. I should say, six months would be sufficiently long to create the permanent situation that will persist in the next few years. If it is desirable, as I think it is, to have some period, it is merely to ensure that workers will not get false ideas as to the situation and that we will not continuously have litigation on individual cases. The intention is that every worker who loses his employment as a result of redundancy arising from the amalgamation will be compensated and, no matter what period we put in the Bill, if after that date it is shown to me— and I give this undertaking on my own behalf and on behalf of my successor and I think I can put him in the position that he must be bound by it—that any worker was denied the compensation he would have been entitled to but for the lapse of the period in the Bill I will introduce a special Bill naming that worker and making it binding upon the company to pay the prescribed compensation. The intention is that every worker who loses his employment through redundancy will get compensation and I can assure the House that there will be no attempt made on behalf of the board to evade that and if there is I assure the House I will remedy it.

That is not in the Bill.

We can discuss it in Committee, if the Deputy wishes. The Labour Party objected to the compensation proposed for directors who may resign. It is proposed that the directors of the amalgamating companies who resign their directorships after the first meeting of the new company should be compensated. If Deputy Davin or other members of the Labour Party think it is not desirable to offer too great inducement to them to resign, we can consider an amendment of that on the Report Stage. Deputy Hughes raised some queries concerning the Railway Tribunal. I think there is considerable misunderstanding concerning this tribunal. I refer to the tribunal set up under the 1924 Act and abolished by this measure. The public did not resort to that tribunal at all in recent years. It was contemplated that the tribunal would provide a cheap means of adjusting differences between the company and its customers.

It did not prove a cheap means; it proved most expensive. The company went to the tribunal with an array of counsel that would intimidate anyone. Those who dared to go to the tribunal had to pick a similar array of counsel and it proved so costly that practically all the adjustments were made as the result of applications by the Department of Industry and Commerce after consultations with officials of the railway company. We are, in fact, proposing to recognise in the Bill what has been the practice and to abolish the Railway Tribunal. We are transferring to the High Court the legal functions of that tribunal; we are retaining for the Minister for Industry and Commerce the functions formerly exercised by the tribunal which relate to the rates of charge, the classification of merchandise, the conditions of traffic, pooling arrangements, agreements for the routing of traffic, and similar matters which, nine times out of 10, can be adjusted by consultation and only on the tenth occasion will require adjustment by Ministerial Order.

Deputy Hughes is completely wrong in assuming that merchandise traffic rates could be fixed on the value of the goods. The primary consideration as to the rates charged for goods is the cost of transporting them and, in the long run, that must operate.

Deputy Davin has been anxiously inquiring about the intentions of the Government concerning the Grand Canal Company. We are not proposing that this new company should take over the Grand Canal Company. The problem of the control of our inland waterways is not confined to the Grand Canal Company. In addition, there is the Shannon Navigation and the Suir Navigation. There is a very distinct problem arising out of the fact that the persons who own or control these waterways as traffic highways are also the operators of carrying business, and the segregation of the business of maintaining a traffic highway from the business of carrying goods upon that highway would be a difficult and delicate matter.

I am not at all sure that it would be good policy to give this new company responsibility over the Grand Canal Company. If we take from the Grand Canal Company only this traffic highway, and leave it its business as a carrying company, I think it will be found that the traffic highway is not paying its way and we would be saddling the new company with a liability from which they should be relieved for the time being. The Grand Canal Company has been paying dividends in recent years, not because of the earnings of its undertaking, but because of the profits secured on its investments.

Deputy Maguire inquired as to the possibility of more traffic on the Royal Canal. I think the prospect of more traffic on that canal is very slight. It is not that the canal is not there to be used; it is not that there are not barges there to be used; it is that the traffic is not there to be carried. When that canal was established in 1818 the British Government of the day had doubts as to whether the canal would ever pay, doubts which were justified in the event. Because they had those doubts, they required the Canal Company to deposit with certain trustees £15,000 from which the cost of maintaining the canal could be met if the ordinary working profits were not sufficient to do so. Provision has been made in this Bill for the liquidation of the residue of that sum. That canal never paid its way. There is no reason why traffic on that canal could not be developed.

Mr. Larkin

The Englishman, Tatlow, did not say that. He was the manager. He closed it.

There is nothing to prevent anybody operating on that canal apart from the Canal Company. Deputy Alfred Byrne inquired whether all the agreements made by the Dublin Corporation with the Dublin United Transport Company are being transferred to the new company. They are being transferred. Every liability of the amalgamating companies becomes a liability of the new company. That is provided for in Section 7. The Deputy may not have appreciated that, because Section 7 is rather technical, but the effect is to ensure a transfer of obligations arising under agreements.

I do not want to discuss at length the question of the Dublin wayleaves. There is some misunderstanding in that regard. These wayleaves were payable in perpetuity by the Dublin Transport Company under the provisions of the 1925 Act. That Act was a private Act passed at the instance of the Dublin United Tramways Company in order to get the power to operate bus services. It was opposed by the Dublin Corporation, and in order to buy off that opposition the company agreed to pay the wayleaves in perpetuity at the amounts paid in that year. The company, in making that agreement, contemplated that the tramways would last for many years, but I do not suppose anybody here would contemplate that in years to come, long after trams would be forgotten, this new transport organisation would continue to pay this pension to the Dublin Corporation and the Dun Laoghaire Borough Council. We are making provision to terminate the payment on the basis of transferring to the municipal authority and the borough authority a lump sum which represents the capital value of the way leaves as determined by an arbitrator in default of an agreement.

Mr. Larkin

What about the 1927 agreement, confiscating the people's property in Dublin?

With the passage of the 1932 Road Transport Act the whole position of the Dublin transport undertaking was put on a new basis. It was no longer operating under private Acts; it was no longer obliged to negotiate agreements in order to run services in Dublin. It got that licence from the Government and nobody else could get that licence, not even the Dublin Corporation.

There has been a statement made to the effect that we are not proposing to municipalise the Dublin transport services. I was in favour of municipal control of the services in Dublin when these services were entirely provided by tramways and when the public transport services throughout the country were mainly provided by the railways. That situation has ended. The coming of the omnibus, which constitutes a common factor between the two companies, has created a new situation. It has made it possible to create a national organisation which will secure greater efficiency, and more economical working by reason of amalgamation. The Dublin Corporation have made an agreement with the Dublin Transport Company concerning road maintenance. That agreement will also be taken over by the new company.

The repeal of the Statutory Undertakings (Temporary Increase in Charges) Act does not affect charges for electricity, gas, or water. That Act was continued year by year solely to maintain the maximum charging powers of the Dublin tramways. Since that was passed, electricity charges were dealt with under the Electricity Supply Board Act, gas charges under the Gas Regulation Acts, and water charges were made the concern of the public authorities. It will be no longer necessary to keep that Act in existence once this Bill becomes law.

Deputy Moran inquired about the protection of harbours. There is ample provision in Section 72 to ensure that the company will not give any preference to one harbour authority over another. I am anxious to make that section as watertight as possible, and if Deputies do not consider it sufficiently watertight it can be suitably amended on another stage. I think I have dealt with all the important points that were raised.

Mr. A. Byrne

I asked a question about men who got pensions by a rule and not under a pensions scheme. There is a rule on the railway which says a man can get a pension.

I think I dealt with that.

Mr. A. Byrne

Will they be included?

The Deputy may not have been here, but I dealt with that. There was one point raised concerning the exempt areas hauliers. As Deputies know, we exempted areas around certain important ports under the 1933 Act which provided that they could haul goods for hire inside these areas without a licence. That was a mistake and it led to evasion of the Act, and circumstances demonstrated that there were no conditions existing in these port areas that did not exist around any inland town of the same size. We are proposing, therefore, to abolish these exempt areas in respect of the smaller ports. The only change will be that the persons who did engage in the business of carrying goods for hire will have to get a licence, but the Bill provides that they must get a licence when they apply.

Mr. Larkin

And pay the same wages as the railway company.

I think, at some stage, we will have to enact legislation relating to conditions of employment in transport generally and I should say that the enactment of that legislation will do more to eliminate unfair competition with the public transport services than any section we can put in this Bill.

It is about time you thought of it.

The Deputy knows that we thought of it long before this. There will be very many difficulties in dealing with it and I hope we will have the Deputy's co-operation when the time comes. That is the Bill. We are putting that Bill to the Dáil as the best solution the Government have for the transport problems that existed in this country up to the war and that will reappear after the war unless we provide safeguards now to ensure that they do not. I do not think we should adopt the recommendation of the Transport Tribunal and wait for five years and then look to see what the situation will be. I think if we do that we will miss the tide. I think that if we are going to take full advantage of the opportunities which will come in the post-war era and put ourselves in the position to meet the difficulties which will come in the post-war era, we must get ready now.

We must create the organisation now and give the organisation the power and the finances. We must make it clear to the people who will be in charge of it that no further changes are contemplated and that the responsibility will be theirs. If we put them in that position and make it known that they will have the goodwill of the Dáil, I am certain that they can create a transport organisation which will make a vital contribution to the future economic development of the country.

May I ask one question? The Minister will recollect I referred to the position of the Railway Clearing System Superannuation Fund. The Minister did not advert to that when replying. The position is that the Great Southern Railways at present are withholding the necessary assent to secure the reorganisation of the fund. It is placing the clerical staff in an invidious position.

Section 43 (4) provides:

"The obligations, whether obtaining legally or by customary practice, of any dissolved company in respect of any existing superannuation fund of that dissolved company or in respect of the Railway Clearing System Superannuation Fund and in respect of every member of the said existing superannuation fund or of the Railway Clearing System Superannuation Fund shall be binding on the company."

As I understand the position—I do not profess to be quite familiar with it— the Great Southern Railways have come to the conclusion that that fund was being badly managed. There was a question of an increased contribution and the company was unwilling to make that contribution and decided to maintain the existing provision which will ensure for the clerks pensions at the existing rates and to supplement these pensions by a scheme of their own. Certainly it would be my desire that these railway clerks should not lose in any way by reason of the disinclination of the management of the company to make an increased contribution arising out of their lack of confidence in the management of the fund. I think I can assure the Deputy that an arrangement will be made to ensure that the clerks of the Great Southern Railways will not lose by the change.

Mr. Larkin

Will the Minister explain Section 41? The Minister said that any redundant workman can get compensation. I say that under the Bill he cannot. The section says:

"...not caused by decrease of traffic, reduction of renewal or maintenance work, alteration of methods of working, closing of railway lines or other economic cause, be paid by the company compensation calculated in the manner set out in the Fifth Schedule to this Act."

A man is not entitled under the Bill to compensation.

Let us be clear what we are trying to do. What we are providing for is that, if a person loses his employment by reason of the amalgamation, he will be compensated.

Mr. Larkin

All these other causes, of course, are the same game.

Men lost employment in 1938, 1939 and 1940 by reason of other circumstances, such as decline in traffic, and did not get compensation. What the Deputy would suggest is that every person who is taken into the company's employment can never be disemployed again except on the basis of compensation.

Mr. Larkin

No.

Question put: "That the words proposed to be deleted, stand."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 63; Níl, 64.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Dan.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Brennan, Martin.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Buckley, Seán.
  • Butler, Bernard.
  • Byrne, Christopher M.
  • Carter, Thomas.
  • Childers, Erskine H.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • McCann, John.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Cléirigh, Mícheál.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Crowley, Fred H.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Daly, Francis J.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Fitzgerald, Séamus.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Patrick J.
  • Friel, John.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Healy, John B.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Humphreys, Francis.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Séamus.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick J.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Rice, Bridget M.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Skinner, Leo B.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Ward, Conn.

Níl

  • Anthony, Richard S.
  • Beirne, John.
  • Bennett, George C.
  • Benson, Ernest E.
  • Blowick, Joseph.
  • Broderick, William J.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Byrne, Alfred (Junior).
  • Cafferky, Dominick.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Cogan, Patrick.
  • Cole, John J.
  • Connolly, Roderick J.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Davin, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry M.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Donnellan, Michael.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Esmonde, Sir John L.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fagan, Charles,
  • Finucane, Patrick.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Giles, Patrick.
  • Halliden, Patrick J.
  • Heskin, Denis.
  • Hogan, Patrick.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Larkin, James.
  • Larkin, James (Junior).
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Mahony, Philip.
  • Meighan, John J.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Donnell, William F.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy J.
  • O'Driscoll, Patrick F.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick.
  • O'Sullivan, Martin.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Redmond, Bridget M.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Reynolds, Mary.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Rogers, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, Jeremiah.
  • Sheldon, William A. W.
  • Spring, Daniel.
  • Stapleton, Richard.
  • Tunney, James.
Tellers: Tá: Deputies Kissane and Kennedy; Níl: Deputies Doyle and Bennett.
Question declared lost.

Down with the speculators. It is a good vote against them.

It is a matter for the Government now to consider the position.

The Dáil adjourned at 9.20 p.m. until 11.30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 10th.