On the Second Reading debate, I put forward the suggestion that the time should be extended to one year instead of six months. In view of what the Minister said at the conclusion of that debate, I am quite satisfied, and the people I have been discussing it with are satisfied, that six months would be a reasonable time. I appreciate the Minister's desire to get the Bill through as soon as possible.
Animal Remedies Bill, 1956—Committee Stage.
I hope this amendment will meet the several points made by, I think, Senator Stanford and Senator Cox. I am advised that it does meet them.
Might I just make quite sure that, as the amendment stands—the Minister will appreciate that we want to be very clear on this—there is no likelihood that a catalogue which circulates simply amongst the trade will be deemed to be an advertisement? These catalogues are usually fairly lengthy productions, and if they had to print the prescriptions in every case the printing of the catalogues might be trebled or quadrupled. Is the Minister entirely satisfied that a catalogue of this kind would be exempt under this amendment?
I believe such catalogues would be exempt.
I accept that, and in that case I do not propose to move amendment No. 2.
I do not propose to move amendment No. 3.
I move amendment No. 4:—
In sub-section (1), line 38, before "and" to insert "dogs, cats".
On the previous stage, the Minister did indicate that he would accept an amendment of this kind, if the Seanad so desired. Senator Cox and I separately submitted the amendment to include dogs and cats.
I support Senator Douglas.
I have been powerfully influenced by the speeches of Senator Cox and Senator Douglas, and in the circumstances I am prepared to accept the amendment.
I move amendment No. 5:—
In sub-section (2), line 7, before "and" to insert ", one shall be a registered veterinary surgeon".
The Minister, on the Second Reading, said that it was his intention that at least one member of the committee should be a veterinary surgeon. As the section stands, it is possible that that might not be the case, unless a member whom the Minister had already appointed was a veterinary surgeon, because all the others are expressed to be people with a special knowledge of manufacturing, packing, distribution, sale and so on of animal remedies.
I have to inform the Seanad that it is my firm intention to include a veterinary surgeon in this body. Unless the Senator presses me strongly, I should prefer not to accept his amendment, and only for this reason, that if one specifically sets out in the Bill that one member must be a veterinary surgeon, I will receive a number of applications from other persons to be similarly recognised, which I do not want to do. I think the Seanad might assume that any Minister for Agriculture will include a veterinary surgeon on this advisory body, and my advice to the Seanad would be to leave it in that way rather than to actually express it in the statute.
I accept that, of course.
We appreciate that the Minister has made it clear in this section that he will consult members of the trade who are experts in the very complicated processes of manufacturing, packing and so on. I suppose it would not be possible to name any particular organisation in the Bill—some general organisation of people interested in this trade who would have to sit on the committee. I suppose the Minister would be reluctant to do anything of that kind, and I make the suggestion merely to underline the importance, as the Minister fully appreciates, of having someone intimately aware of the intricacy of this trade in matters arising out of this Bill. I suppose any body which could be included in a Bill of this kind would have to be a statutory body.
The Senator, by his intervention, helps me rather to emphasise to Senator Cox the difficulty into which his amendment might have led me. There are other interests, as Senator Stanford says, who are specially interested in this trade and who might look askance at a statutory reference to one interested body and would feel that the failure to mention them in the Statute implied some spirit of exclusion. I can only ask the Seanad to assume that if the Minister seeks power to set up a consultative committee under the Bill, he will desire to have on it representatives of all those who can contribute specialised knowledge in respect of any aspect of the trade. I could not undertake to have everybody who thinks he has special knowledge, but I can reassure the Seanad that anyone who can reasonably be deemed to have special knowledge will be asked to assist in our deliberations.
I move amendment No. 6:—
In sub-section (1), (a) (i), line 32, before "or" to insert "(not being the proprietary name used by the manufacturer or vendor to denote the remedy)".
My fear arises from the rather mysterious phrase "the appropriate commercial common name". If I put a preparation on the market called "Coxo" I do not think it gives very much information to the public, if the name "Coxo" appears on the label. For that reason, I suggest that the section should not be satisfied if the appropriate common name is taken as being the proprietary name used by the manufacturer or vendor. Therefore, my suggestion is that the section should say that the provision as to the name that must appear in addition to the proprietary name would not be satisfied merely by giving the proprietary name.
I have no doubt the Senator has considered paragraph (d) of sub-section (1) which requires him, in the unlikely event that he has envisaged, not only to give the name "Coxo" of the remedy, but also to specify the remedial property or properties claimed for "Coxo", the name and address of the manufacturer and packer of "Coxo", and such other particulars as may be prescribed from time to time by the regulations made by the Minister after consultation with the consultative committee in respect of "Coxo". This, I think, gives a sufficiently wide power to the Minister, in consultation with his consultative council, to requisition from the manufacturer of any specific proprietary remedy the necessary information I think the farmer ought to have if he contemplates purchasing the preparation.
If the Minister is satisfied, I will withdraw.
This amendment I am offering to the Seanad with the intention of meeting a number of points raised on the Second Stage. I think it goes a long way to meet most of the points that have been raised. I should be glad, and it would be of assistance to me, if any Senator, having considered this amendment, would indicate to me if it fails to meet the points raised at an earlier stage of the Bill.
I think it is true to say that the Minister has in this amendment met almost fully the wishes of the trade, but there is one word which, if he would consider changing it, would fully meet the wishes of the trade. In sub-section (2), the word "packer" appears, and I suggest that it be changed to "distributing agent". The reason for that is the Minister for Industry and Commerce some years ago encouraged the setting up in this country of an industry to perform the work covered by this sub-section, that is, the making of remedies by a manufacturer in this country for other outside people, and thereby quite a substantial industry was set up here. Machinery was bought at great expense and quite a substantial amount of employment has been given. I am informed that if this word "packer" must appear, if the packer's name must appear as well as that of the owner of the remedy, this work will not be given here, because in some cases the Irish manufacturer is himself making up a preparation which is in competition with the outside sponsor.
If the words "distributing agent" were put in, instead of "packer", I am sure this difficulty would be overcome. I quite see the Minister's difficulty. He may say: "If we have only the distributing agent, instead of the packer, we have not such a good mark to come back to, if there is anything wrong in the preparation." I suggest that, if there is a danger of that kind, the damage done by keeping the word "packer" is so much greater that it would be worth taking the risk. Therefore, I would ask the Minister if he could see his way to change the word "packer" and to make it "distributing agent".
There are two points which I should like to raise on the amendment. I notice that in (i) the name of the manufacturer should appear. That paragraph deals with a remedy which is imported and packed here. However, all to be put on the label is the name of the importer and the name of the packer. It would seem that that does not give sufficient information and that the name of the manufacturer —who, of course, would be a foreign firm—should appear. It does not really tell anybody very much to be informed that I have imported this or that I have packed it. The important thing is that people should know that the remedy was manufactured by some reputable British, German or American firm. I suggest the Minister should reconsider sub-paragraph (i).
Sub-paragraph (ii), I think, requires a good deal of reconsideration. It speaks of a remedy manufactured in the State for and under the control of a person who manufactures the same remedy outside the State. That at once conveys to my mind the common case of some well-known product—we will call it Bovril—which is manufactured in England and which is manufactured here. However, it would not be manufactured here under the control of the English company. It would probably be manufactured here almost invariably by some small Irish company that would comply with the Control of Manufactures Act.
A very important point arises in connection with the trade marks. Where a trade mark is registered, and if the trade mark is to be preserved, the products must be either manufactured or marketed by the person who owns the trade mark. The section as it is worded seems to me to suggest that it is speaking of goods which are in some strange way being manufactured here under the control of somebody outside.
I think it will be found in practice that sub-paragraph (ii) would run contrary to what is necessary for the protection of trade marks and that it would also not convey the real position to the public or the users. One frequently has cases of proprietary goods manufactured here by an Irish firm and then handed over, let us say, to the English company who distribute them here. That is very common and very proper. Normally, in that case, what appears on the label is "Manufactured in Ireland by so-and-so. Distributed by so-and-so." That seems to me to be the kind of thing that ought to appear on these labels. If the sub-paragraph were to become law as it stands, I think it would tell people to do something which would be contrary to the protection of the trade mark. Therefore, I think it should be reconsidered. At the moment, I am not able to suggest the proper wording to adopt. I suggest it should be wording which indicates always the manufacturer, in the case of imported stuff always the packer, and, in the case of imported stuff, always the name of the foreign firm that manufactures it. I think these things are essential.
I find it difficult to understand to what category sub-paragraph (iii) refers. In sub-paragraph (ii), there is the case of the remedy being manufactured here. I take it that sub-paragraph (iii) must really refer to the case where small quantities of imported goods arise. In that event, it might be very difficult to secure compliance. Suppose there is some kind of preparation which is not packed here, which is not manufactured here and which I want to bring into the country for my own use. It seems to me that it would be difficult to understand exactly in practice how sub-paragraph (iii) would work. Perhaps that sub-paragraph requires a little further consideration.
I will deal with each Senator's point, as raised. I would ask Senators to see what this amendment seeks to do. As originally submitted to the Seanad, the section contained one short paragraph (c). That paragraph required the publication on the packet of the name and address of the manufacturer and packer of the remedy. Certain representations were made to me on the Second Stage of the Bill in the Seanad that there were certain persons in special circumstances and, if they were required to comply with paragraph (c) as it originally stood, it might operate so far to their detriment that they would cease to operate altogether, with consequential loss of employment and business here.
The amendment submitted is designed to preserve, in respect of remedies manufactured and packed in Ireland, the substance of the original paragraph. Sub-paragraphs (i) and (ii) of the amendment are designed to meet the special cases that were mentioned. Sub-paragraph (i) deals with cases where you import a commodity in bulk. I am informed that the practice of the trade frequently is that they may buy a commodity like bread-soda through a broker. This is a standardised preparation. They would buy it according to British pharmacopoeia specifications. It frequently happens that they do not know who manufactures it and they do not care, so long as the preparation comes up to a recognised international standard. The same might be true of a commodity like sulphur. However, there are what are called British pharmacopoeia standards. The consignee can test the product and, if it does not comply with these standards, he can reject it. If he does, then he is not interested as to who manufactures it, provided it meets the standard specification in regard to purity and potency. That is the purpose then of paragraph (i), to facilitate the normal channel of trade so long as we have the guarantee that there is available to the trade the standard practice which removes from the ambit of possibility the substitution of an inferior product.
Paragraph (ii) is designed to meet another case that was pressed upon me by the Seanad on the Second Stage. There may be a firm in Great Britain or elsewhere who have built up a market here for, say, sheep dip, according to their own formula. The size of the market they have here is not sufficiently big to justify their setting up their own factory here to manufacture their formula for sheep dip, but nevertheless you may find in certain areas groups of sheep producers who have a special faith in this sheep dip. This is designed to enable that firm to commission a firm in this country to pack the product on their behalf and to label it as "so-and-so's sheep dip." Then, as the amendment stands, it will have to set out "packed by so-and-so in Ireland."
Senator McGuire pointed out that that may give rise to difficulties because the firm that is packing the sheep dip for the British firm may itself be providing a sheep dip on the market and you might have the embarrassing situation that the sheep dip "A.B." was being packed by "C.D." who themselves were offering "C.D. sheep dip" on the Irish market. I doubt if we can avoid that difficulty, although I would like to meet Senator McGuire who is experienced in these matters, if at all possible, and I will return to that specific point in a moment.
I should like to satisfy myself that I have made the position clear to Senator Cox. Paragraph (iii) of the amendment, in effect, reinstates paragraph (c) of the original section, with the qualifications contained in paragraph (i). That is the position. The Senator has expressed apprehension that the procedure envisaged under paragraph (ii) of the amendment might conflict with obligations under the Trade Marks Act. I can only tell the Senator that the paragraph was designed to meet the case of certain persons actually engaged in the trade. My best advice is that it will not have any such unfortunate effect and it is expressly designed to meet the difficulty of persons who would have trade marks in Great Britain and who would wish to preserve and use them on the Irish market.
I fully appreciate the Minister's point and I assure him I do not want to be difficult, but I think there is some substance in what I say. In regard to the first paragraph, I accept what he says, that the commodity might normally be a commodity that would be of a certain standard but there might also be the case of a purely manufactured product. He has given the case of some well-known substance to which the British pharmacopoeia standards apply coming in. There might also be some sheep dip brought in in bulk now and under paragraph (ii) there is no indication given of the source of manufacture.
Coming to paragraph (iii), I am still unhappy about it. I do not understand this case of little groups throughout the country manufacturing, perhaps, some well-known sheep dip. I do not believe that can happen because if the sheep dip is under a proprietary name, an English manufacturer permitting that to happen would be destroying his English trade mark. I still believe that sub-section (ii) sets up a state of things which would be very difficult to apply and at the same time protect the trade mark of the firm involved. I think that between now and the Report Stage the matter might be considered. It is merely a question of words on a purely technical point of law. In the course of a legal practice, one comes across a great deal of this kind of thing, of foreign firms wanting to have on the market here well-known preparations and it is essential to protect, not only in the interest of foreign firms but in the interests of the Irish public, the sanctity of the trade mark.
May I say that I greatly appreciate the way in which the Minister has attempted, and has succeeded to a very great extent, to grapple with the very great complexities involved in this section? I may say that I personally have received an insight into those complexities which I hardly thought would have been possible before I thought on this Bill. I think the point that Senator McGuire has made will meet the requirements of these traders and manufacturers who do not want their particular form of trade to be tied up in a way in which no other form of trade is tied up as yet. May I make that point clearer? I think in many ways this is a model Bill, in the sense that similar enactments may be brought in regard to insecticides, fertilisers or weed killers, and if a clause of this kind already exists, it will tend to be the model for all succeeding Bills. I think it is worth our while to spend a good deal of time and patience over this section.
May I say very briefly that I think the representatives of the trade would be better satisfied if the Minister would accept in paragraph (ii) in the last line there, after the word "packer" of the remedy, the words "or sole distributing company in the State"? This, I think, meets the Minister a little better than Senator McGuire's suggestion. It puts in "or sole distributing company in the State".
As I see it, the great difficulty is that the packer and the manufacturer may be the same people, so if you make it compulsory to publish the packer's name you are making it compulsory to publish the manufacturer's name, which is giving away certain trade information which might damage the trade. Some of us may think that it would be of benefit to the customer to know this; but I say that is a shortsighted view. I would emphasise that the restrictions we are putting on this particular trade here do not hold in any other trade, since this is a new kind of Bill. Therefore, might I ask the Minister, without making any further efforts to explain the complexities—I will explain them, if necessary —if he would accept this suggestion?
The other two parts of his amendment are entirely satisfactory and much better than anything contained in the amendment I offered, which I withdraw. Would he consider inserting, three lines from the foot of the page, after the word "packer", the words "or sole distributing company in the State"? Then, if the manufacturer and the packer are the same, one could put in the distributor's name. The object, I understand, is to have some permanent address that the law can get at if there is a quack remedy. I will not go into it further, but I assure the Minister that he would get just as good an address from the distributing company in the State as he would from the packer. The Minister has shown an accommodating spirit up to the moment and I hope he will go on to concede this small alternative.
I would ask the Seanad not to ask me to change the amendment at once, but to accept it as it stands at the moment, on the understanding that, with the more compendious matters raised by Senator Stanford and Senator McGuire, it will be considered, to see if the minimum requirements can be met on the lines suggested by them. Perhaps that would be agreeable to the Seanad.
May I ask, on a general question of order, when we reach the Report Stage will it be possible—if it is necessary, and I hope it will not be—to recommit the Bill?
Surely the Senator can put down an amendment on the Report Stage?
The Senator can put down an amendment on the Report Stage. The Senator is entitled to ask for a recommittal, if a serious crux arises. If there are serious alterations in the section, he would be entitled to ask for a recommittal, but that does not say it would be granted.
I would ask the Seanad not to contemplate recommittal, but I can assure the Senators that, if they wish to put down amendments, of course as far as I am concerned it would be my desire to meet them as far as possible. In the meantime, if the necessity arises, on the examination of the observations of either of the Senators, I shall suggest to the Seanad an amendment myself. By that I do not mean for a moment to suggest to individual Senators that they should not put down amendments for the Report Stage, which the Seanad might consider preferable to any one that I could offer.
I am sorry to rise again, but this is a matter of very considerable importance. Will there be an opportunity for Senators to see these amendments perhaps a week before, or long enough before the meeting of the Seanad at which this Bill will be considered, so that we may consult as to whether they do meet what we would like to meet? In other words, would the Minister be able to get out his amendments a week beforehand?
I would hope to circulate them before the end of this week and to ask the Seanad to deal with this Bill next week.
That would be satisfactory.
If Senators wish to put down amendments to this Bill, they will have to be with the Clerk by 11 o'clock on Monday. I hope the House is clear now on that point.
I would like to express the hope that we may be able to see the Minister's amendment by Friday or Saturday.
The Seanad will observe that this is designed to relieve drug manufacturers from complying with all the requirements imposed upon them when they sell a remedy to a farmer or an unqualified person, when they are selling that commodity to a registered veterinary practitioner who may be deemed to be qualified to pass judgment upon it himself without requiring the manufacturer to furnish all the information that it is appropriate an unqualified person should have at the time of purchase.
I move amendment No. 10:—
In sub-section (5) to add a new paragraph as follows:—
(d) is exported from the State.
This amendment is simple, to ensure that the provision will not apply to goods that are exported. Exported goods presumably would have to conform to the laws of the countries to which they are sent. I suggest that this may be a necessary provision to insert, that the section would not apply to goods that we export.
It seems to me that this might be an unwise amendment. I should like to feel that whatever we require in the way of standards and clarification of goods for sale within the country we might equally require for the export of goods to places abroad. In other words, I think the good name of the country to some extent depends on the sort of standard that we visibly apply to our own exports. I do not think any reputable manufacturer would feel it a hardship to have to comply with this section in relation also to goods he is exporting. It would become almost automatic, and it would seem to me that the good name of our exporters would be enhanced by the observation of a regulation for export goods similar to that required for goods sold here. Therefore, I think the amendment might be an unwise one.
I have a pragmatic mind and I have not been assigned by the Irish people any obligation to reform the world. I have a very limited responsibility, which is to protect the legitimate interests of the farmers of Ireland and make a common contribution to the good government of Ireland by membership of the Government chosen by the Oireachtas.
The plain fact is that we never meant this Bill to apply to exported merchandise. This Bill is designed to provide for our own people, in respect of imported or home manufactured animal remedies, certain minimal information to protect our own people from exploitation. I suppose one could argue that if one were setting out to fix standards of ethical conduct for all and sundry, a great deal might be said for Senator Sheehy Skeffington, but in the limited assignment I set myself and which I believe was set for me for the modest remuneration of £1,525 a year, I think I am doing enough if I look after our own, without looking further afield.
Rejecting this amendment would not cost any more.
The amendment would not cost any more, but I think I am doing enough for the £1,525 if I look after our farmers at home. Outside my official duties, I might be tempted to follow into the empyrean of Senator Sheehy Skeffington, but, in the modest scope of my employment, I am prepared to accept the amendment proposed by Senator Cox, because I think he rightly defines the true intended ambit of this Bill and it would not be correct for me to represent to the Seanad that the purpose of the Bill was wider than I intended it to be or that my function under it was more extensive than it will, in fact, be, that is, to protect our own people from exploitation by misrepresentation or inadequate information as to that which they are entitled to buy.
I should like some suggestion from the proposer of the amendment as to what way it would be vexatious for an exporter of a reputable Irish product to give to the country to which the product was being exported the details which we regard as legitimate to ask from them in relation to goods to be sold here? In what sense would these regulations be vexatious to him? I do not think these provisions are vexatious, and I cannot conceive of a reputable manufacturer being unwilling to give these details in respect of any article we would be proud to export. The Minister says that in this Bill he does not want to follow me into the empyrean but I suggest that it is he who is already there, by the provisions of his Bill. This amendment is for the purpose of changing a provision that is already in the Bill. I think the Bill, as it stands, and as he put it before us is a good one, and I would be sorry to see him depart from the high attitude with which he first put the Bill before us.
I did not put down my amendment with either moral or immoral thoughts. All that interested me was that when a firm exports to a foreign country, it has to conform with the regulations of the foreign country and has to export under a label such as is acceptable to the people in the foreign country. If one is to export successfully to the Malayan market, Hong Kong or South Africa, one has, in the make-up of the goods and the labels, to conform with the regulations of that territory. An Irish manufacturer has already very great difficulties to meet, but the situation would be far more difficult if he had, in addition, to comply with rather complicated regulations.
This is a section about which I said something on the Second Stage, and I was rather disappointed to find that the Minister did not apparently consider it worth while to abate somewhat the stringency of the wording of the provisions of this rather short section which asks that: "The particulars required by this Act to be given in connection with any sale, importation or advertisement of any animal remedy...shall not be so given by any person as to convey or be likely to convey a false or misleading indication or impression of the composition, remedial value or effectiveness of such remedy."
I suggested on the Second Stage, and I still am of the same opinion, that, in asking this, the Minister is asking too much. It is quite idealistic to desire that there would never be the slightest detail of any advertisement of any remedy conveying, or "likely to convey," a false or misleading indication or "impression" as to remedial value, but if you try to apply that, and try to operate such a stringent clause as that, I think it will be found to be inoperative, because I feel the Minister is asking too much. I am afraid that he is setting, for ordinary human practical purposes, too high a standard.
I suggest that the section would be very difficult to apply and, speaking subject to a lawyer's opinion, I suggest it would be very difficult to interpret in the courts. I think it is quite a worthy ideal, but I do not think in fact it is practical politics. The Minister told us he is a pragmatic man, but I suggest that this section is not practical politics. It is generally recognised—we make allowances for the fact—that advertisements tend to give a somewhat misleading impression as to the remedial value of certain medicines and so on.
There is that general tendency and one makes allowances for it, but, when one says that such a thing is "the greatest in the country", "the greatest in the world", or "the greatest in all time", I would not like to feel that a manufacturer inserting such an advertisement was committing an offence under the Act, and would have to prove that it was not misleading. I suggest that the section would be largely nugatory, and that it would be impossible to apply. We make allowance for tacit recognition of the fact that advertisements do tend to give a misleading impression, though the desire mildly to deceive is not necessarily a corrupt one. I suggest that political Party advertisements may sometimes give a misleading impression, and may contain to a large degree a quantity of what was referred to on the previous stage as "passive ingredients", which could, perhaps, "do no harm", but at the same time would do no great good.
I would appeal to the Minister, therefore, not to be too exacting, and not to set a standard which cannot be achieved in practice, when in other fields we are forced to accept lower standards. The Minister in this connection referred to the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican; and if I understood him correctly he cast himself in the role of the publican "that humbleth himself". I found it very gratifying that he did so, and I feel that it would be a good thing for all Ministers to wield the formidable weapon of humility. I am not quite sure it is one of the points which would appear in one's ordinary conception of the many virtues of the present Minister. In fact, in relation to this particular Bill, however, I suggest he is not in fact humbling himself at all. Quite on the contrary, he is asking a higher standard from the advertisers of animal remedies than is deemed possible for advertisements dealing with human remedies, and, perhaps, even political remedies. I would suggest he modify the wording or, perhaps, drop the section.
The Senator has raised an interesting point. In exporting goods to America, one is precluded from using words describing products as "the finest" or "the best". Maybe the Senator has missed this point. I think the Minister is covering only what is already done in other countries. Perhaps the Minister is only bringing us into line with other countries.
I have a very modest ambition. It is no more than this: if a product is offered to a farmer in this country in a container, that container will not bear upon it words designed to convey, or to be likely to convey, the misleading implication and impression that it is a sure and certain cure for fluke when, in fact, it is a sure and certain cure for nothing. Because we, the Department of Agriculture, believe that if a farmer is misled into the belief that what he has purchased, paid for, and administered, is a sure and certain cure for fluke, he will be misled into a catastrophic situation, in which, by the time he realises that he has been misled and has had a false impression created upon him, the animal will be beyond curing. That is all.
If we seek to circumscribe the liabilities of the vendor of such a preparation, we provide him with limitless loopholes. If we simply express in the section the obligation on him not to mislead, surely the courts can be trusted to interpret that rationally and to determine equitable as between the State and the individual vendor whether or not the words he has used to commend his product can rightly be described as calculated to convey, or to be likely to convey, a false or misleading impression of the composition, remedial value, or effectiveness of such a remedy. My apprehension is that, if I seek to qualify these words, I will create a situation in which it will be impossible to bring the most flagrant violator of the whole principle of this Bill to book.
I have every reason to hope that in so far as the greater part of these remedies are dispensed or sold by members of a highly reputable and responsible body, the pharmaceutical chemists of this country, the members of this body will see to it that the merchandise presented to them by the wholesalers or manufacturers is described within the terms of the Bill, and that they will draw the attention of the wholesalers or manufacturers to the provisions of this Bill and point out the obligations to give a fair and truthful description of their products.
I have sympathy with the point made by Senator Sheehy Skeffington. I do think this section is severe and I reinforce that assurance of sympathy by the expression of the hope that in fact the enforcement of the provisions of this Bill by recourse to litigation will be very infrequent.
Some apprehension has been felt about the strength of the powers given to the Minister, but I would be more assured if the Minister would refresh my memory on whether these provisions are in fact similar to others already in operation.
They are identical with the Therapeutic Substances Act of 1932.
They are stringent but we can take it that the Minister will not apply them in their full stringency and I think we can take it that too much trouble will not be caused by any sensible Minister.