If I am in order, Deputy MacEntee reported progress on this section on the last occasion. As outlined by him, the purpose of this amendment is to ensure, first of all, that between the coming into operation of the Act and the making of the Order by the Minister for an establishment day, the assets, if any assets remain at that time, will be safeguarded for the board, and through the board, for the industry and the people of this country. The Minister stated, by way of interruption or cutting-in, that there would be no avoidable delay and that eased Deputy MacEntee's mind somewhat. In my opinion this Bill could be a fait accompli if the Minister had adopted a more reasonable attitude and had agreed to accept some of the amendments which were put before him in no antagonistic spirit.
To get back to the point of the amendment and Deputy MacEntee's feeling that even, in spite of the Minister's assurance, there may be this delay, I would remind the Minister that Section 9 of this Bill deals with provisions in relation to the appointment, term of office, etc., of ordinary members of the board. Sub-section (1) states:—
"The Minister shall, before the establishment day, appoint six persons (of whom not less than four shall be members of the Standing Committee of the club) to be ordinary members of the board and the term of office of every person so appointed shall commence on the establishment day, and if any such person dies before the establishment day, he shall be deemed, for the purposes of sub-section (4) of this section, to have died on the establishment day."
Surely that suggests that there will be some delay? That, as I say, is the main reason for the amendment put down by Deputy MacEntee.
The first portion of the proposed amendment reads:—
"In Section 26, to add to the section the following new sub-sections:—
( ) On the coming into operation of this Act and pending the making by him of the Order under sub-section (6) of this section the Minister shall make an Order appointing an independent qualified person as receiver to administer the affairs of the club."
It should also be borne in mind that if this Bill became law to-morrow morning, I have no doubt that the Minister would turn round on the day after to-morrow and try to declare what the establishment day was going to be. The Minister should also bear in mind when the establishment day is declared, or an Order made appointing the establishment day, under this Bill or under the Act itself, the club itself will have to reorganise its affairs which will take some considerable time. In other words, some six to 12 or 18 months could pass. Eighteen months is an exaggeration, but they will have to reorganise themselves. Therefore we have the position in which, first of all, this Bill has to become law and then the Minister makes an Order declaring the establishment day. Then the club has to reorganise its affairs and that is one of the main reasons—what is going to happen in the interim period —why Deputy MacEntee wants (a) an independent qualified person as receiver to administer the affairs of the club.
In my humble opinion, the other sections of the amendments put down by Deputy MacEntee could be considered superfluous. If the Minister agrees to appoint an independent qualified person as receiver to administer the affairs of the club, I cannot see why we should also need a receiver and manager to carry on the business of the Greyhound and Sporting Press, Ltd. and a receiver and manager of Powerstown Park, Ltd. I maintain that if the Minister did agree to put in an accountant or somebody like that in the interim period to administer the affairs of the club as suggested in the first paragraph of the amendment to Section 26, the other parts of this amendment would be unnecessary.
One might question the necessity for the amendment and the grounds for the fears that any of these assets of the club might be depleted. At the outset, I wish to say that I have no doubts regarding the present Standing Committee of the Irish Coursing Club that anything would be done in a dishonest way by such individuals when they meet. Unfortunately they are not all attending meetings but I do not suggest that even if only certain members turn up, anything dishonest will ensue. I say that, in the light of previous experience, the Minister should seriously consider taking some steps to protect the future of the industry. The report of the advisory committee set up to inquire into the industry, of which Deputy A. Barry was a member——