Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 22 Jul 1970

Vol. 248 No. 11

Merchandise Marks (No.2) Bill, 1969: From the Seanad.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 1:


In page 4, before section 3, the following new section inserted:

"(1) In a contract of sale of goods of a kind in relation to which an order under section 2 of this Act applies, there is an implied warranty that the packing of the goods is not in contravention of the provisions of this Act or of an order under this Act and is not such as to occasion, in relation to the sale or importation of the goods, a contravention of those provisions.

(2) A contract of sale that has the effect, directly or indirectly, of depriving a person of the benefit of a warranty of the kind specified in subsection (1) of this section shall, in so far as it has the effect aforesaid, be void."

The effect of this amendment is that if packaged goods are not marked in accordance with the relevant order not only will it be an offence which can be prosecuted but in addition the purchaser can take civil action to recover any damages he has suffered as a result. During the debate on this Bill in the Seanad it was suggested that the Bill should contain a provision which would protect the civil rights of a person who is damaged by a breach of the requirements. There is such a provision in section 17 of the Merchandise Marks Act of 1887 which lays down that a vendor shall be deemed to warrant that a trade mark or description of the goods he is selling is not false. This provision would ordinarily give adequate protection to the civil rights of purchasers damaged by the breach of the Merchandise Marks Act but it was pointed out that under that section it is possible for a vendor to evade his liability in this matter by giving the purchaser a note to that effect at the time of the sale or contract. This is the object of the amendment as suggested to me in the Seanad and this is the reason for my acceptance of the amendment.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 2:


In page 5, subsection (4), lines 46 to 54, deleted and the following substituted:

"(4) Where a person is charged with an offence under this Act in relation to goods packed in a container, it shall be a defence to the charge for him to show—

(a) that he took reasonable precautions against committing, in relation to the goods, an offence of the kind with which he is charged,

(b) that at the time of the commission of the alleged offence, he had no reason to suspect that the packing, importation or sale, as the case may be, of the goods was in contravention of the provisions of this Act or of an order under this Act, and

(c) that the packing, importation or sale, as the case may be, of the goods in contravention of the provisions of this Act or of an order under this Act, was due to a cause beyond his control."

This is an amendment which I accepted in the Dáil from Deputy Donegan and in the Seanad my attention was drawn to the fact that from a drafting point of view it was not too correct.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted, and 20 Members being present,

This amendment was suggested in the Seanad arising from the necessity to have it redrafted. In fact, this amendment is a technical putting in order of an amendment Deputy Donegan and I devised here and it is a question of a straightforward drafting arrangement providing as an additional defence that the person charged had at the time no reason to suspect that an offence was committed.

As the Minister has pointed out, the amendment sent to the Seanad was concocted by the Minister and myself in about three minutes. While I am confident the Minister and I are excellent draftsmen, as the Seanad is a more leisurely institution perhaps Members of that House might have been in a position to improve on the amendment.

There has been some criticism regarding the fact that apparently there will be the necessity for makers of crockery who export to this country to stamp the name of the country of origin both in English and Irish. Statements have been made that manufacturers will not do this because the amount sent to this country would be too small to make this practicable. I should like to know the Minister's view on this matter and to find out if he is going to insist that this will be done. Perhaps the Minister does not have knowledge of this?

I have knowledge of this matter.

Will manufacturers of crockery and tableware exporting to this country be obliged to stamp on their merchandise the name of the country of origin?

I have made an order that there must be dual language markings on pottery. The reason this Bill is involved is from the point of view of granting exemptions in certain cases. In this Bill it is possible that exemptions can be made for any type of pottery or ceramics not manufactured in this country. However, in connection with the order regarding dual language, at the present time I have no intention of not adhering to that regulation.

The Minister is making this statement despite the fact that in certain cases clearly it would not be practicable for the manufacturer abroad to carry out a certain process so that this special marketing may be baked into the crockery. Does the Minister regard it as essential that both languages should be used and are we just flogging the Irish language too much on this issue?

I do not accept that we are. What I have suggested can be done.

With respect, and in the friendliest way, it is a lot of cod and the Minister should have more sense.

I have indicated that I will look into the matter.

Question put and agreed to.
Amendments reported and agreed to.
Ordered: That a message be sent to the Seanad accordingly.