Livestock Marts Bill, 1967: Second Stage (Resumed).

Question again proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time".

When the debate was adjourned last night, I was saying that this Bill as it stands could not possibly be put on to the Statute Book because there are so many defects in it and so many sections which need to be amended and clarified. For that reason, even if the Seanad does a good job on the Bill between now and Christmas, it remains for the Minister to go back again to the Dáil to get these amendments and changes approved in order to have a Bill put on the Statute Book which will not be a disgrace to our Legislature. We could not possibly contemplate putting this Bill on the Statute Book as it stands because of the many defects in it. It is obviously the result of a political nightmare on the part of the Minister. He must have got up the next morning and put together the points in this Bill himself. It is obviously a very rushed piece of legislation.

The political nightmare, of course, came on the Minister as a result of his dispute with the NFA when they were campaigning for farmers' rights which were denied to them by the Government and by the Minister. It developed into a contest, and in the long run, the Minister found himself in the position in which he had to call on the Army and Garda. This Livestock Marts Bill will give power to the Minister to call in the Army and Garda for the purpose of its enforcement, if those affected are not prepared to co-operate.

When we examine the Bill, we see that, first of all, the Minister will have in his possession a complete list of mart owners and shareholders, in addition to the personnel associated with those marts. In addition he will have power to get a list of the customers and to obtain details of the business transactions of those customers with the mart owners and shareholders. It is a very wide power and one which the ordinary individual would resent. It certainly has implications for other spheres of our economy. If the Minister gets away with this, we shall have a situation in which every Minister will be entitled to pry into the affairs and business transactions of private individuals who go to do business with various organisations over which the Minister may have control. At the moment shopkeepers, for instance, have a licence to sell tobacco but there is no power vested in the Minister to ask for a list of the people who went in and bought tobacco under licence from those shopkeepers.

This Bill will interfere with the rights of the individual, the private rights of the individual. The Association of Civil Liberties are very worried about its contents and the manner in which it is presented. The Minister is taking full power into his own hands. In the Dáil the amendments only got as far as section 1 of the Bill. There will be a large number of amendments to be discussed here and many points raised in connection with the rest of this Bill. It is obvious that the Minister, if he is an ordinary, intelligent, reasonable man, will find it necessary to accept a number of those amendments. They will have to be accepted. He would look silly if he refused to accept them. For that reason it is obvious that those amendments are going to lie there until the next meeting of the Dáil. The Dáil has adjourned, and I do not believe the Minister would call back the Dáil to deal with the various amendments which will result from the discussion of this Bill in the Seanad.

For that reason, the Minister should not persist with this Bill, having got the Second Reading. He might at this stage suspend further consideration of it until after the holidays. I do not think there is any point in going ahead with the Committee Stage, dealing with amendments and suggestions and then reaching a stage where he must wait for the Dáil to approve of the changes in the Bill as it emerges from the Seanad. Therefore I would appeal to him at this stage at least to postpone further consideration of it until after the holidays. We are here in the Seanad to do our duty and we will stay here until Christmas, if we are compelled to do so, because it is our duty to ensure that whatever legislation goes on the Statute Book will, so far as we can ensure, go there in proper form and not in the clumsy condition in which we find it at present.

The Bill gives all kinds of power to the Minister. It gives him the whip hand, puts the big stick in his hand, but does nothing to preserve the rights of the mart owners. Any other piece of legislation ever brought in here always gave such rights. It seems that this Bill does not give the mart owners the right to reserve admission: they cannot refuse entry.

Hear, hear.

Good, so Senator Yeats is now in favour of admission for puffers and chancers.

Farmers.

Do not forget that among them there may be puffers and chancers. There may be people deliberately going into marts and trying to interfere with the business activities of the marts. The owners of the marts have no right to reserve admission in the case of blacklegs, or even the John Browns whom the Minister may find it necessary to send into those marts if his dispute with the farming community goes any further. We remember the activities of the John Browns in the past. Apparently the marts must keep their doors open for all those characters.

Under what section of the Bill?

That is my point. There is no protection in the Bill for the mart owners and the proprietors of those marts, whether privately-owned or not.

Did the mart owners ever stop them up to now?

Yes; they ignored the bids of puffers. Every reliable auctioneer did that. I am glad the Senator has shown that he and his Party do not understand the implications of this Bill.

Should the Senator not be allowed to speak without interruption?

I do not mind the interruptions, because I can deal with them all.

The interruptions have been helpful up to now.

I hope some of the Senators on the Fianna Fáil side will stand up and speak in favour of this Bill. Nobody has done so up to now.

Senator Yeats spoke.

Of course the row in the Fianna Fáil Party room would stop any of them standing up here and speaking in favour of this Bill. I am glad that Senator Ryan has admitted that he does not know that an auctioneer in a mart is liable now to lose the licence in connection with that mart, if he refuses to accept bids from puffers and chancers.

Under which section?

Under the section giving the Minister power to make regulations.

The power is there for the puffers and the chancers to go into those marts but there is no power there to keep them out. That is the point I am making. There is no power in the Bill to enable the auctioneer to ignore their bids: their bids must be accepted. If there are any Senators on the far side who are familiar with the activities of those marts, fairs and various livestock auctions, they know that an auctioneer is a person who knows his customers and knows whether there is a puffer there. Now, no man who makes a bid can be refused.

How would the auctioneer know he is one?

That is the most innocent remark I have ever heard. Suppose there are bouncers there. This Bill, in effect, actually regularises the row existing between the NFA and the Minister but it gives him all the power he wants and puts the NFA in the position that their business, their ordinary commercial activities, will be interfered with by the Minister. That is the power which this Bill gives. Now the Minister can hit them in their pockets. He can hit farmers now and interfere with their business and reduce them to a state of poverty by interfering with the activities of farmers going into those marts.

The Minister can say that he will not allow certain members of the NFA to go into the marts, and if they are allowed to go in, he will withdraw the licence of that mart. That is nothing to be proud of in this Bill. In addition, the Minister now will have power to send in inspectors, snoopers and all kinds of persons which will give him the power to threaten the withdrawal of a licence from those marts. It gives those snoopers the right to pry into the private activities of the people who go to do their business in the marts.

We would all be very innocent in this House if we thought there would be no political consideration involved in the issuing of these licences. We know very well that the issue of a licence will now depend on the political outlook of the person applying. The threat will exist all the time against anybody who does not hold a certain political outlook. The person looking for a licence will have to join the local Fianna Fáil cumann or send a subscription to the Fianna Fáil Party. His licence will depend on whether a favourable report is sent up to the Minister. Therefore, we have the possibility of political preferences being played up here because the Minister has this matter in his own hands. He has power to decide to give licences; he has power to take away licences. Apparently the man who loses his licence will have no right to take the Minister to court or to go to court to seek the return of that licence.

We know the difficulties which have arisen in connection with the issuing of planning approval: we know what has happened on several occasions in regard to the issuing of such approval. We know of course that money has been involved, that money has passed in connection with approval of plans. Apparently the proposal is to give power to the Minister again so that he can profit from favourable subscriptions to his Party. No Minister in the Fine Gael Party would want the powers this Bill confers, and as far as Fine Gael are concerned, this legislation will be repealed at the earliest opportunity.

They will be a long time waiting.

The Senator is entitled to his opinion. The Minister is aware that it will be necessary for the auctioneers to protect stock owners against any of these puffers going bankrupt or going out of business. There is a very substantial bond required to ensure protection for the owners of livestock. I mention that because one Senator remarked that the purpose of the Bill is to protect the people who are transacting business through those marts. As far as I and the House know, the farmers' view of them, if any, is that they will be precluded from doing business with marts or marts committees which will not offer bonds as far as finance is concerned.

Question mark.

I should like Senator Dolan to give us the benefit of his knowledge of the marts in his area, and to let us know whether there are any of these marts in danger of going bankrupt or through which the farmers should not transact business. It is up to him in the interests of the farmers to mention such places. Apparently he is doubtful about the standing of the marts in some of his own areas.

We know from the past that there have been organised rackets and sabotage in connection with various businesses. Apparently this Bill will not protect marts against these organised groups. I should like to know from the Minister why, if he considers this Bill necessary at all, he does not give power to the courts to issue licences, does not give an opportunity to marts committees to apply to the courts for licences. Surely he has confidence in the competence of these courts to deal with applications for licences? Regulations will be laid down which must be complied with and it is, therefore, up to the courts to decide whether these regulations are being, and will be, complied with. For that reason, it is fair to suggest that it is the courts who should have the right to issue these licences, instead of the Minister. It is a great mistake for the Minister to take on full responsibility for the issue or the revocation of licences.

The Minister yesterday mentioned just three lame excuses for introducing this Bill. He said that it was in the national interest. There are a lot of things in the national interest. He might even say that it is in the national interest that the Fianna Fáil Party exist.

That is the kind of ridiculous remark that is made in favour of this Bill.

Hitler made the same claim.

I think the Minister is delighted that this Bill will frustrate the farmers and mart proprietors. As a result of the NFA dispute some time ago, some of those scabs and blacklegs came out worst in the battle with the Minister and the NFA in connection with those marts. The Minister will agree that there are already more people against this proposed piece of legislation than there were against any Bill before, with the exception of, possibly, the Succession Bill, and even as many people were not against that Bill as are against this Bill. The Succession Bill was dropped by the Minister concerned when he had the benefit of public opinion. It will be agreed that the Succession Bill also was imposed on the Dáil by the Minister for Finance without consulting any of the interested parties. This Bill has been presented without consultation with the interested parties. The marts committees have not been consulted; the farmers' committees have not been consulted. The only people who were consulted were the NAC, with the Minister in the Chair. That was a peculiar kind of court the Minister held with himself in the Chair, asking the NAC what they thought of this Bill.

Any organisation that have spoken out in relation to this Bill have spoken against it. No responsible organisation have spoken in favour of it or of any section of it. For that reason, the Minister ought to consult, first of all, the people who will be affected by the Bill immediately, that is, the marts committees and the farmers. Then, having consulted them, he should go further and consult other interests which may be affected. When the Minister finds that everybody is opposed to the Bill and when he sees that he is trying to impose it in spite of them all, he should think again.

The Minister in the Dáil named a few bodies with whom he had discussions, and he led the Dáil to believe that, first of all, he got favourable results from those discussions. But, in the long run, when the matter was threshed out, he had to admit that the people he consulted were polite and courteous and that it was not a case of agreeing with the contents of this Bill. Nobody has asked for the Bill. There has been no clamour for this kind of Bill, and it is obvious that it will not confer any benefits on the cattle trade. It will not improve the prices of cattle. It will not improve the method of marketing cattle. The marts at present are highly efficient and competent and they have become very popular throughout the length and breadth of the country. Obviously any business will try to improve its efficiency, and the marts, no less than any other organisation, will seek to do so in the interests of better business. There will be no need for the Minister to interfere with the activities of the marts, offering the excuse for the Bill that it is designed to improve their activities. They are private enterprise establishments and will be interested in giving good value to those who use their services for the buying and selling of cattle.

Finally, the Minister ought to stop at this stage, having heard the Second Reading debate, and devote the next couple of months to a consideration of whether the Bill ought to be dropped. It is designed and intended to be offensive to the marts and to the farmers. It is a piece of pique on the part of the Minister, who ought to have a rest now—he has been very busy, particularly with this Bill, in the past few weeks—and then consider this matter again. Then, if he has a reasonable excuse for bringing in this kind of controlling legislation in a new form, he should do so after the recess. The Bill, in its present form, is unacceptable. It is not alone unacceptable to the interests concerned, but outside bodies are very worried about it, are worried about the principle of the Bill and the powers it confers on the Minister instead of the courts.

We cannot serve any useful purpose in trying to amend the Bill as it stands but, if we are compelled to do so, we will seek to amend every section and every paragraph of it in an effort to remove some of its obnoxious provisions which are anti-democratic. We could only expect a Bill of this nature where there is dictatorship. Apparently the Minister wants this kind of power, as a dictator over the farmers, because they have turned against him and his Party, but in any democratic society, a political party must depend for public support on the policy it presents to the people. It is a mistake to bring in the kind of legislation which can only be associated with dictatorship and a threat to the liberties of the individual.

I suppose most of us agree that in our time very great changes have taken place in the traditional method of disposing of our farm goods and livestock. It is true to say also that in our time many great changes have taken place, especially since the last war, in that machinery has more or less taken over on most of our farms: the method of saving hay, and indeed the method of supplying milk to the creameries and so on, have changed almost completely. We have now reached the stage at which we have higher standards, better equipped creameries, and on most farms now, a car and a tractor and trailer. Indeed, the trailer is a very important part of the equipment on any farm now, especially in the milk-producing areas where the farmers, instead of taking their milk as they did previously by horse and cart, take it by trailer to the creameries. In the creameries also the standards have improved immensely.

It is only natural to expect that in such conditions, we would accustom ourselves to this change. Fianna Fáil were well aware of this from the beginning and, instead of moaning and groaning about the changes taking place, adapted themselves to the changing conditions and introduced legislation which eventually resulted in ensuring a healthier livestock at the selling end. They successfully piloted through the TB eradication scheme and brought about the position that our cattle are now strong and healthy and we are able to present them on the various markets available.

That was James Dillon's scheme.

It might have been on paper; he had many schemes up in the air, but in usual Fine Gael fashion, he was unable to put them into operation because both he and his Coalition, when in Government, as we know ran out because they had rows. The story however is so sad it is hardly worth recalling now but the Irish people have sad memories of those disastrous policies.

Fianna Fáil, by their policies in the past, dealt effectively with the terrible scourge of the Irish people in those days, TB. They built hospitals to ensure that it would be eradicated from among our people——

That was Dr. Noel Browne.

For the Senator's benefit, I shall tell him that we built a new TB hospital in Cavan before there was any word of a Coalition Government. It is one of the finest hospitals in this country, and it was built under Fianna Fáil administration. After all those developments, it is only natural that we should move with the times and introduce this excellent piece of legislation.

As the Minister has said, this Bill is very important in the national interest: it is tremendously important in the national interest and indeed very important also in the farming interest. The powers given in it are comparable with those given in any of the other pieces of legislation enacted down the years appertaining to the farming community and farming interests. I do not wish to cover the ground so ably and excellently covered by my colleague on this side of the House, Senator Yeats, yesterday, when he quoted practically all the Acts enacted since 1924, under various Governments, and showed that in none of those Acts was there anything which is not in the Bill before us today.

I know that the Fine Gael attitude, naturally, would be to postpone. That has always been their attitude if they felt something was not popular, and has been their method of doing business down the years. They postponed the health scheme long ago; as a matter of fact, they hung it up on the wall and bolted out of office rather than provide the finance to put it into effect. In recent years when Fianna Fáil amended that Health Act, and when, through the county councils and various local bodies, they tried to improve on it and ensure that its benefits would percolate right down to the ordinary individual, Fine Gael again were there, asking people to postpone an increase in the rates, to let people die rather than provide the facilities to which we in Fianna Fáil felt at all times they were entitled. Yesterday they quoted from document after document, from editorials in newspapers, every one of which condemned this excellent legislation.

I hope theIrish Press was mentioned.

Thanks God, it was not. Senator Rooney is one of those who mentioned theIrish Independent, and I respectfully suggest to him and to his colleagues that they should take a day off, go into the National Library and there ask for issues of the Irish Independent for 30th April and 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th May, 1916. They can read the editorials that paper produced about men such as the present Uachtarán na hÉireann, Senator Jim Ryan, Seán Lemass, Dick Gogan——

Dick Mulcahy.

——Gerry Boland and others. Let them read those editorials and they will drive home to them the attitude that newspaper has always adopted, as far as I am aware, towards the efforts of the plain people of this country to secure our independence and to push forward legislation for the benefit of our people. Read it sometime and I hope you are able to stomach it fairly well.

I am not surprised by the Fine Gael attitude to this Bill. I suggest they are more or less inebriated after the local elections, though indeed, they cannot claim they had any victories or won anything, except that, in typical Fine Gael fashion, they gobbled up their old bedfellows of Coalition days. In traditional Fine Gael fashion, when they got the chance, they ate their bedfellows up. They are now suffering from sick heads or sick stomachs.

Seventy-five extra seats.

Did Senator Rooney not ask to hear Senator Dolan speaking?

Why, then, do you not listen to him?

I wanted to, last night, when I was speaking.

I can well appreciate that Deputy Rooney and his Party do not like to hear these things. It is well known that during the years this has been the attitude of Fine Gael.

It amuses me to hear various Fine Gael speakers here attempting to revive the so-called dispute as far as the NFA and the Government are concerned. I have always been suspicious when hearing Fine Gael backing up a farmers' organisation of any kind. As a farmer, I have a fair knowledge of how things are in rural parts of the country. As far back as the 1920s, a farmers' organisation representative was elected to one of the Houses here, the late Senator Baxter. They got together and presented him with a motor car and he, in true Fine Gael fashion, motored into Fine Gael. Then we had Gregory McGovern. He was elected in the farmers' interests and he followed the well-trodden track and became a member of Fine Gael. Indeed we have in the Chamber a man who was first elected in the farmers' interests and who, too, turned tail into Fine Gael. I could go further and say that during the Coalition Government, another, Deputy O'Reilly from Cavan, was elected, and when he brought in a measure in the Dáil to increase the price of milk, he was very quickly thrown overboard by Fine Gael who saw to it——

He was never in Fine Gael: we would not have him.

You had him in the Coalition Government. He was like other people whom you ate up in the local elections. There was no difficulty whatever in letting people into your camp.

Read his speeches. He never supported us.

The only gain you have had has been through eating up your own bedfellows. It is on record and you can read it when you get a chance. I have given a clear picture of the attitude of Fine Gael regarding farmers' organisations in the past and I warn the farmers' organisations in the present to be very careful, to think twice before they fall for a lot of this claptrap Fine Gael are trying to put across regarding the Bill.

I shall go further and suggest that the Bill is long overdue. Rather than accept the Fine Gael view that it should be postponed until Christmas, I shall cite a situation which arose in my constituency. It involved small farmers in Louth and Monaghan as well. They sold their cattle in one of those so-called marts. It closed down and they did not get a penny piece for the animals they sold.

Is there anything in the Bill to prevent that kind of happening?

Yes, there is, and I hope the Senator will support the Bill for that reason. He comes from the county in which the mart was situated. The happenings there should bring home to the farming community, particularly to the poor, unfortunate small farmers who sold two or three beasts and who will never get a penny piece for them, how important this legislation is. I congratulate the Minister and the Government on their foresight in bringing in this measure for the protection of the ordinary farmers.

To hammer the farmers.

This is to protect the farmers and, as the Senator well knows, any Government worth their salt would not shirk their responsibility to protect such farmers. Fianna Fáil have always stood loyally by them, as they are doing in this measure. The quicker this Bill is pushed through the House, the better it will be for the ordinary farming community, as I have illustrated by quoting the situation that arose in my constituency. I feel sure there are other instances and the Opposition would be doing a good job for the farmers generally if they ceased their filibuster and codology, if they approached the Bill in the spirit in which it should be approached and endeavoured to see it pushed through so that the benefits will accrue more quickly to the farmers who need its protection.

I am aware at the same time that there are excellent marts in the country. They represent a new method of disposing of cattle. I remember as a youth attending the fair of Enniskillen. Since then a new mart has been erected there. It may be all right for Senator Rooney to talk about the Dublin Cattle Market, but if he knew anything about rural Ireland, he would be aware that in the past people had to rise very early in the morning, gather their stock and make for a local fair green. He would be aware also that legislation was introduced by an alien Government to cover those fairs and that a charter was granted to a certain loyal true-blue to collect tolls from people going into those fairs.

I cannot see the reason for the present hub-bub about legislation to ensure that there will be certain standards and certain protections all over the country. There are owners of cattle marts who have done an excellent job. In my opinion, the cattle mart has come to stay and will be the method in the future of disposing of livestock. For that reason, I compliment the Minister on introducing this measure to regularise the position. The Bill is certainly needed and is long overdue. I firmly believe it will be of immense benefit not alone to the farming community but to the nation as a whole.

The Labour Party have submitted a motion here which, in all fairness, should be examined on its merits in the light of the present situation as far as the agricultural community are concerned. There is no question whatever of suggesting that parts of the Bill are unacceptable to the Labour Party. We are very keen on certain aspects of the measure, but, on the other hand, there are sections in the Bill, the spirit behind which is such that it is not possible for the Labour Party to support it at this stage and in this form. Consequently, we believe that the best possible step at this stage is to postpone it until next October, and in the meantime the Minister and the various bodies which have a responsibility for agriculture should get together and hammer out the difficulties which have bedevilled Irish agriculture in the past two or three years.

The Bill is brought into the Oireachtas on the ground that it is urgent. We know, for instance, that, last March, April and May, there was not a word about this measure. The normal procedure when legislation is contemplated is to have news items about it and questions asked in the Dáil as to when steps will be taken to introduce the legislation.

There was no question, for the past seven or eight years, of any legislation of this nature being contemplated. Therefore, it is only natural to assume that events that took place within the past six months led the Minister to take this sudden step. I refer now to a few minor incidents which took place when it would appear that cattle marts were interfered with in the course of a dispute between the Minister and the National Farmers Association. Because of a few isolated incidents, where the question of interference was involved, the two Houses of the Oireachtas now have to sit for a prolonged period in order to allow the Minister to get his own back in the form of this legislation.

This Bill is a hasty, ill-considered attempt on the part of a Minister of the Government to pay back those they think held the Government up to ridicule or thwarted the Government's actions some months ago. In this connection, the Seanad has a duty to perform. My understanding is that one of the major functions of the Seanad is to prevent the passage of hasty, ill-considered or a ruthless type of legislation envisaged by any Government and to act as a restraining influence where such legislation is contemplated.

This is a time when the Seanad can show that it is able to look at this legislation in a cool, detached manner and to judge it for what it really is. The Seanad should, therefore, be able to bring about a cooling-off period so that the agricultural community, the Minister and those recently involved in disputes will have an opportunity to examine the position and to come together to see how they can improve our major industry, agriculture.

There is a saying that those whom the Gods wish to destroy they first drive mad. I am afraid that, in this case, it is a most appropriate description of what is taking place here now as far as the Government are concerned. At a time when the Minister should be seeking the co-operation and assistance of the farming community and their representatives he is deliberately going out of his way to antagonise them further.

Only today, the information is conveyed to us that the British Government have issued instructions to the Irish Government—mark you, that is what has been done: the British Government have directed the Irish Government—to bring in a planned phasing in the export of cattle without any further delay. This is a directive issued by the British Government through the Minister of Agriculture in Britain to his Irish counterpart. Mr. Peart made it quite clear yesterday in the House of Commons that the British Government considered it an absolute "must" that the Irish Government take immediate steps to carry out this directive by the Ministry of Agriculture in Britain.

On whose behalf was the directive issued in Britain? In Britain, the National Farmers' Union have been seeking for the past six months to secure the co-operation of the British Government with regard to this directive. It was from the National Farmers' Union in Britain that the suggestion first came that a phasing be introduced in regard to Irish cattle. Picture the difference between the position of the British farmers and that of the Irish farmers. The National Farmers' Union —a pressure group in Britain although it is not in the major league in comparison with the National Farmers Association in Ireland—has been able to persuade the British Labour Government of the necessity of protecting the British farmer. At home in Ireland, the National Farmers' Association is in the position that the Minister for Agriculture is introducing legislation which will enable him to bring out the military authorities and the police force to intimidate, to baton or to browbeat our farmers.

In Britain, the National Farmers' Union is able to achieve its aims by strong pressure on the Government. In Ireland, the farmers are jailed by our Minister for Agriculture. In Britain, the farmers are a highly respected body whose wishes are carried out by the Government as is evidenced by the announcement yesterday in the British House of Commons. In Ireland, the farmers are a mob, according to the members of the Irish Cabinet. That is the position as I see it.

The Minister should try to heal the wounds. He should try to achieve the co-operation of the farming associations. With this type of legislation, he is seeking, shall we say, to exact his pound of flesh, seeking in a small-minded fashion to get revenge for being thwarted by the NFA over the past months. Have the Government, and the Minister, got their priorities right? Is it more important for a Minister and his colleagues, the hawks in the Cabinet, to say: "We will teach a lesson to this farmers' association" than to save our major industry, which is agriculture? Which is more important? It is beyond contradiction that the future of the cattle trade is in jeopardy. It is in a worse state than it ever has been for the past 30 years. Senators may not realise that today, but next November or December, what I am saying now will be proved right. The price of cattle will be such that the Fianna Fáil Party will unquestionably be able to allow the wheel to turn the full circle and provide free beef to all those to whom they have now supplied the 12 months dole.

In the past two days, the Minister for Agriculture quietly slipped off to Europe. It was the first time a Minister ever left the country without a ceremonial goodbye and a shake hands at the airport, with the tall hats being doffed. He went to see the German Minister for Agriculture to tell him: "I have 2,000 head of cattle belonging to Charlie Haughey which we have not yet got rid of. Is there any possibility that you would be able to sneak them in through the back door to East Germany? Is there any possibility you would be able to save our skins for the moment?" Having begged the German Minister for Agriculture to take the 2,000 cattle, he slips back home, ignores the Seanad for half a day, and then proceeds to say: "I will deal with the farming community and their representatives at home."

Is that the way you are going to get co-operation from the farmers, at a time when all the expert advice available should be roped in to consider how the cattle trade can be saved between now and next January? The principal people involved are being ground under by the Minister, and I must say that he is being encouraged and incited by other irresponsible elements in the Cabinet. We know there are members of the Cabinet who are only too anxious to see Deputy Blaney, the Minister for Agriculture, taking the action he is now taking. We have it from himself that he aspired to the position of Taoiseach and that he was glad to support another colleague for the position. We know there is another man in the wings who is delighted that Deputy Blaney is now in the process of destroying his hopes forever of being appointed Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party. Those other men who wish for leadership are only too glad to say: "Good boy, Neil; you are the boy to teach them a lesson", knowing that he is digging his grave as far as the leadership of the Fianna Fáil Party is concerned. The arch-culprit of all this is the man who refused to meet the farmers outside in Merrion Square. He is going around like a choir boy. I see where he met some ladies at a musical festival and the look on his face was the nearest thing to that of a cherub. The next day he appears as a chef in a training college for young cooks. There is no doubt that he is cooking the goose for such a barbecue as was never known as far as the other members of the Fianna Fáil Party who aspired to leadership are concerned.

Here we have this Minister from Donegal, whose pride was hurt when the small farmers from Donegal failed to attend the fair after being told by the Chief Superintendent that everything in the garden was lovely, coming into this House with petty legislation. It is a petty attempt to get his own back, instead of showing the statesmanship one would expect from a Cabinet Minister, instead of saying at this stage, having apparently won a major battle, that he is prepared to hold out the hand of friendship and say: "Let us co-operate; there are too many serious things to be settled to be continuing on the lines on which we have been up to the present". I am most interested to see in this House the reaction of the Taoiseach's eleven. I want to hear something from that cricket team. Nobody has come in to bat for the eleven yet; they all seem to be on the——

(Interruptions.)

If Senator Yeats is the chief spokesman for the Fianna Fáil Party on a matter like this—and I am not criticising him as an individual—on a matter of major importance, pertaining to agriculture, it is significant that the rural Members, those concerned with agriculture in Fianna Fáil, intend to keep a very wise silence. They do not intend to allow themselves to be jockeyed into the position of speaking for this type of legislation, knowing very well that far more important measures await the attention of this House. I suppose it would be logical for Members to speak at length on various aspects of agriculture, to deal with the necessity for other measures which should be given precedence over this type of legislation, but the Labour Party do not intend to indulge in prolonged debate. Our aim is to appeal to the Minister at this late stage to have some commonsense. The Labour Party are prepared to co-operate to this extent with the Minister, that if he believes legislation is necessary in connection with the marts, he should get rid of the particular sections which give direct control to the Minister. It has always been a part of the Labour Party's policy that State enterprise should be encouraged and nothing could be further from the truth than the suggestion thrown out by Fianna Fáil that this is a form of State enterprise legislation.

Who said that?

The Senator's colleagues outside the House said it. They sought to suggest that the Labour Party are opposing State enterprise and State interference. In fact, what the Labour Party are endeavouring to do is to protect the rights of the individual. We are all in favour of organised planning, and of control being exercised in a proper fashion, but we do not agree that the power contemplated in a measure such as this should be given directly to the Minister. We believe that the rights of the individual must be preserved, in a matter of this nature, through the courts, and if the Minister is prepared to meet us in that regard, I do not think there will be much trouble as far as our opposition is concerned. The main thing is to safeguard the individual.

Senator Yeats made a case yesterday which on the face of it was very strong. He said that there was similar legislation in regard to the bacon factories, the Pigs and Bacon Commission, and also the Dairy Produce Acts. Let us be quite clear about this. In so far as this measure is concerned, any individual will have the right to bring his produce into the marts. There is no right whatever vested in the marts to prevent any individual from bringing cattle for sale. No such legislation exists in relation to the bacon factories. They have the right to decide from whom they will buy, and they reserve the right to continue to refuse customers at any time they like. The same applies to the disposal of milk. I do not see how you can make at this stage the comparison Senator Yeats made, when this measure will remove any rights whatever the marts may have at the moment in regard to who may attend and take part in their proceedings. There is no real comparison between the powers exercised in regard to the bacon factories and those proposed in this measure.

Senator Yeats has made the case that now is the time to have these marts ready so that they will come up to international standards, laid down, I presume, by the Common Market. I am not going to deal with that in any detail, except to say that, if the Senator is really serious, the first question to tackle is the standard for the fair day. That needs priority over and above the measure now before the House. We have in this country first-class fair greens with modern pens, concrete foundations, concrete flooring and so on. I know they are being used as parking lots for cars while the cattle are sold in the towns.

How could you park a car in a pen?

Is there anything in this measure to remedy that situation? We have tourists held up for hours on a fair day and seeing the condition of the streets for 24 hours afterwards. Where is an attempt being made to deal with that?

Senator Yeats tells us that the marts must be made to conform with international standards. One would think, as far as the Senator is concerned, that the marts were being used as slaughterhouses or processing plants. I am all with those who say that our processing plants and factories must rigidly conform to international standards in all respects, but to utilise that as an excuse for legislation of this sort is a very weak line of approach.

If this were the first attempt to introduce marts into this country, we could agree with this measure, but marts have been built all over this country for at least ten years past. In my own county there was a rash of marts. In the town of Roscommon there is a first-class mart. Within ten miles of it, there is another and six miles away, a third was built. Two of them now have the grass growing up through the concrete. In another town, two groups were competing with each other to set up marts. How much public money went down the drain as a result of this? I remember in my own consituency, at the time these three marts went up, asking the Government to give a few thousand pounds for drainage. Not a sixpenny bit was made available for drainage, but thousands were made available for marts which were never used. Was there any move by the Government then, as a matter of urgency, to prevent this absolute wastage of public funds? No attempt whatsoever was made. Now, when that position has sorted itself out, we are told legislation is necessary to protect the small farmer and the man going in to sell his cattle. The Minister should be honest about it and say that this legislation is his way of paying back the farmers' organisation for not kowtowing to him in recent months.

I have nothing more to say at this stage except to ask the Minister if he is now prepared to consider the Labour Party's suggestion, to allow the court to act as the protector of the public in this Bill instead of the Minister. If he is prepared to meet us on that point, I do not think there will be any further opposition as far as we are concerned. But if the Minister persists in making no change, in not meeting the reasonable proposition put forward to him, it must be understood that the Minister is not interested in the democratic procedure. He is interested in ruthlessly getting his own way and trampling on the rights of both Houses.

What we want to consider very carefully is the fact that the Minister, in doing that, is going to seek the support of Senators who should be setting a good example by their independent attitude as the watchdogs of the people, the group who should not in any circumstances allow this House to be used as a rubber stamp for Government legislation passed in the other House. If that happens on this Bill, whatever justification there may have been for this House in the past as a means of calming the storm and bringing commonsense to bear, whatever arguments may have been put forward in the past that this House was useful as a second House of the Legislature, I think this reason goes by the board. There is little point in putting the public to the expenditure of keeping a Chamber like this going, if it is to be a mere rubber stamp, as is suggested by this legislation.

Yesterday, this debate opened at 3 o'clock when the Minister, in a very brief opening statement running to only three and a half pages, introduced this measure. Very shortly afterwards the Minister left the House. For six hours of the debate yesterday—contributed to solely by the Members of one of the Opposition Parties, with the exception of a short intervention by Senator Yeats—the Minister was absent from the House. When the matter was raised, the Leader of the House informed us that the Minister was obliged to attend the Dáil in order to contribute to the debate on the EEC. I would not for a moment suggest that the Leader of the House was seeking to misinform the House on that: I believe he was acting in good faith in making that statement. But it would now appear he was led down the garden path by the Minister because, to the knowledge of those of us on this side of the House, the Minister during all that period was lolling in the corridors of the House and treating this House with contempt. It is noteworthy that at the time of the Dáil debate, the complaint in the Dáil was that the Minister for Agriculture was in the Seanad. When the debate was pursued here for six hours, the Minister saw fit to give us the benefit of his attendance for only a very brief period, and the House was misinformed as to the reasons for his absence. In view of his approach to the operations of this Chamber and to the importance attached to the measure under discussion, this incident should be put on record here this morning.

In his brief summary in introducing this Bill, the Minister gave us three headings as to the reasons for the Bill. The first was that the Bill was necessary in the national interest. He has not succeeded in providing us with any proof whatsoever that this is a fact. All the indications are, and all the information on hand to everybody interested in this measure since its introduction in the other House have been to the contrary. I could regale the House for hours with quotations from editorials, from records of meetings held of those really interested, the parties involved in this measure. In every instance there is nothing on record but criticism of and complete opposition to the proposals in the Bill.

When the pressure was becoming heavy on the Minister in the other House on 6th July he resorted to a statement which was reported the following day in heavy black print. Although I am not an avid reader of theIrish Press, I am sure that this was an extraordinarily strong heading to give to the subject. “Marts men for Bill: Minister”. The report is:

Mr. Blaney, Minister for Agriculture, announced in the Dáil yesterday that he had the co-operation of the Marts Associations on the Livestock Marts Bill, now before the House.

He said that following cordial meetings last weekend with the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society, Cork Marts and the Associated Livestock Marts, there was general agreement on the Bill in its amended form.

Mr. Blaney was speaking on the financial resolution to provide moneys for the operation of the Bill after the full-scale filibuster mounted by Fine Gael which began the previous night at 7 p.m. and finally ended yesterday afternoon at 2 p.m.

"You can settle yourselves down for the summer because the Bill is not going to be postponed", he told Fine Gael Deputies. "This blackmail is not going to work. Your bluff has been called and you are going to stay here."

Fine Gael's protest, he said, was hollow and empty because, by and large, the amendments he had put down to the Bill made it acceptable to the IAOS, the Cork Marts group and the Associated Livestock Marts. This would shock Fine Gael, who should come down from the clouds. They were liable to get "a hell of a bump" when they came down to earth and found out what was going on.

But, the following day, somebody was brought down to earth and it was not Fine Gael. Incidentally, when theIrish Press seek to report any dealings of the Fine Gael Party, they might advert to the correct spelling of the words “Fine Gael”.

The following day there was a quick response from those mentioned by the Minister, not in any after-dinner speech, or in circumstances where it might be deemed that he was not properly informed of what was occurring but, we assume, in a calm and prepared statement to the Dáil. On July 8th, theCork Examiner reported as follows:

The statement made by the Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Blaney, in the Dáil on Thursday concerning the Livestock Marts Bill, was referred to yesterday by Mr. P. F. Quinlan, president of the IAOS and a member of the Management Committee of Cork Marts.

In a statement Mr. Quinlan said: "The Livestock Marts Bill, at any time, was not welcomed by the co-operative marts. Ten years ago a Bill might have been some value when the co-operative marts were being started, but, as of now, the present Bill is not what the co-operative marts want, and until further amended, it does not meet the wishes of the co-operative marts. So far the co-operative marts had not an opportunity to study the Minister's amendments. At the meeting held in Dublin on Friday, June 30, the co-operative marts put forward their objections to sections of the Bill and suggested amendments to other sections The co-operative marts could not accept the amendments until such time as they had an opportunity to study same."

Mr. Quinlan concluded by stating that the objections to the Bill, as set out by the co-operative marts, and of vital interest to them, and to the co-operative movement, had yet to be dealt with, and so far nothing had emerged to allay the fears of the co-operative movement on this score.

The following report also appears in theCork Examiner on the same day:

The Associated Livestock Marts of Ireland in a statement yesterday says that in its discussions with Mr. Blaney their delegation maintained its attitude on the right of appeal to law. Their former decision to appeal to the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the Livestock Marts Bill would be discussed by members when the final shape of the Bill was known.

So that, on July 6th, when the Minister spoke in the House, he had no authority to assert, as was reported in theIrish Press and other newspapers, that the marts men were for the Bill. Consequently, we are entitled to question the very first contention in the Minister's statement to this House, that the Bill was necessary in the national interest, and not least in the interests of the farming community, and that it has been introduced for no other reason.

Today we have in this community of ours as informed an agricultural community as there is in any country in Europe. Happily, over the past decade, and even for years before, through voluntary farming organisations, farmers, particularly the younger farmers, have equipped themselves to give close study to everything appertaining to their industry. They have adapted themselves in a most praiseworthy fashion to the challenges of modern times. Yesterday, speaking in the Dáil on the motion in relation to our application to become a member of the EEC, the Minister for Finance saw fit to pay tribute to the fact that our agricultural community was better adapted to face the challenges consequent on entry to that Community than is the case in most other countries in Europe.

It is extraordinary, therefore, that a measure such as this should be introduced without consultation with any of those groups, if it were in the national interest. There is no doubt that these people are as alert and alive to the national interest as any other section of our people. It is extraordinary that far from expressing any desire for the enactment of legislation such as the Bill before us, they have vociferously, vehemently and persistently opposed the introduction of this measure. "Not least", the Minister said, "in the interest of the farming community". If it were in the interests of the commercial community, banking, organised labour, one could possibly understand the reluctance of the farming community to display any enthusiasm for a measure such as this or concern in relation to its contents. One must assume that, if the Minister is correct in stating that this is done in the interests of the farming community, those who represent farming opinion in the country would express welcome for the measure. There was no demand for it and we could list numerous items that are awaiting attention, even in the office of the Minister for Agriculture, such as the findings, that have not been implemented, of the committee set up to report on the wool industry and the findings of the committee which inquired into the horsebreeding industry.

These are matters on which the Minister and his Department could have exercised themselves in recent months. There is no indication that they regard these matters as being of sufficient importance to warrant any action on their part now or in the immediate future. There was also a suggestion that a proper milk recording and cow testing scheme should be introduced. This was promised last January. Six months and more have elapsed, and there is no indication of any progress being made in regard to this matter. So we can allege that it was not for lack of business to present to Parliament or lack of opportunities to exert himself in the interests of the people for whom he is charged with responsibility, namely, the farming community, that this measure was introduced. Therefore, we are entitled to assess it as a vindictive measure which, unfortunately, can do nothing more than exacerbate the very poor relations that exist between organised farmers and the present Minister, and that, unfortunately, existed in relation to his predecessor.

One can look back at changes of Ministries in the Fianna Fáil administration now with some interest. There was a bombshell dropped in relation to the resignation of a Fianna Fáil Minister from the Cabinet, the Minister for Agriculture. When historical notes on similar lines to "Profiles in Courage" are compiled, due tribute will be paid to Deputy Patrick Smith for having walked out of the Cabinet, surrendering his Ministry of Agriculture, because of the fact that he could not obtain from his colleagues in that Cabinet the degree of support he wanted for the agricultural community. There have been changes in the Ministry of Agriculture since then, each of which, unfortunately, occurred in the most unseemly circumstances.

At this time of the year, when, unfortunately, the proceedings of this House are frustrated by the fact that the Dáil is now in recess and would have to be recalled if we were to give effect to the very many amendments that should be tabled with a view to improving this measure, it is nothing short of insult to present such an important measure to the House. This House was left for periods of weeks on end in the months that have passed without being called when it would have been an easy matter for us to have dealt with a measure such as this. There were other measures which were introduced in the Seanad and which then went to the Dáil, and even if this measure were warranted—and I do not concede it was—there was no need to rush it through. It is outrageous that such a measure should be introduced and insisted upon by the Minister, in defiance of the opinions of many of his colleagues who have expressed openly their disapproval that the Oireachtas should be brought into disrepute because of his action in insisting that this measure, for which there was no demand, either outside or within the Oireachtas, should be treated as a matter of urgency. It is indicative of the real reasons that lie behind this proposal.

Senator Dolan spoke about the very great difficulties which the establishment of the cattle marts entailed. There is no doubt that the establishment of the marts at that time was a leap into the future by many people with conservative ideas and with the tradition instilled into them over centuries of dealing in the open marts and fairs. To them this was a revolutionary advance, and it was a tremendous achievement on the part of the originators of the cattle marts to bring these people to an appreciation of the advantages of modernising our system of marketing livestock.

On a point of order, the Minister has not shown any signs of life for some time. Is he, in fact, awake?

I am quite alive, as you will find out.

I am not quite sure that it is a point of order.

I had some worries about it, but I sought not to disturb the Minister's relaxation. At any rate, it is to be hoped that even in his somnolence, the Minister will absorb some of the remarks made in the course of the discussion on this Bill.

I was referring to the initiation of the marts, and if there was ever a time at which Government intervention was warranted, it was when there was a proliferation of marts. A decade has passed since those problems existed, and they have been resolved. In Senator McQuillan's area, for instance, many of them were sited too close to one another and the areas to provide the livestock did not exist. The factors necessary for the establishment of a successful mart did not exist, and many people had their fingers burnt.

If the Government were really interested in furthering the cause of the establishment of livestock marts, that was the time at which the Government should have intervened, but it may have entailed the expenditure, possibly, of considerable sums of money. If, as is now a fact, those marts have succeeded, they have succeeded because of the businesslike manner in which their originators and their sponsors conducted their affairs. Now that they have achieved success in their endeavours, it is deplorable that at this juncture, for purely punitive and vindictive reasons, this legislation should be introduced.

In the town where I reside, Bandon, we happen to have one of the most successful co-operative marts in Ireland. It is one of a group extending beyond the confines of County Cork across the whole of Munster, where rationalisation has taken place, where marts which, on their own, could not be successful have integrated and, by the most democratic process and the most efficient methods, have overcome many of the difficulties which individual marts could not surmount. It is outrageous that the Cork Co-operative Livestock Mart, having proved successful, should now be faced with bureaucratic intervention.

During the last general election campaign, we had a visitation in the town of Bandon by the former Taoiseach, Deputy Lemass, and the present Taoiseach, Deputy Lynch. On that occasion they promised—and I was listening, off the platform, to what they said—to establish two industries based primarily on agriculture. One was a food processing concern and the other a chicken industry. Both of those ventures, if they had come to fruition, would have provided very much needed employment and would have been a great boon to the agricultural community. The Minister for Agriculture, instead of pursuing this legislation, would be far better occupied giving his assistance and his attention to ensuring that what was a clear, positive promise by the head of a Government and his successor, would come to fruition. Far from that being the case, both industries have disappeared and those of us who were involved in the securing of capital for the establishment of those industries had the unenviable task, after the passage of some years, of refunding that capital to the people who invested in those industries and disposing of whatever property was secured with a view to their establishment.

What I am coming to is that we are now left with one major industry in the town, that is, the Cork Co-operative Cattle Mart, one of the leading marts in the whole of the Republic. It is very much to be regretted that those responsible for the remarkable success of this venture should have cause for concern and disquiet arising out of the introduction of this measure, containing proposals to exact the most extreme penalties if people do not conform to the dictates of the bureaucrats consequent on the enactment of this legislation.

There are references here to the fact that certain standards of hygiene should be observed in relation to the operation of the marts. Where a large number of people congregate for long hours, catering is of considerable importance, and it is to the credit of the marts that have been established that they have catered admirably for their customers and for the general public in this regard. Even if abuses existed in this respect, there was nothing to prevent a Minister of the Government taking the necessary steps under existing legislation to cope with any mis-demeanours. There was no necessity to impose this blanket interference with the democratic operations of successful co-operative marts.

It is for these reasons that we are entirely opposed to the measure as introduced. It is indicative of public opinion in this respect that many of our national newspapers reflecting public opinion should have devoted so many of their editorials and their commentaries to the objections they saw to this measure. Despite the several weeks that have elapsed since it was introduced, there was surely more than time for those who felt it was a laudable measure and something worth while to put their opinions in print and to indicate their support for it. That has not been forthcoming. Whenever anybody took the trouble to express an opinion on the Marts Bill, it has been adverse. In these circumstances we very much regret that the measure was deemed necessary by a section of the Government Party for purposes which we can only surmise, because it is impossible for us to accept what the Minister has stated as being the real reasons for the introduction of this measure.

When Senator Yeats made his short intervention, he referred to the fact that in the earlier years of the State, certain measures were introduced which entailed the exacting of severe penalties for the breach of certain regulations. He mentioned the 1924 Dairy Produce Act. The opinions of the Opposition at that time in relation to these powers are not on record because at that time the Party now in power were in the wilderness and were not present to express their views in the Oireachtas. But it is to be assumed that they would have had opportunities of expressing opposition to this or other measures enacted by Deputy Hogan, as Minister for Agriculture, and later by Deputy Dillon.

I did not object to these measures. I said they were very reasonable.

Senator Yeats commended these measures and was not alone in that because there was no opposition to them. There was unanimous support for them by the public at large, the farming community and everybody concerned. That is the difference between them and the measure we are discussing today. There is no volume of support for the measure now before us, whereas each and every one of the other measures was warranted by the necessity to ensure certain standards relative to the production of food and agriculture generally.

Reference was made to the Fertilisers and Feeding Stuffs Bill introduced, I think, in 1955. This measure, as then explained, was largely a bringing together of many regulations introduced in special circumstances down through the years and the penalties imposed in that Act were merely a repetition of the penalties already imposed in successive regulations made by the Minister in his Department. They were welcomed by the then Leader of the Opposition. That was quite different from the present situation where there are no measures of support for this Bill or the manner in which it is presented. It is on record that it has met with vehement opposition from all organised farming groups and from every group in the Dáil and Seanad, with the exception of the Government Party. Above all, it has been presented at a time when it will be impossible for this House to effect proper amendment of it which could possibly improve the measure.

It has been put on record by Senator O'Quigley that in the case of many measures in the past which were controversial and were brought in in a form unacceptable to the House, this Chamber, a vocationally-elected body, effected a considerable number of amendments and consequently improvements in the legislation which were accepted by the Lower House. It is regrettable that this measure should arrive in the Seanad when the Dáil is in recess and when it will be impossible, without recalling the Dáil, to give effect to amendments that are crying out to be made to this measure. It is basically because there was no demand for it, basically because we are completely satisfied that in its very content, it is an objectionable measure, that we oppose its discussion on Second Reading.

This debate has been clouded over by the suggestion that it is the product of a running battle between the Minister and a section or sections of the farming community. I think it has also been very much influenced by the intention of the main Opposition Party in particular to prolong the debate and to have little or no regard to whether or not the points they are making have already been made and more than adequately made. We have heard many quotations repeated here even by the same speakers; I think it is fair to say that this type of procedure does not lend itself to evoking a reasonable reaction either from this side of the House or from the Minister concerned.

There was a suggestion that the Minister completely disregards the proceedings, whether present or absent. When he is present, they are apparently not satisfied unless his eyes are open in a manner which visibly indicates that he is paying attention. By and large, the whole tendency—or much of it—has been to taunt or to endeavour to continue to suggest that the only interest the Minister has, now or at any time, in agricultural legislation is a vindictive interest. That is something that we on this side of the House must refute entirely.

I hope the criterion of my contribution will be some element of quality and a small element of quantity. The Labour Party have a motion down which refers to the strained relations between the Minister and the farming community and on the basis of the suggested strained relations, they ask that the Second Reading be refused. Therefore we are entitled for a moment to discuss the suggested strained relations. Although it is quite evident for the past year or more that there has certainly been a division— one might even call it a dispute, in some instances—between the Minister and a certain association, it is not reasonable to suggest on that basis that the Minister has strained relations with the farming community.

I agree with Senator O'Sullivan and with others who would say—indeed, the Members on this side of the House —that all our farming associations have done a great deal and will continue to do a great deal to promote the pride and self-interest of the farming community, to promote proper organisation of co-operative facilities. We who are engaged in political endeavour should be very careful before we try to range these farming organisations on particular political sides for particular political reasons. I want to make quite clear that the Minister and all members of the Fianna Fáil Party, and I am sure all reasonable members of every Party, fully appreciate the contribution which farming organisations have made to the Irish agricultural scene and look forward to further contributions from them.

I think, as Senator Murphy very reasonably pointed out, that there have been very basic misunderstandings in relation to the agricultural scene over the past two years. One is that it has been suggested that what is a matter of right for trade unions and workers is being denied to the farming community. It has been loosely suggested on many occasions that farmers are being deprived of the rights which workers have enjoyed for a long time, particularly rights which are exercised in trade disputes. If it has not been said before, it should be made clear that there is no parallel whatever between the negotiations, successful or unsuccessful, between any representative group or farmers' organisation and a dispute or disputes between employers and employees. The basic element of the rights conferred on representative trade unions, the rights which render them immune from certain penalties, is that they are conferred in view of a dispute between employers and employees as to conditions of employment.

It was suggested here that negotiations with the Minister, whose interest it must be to promote the welfare of the agricultural community, contain some element of trade disputes that occur on occasions between employers and employees. The farmers, happily for themselves, are self-employed men who have the opportunity of using their own farming know-how and techniques to advance their own interests. They have their associations which can advance their interests in consultation with the Minister. They are not employed by, and never will be employed by, the Minister, any more than shopkeepers or doctors or other groups of self-employed people. This matter is of interest to the community at large and it should be clearly understood. They all have the right to organise and to use every effective means, but there can be no doubt that when any dispute occurs, the means available to them are limited in the same manner as they are limited in the case of every other member of the community who is self-employed.

The Minister is being put in the position of an unreasonable employer. It has been suggested that the Minister— or his successor or predecessor, because whoever happens to be Minister will have to face this suggestion from those who wish to make it—is withholding rights from employees. We must understand that the primary responsibility of the Minister is, and always will be, to promote the agricultural interests. It is for this reason that the Minister has established the National Agricultural Council, so that he can have more direct consultation with the representative bodies of the farmers' associations. For this reason, it is highly desirable that the farmers' associations even at this stage—indeed, particularly at this stage—should realise that they have a common interest: the Minister with them and they with the Minister.

With the Minister in the Chair?

I cannot imagine how that has anything to do with this question. Despite rather undesirable political tactics, the Minister and the associations should be allowed to co-operate in the national interest and in the interest of the farmers. The prolonged debate here and the taunting which the Minister has been asked to face make it very difficult indeed for reason to prevail.

In the light of the fact that any legislation which the Minister introduces is introduced in the interests of the farming community, would it be possible for some speakers—not all—from the main Opposition Party to refrain from suggesting that it was introduced by the Minister for vindictive reasons, for reasons which, in fact, would be political suicide, apart from the fact that they would be against the national interest? No matter what legislation the Minister introduces in the present state of political thinking by the main Opposition Party, he leaves himself open to the accusation that he is doing it for vindictive reasons. It has been conceded that this legislation now before us would have been entirely desirable ten years ago——

Not this legislation in this form.

This type of legislation. The fact that it would have been desirable ten years ago does not make it undesirable now, even if marts are not being established in the same proliferation. The Minister indicated in his opening remarks, and indicates in the Bill, that the existing marts will be granted licences and there is no reason to expect that they will not continue to comply with the regulations. As much as anything else, this measure is introduced to ensure that any new marts which may be set up will conform with the regulations in existence, and that they will serve the farming interests and the national interests. That is the main question which has been begged here. It is vitally important that any group which proposes to establish a mart should be able to establish that they are competent to act in a fair and proper manner, a manner which will not create hazards for the farming community.

There is a difference between the situation now and the situation ten years ago because of the development of the marts as channels of sales by the farming community—and they are almost entirely limited to the livestock marts. The channels of supply for those who wish to purchase are equally limited. Surely it is not suggested that any new mart which opens, or is proposed to be opened, should not be subject to fairly searching inquiries, which is what the Minister proposes?

It has been suggested that if an auctioneer or a person conducting a mart decides for any valid reason to refuse to accept a bid, immediately his licence will be revoked. Apart from the fact that this is not contained in the Bill, that kind of suggestion does no credit to the person who makes it. Even on a purely political basis, can one imagine a responsible Minister of a responsible Party allowing such untenable refusals or revocations and coming before the House and saying: "I revoked or refused it for A, B, C reasons", knowing that he will be asked by his Party and by the Oireachtas to stand over that? Is it suggested that we have got to a stage at which people are so naive that they decide reasons are important, irrespective of whether or not these reasons are good or bad, and that they must be accepted in the Dáil, here, or anywhere else? Is it suggested there is any reason to fear the Minister, or anyone else, will interfere in the conduct of a mart if that mart is being properly conducted? The Minister's solicitude is to ensure that all marts will be conducted properly and that those which may on occasion experience certain difficulties will be enabled to continue in operation.

I take it then there will be no general condition in the licence saying an appeal cannot be refused?

As the Senator well knows, I am not in a position to give any indication of what the general conditions may be.

But I should be very surprised, subject to what the Minister may say, that any such condition would not be subject to consideration and to qualification. If one were to say that an appeal cannot be refused in any event——

One can set out the reasons why it can be refused.

There are very many indications and criteria which will help in establishing whether or not it isbona fide.

Otherwise the appeal must be accepted.

Some measure of reason ought to emanate from this House by way of encouragement to the farming community to get on with their job and to co-operate with the Minister in doing that job. If there have been indications that particular marts are in difficulty, now is the time to safeguard the community interested in those marts. If there have been indications of undesirable activities, organised or unorganised, in or about certain marts, surely it is in the interests of the farming community and in the national interest that such activities should be at least discouraged and, where possible, curtailed? Will any reasonable man say that such activities should be allowed to go unchecked?

John Brown's, for instance. The Minister is John Brown now.

Our responsibility here is to the whole community. It is also our responsibility to ensure that the law is applied reasonably and fairly. If Deputy Rooney thinks there have been no instances which would warrant interference or regulation by the Minister, then he is either unaware of what has happened in recent months or he is not concerned.

I have just one reservation in relation to the Bill. I should prefer the power of revocation to rest in the court. I say that because I think it is in all our interests that the rule of law be not just respected but encouraged. The Minister is, I think, being as reasonable and as fair as he considers necessary when he leaves the hearing of appeals or inquiries to a barrister of ten years standing, or more. That does not confer on the barrister the authority a court has to implement its decisions. I cannot visualise this provision causing any great difficulty because I know the Minister will use only the most reasonable considerations in granting licences, in the first instance.

If it should appear in the course of the administration of this legislation that the inquiry procedure is not entirely suitable or wholly effective, I would appeal to the Minister to consider reviewing the position and leaving the matter to the consideration of the court. It is to be hoped such inquiries will be few in number and far between. In fact, that is to be expected. Where such inquiries do occur, it is to be hoped they will be satisfactory. However, I would suggest that it might be worth considering whether or not the best interests of all of us could be served by review by the courts. However, that is a matter which can be discussed again in the light of experience. Let reason prevail and let this Bill have an opportunity of proving itself by way of conferring benefit on the entire farming community.

Sometimes I wonder if my copy of the Bill is the same as that supplied to Senator Rooney and other Senators over there. I cannot see in this Bill the things they see in it.

He has not read it : that makes it much easier.

When I first heard of the Bill, I thought it must be something fairly bad because of the comments, some of them no doubt inspired, in the daily papers and elsewhere. When I read the Bill, I was actually a little disappointed to find there was not something really harsh and unpleasant in it. I wonder if those who criticise so severely have really any authority to criticise.

Such as the Incorporated Law Society?

I wonder if they have any more authority than this House to criticise. How many people will it affect? One in 10,000 will not know in the next six months that there is such legislation. Will the proportion be the same in the marts? I wonder will it affect anyone at all. In the debate so far, we have not really heard which sections will do any particular harm and to whom they will do it. There does not seem to be anything in the Bill to injure or disturb cattle marts, whether co-operative or private, if they are properly run, as most of them are. There is no reason at all that I can see why they should object to this legislation. In my opinion, they have nothing to fear.

Some speakers have adverted to the fact that a great many farmers would like to see some provision with regard to insurance against loss or failure. I have thought quite a lot about it and I think it is probably almost impossible to do, except at very great expense to the proprietor, whether it be a public or a private mart, when we consider that the turnover in these marts is colossal. I had a conversation with people concerned with the Cork Co-operative Marts about two years ago and their turnover at that time was £7 million. Last year and this year it would probably be up to £10 million. Anyway, it would be very hard to think of any way in which you could insure against any failure. In that case failure might be caused through servants or agents. However, it is not that sort of mart I would be worried about. It is the more private ones. Only a couple of weeks ago we had one fairly convenient to me, one which I attended myself and sold cattle there, and I think that if we could do it, we would get terrific support certainly in those areas if there were a section in this Bill allowing inspectors to go in every week and inspect the finances of the mart.

And collect the turnover tax.

I know it is not a thing we can do. I should like to hear Senator Rooney on whether it would be a good idea or not. He suggested that the Auctioneers Act was sufficient guarantee, that a bond of £5,000—I think we increased it to £5,000 in this House— was sufficient guarantee. The turnover of these marts is £30,000, £40,000 and £60,000 per day.

Yes, but £5,000 in the one day would be a good scoop, would it not?

There is a rumour that the mart I am talking about has a debt of £90,000, but that is only a rumour and I do not want to bring it in here. That is the order of the finance dealings conducted in these marts, a turnover of millions per year. Quite frankly, I do not think the Minister or anybody else could devise a way to overcome that difficulty, but I know a great many farmers would very much like to see it done.

As I mentioned the Cork Marts, I think it was Senator McDonald who suggested that the Minister would interfere with the running of marts but I remember at the time I was talking to that official, he told me that they had the fullest co-operation of the Department in sending cattle to the great Yorkshire Show. This is not the first time that was done and he told me they had the co-operation of the Department of Agriculture and got the fullest help from them. I do not think this is going to change in any way with the passing of this Bill. I am sure the officers of the Department of Agriculture will continue to give the fullest assistance to either a co-operative mart or any other mart, or to any other branch of agriculture. I just mention that in passing. At that time the official was very pleased that the Department had co-operated with them and sent cattle to the Bath Show or some show in the south of England. Surely that is what we want to happen? We do not want any antagonism between officials of the Department and the marts as Senator McDonald was trying to foster——

It is a different Minister now.

——or at least suggested.

I did not suggest there was. I suggested we should advocate more co-operation.

Somehow some of the Members of this House are going on a completely different line from the line the Opposition in the Dáil took. Here we see a venomous attack on the Minister personally. I read a good many of the Dáil Reports on this and perhaps a few comments might be relevant.

On Committee Stage, a few Members of the other House had got around to trying to improve the Bill in detail. Admittedly, they did not get much beyond the first or second section, but it is interesting to note the various statements that were made in the House with regard to the Bill. I think I am quoting quite fairly and am not taking them out of context in any way. At volume 229, No. 12, column 1637, we get Deputy P. Hogan(South Tipperary) saying:

It may be that there is a case for some form of licence. I do not dispute that.

"It may be".

"It may be" and "I do not dispute that".

I said the same thing.

Another genius.

At volume 230, No. 2, column 167, we get Deputy T. O'Donnell saying:

I do not think there was any suggestion of a deliberate intention by the Government to extend this Bill in such a way that it could interfere with private sales by a man of his own livestock in his own premises.

Nobody suggested that here either.

It has been suggested by various people in the press and everywhere else that it is a deliberate attempt and that it would stop a man from selling cattle in his own backyard.

At volume 230, No. 2, column 169, we have Deputy M. J. O'Higgins:

I am prepared to concede straight away that it is not the intention of the present Minister or of the Parliamentary Secretary when this Bill becomes an Act to operate it in the way I suggest; but it would be open to be operated in that way by a strict viewing of the wording of the definition section as it stands.

Senator McDonald, Senator Rooney and other Senators should get into their heads that no reasonable Member of this House or the other House is going to suggest, or should suggest, that the Minister is going to operate the Bill in a vindictive way. It is a pity that these sorts of expressions should be used, and used before perhaps more simple people down the country, as no doubt they will be used and have been used, to give a completely wrong impression of what is in legislation. It is very hard to counter such a statement, which responsible Members of this House should not make.

What great benefit does the Senator see in the legislation? Is it going to improve prices?

Senator McDonald spoke for an hour yesterday.

Senator McDonald said three or four times that he only wanted a Bill that would put £1 or £20 per section into the farmers' pockets.

This Bill will not put one penny extra into the farmers' pockets.

The Senator repeated three times that he could not find anything in the Bill that would put £20 into the farmers' pockets.

I do not believe I mentioned £20, but, however——

I have nothing against the NFA; in fact I probably am a member. At least I should like to say this: since I came into this House, I have scrupulously avoided, because I am slightly connected or connected with politics, going to any NFA meetings or doing anything to influence them one way or the other, or trying to jump on the bandwaggon of the NFA. That is an example that might be copied by some Members of this House.

The Fianna Fáil speakers gave up going to those meetings.

Acting Chairman

Senator Miss Davidson on the Bill, not Senator Rooney.

This Livestock Marts Bill deals with a subject of which I have very little experience. Consequently I had not intended to speak on the measure, but having, however, sat through the debate and listened to the various viewpoints, noted the bitterness of some of the comments and the hard uncompromising attitude of the Government side, I am moved to try to ease a difficult situation and to ask the Minister to recall the sincere, reasonable contribution of Senator Murphy and see if he could not soften down his Northern doggedness and defer this Bill, which seems to have no urgency, until the autumn.

I listened with surprise to some of the Fine Gael spokesmen and to the sour comments of Senator Quinlan on Senator Murphy's plea that a compromise solution should be reached. I am forced to the conclusion from their attitude that Fine Gael must see that there is some political advantage to be gained by a continuation of the warfare over this Bill. They do not want the Minister to back down. In fact, I feel there would be a share of disappointment if he did so.

The position between the agricultural community and the Minister at the moment is an explosive one. It is a situation in which the agricultural community is hard, angry and watchful, a situation and an attitude of mind not likely to manifest itself in increased production or in the building of our most important industry into an efficient part of the national economy in preparation for fighting our end in the Common Market.

Our economy can only lose while the present deplorable warfare continues. Nothing of a practical nature can be done within the agricultural industry while this naked, bitter war to the death is raging between the Minister, the farmers and the opponents of the Livestock Marts Bill. The Minister should forget the bitterness engendered by the NFA activities in the recent past and think only of what is best for the country. I would, therefore, again appeal to him to take the first step towards a peaceful solution of this deplorable situation by pocketing his pride, showing his courage and upsetting a number of applecarts by leaving this Bill over until the autumn session.

History is full of incidents which show where a courageous compromise solution could have avoided wars with their aftermath of broken hearts, broken minds and broken bodies and where settlement had to be reached eventually by the despised compromise. It is my strong belief the Minister would increase his stature and win back some of the confidence of those in the agricultural community who hold the key to success or failure of this country in the immediate future. In the prevailing atmosphere, the agricultural community cannot make a full contribution to the salvation of our nation in this changing world.

As one who was raised on the land and performed all the duties that entailed—I milked my father's cows and did other work——

So did I.

Do not accuse me here of not doing it. I will not listen to your interruptions and I will not carry on a conversation with you. I should like to make a few statements especially in connection with the remarks made by the Labour Senator that there is no necessity for all the animosity and the virulence in the accusations against the Minister and the farmers in connection with this Bill. I know of no other legislation in respect of which there was a question of the Oireachtas being more anxious to avail of the views of everybody that it was satisfactory.

There is a new clause introduced in this Bill in section 3 (7) which to me is an innovation. It refers to the Minister refusing a licence and the requirement that a statement giving his reason for doing so being laid before each House of the Oireachtas. That is new to me. On the other hand, surely to goodness the Government must try to do the right thing for the country. In this connection I find that every regulation and order the Minister makes is to be laid before both Houses. If we do that, then I consider that both Houses of the Oireachtas have helped in this matter. I know that I personally succeeded in getting an order amended because of a technically wrong definition in it. Who is to govern the country except the Houses of the Oireachtas? No other authority, the National Farmers Association or any other body can govern the country. It is only those who are democratically elected to govern who can do it, those elected to the Dáil and the Seanad. We have therefore a responsibility in this matter. We also have a responsibility, those in Government and those in Opposition, if regulations made by the Minister are not satisfactory, to do something about them.

Therefore, what is all the row about? Why should there be such deliberate obstruction in both the Dáil and the Seanad? I can come to no other conclusion than that it is a matter of politics by the Opposition who think they will defeat Fianna Fáil by these tactics.

There was no obstruction in the Dáil: there was a guillotine there.

There was absolute obstruction there, and it was said that we would stay here until October.

We said Christmas, if necessary.

We have no intention of doing that.

There was filibustering in the Dáil and you are trying to have a filibuster here.

Nobody on the far side has said or tried to do anything for the agricultural community.

This sort of discussion is not helpful. There are a few remarks I wish to make in connection with the regulations which the Minister must make and which must be complied with in subsequent applications for registration or for a licence as a mart. The first is that every existing mart is automatically licensed, provided they comply with the sanitary and veterinary regulations, which I would point out are necessary.

Unconditionally licensed?

Acting Chairman

Would Senators let each Senator make his speech without interruption?

There is a clause which provides that existing marts are automatically licensed if they comply with the sanitary and veterinary regulations necessary.

Subject to any conditions the Minister may lay down.

The regulations are to be made by the Minister and they will be scrutinised by the Houses of the Oireachtas. Surely to goodness there is no alternative method of dealing with the matter and we should not blame the Minister for not asking his officials to go down from Merrion Street to West Cork or some other place.

Business suspended at 1.5 p.m. and resumed at 2.15 p.m.

I was referring to the fact that the Minister had been most accommodating in bringing this Bill before the Houses of the Oireachtas. I mentioned the reason for that: all his orders and regulations must be laid before each House of the Oireachtas. That gives the Seanad the right to suggest amendments or alterations, or to suggest refusals. When they come, I will be very interested to see that the regulations connected with several veterinary matters are provided for.

I mentioned also that the Minister has provided a clause which has not been incorporated in any other agricultural Bills going through the Oireachtas, by which if he cancels the registration of a licensed mart, he will report to the Houses of the Oireachtas. It does not say that they can amend or refuse it, but he will report it.

Proceeding from there, I see that Labour Party speakers spoke of a suggested postponement of this Bill until October. There is no wording in the amendment suggesting such a postponement. That was in the original motion which was ruled out of order, and it now reads:

the Seanad declines to give a Second Reading to the Livestock Marts Bill, 1967 because it considers that it is not desirable to proceed with the Bill at the present time when strained relations exist between the Minister for Agriculture and the farming community making it impossible for consultations to be held to arrive at a mutually acceptable scheme of legislation governing this very important aspect of agricultural production.

That seems to me to be an indefinite postponement, if we cannot get the co-operation of an organisation representing the farmers, that is, the National Farmers Association, in the form of agreement that they will not continue to dictate what they require and what must be supplied to them. In this respect, I read the statement of the incoming chairman of the National Farmers Association and I think it most satisfactory, in that it is inconsistent with what the organisation had been led to by the previous officers in charge. I hope the NFA will see the light and that in the interests of the farmers and of the nation, they will co-operate with the Minister and the Government in seeing that the agricultural industry is advanced so that we shall be able to meet the requirements of international trade.

Is that not all the more reason for postponing the Bill until October?

There is nothing in the Labour Party amendment about postponing the Bill until October. To agree to this filibustering and delay, which every farmer in the country knows——

There has not been any filibuster.

When we come to consider the Bill in Committee, we shall see.

It has not occurred up to now.

I am sorry Senator D.J. O'Sullivan is not here. I know West Cork as well as he does. The farmers of West Cork, who are the owners of the Bandon auction mart, are satisfied that there is no desire on the part of the Minister or the Government to interfere with them. It is written into the Bill that they will be licensed automatically. There may be a few regulations about hygiene, veterinary as well as human, because, of course, we cannot operate the same facilities for humans as for cattle.

The implementation of Acts of the Oireachtas has not been the responsibility of the Minister for Agriculture alone, or of the Minister for Local Government, or of the Minister for Health or of Education. These Acts have been enforced, operated and implemented through the local authorities in many cases, not through the courts. The courts have nothing to do with their operation and pleas made here to have everything decided by the courts, if implemented, would lead to chaos because there would be appeals from the district court to the circuit court and an endless cluttering up if the NFA or any recalcitrant organisation decided to do it. Officials have been operating the legislation, local officials as well as central, with responsibility.

I spent many years with a local authority, carrying out duties on behalf and for the Minister for Agriculture. As far as Dublin Corporation are concerned, they had, for instance, to implement hygiene regulations before there was any Act of the Oireachtas passed to supervise such services. The export of fresh meat, as far back as 1935, was supervised by the corporation before the State services came into operation through Act of the Oireachtas.

I want to emphasise that legislation democratically enacted by the Houses of the Oireachtas through the elected representatives of the people should not be cast aside by providing an appeal to the courts for decisions on everything. To do so would be a big mistake and would make it very difficult to run the country.

As an official, a veterinary officer, of Dublin Corporation, one of my duties was to supervise applicants for slaughter licences to ensure that they were competent to use the humane killer. That is a function in relation to which one might accuse the Minister of dictating. The work was carried out through the officials of the local authorities as well as through the central authority. There is supervision of the slaughter of animals to ensure that the standards are satisfactory, internationally, as regards the export of meat.

Likewise, we shall have to have supervision of the conduct of the marts. Senator Quinlan displayed his usual superiority complex and said that Senator Yeats did not know what he was talking about when, in fact, his was the only satisfactory speech in this House yesterday. It was relevant to the Bill and to the Act which we hope to implement by way of the Bill. Senator Quinlan said the other Acts were only for food hygiene, and so on. That is ridiculous. There were other Acts such as that to which I have just referred and which, as an official of the Dublin Corporation, I implemented for the Minister. All those things were done under previous Acts of the Oireachtas and under the regulations by the various Ministries. Senator Quinlan now wants us to imagine and to agree that the licensing of auction marts has nothing to do with that. I maintain that it has a lot to do with it.

We have not yet completed the work under the bovine tuberculosis eradication scheme. We still have cases of bovine tuberculosis. Whether they be of human origin or otherwise, they still crop up and will have to be supervised and taken care of by one means or another. We also have proposed orders dealing with brucellosis. Now, brucellosis is a disease which unfortunately is very prevalent in cattle and which is also communicable to the human. An official who worked with me in Dublin Corporation suffered from undulant fever. When the doctors heard he was dealing with the inoculation of guinea pigs, as I was dealing under the tuberculosis eradication scheme with milk, they thought that he must have contacted it from that source. The net result was that I got the wind up. As a blood donor, giving my blood to the blood transfusion people, I brought a bottle of my blood for testing and, thank God, the result was completely negative. Unfortunately, veterinary surgeons have reacted to an extraordinary extent to the blood test for brucellosis. Therefore, it is vital to the medical profession as well as to the veterinary profession that brucellosis be eradicated. It is of vital importance to our cattle trade and to general health and facilities for the export of our products to foreign countries.

Thank God that foreigners realise that we are the freest country in the world, especially now when we have almost disposed of tuberculosis. We must eradicate tuberculosis, brucellosis and the other disease, warble fly, the scheme of eradication of which has been so spectacular in its success, namely, the eradication of the warble fly. None of us gets warble fly infection on our backs. Therefore I would say it is entirely outside the public health sphere.

The Senator should now talk about the marts.

What has all he has been saying to do with the Bill?

As much as what the Senator said.

We shall be anxious to see adequate provision in the regulations in respect of the new auction marts, as they are licensed, for veterinary sanitation and veterinary examination. Hygiene for the human working in these marts is essential. That is something to which nobody in the other House referred. All we had was the accusation that the Minister is a dictator and the accusation that the Government are dictators, which is wrong.

Is the Senator suggesting the Minister should make provision for the installation of toilets for the cattle?

Thanks very much for the query. I shall not answer it. I shall treat it with the contempt it deserves.

It reflects the high level of intelligence of the new recruits to the Labour Party.

The regulations in relation to hygiene are already there.

Quite a satisfactory means of communicating with the individuals are the various Departments of State, through the Civil Service, rather than any sort of court decisions, if they co-operate in every way in getting satisfactory conditions operable in the auction marts as well as in regard to the other matters they have to deal with. The same applies to inspection by local authorities. Under existing Acts, there are regulations in regard to inspections by local authority inspectors. These inspections are in the interests of the successful operation of the marts.

I cannot understand this tirade from Opposition Parties against the Minister and against the Government. If they ever become a Government, they have the right to do what they threaten in this respect, namely, to amend or completely remove this Bill from the Statute Book. If the people give them that responsibility, which I doubt, they are welcome to do it and they have the right to do it. I question very much this tirade of opposition because most of the farmers are quite satisfied with this legislation.

I read the statement by the incoming chairman of the National Farmers Association, Mr. Maher. In it, I see a hope that there will be renewed co-operation between the organisation that is alleged to represent the farmers, and the Department. We must not forget the best interests of the country.

Each Bill passed contains some interference with the liberties of the individual but the legislation is directed towards what is best for the country. There are enactments which provide that you must not do this and must be careful about that. If the citizens of Dublin were more careful not to throw litter on our streets, we should not have all the discussion at present going on about litter and we should not have letters in the newspapers about "Dirty Dublin" and the litter on our streets. If we could adopt the proper attitude of co-operating with authority in doing this, we should not even have court cases to ensure that the enactments are observed.

Reference has been made to the Wool Marketing Bill and if this matter were before the House, the Opposition would be making a great plea against interfering with the liberties of the subject in regard to sheep owners and in regard to how and when to shear their sheep and how to pack the wool. It would be said that the Minister was interfering again with the liberties of the subject but it is all designed to ensure co-operation between the State and the individual for the success of our trade. That is what will happen when we come to discuss the wool Bill.

I would ask the Opposition to drop this filibustering and opposition to a Bill which is in the interests of the farmers and the co-operative societies. Some of these marts are not run by co-operative societies but by private enterprise and it is in the interests of the trade that our exports not only be the equal of but superior to anything going to the world markets. I appeal to them to drop their opposition and to get the Bill into operation as quickly as possible.

I cannot understand what Senator Ó Donnabháin has said. He said that the farmers' organisations welcomed this Bill.

I said the farmers welcomed it.

Well, you know, the farmers are organised, too. He said that from a hygiene point of view, it is necessary, but there are Acts of Parliament which cover hygiene in every form in the marts and this Bill has nothing to do with legislation covering hygiene. Speaking as a representative of the livestock trade, I want to make the strongest possible protest against this Bill. To me and to those I represent, the Bill is rotten from the word "go", and I believe it is repugnant to the Constitution. The Minister has succeeded in getting it through the Dáil and no doubt he will get it through the Seanad, but it is my belief that it will be contested in the Supreme Court. I believe that when it is contested, it will be found to be repugnant to the Constitution.

In the Dáil the Minister stated that the people who represent the marts were satisfied with the Bill. I attend marts throughout the country on two or three days a week and I have not yet met a mart proprietor or representative who said he was satisfied with it. In fact, the attitude of most of them is that the Bill interferes with their rights, as I believe it does. The rights of the people are being taken from them. If the Minister were prepared to accept reasonable amendments, the Bill might not be so severely opposed as it is. The manner in which the Minister is bulldozing the Bill through Parliament makes one feel that there are very sinister motives behind it. I have heard it suggested that one of the motives behind it is to accommodate the Revenue Commissioners for income tax purposes. God knows, the farmers are badly enough off without having the Revenue Commissioners on their backs. If one of the reasons for introducing the Bill is to find a better way of discovering what farmers' incomes are, then that in itself is taking the people's rights away.

You would say anything.

The Senator spoke enough codology when he was speaking.

Any invention is good enough.

As long as you invent it.

If at this stage the Minister could be persuaded to scrap the Bill or accept reasonable amendments, he would be doing a good day's work for himself and preserving what is left of democracy in this country.

I had hoped from the opening speech here in this House that the discussion would have taken an objective and constructive turn. I admire the speech made by Senator Murphy—I do not necessarily agree with it—but it is possible to see that what he mentioned was thought provocative. It is possible to see that he was endeavouring from certain premises to arrive at a certain conclusion by logical means. I had hoped from all that, that to some extent this House would make amends for what took place in the Dáil, when by obstruction, not by construction, the Opposition removed from themselves their basic right to make constructive suggestions to the Minister for the improvement either of the principles or the details of the Bill, or both.

In my experience in this House, it is the first time a Bill as introduced in the Dáil and the Bill as it comes to the Seanad are two practically completely different things, without a single constructive suggestion by any Member of the Opposition. As I listened to the speeches here, I wondered whether many of those who spoke were speaking to the Bill as originally introduced in the Dáil or the Bill as it now stands. Instead of studying the principles of the matter, they have endeavoured to throw a smokescreen over the whole thing. Surely they realise that we cannot live in cloud-cuckooland. They have given imaginary accounts of what took place at Government meetings, what took place at Fianna Fáil meetings and what took place at meetings of the Incorporated Law Society, but they have not uttered one single idea contrary to the fundamental principles of the Bill itself.

If we are to consider the Bill objectively, we must first see what was the position of the average farmer regarding the sale of his cattle before the marts were introduced, what was the effect of the introduction of the marts and whether it is for the common good that any regulations and controls should now be introduced relating to marts. Prior to the initiation of the marts, the methods for the sale of cattle were archaic. The farmer took his cattle to the local fair held on the public street. You had various people there: blockers, jobbers, cattle-dealers —all taking their share of the profits.

They are still there.

That is all the more reason why this Bill is necessary. I had hoped they would be eliminated.

I am talking about fairs, and they are still there. This Bill does not affect them.

The blockers made a substantial living without buying a single beast. Their duty was to turn up and, if a farmer had a nice bunch of cattle, to stand near those cattle so that no dealer other than their employer could bid on those cattle. They held the unfortunate farmer there for many hours. No one came to those cattle until the blocker's boss came in the heel of the evening, when the other dealers had gone, and the farmer had to sell at the price offered to him. Those methods were time-consuming. They were a hazard to traffic. They slowed up the ordinary flow of commerce through our streets. They were unhygienic. Therefore, the advent of marts was inevitable. They play a very important part in the economic life of our agricultural community.

When these marts first came into existence, they were boycotted by those various sections who were making profit at the expense of the farmer. Many cattle-dealers who went to them were themselves boycotted. At that stage there was no suggestion in either of these Houses by any Member of the Opposition Parties that something should be done to keep alive this new method of economic disposal of our cattle. It was left to the Minister for Agriculture of the time—Deputy Paddy Smith, if my memory serves me aright—to introduce a method to put a stop to the boycotting of the cattle marts. They went so far as to preclude the sale on the Dublin Cattle Market and the export through the Port of Dublin of any cattle bought in marts. The Minister then prohibited the export of any cattle through the Port of Dublin unless the exporter had a licence. He made it quite clear he would give no exporter any licence who discriminated against cattle bought in the cattle marts.

When the new system came in, there were various alterations—many, as I have shown, to the benefit of the farmer; but there are some also to the detriment of the farmer. We have got to take the law as it stands. The law as it stands at the moment, and unless and until this Bill is passed, is that, when any object is sold by auction, be it a bullock, a piece of furniture or a farm of land, the auctioneer is the agent of the vendor up to the moment that article, object or farm is knocked down. From that stage, once the hammer falls, he is no longer the agent of the vendor; he becomes the agent of the purchaser. Therefore, as the law now stands, and unless there be a specific contract between each farmer and the cattle mart where he sells, the farmer has relatively little right of redress, relatively little right of protection, against the cattle mart where his cattle are sold.

In the old days, he had a right of free access to the streets of his native town to sell on the fair. Today the cattle marts are held on private property. Anyone can be prohibited from entering on that property. I do not suggest that this is being done—it is not for me to make any suggestion one way or the other—but I would say the possibility is there that the owners of cattle marts, if they so desire, have the right of holding under their thumb the economic life of any farmers in their vicinity.

It has been that way for 70 years.

My friend always makes his interruptions with a very nice smile. He is a most pleasant man.

It is quite true.

I should appreciate it if he would permit me to continue.

It is democracy with a smile.

Yes, certainly. When I was interrupted, I was about to say that the farmer when bringing his cattle to the fair had certain other protections. He could decide on thebona fides of the cattle-dealer to whom he sold his cattle. He could insist on payment before he took his cattle. If he were unwise enough to accept a cheque and it bounced, not only had he a civil right against the cattle-dealer but the dealer also could be prosecuted for fraud, with the risk of imprisonment. On the other hand, if the cattle mart goes burst, it has no seat to kick, no soul to damn and no body to imprison. The farmer has absolutely no protection but the bona fides of the particular company, be it private or be it co-operative, who own or control that cattle mart.

Of course, we all know that one can own or run a cattle mart with relatively little capital of one's own. It can be run with the farmers' capital. Let us assume for a moment that it costs £60,000 to erect a cattle mart. The average cattle mart, even a small one, will sell per week 600 or 800 cattle at an average price of £60 each. Any of you good at arithmetic can work it out. I do not care what price you pay, if you sell 100 cattle at £70 each, it is £7,000. If you sell 1,000 at £70 each, it is £70,000. The cattle are sold, knocked down, the cheques made out and a few days later posted to the farmers, who come in to the bank four or five days later to cash them. The net result is that, without any overdraft whatever, any cattle mart in the country can owe £70,000 or £80,000 without anyone being the least bit wiser. If one of those marts went burst—Senator Cole referred to one in his locality; I know nothing about it —and if a small farmer of 30 or 40 acres had his eight or ten cattle in there and was not paid for them, that could mean economic ruin for him for the rest of his life.

What is this Bill doing for him?

Will Senators please address the Chair?

The Bill provides for regulation. Has the Senator taken the trouble to read it?

I have. I must be stupid.

I think the Senator must be. Again, pressure from the cattle marts can be brought to bear on cattle-dealers. Cattle-dealers can form a ring. They can decide a particular type of quotation for cattle. They will buy in their own time and at their own price. If any dealer be not prepared to join that ring, they can have him prohibited. They can bring pressure to bear on the cattle mart to prevent him being allowed to bid there. I personally know of one instance where a cattle-dealer has to bid by secret signs, the reason being that he is not prepared to join this ring. He was prepared to pay for the farmer's cattle what he considered their fair value leaving him a reasonable profit but because he would not join the ring the cattle dealers brought pressure to bear. So pressure can be brought to bear in many ways. It can be brought to bear on the farmers; it can be brought to bear on the cattle marts themselves; it can be brought to bear on the cattle dealers; it can be brought to bear on every section of the community who has anything to do with cattle marts and on any and every person whose livelihood is dependent on the proper operation of cattle marts.

Political and economic power has spread so rapidly and so quickly in the past 20 or 30 years that today, with the growth of organisations, the small man can be at any stage easily crushed out. Therefore, certain obligations fall upon the State. "The State is obliged to defend and vindicate the personal rights of its citizens," to ensure that its various citizens, while they adhere to the established laws, while they pay due respect to the rights of their fellow citizens, will be permitted to carry on their own business in their own way. The State also, while it must protect private property and free competition, has obligations in this respect. "The operation of free competition shall not be allowed to develop as to result in the concentration of control in a few individuals to the common detriment." Those two quotations are not mine. They are from our Constitution.

In the present instance, this Bill does seem to me to provide for the protection of the ordinary simple individual, the ordinary simple farmer, to provide for the protection of the cattle dealers who attend the marts, to provide for the protection of the owners of marts, that undue pressure will not be brought to bear on them and, in my view, whether or not pressure is being brought to bear in any direction, the mere fact that it can be done makes it obligatory on any Government in power to introduce a measure such as this.

If I may quote Lord McDermott, the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, in a speech he recently made, he goes on to refer to the rule of law. He says:

It may be destroyed by an insidious erosion as well as by storm, for man's fundamental freedom can be taken away or slowly strangled by the pressure, perhaps economic, perhaps industrial, perhaps political, exerted by some group of his fellows which puts that kind of price on his membership. Which, if any, of these decrees of a powerful economic, industrial, or political organisation would offend against the rule of law:

(a) you cannot belong to us if you go to church or

(b) you cannot belong to us if you do not go to church or

(c) you cannot belong to us if you do not go to our church or

(d) you cannot belong to us if you go to the church that we do not go to?

Perhaps, these comments about church might be more appropriate to Northern Ireland than they are to Southern Ireland but,mutatis mutandis, the same principles apply here.

May I say that much comment has been passed here on a statement published by the Incorporated Law Society? We, as members of the legal profession, are very jealous of the rule of law. This Bill, to the extent that I have said so far, does fulfil the rule of law and is absolutely essential if the rule of law is to obtain in this country. We, on the other hand, as jurists, are very jealous that the rights of the citizen should not be taken over by the Civil Service but, to suggest that the Incorporated Law Society are opposed to this Bill as such or opposed to the fundamental principles of this Bill, is not correct. They are opposed and will continue to be opposed and have always been opposed to the gradual absorption to themselves by various sections of the Civil Service of powers which infringe on the rights of the ordinary citizen and may I say that this objection on their part is not today or yesterday? It is at least 15 years since I, as a member of a deputation from that Society, approached Ministers of the inter-Party Government with a view to endeavouring to persuade them of the undermining of fundamental personal rights by the constant erosion of the rule of law. Democracy is a jewel of many facets. Democracy as known in America differs considerably from democracy as known in England: democracy as known in England differs considerably from democracy as known in France and we, as lawyers, should like to see all legislation as man's human endeavour to the best of his human abilities to attain the divine attribute of justice but, I must say, I fail to understand at all this sudden conversion to our view of the Fine Gael Party.

I have looked back over some of the Acts of Parliament which were passed during the inter-Party Government. I had hoped to find on the part of the Government Parties of those days one single word of opposition to the arrogation to themselves by various Departments of the Civil Service of the right to make judicial decisions. In the case of the Bill mentioned by Senator Yeats yesterday, the Fertilisers and Feedingstuffs Bill, I have gone through the whole debate. It is a Bill that was introduced by Deputy Dillon who was then Minister for Agriculture. There is not one word of protest from beginning to end of that debate.

Were there any protests from Fianna Fáil?

There is not one word of protest from anybody.

It must be a good Bill then.

Not even by the people affected.

It had reached perfection.

This Bill gave to the Minister rights similar, and powers stronger than those in the Bill at present before the House.

Look at the different men.

Again, I have looked up the Seanad debate on the Seed Production Bill of 1955 which was also referred to here and may I, with your permission, a Chathaoirleach, quote from one of the Fine Gael Senators at that time, Senator Cogan?

God bless us: spare us that.

Do not make us laugh.

I will quote from Senator L'Estrange, if you like instead.

Stick to the chap you mentioned first.

All right; I will stick to Senator Cogan. He said:

I am not suggesting, but I say that the farmers are not unduly worried about the powers that are being taken by the Minister under this Bill...If you want to protect any industry, and particularly an important industry such as this, you must be prepared to give certain powers to the responsible Department. I am satisfied that those powers will not be abused by the inspectors of the Minister's Department, and I do not think, as I have said, that the farmers have very much to fear.

...It is our invariable experience in dealing with the Department of Agriculture and its inspectors that, whatever faults they may have, one is not aggressiveness or a tendency to trample on those with whom they are dealing so that I think we can be satisfied that the powers given will not be abused but rather will be used to protect this industry.

The then Senator L'Estrange intervened, and Senator Cogan continued:

There is power in section 16 which would enable inspectors to bring tractors over fences and destroy crops if they so desired. We are giving these powers voluntarily under this Bill and I am quite satisfied that the powers will not be abused by the Department. The powers given to the Department of Agriculture in the past have not, as far as I know, been abused.

In those days we in the Incorporated Law Society said we were objecting to these provisions. We had deputations to see Ministers and we got no hearing. What amazes me now is that we have this sudden conversion. We in the Incorporated Law Society should be very flattered. May I refer, in fairness and in justice, to the person whom we honour as our President, Deputy P. O'Donnell? Rumours have been mentioned as to what he said, what I said and what anybody else said. I know that anything that is said at a meeting of our professional body does not go outside it, but I may say this much without breaking confidence, that when that matter was discussed, Deputy O'Donnell did not open his mouth; neither did he open his mouth, as far as I can see from the Dáil Report, in the course of the discussion in Dáil Éireann, because of the position which he holds in the Law Society.

That is why he did not.

I respect him as a man of honour. My only regret is that someone else here who takes the place of Leader of the Fine Gael Party in this House did not emulate the high standards of Deputy O'Donnell. That Senator sank yesterday to standards which are only second to those to which that Senator sank some six months ago. If his only contribution to this debate can be vilification of a Senator who was not here, then, that much said, I shall treat him with the contempt he deserves.

Is this man to whom the Senator is referring a member of the Incorporated Law Society?

I am glad to say he is not, and I doubt if we would have him. May I say, I do feel that any legislation coming before either of these Houses of Parliament depends for its benefit on the help and constructive criticism of an Opposition as much as on the abilities and the capacity of the Minister and of the Government Party? This Bill now before the House is very different from the Bill that was introduced. I say, without fear or favour to anybody, that my view of democracy is that power should be threefold: the Legislature, to consider and pass Acts of Parliament; the executive part of the Civil Service to administer those Acts of Parliament and see that they are put into effect; and the judiciary, to protect the rights of the individual against intrusion by the Civil Service or the State on those rights. In this Bill as amended, the Minister has gone further to meet that idea than any of his predecessors have done so far. For that I respect him.

It is not easy to break with tradition that has come down to us over 30 or 40 years. As far back as 1928, it was made essential to license creameries, and the right of granting or refusing licences was placed in the Minister's hands. He kept that to himself as a complete autocrat and set the headline for other Departments of State. In this case the Minister has broken with tradition. He has made a new road which I hope will be followed and extended in future legislation. This does not go as far as we should like to see it go, but the Minister says that where he refuses a licence, the refusal and the reasons therefor will come before both Houses of the Oireachtas where it will be put to the test as to whether his decision is right or wrong.

And then to a vote.

The best speech I have heard today and for the past two days against the Bill has been made by the last speaker. I was waiting for him to speak in view of the many statements that have been made about him in the Dáil and Seanad in connection with the views expressed by the Incorporated Law Society. I was wondering whether Senator Nash, as a former President of that Society, would bear out their comments on this Bill, and apparently he is not prepared to do so.

The Minister submitted three reasons for the introduction of this Bill. The first was that it was necessary in the national interest. He must be the only person in Ireland to believe that, because in Dáil Éireann last week, when the Committee Stage of the Bill was being discussed, the bells were ringing for a quorum from morning till night, until there were 20 Deputies, including Deputies from other Parties as well as Fianna Fáil, who often numbered many more than the Fianna Fáil members. They showed so little interest in the Bill that they had to be called into the House, and yet we are told it is a matter of national interest.

There was only one member of the Labour Party who voted on one important division.

I shall deal with the Labour Party policy in one moment. I disregard the second reason the Minister gave, but I do not disregard the third. The Minister said that the Bill would be operated with reason and commonsense, to the benefit of the agricultural industry and the community in general. We in the Labour Party are all for reason and commonsense, and we put down a motion asking the Minister to defer this matter until October, so that we could all think about it in the meantime and bring in an amended Bill which would have all the safeguards we require. Some of the safeguards we require were mentioned by Senator Fitzgerald, for instance, the safeguard we require as regards mart owners who may go bankrupt and leave people in poverty. There is nothing in this Bill, in spite of what Senator Nash has said, to convince me that the people who are caught by RD cheques are safeguarded. I see no reason for haste or urgency because, if we take the mart owners, none of them at any time prevented anyone from selling or buying cattle in the marts. People in another organisation whose members were in prison used whatever means they had to focus the Government's attention on their difficulties. These were the people who did commit certain indiscretions, if you like, so as to prevent sales of cattle to certain people who were there for a certain purpose, planked there by Fianna Fáil to try to break the NFA.

This Bill gives the Minister too much power, power which no one man should try to take because we are all human and can err. All of us have strong political opinions and it is very difficult to expect the Minister, who has strong political opinions, to give concessions to those whom he knows are his deadly enemies politically. We cannot expect to get a fair deal where power is put into the hands of one man. It would be just as easy to hand over this power to the courts and have the mart owners apply to the courts for licences, putting forward whatever evidence they have to show that they are trustworthy people, capable of running a mart and giving the best possible service to the community.

The withdrawal of licences at the discretion of the Minister is something I do not believe in. We may have a Minister with a lot-of commonsense at present but what guarantee have we that we will get Ministers in the future with commonsense? There is nothing in the Bill which requires the Minister to act in a reasonable manner or with any consistency. He will act in accordance with his own humour at the time. That is what has happened with this Bill. The Minister has shown a little bit of bad temper all along the line. He has disagreed with Fine Gael tactics. I do not agree with them but I certainly agree with our tactics because we have not held up the Bill but have asked the Minister to be reasonable and give a little more time by waiting until October. I do not see that anything will happen in the meantime to harm the national interest or the farming community.

The Irish Society of Civil Liberties issued a statement. They do not issue statements very often. They have been very critical of the powers given to the Minister in this Bill. I am very sorry that Senator Stanford did not make any contribution to this debate because he is a member of that Association. The Council of the Incorporated Law Society also objected to the Bill and that is why I was anxious to hear what Senator Nash had to say. I was not impressed at all by what he did say because the least he could have done, as a member of the Society and an ex-President, was to stand behind the findings of the Society that this is not a good Bill and that the powers given to the Minister should not be given to him.

There is no appeal to the courts in this measure, nothing but an appeal to a barrister of ten years standing. I got sick when I read that because we have plenty of barristers with ten years standing, plenty of briefless barristers. The country is full of them. Which of them will the Minister select? Will he select the fellow on the employment exchange or the fellow who is overworked to deal with appeals? Will the Minister select a barrister who is completely under his thumb and who will say the same as he has said: "Withdraw that licence. If you give back that licence you will never get another job and you will remain a briefless barrister"? That is my view of it.

The mart owners agree that there should be some form of control and supervision but they strongly object to the principles of the Bill. They say the fact that an appeal lies to a barrister is completely unacceptable, as are the terms of the appeal. The mart people say that the Bill interferes with private enterprise. I know owners of several marts and I can assure the House they never want one beast to be kept out of their marts. They never want one beast going home from the marts unsold because every beast bought or sold means about 15/- in their pockets and no man throws away 15/-. The mart owners are not at fault. It is some little thing outside the marts altogether. The NFA try to strengthen their case and bring it to the notice of the people. They have made their objections and made it awkward for the people who own the marts but the mart owners are very anxious that there should be no interference with their business.

If this type of legislation were of national interest, I do not think the guillotine should have been used in Dáil Éireann. It was purely a demonstration of bad temper by the Minister.

Perhaps the Senator will refrain from criticising the other House.

I am not criticising the other House; I am criticising the Minister and I think I am entitled to do so.

The Senator may not criticise the procedure of the other House.

May I criticise the Minister when he is here?

By all means.

That is what I am doing. It was a demonstration of bad temper by the Minister and a mockery of the Minister's assurance that the Bill will be operated with reason and commonsense. The guillotine should not have been used to force through legislation which nobody regards as urgent and which is not wanted by the vast majority of the people. In my opinion, this Bill is not demanded at present even by the Party on the other side, because they have shown very little interest in it in the other House, and since the debate opened here, the the hardest thing in the world was to get somebody to stand up and speak over there.

The Leader of the Labour Party did not even think it worth his while to vote against it on the Second Stage.

The Minister just wants his pound of flesh and does not care what we think or say. There are many more Bills of much greater national interest than the Bill before the House today. For example, we are all waiting for a Health Bill. A couple of years ago when the White Paper on Health came along, everybody was cheering and clapping. The next thing was that education came along and they forgot about health. Then we heard about a Redundancy Payments Bill, a most important Bill that could have come before the House this year; but there is a plan of campaign leading up to the Redundancy Payments Bill, to reduce the grants on roads, reduce forestry grants, put all the people you can on social welfare, create a casual labour force and, when that Bill becomes law, there will be no problem of redundancy. That is the position with regard to the Redundancy Payments Bill and what is happening as regards people who may become redundant.

Last April we had a cut of £64,000 in our road grant, in spite of the fact that there had been an increase of £1 wages. Last Saturday night in Mullingar, they were letting people go. These people will not qualify for social welfare benefit because they will not have their 26 stamps. The idea is to create a casual labour force and to reduce the permanent labour force as much as possible. Building contractors are doing the same. Housing grants are being held up; housing loans are being held up. Building contractors are letting men go and they will be delighted when the Redundancy Payments Bill comes in.

On a point of order, we are still discussing the Marts Bill?

I am showing how unimportant the Marts Bill is in comparison with the Redundancy Payments Bill or the Health Bill. It is completely unimportant. It is of no national interest at all at present. The people in the marts did a wonderful job. They took the cattle off the streets. There was no talk about hygiene when the cattle were on the streets. When you went into a restaurant, if you did not bring cow manure on your boots, you were not a farmer at all. If you went into a shop or a publichouse, it was the same.

There was also the question of cruelty to animals. Cattle were leathered against the walls with ash-plants. Surely if the Minister goes to a mart, he does not put on his Sunday clothes and shoes? He puts on his top-boots because he knows what to expect. You cannot expect cattle to take their precautions before going to the mart. I was in the Dublin mart yesterday and I wore my top-boots. Today that place has been swilled and swept out and put in perfect order again. The standard of hygiene there is as high as it could be where cattle are sold. For that reason, I consider it stupid to have section 6 in the Bill dealing with the question of hygiene. The standard of hygiene in Mullingar, Maynooth and Tullamore is very high. There is no urgency about this matter. The problem of cruelty to animals has also been removed. There is no ashplanting of cattle at marts at present.

Or starving them?

There is no starving of cattle. Provision has been made not to bring all the cattle in at the one time. There are arrangements for bringing them in from 6 o'clock in the morning until 10 o'clock at night. Certain times are allotted. There is also provision at the marts for people to get a meal or a drink. These things are very important if a man has to spend the whole day waiting to sell his cattle or buy a certain batch of cattle. A very good job has been done in the marts.

Why was this Bill introduced with such urgency? Why is there such haste? I accept the Minister's statement that there is no question of vindictiveness but I still think there is something behind the Bill. This is not for the short-term but the long-term. When someone wants to erect a new mart, he will have to get a licence, and there will be an investigation as to his creditworthiness. This provision about hygiene is only eyewash. The books will have to be produced showing the turnover.

The trend at present is towards derating. We now have complete derating up to a valuation of £20, and partial derating up to a valuation of £33. It is my opinion that it is the intention of the Government to find out the incomes of the farmers through the marts. They will get a fair clue. I would bet even money that if any of us are here in five years time, there will be complete derating of the land of Ireland and a new system of taxation introduced. The Department of Finance will have no difficulty whatsoever in putting the finger on the people the Minister does not like. He does not like a certain type of farmer, the big farmer. This is why he derated the small farmers. He wants to get at a certain category of people and he will get his pound of flesh out of them. I can see no other reason in the wide world why the Minister is running this Bill through with such haste.

I want to conclude by referring the House to the Labour Party amendment. It is not yet too late. We will be having Committee Stage next week. The Minister will have a few days to cool off. It is easier to cool off in the Seanad than in the Dáil because there is not as much politics in the Seanad. I appeal to the Minister to accept our amendment and take the Committee Stage in October. Senator Miss Davidson, Senator Murphy and all the people on the Labour benches have made the same appeal. We do not want to hold up any Bill that is in the national interest but we are satisfied this Bill is not urgent. We do not want to hold up people who want to get away on their holidays; we do not want to hold the staff away from their holidays. Many people have made arrangements to go on holidays and cannot go. The mart owners will not do anything between now and October that would be detrimental to the national interests. I make a final appeal to the Minister to defer the Committee Stage until October.

I find it somewhat difficult to clarify my thoughts on this matter because of the way in which the essentials concerned have got lost in a cloud of both the written and the spoken word. In fact, like Senator Cole, before I even saw the Bill, I saw some comments, including a leader in theIrish Times of 16th June, in which the Editor pointed to the lack of democratic interest in the Bill. The Bill was issued on 14th June so no doubt the Editor of the Irish Times takes a very high view of the speed with which democratic institutions are operated.

I am far from saying that an editor should not comment—of course he should be perfectly entitled to comment—but I sometimes think it would be as well if editors commented on things they know something about, because, in today's editorial in the same newspaper, there is an odd phrase, an odd phrase which is used probably to suggest some knowledge of agriculture on the part of the Editor. He says that some of the provisions in the Bill are excellent but the Bill "also had provisions which were obnoxious to great swathes of the farming community and to other people who deplore the bypassing of the courts". It is a pity he used the word "swathes" because everyone connected with agriculture knows that a swathe is something which has been cut down and is dying. The word is not particularly happy in the context in which it is used.

As people come to realise what is in the Bill and what the Bill means, rather than what has been said about it, a great deal of the opposition will, I believe, disappear. Senator Yeats has already dealt with this curious change that the Minister is seeking unprecedented powers and seeking to impose his will in a way never before attempted. I need not go over the ground covered so excellently by Senator Yeats except to say that he demolished the entire stupid facade being built up. It is a pity that a paper like theIrish Times, the Editor of which has so patent an objection to the Bill, should fall down so badly in the reporting of Senator Yeats' speech yesterday in today's issue. The reporting of the speech leaves everything to be desired.

I do not suppose the Editor is personally involved in this, but it is particularly bad that a newspaper which has taken a definite line, as every newspaper is entitled to do, should not be very careful in not over-emphasising the speeches made by those who agree with the particular newspaper and cutting out completely the speeches of those who disagree. I must confess I look on theIrish Times as a great newspaper. It is undoubtedly the best paper in the country and I find this failing a little shocking because I am quite certain a great part of the opposition engendered to this measure has been engendered by people who do not understand just how politics work when it comes down to the floor of either House and they would be greatly embarrassed by the way in which Senator Yeats, going back 40 years, was able to demolish by quotations from Acts the opposition to this measure. He showed the House legislation connected with agriculture much more stringent on the individual than this legislation will be.

There are two dissimilar things—quality products as against cattle.

I am not prepared to accept that cattle are not a quality product. I disagree with the Senator. I think he is reading this wrongly. That brings me to another point, namely, the differentiation made between a Minister's powers and parliamentary democracy. This curious belief is abroad in Britain as well as here. Members of this House, who were Members of the other House some years ago, will remember the Transport Acts. There was more than one. They undoubtedly interfered with the private sector and no one seemed to have any great sympathy with the private haulier, who was very severely interfered with under those Acts, and neither House ever had any regulation laid before it dealing with any particular person involved, and the Minister did not have to tell either House why he was dealing with any particular private haulier. The reason I mention the Transport Acts is that there was a Bill introduced in 1944. I had been elected only ten months when we went to the country on the 1944 Transport Bill. I think I was the only candidate who ever mentioned the Bill in the course of the election campaign. However, I was pretty green in those days and I thought that was what the election was about. The interesting point is that the Bill was defeated because of its gross interference with the rights of private individuals.

On a point of order, the 1933 Transport Act took away the rights of private individuals. It was not the 1944 Act.

That is not a point of order.

There were restrictions imposed on private hauliers in 1944. The Bill was not passed until the following year because of the dissolution. The interesting point is that the first inter-Party Government, consisting of people who had opposed this interference with the rights of private individuals, proceeded to screw the screw tighter. The niceties of who did what ought very often to be allowed to disappear in the mists of time. It is also interesting to remember that one of the major complaints in relation to legislation dealing with things like transport and electricity is the lack of ministerial responsibility in that the Minister does not have to answer to the House for what the boards do. Endless complaints have been voiced in both Houses in regard to that alleged lack of ministerial responsibility. The Minister is accused of shelving his responsibility and dodging having to reply in Parliament.

I doubt if any measure has ever been introduced which so firmly establishes ministerial responsibility as this Bill does. Every single administrative act will have to be referred to both Houses. Surely that is parliamentary democracy. Someone spoke yesterday about the Government machine putting through legislation. That always strikes me as a very funny phrase. For some reason the majority—I understand majority rule was the democratic way of doing things—is referred to as a machine when the majority imposes its will. Surely parliamentary democracy depends on the will of the majority being enforced?

That was not always the concept.

I have never heard of any other concept of parliamentary democracy.

The concept was there but it was not always accepted.

I have never yet come across any reasonable person who said that Parliament must give way to the minority, except those who happen to constitute the minority. I never heard anyone in Fine Gael refer to the machine voting of inter-Party supporters. That sort of remark is just silly. Surely people are sufficiently educated not to be taken in by this kind of thing and those who go in for that kind of thing are completely out of date; they are not with it. They are assuming a semi-literate population who cannot understand the niceties of things. That exercise is a pure waste of time.

In this measure the Minister is tying himself down to informing both Houses of everything he intends to do. Not only must he lay before both Houses everything that is being done in an executive way but, where there is an appeal against a revocation, he has got to say why he is revoking the licence. I cannot imagine any more sweeping way in which a Minister could make himself amenable to a parliament. I cannot imagine any way of controlling the private sector of industry in a less harsh way. All this talk about the Incorporated Law Society— I do not know what it is all about really. I do not pay any attention to such a body but some people seem to have the curious idea that the Incorporated Law Society is in some way superior to Parliament.

Only that it is independent of politics.

The number of bodies in Ireland really independent of politics could very easily be counted on the fingers of one hand and quite obviously——

Unworthy of the Senator.

——I would be interested to see who actually brings this Bill when it becomes an Act to the Supreme Court. A great many people have talked about it and said that it ought to be done. It is now quite popular to say these things. There have been a number of Bills in the past few years the constitutionality of which has been queried. It is fascinating. I have been in politics for 24 years but it is only in the past five or six years that this became a popular phrase.

Any time it has been queried it has turned out to be the case.

I am not suggesting that, but if Senator FitzGerald will check up on the number of times this threat has been issued——

The President might send it to the Council of State.

I am sure he might. I have no control over the President.

The Minister has.

So much of a cloud has got around this whole business that I hope I will be pardoned if I fail to deal with some of the more important points of it but I want to make this point. Senator Yeats has dealt with this Bill more than capably as far as precedent is concerned. I am concerned to draw attention to the difference between this legislation and ministerial responsibility to parliament and the usual complaint that Ministers try to get rid of this very potent weapon against misuse of ministerial power by devolving their powers to bodies which are not under parliamentary control, and I have demonstrated that this is a most remarkable Bill in this respect.

It provides for Party subscriptions.

Senator Rooney really amuses me. He comes out with the most remarkable things. I tried once or twice to make notes of what he said to try and say something about it but I gave it up because it seemed to be a fruitless errand on which I was embarking because I can never follow exactly, what Deputy James Larkin senior, who was a Member when I first became a member of Dáil Éireann, used to call his "mindology," an excellent word, I think.

Another point I should like to refer to is that it is a pity a great deal of what is being said in both Houses has got lost as far as the public are concerned. I want to say, in conclusion, that I trust that the press will be very careful to give a fair interpretation of what people say. Somebody mentioned yesterday that the Government speakers were not very numerous, that there was nobody speaking in favour of the Bill. Someone actually said it today.

I forced them to speak today.

Yes, I remember now: it was Senator Rooney. I nearly forgot. One of the things that impressed me about Senator Yeats' speech was the way one by one the Members of Fine Gael, the front bench and the back benches, disappeared just like the Arabs, silently folded their tents and disappeared until only one was left. No one ventured to wait and attempt to interrupt Senator Yeats. Then some people come in today and purported to quote Senator Yeats and demolish his argument. It was a very unsuccessful demolition. It is a very great pity that all the people down the country who are interested in this matter and to whom it is vitally important, should be deprived by bad press reporting of this contribution by Senator Yeats which, to my mind, completely swept away the greater part of the objections that have been voiced on this measure. This I think is very bad. Frequently newspapers criticise parliamentarians and parliament but we must remember this: as far as the public are concerned, we almost only exist by grace of the newspapers. Newspapers which frequently criticise censorship do not seem to have the slightest hesitation in exercising censorship themselves over what they report of parliament.

That is theIrish Press.

Oh, no; theIrish Times. If Senator Rooney reads the Irish Times, he will find that it is quite common there, too. I know a newspaper could not possibly quote everything that is said, but if they would just be careful to give a fair representation of what is said, I should be quite satisfied. Sometimes you get the impression that the newspapers are more important than Parliament. It is quite true in that we as parliamentarians only exist by grace of the newspapers. I think then they ought to remember the great power they have and use it properly.

B'fhéidir gur dána an mhaise agamsa mo ladhar a chur isteach sa díospóireacht seo agus a bhfuil den teasaíocht agus den aighneas ag roinnt leis idir na Páirtithe polaitíochta le tamall anuas. Ach ar a laghad de, tig liomsa mo bhreith a thabhairt ar an mBille seo atá faoi chaibidil anseo agus gan a bheith orm géilleadhab initio do cheachtar den dá dhearcadh atá curtha ós ár gcomhair go dtí seo.

Ní hé go leor atá le rá agam agus ní chuirfidh mé mórán moille ar an Seanad. Dar liomsa, sé an chaoi cheart teacht ar bhreithiúnas cóir ar an mBille seo, é a scrúdú agus a scagadh i bhfianaise na bprionsabal a bhfuil glactha leo go forleathan le h-aghaidh riaradh agus i reachtáil comharchumann ar fud an domhain féachaint an sáraíonn forálacha an Bhille seo aon cheann de na bunphrionsabail sin.

Ar an gcéad dul síos, ba cheart dúinn a mheabhrú dúinn féin gur cumainn deontacha na comharchumainn seo agus nár cheart aon bhac a chur ar éinne, ar chúinsí sóisialta, polaitíochta nó eile, bheith ina chomhalta de chomharchumann ar bith más féidir leis feidhm a bhaint as na seirbhísí atá á gcur ar fáil ag an gcumann agus má tá sé sásta géilleadh do pé rialacha a leagann an cumann síos dó.

San am gcéanna, is eagras daonlathach an comharchumann. Tá ceart vótála ag gach comhalta agus déantar an coiste bainistíochta a cheapadh, a thoghadh nó a cheapadh do réir rialacha a bhfuil glactha leo go toildeontach ag na comhaltaí. Nuair a bhunaítear comharchumann den sórt seo sé an phríomh-aidhm a bhíonn leis gníomhú ar mhaithe lena chomhaltaí féin ag súil le breith agus is é sin amháin a mheallann daoine le páirt a ghlacadh i gcomharchumann. Chun na críche sin, ceaptar an córas rialach is fearr agus is éifeachtaí chun an aidhm sin a bhaint amach do réir mar feictear sin don choiste riartha agus do na comhaltaí fré chéile.

Anois má thagann údarás seachtarach isteach san scéal agus go gceapann an t-údarás sin rialacha breise don chomharchumann gan comhaltaí an chomharchumann a cheadú agus má chuireann an t-údarás sin iachall ar an gcoiste riartha agus ar na comhaltaí feidhmiú faoi cheangal na rialacha nua seo, dar liomsa, tá ceann amháin ar a laghad de na bunphrionsabail a luaigh mé cheana sáraithe aige. Ní féidir a rá go bhfuil saoirse bainistíochta ná saoirse reachtála ag an gcomharchumann sin feasta. Ní comharchumann é in aon chor feasta do réir mar sanmhínítear na focail— cumann a bhunaítear go toildeontach ar mhaithe lena chomhaltaí agus a reachtáiltear do réir córas rialacha a cheapann na comhaltaí dóibh féin. Má chuirtear rialacha anuas orthu dá mbuíochas, rialacha nach bhfuil inghlachta ag na comhaltaí féin, tá prionsabal bunúsach sáraithe cheana féin. Do réir an Bhille seo beidh cead ag an Aire a rogha rialacha a cheapadh do na margalanna agus dár ndóigh is údarás seachtarach an tAire Stáit.

Lena chois sin, tá sé dá thuar sa Bhille seo go mbeidh oiread ceart sna comhar-mhargalanna nua seo ag an té nach comhalta é agus a bheidh ag an té a cheannaigh a chuid scaranna agus a chabhraigh lena bhunú. Bheadh sé sin ag teacht díreach glan in aghaidh prionsabal na gcomharchumann. Cén fáth a mbeadh sé den amaideacht ag duine a chuid airgid a chur amú ar scaranna a cheannach má tá an ceart céanna aige sa chomharchumann agus atá ag a chomharsa a d'íoc as a chomhaltas? Tá faitíos orm go mbainfidh an reachtaíocht seo siar de ghluaiseacht na gcomharchumann sa tír seo agus creidim féin gur ar chomharchumanachas atá rath na tíre agus go háithrid rath na tuaithe ag brath.

Bhéinn sásta glacadh leis seo ar fad dá bhfeicfinn aon ghéar-ghá leis ach cé go ndúirt an Aire inné go raibh an gá sin leis níl curtha ina luí aige ormsa go bhfuil. Mar sin, caithfidh mé cuidiú leis an leasú atá molta ag an Seanadóir Ó Murchú agus daoine eile agus caithfidh mé freisin cur leis an achainí ag an Seanadóir Nic Dháibhí le súil go dtiocfaidh an tAire ar mhalairt intinne maidir le cuid de na forálacha atá sa Bhille seo agus go dtiocfar ar ball ar réiteach sásúil a fhágfaidh a saoirse ag na chomharchumainn.

The Minister, in his opening statement in the Dáil, said that the Marts Bill, as it is at present, ensures the freedom of buying and selling, and, in his opening statement in this House, he said the Bill was necessary in the national interests and in the farmers' interests. He also stated that the powers sought in this Bill were comparable with those granted under many other Bills. Now, so far as I can see, there is nothing whatsoever in this Bill to ensure freedom to buy and sell. The farmers already enjoyed this freedom for generations, as was stated today. Auction marts have been operating in this country for more than 70 years and there was no danger or no threat at any time to either buyers or sellers in those marts, so why is there this sudden anxiety to protect this freedom which we are told is in danger? No case has been made to show that the freedom to buy and sell was in danger. As far as we can see, the only guarantee the farmer has is in danger, that is, the freedom to buy and sell, that is, his determination to buy and sell without let or hindrance from anybody else. So long as the farmers maintain that right to buy and sell without let or hindrance or dictation from anybody else, there is no necessity for this Bill.

The Minister, and I am sure the Members of this House, will remember when it was thought necessary to issue statements to preserve the rights of buyers and sellers at fairs. The buyers and sellers fought regarding their rights so that they could sell and buy on their own conditions without any necessity for this. They just did not turn up to fairs themselves and this protection which is being offered to them gratuitously by the Minister is not necessary.

I do not believe that anybody can fairly see, so far as is apparent at any rate in my county, where we have several marts, and where we also have fairs, that there is any danger to anybody who wants to buy or sell, let it be at a mart or a fair. I do not believe there is any interference in any way with the freedom to do so. Anybody I have met in County Clare who buys and sells at fairs or marts does not believe that there is any need for this anxiety to protect buyers' rights. They have exercised those rights for many years now, as well as people before them, without let or hindrance. They cannot see the urgent need for this Bill at the moment.

We have been told that the Bill is necessary in the national interest. I cannot see that it is, but if it is necessary, then one would expect that there would be a public outcry or some public demand for it in the national interest. I have heard no public outcry from anybody for such a Bill. I have not seen or heard of any organisation or body of farmers or business people, who helped to build those marts, and who stand to gain in their business through marts and fairs, asking or demanding publicly that some such Bill be passed. One would expect that type of thing if it were in the national interest.

Mind you, there is nothing airy-fairy about these marts. They are strictly business. A lot of money is involved. There is big money in the cattle business and in the cattle trade. If it were in that particular interest, not to mind the national interest, this Bill would be passed but the policy statement that it is in the national interest is ridiculous. In fact, every organisation interested in the cattle trade have passed resolutions condemning this Bill and condemning the Minister personally for introducing it. They have passed resolutions asking that it be withdrawn. These are organisations which represent the farmers and they are numerous. You have the NFA, the Irish Agricultural Wholesale Society, Chambers of Commerce, the Association of Civil Liberties, the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society, and even the interest which represents the Irish marts have protested against the introduction of this Bill. So, far from being in the national interest, it would appear, if one were to accept the views of these organisations and not to seek further information as one would be entitled to, the contrary is so. These are all responsible organisations representing responsible people. They are important bodies who are deeply interested in these marts. Therefore, one would be entitled to say that this Bill is not in the national interest but against it and against the interest of all these people who make their living through the marts.

No organisation has, in fact, come out in favour of this Bill. No representative of any organised body has spoken in favour of it, except the Fianna Fáil Party. They are entitled to do that because they are speaking the Minister's mind, and they have been asked, I am sure, to do that. There is nothing wrong in that. They are, in fact, toeing the Party line and I would be the last to say that it would be wrong to toe the Party line.

It is true that nobody except the Fianna Fáil Party has asked that this Bill be passed. Every other organisation has come out completely against it. We have such organisations as the Association of Civil Liberties saying that this Bill is civil liberty's natural enemy. TheSunday Independent of 23rd July, 1967, issued a statement over the name of Mr. Deale, its honorary secretary, which states:

We believe, however, that the Government's refusal to entrust the granting or withholding of mart licences to the District Court combined with its proposal to entrust an inquiry into the revocation of an existing licence to a person not a judge, is an expression of lack of confidence in the Irish judiciary which has done nothing to deserve this distrust.

We should all subscribe to that. While one would subscribe to the views expressed there by the Association of Civil Liberties, one would have more regard to the views expressed on this Bill by the Incorporated Law Society. Today, we had a view expressed by a member of that Society and I regret that he is not in the House now. There is a statement issued by that Society under the name of Mr. Eric Plunkett in theIrish Independent of 8th July, 1967. He says on behalf of the Council of the Incorporated Law Society:

What is sought in the present Bill is to enable the Minister for Agriculture to determine the rights of individual citizens without any appeal to the courts. This is dangerous power to entrust to any Minister or any Department.

It is apparently suggested that there should be a right of appeal to a lawyer appointed by the Minister. An appeal from a ministerial decision to a nameless person appointed by the Minister is no substitute for a right of appeal to the Courts...

It goes on at length but I do not intend to go further except where he wound up by saying:

The citizen needs the protection of the courts against possible invasion of his rights and the continued erosion of judicial safeguards is against the interests of the public and particularly of the weaker sections of the community.

I think that is a very fair comment from a responsible body. Yet, we have a man here today who was a party to this statement and he behaves here as if this organisation never existed, as if they had never issued a statement and as if they are the only legal opinion worthy of belief in this country. I presume he knew what he was talking about, and I am sure he did. I presume he knew why he was speaking. My guess is that he thinks more about what Fianna Fáil get at an election than he does about the views and opinions of his own association. Whatever the reasons, it is obvious that the speech made here today by Senator Nash is a purely political speech and means little, unless he disowns the Incorporated Law Society. He said here today that he was present at the meeting, and if he does not disown this statement, then we must presume that he has one eye on the Fianna Fáil Party and their nomination and their votes, and the other eye behind him as if he has no further ambitions.

Reference was made here today and, I think, yesterday and in the Dáil to powers already granted to the Government in other Bills analagous to the powers sought in this Bill. One measure referred to was the Pigs and Bacon Act, 1935. This Act tries to ensure several things. To put it simply, the aims and objects behind it and the reason it was passed was, first of all, to ensure that so far as possible there would be good quality pigs and then to ensure, that as far as possible, the producers would receive the maximum prices for these pigs. I do not think that there was any other body but the Government who would try to ensure those things and whatever rules and regulations were laid down under that Act were necessary for the achievement of these objectives.

There was reference here also to the Insemination Act of 1947. This Act was passed obviously so that the most rigorous precautions would be taken to ensure a high standard in our cattle breeds and to ensure that in the process of insemination nothing could or would be done to weaken the strain of our cattle and to ensure that only the best possible strains would be used. There was nobody able to do this; there was no alternative to allowing the Government to do it. There could be no objection to the regulations, to whatever powers they took under that Bill, because all those powers and regulations were essential to achieve that objective.

The Poultry Hatcheries Act was mentioned. This Act was passed and the regulations made under it were to ensure that unscrupulous people would be prevented from offering on the open market cockerels as pullets. We remember how this happened on the market; it is not necessary to remind Senators how prevalent was this practice and, in fact, may still be. I heard of a case quite recently where the Department were successful in their efforts in this regard. It is quite obvious that only the Department, only the Government, could do this job and that they should be allowed to use whatever powers and regulations they deem necessary.

Somebody on the other side mentioned the Seed Production Act of 1965. Again, obviously, this Act was passed to ensure that whatever seeds were produced would conform to the certificate of the Department and that our exports of seeds—whatever brand they might be—would conform to the certificate of the Department, thereby ensuring that our exports and our own crops at home would be safeguarded. These are very important matters. They are essential matters and only the Department could be trusted with this power and only the Department could in fact do it. Whatever about giving them the power, there could be no option: only they could do it. It was necessary that it be done and, therefore, they had to get these powers.

There was reference also to the Fertilisers and Feeding Stuffs Act of 1955. This Bill was passed to ensure that our mixed fertilisers and feeding-stuffs would conform to the certificate of the Department—a very simple requirement, but it is very important and essential that these conform to the certificate of the Department. It is obvious to everybody that only the Government, only the Department, could do that.

This Bill is brought in and we are told the powers sought in it are somewhat the same as were asked for in the other Bills and that the Fine Gael Party offered no objection, that in fact the Fine Gael Ministers were responsible for some of them. Nobody can say that this Bill is necessary; nobody can say it is necessary that this Bill be introduced so that marts may be established; nobody can say it is necessary that this Bill be introduced so that marts can be operated in a hygienic fashion; nobody can say anything about this Bill, if he is honest, but that it is simply and solely an attack on one farming organisation, the NFA.

There are many things the Minister for Agriculture could occupy himself with at the moment rather than attacking the NFA in this manner, or indeed attacking any group of farmers in any way. But is he doing any of these things? Is he devoting part of his attention to trying to devise a proper system of meat marketing? Is he doing anything to prevent another slump in our cattle prices this year such as occurred last year? If he is, it is not very apparent. Those things should occupy his attention fully during the next few months instead of trying to bulldoze the Bill through in spite of Dáil and Seanad and in spite of all the organisations we have mentioned who are opposed to it.

The marts, as they exist today, were by and large established by the cooperative efforts of farmers, businessmen, professional men, white collar workers and in my town bybona fide labouring men—one man works on the roads for the county council. They do not operate the marts in an inefficient manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are being organised and run in the most efficient manner and they provide a most efficient marketing organisation for our farmers. The men who run the marts know their business. They know what it is all about and they run them profitably, in an efficient manner.

I know how necessary hygiene is in regard to the running of the marts but those who run them at present are able to take all the precautions necessary in regard to hygiene. In any event, the local health authorities are charged to take care of these matters and we have had no complaints from them. There has been no action taken against those people. The local health authorities know the amount of accommodation that is required by buyers and sellers. They know about the precautions that have to be taken to prevent animal disease. Yet we are told it is necessary to bring in a Bill to provide for the proper running of those marts.

There may be marts, and I have heard of such marts, which have collapsed, but they are the exception. Like any other business, the running of a mart is a business. Businesses fold up every day because they are badly run, because they do not conform to regulations, but they are the hazards of business. The people who run the marts are well able to run them. I do not know what the people opposite think but I know that the people who run the marts think there should not be any further interference with them. They have established the marts efficiently, they have run them efficiently and, having done that, they do not see why the Minister should say: "This is how you should run your business."

When the marts were being organised and established there was a deliberate attempt to boycott them by various sections. They were interfered with. Meetings were held to protest against their establishment and various threats were issued at these meetings. However, I did not hear that the Minister for Agriculture took any action to prevent the attempts to boycott the marts.

When one looks at the situation before the marts were established—an antiquated, insanitary system, which still holds in many places as will be seen by anyone who goes to our small towns and villages and sees the appalling state of the streets: how business people and owners of private houses have to barricade their houses the night before to prevent them being destroyed by livestock—one wonders why the Minister has made no attempt to bring in regulations about hygiene in the public streets or in fair greens. Nothing at all was done by the Minister or the Government to ensure that there would be some system of hygienic selling and buying of cattle before the marts were established successfully, run successfully and operated hygienically. When the Minister speaks about the necessity for hygiene in marts he is just being glib because there are already in the hands of local health authorities sufficient powers to ensure that any business, whether it be a mart or a slaughter house, where animals are sold or exposed for sale, is run hygienically.

It was stated here that it was in the financial interests of the farmers and those who bought and sold livestock at these marts that the Bill should be passed. I do not know how that can be stated. A simple thing like a fidelity bond as applies to the auctioneers' association—the precedent is there— would suffice. There is, therefore, no reason to bring in new regulations; they have been there for years and are working satisfactorily.

Through this measure the Minister seeks powers to reject some of the provisions of the Bill. For instance, he seeks power to exempt any person or group of persons as he thinks fit. In other words, the Minister wants to say: "I shall pass this Bill; I will make regulations under the Bill but, at the same time, I want power to exempt any person or any group of persons or any place from the provisions of the Bill." I do not think any Minister should have that power. Well and good, if the Minister makes a case for regulations, then he should be given those powers and he should be given his Bill; but when the Minister seeks to have it both ways—to enforce the law and at the same time exempt anybody he thinks fit from the effects of that law—then I do not think he should be given the powers he seeks.

In section 3(2) the Minister "may at the time of the granting of a licence attach to the licence such conditions as he shall think proper and shall specify in the licence". That is not democratic. That is Government by ministerial decree. It is the type of thing that has brought governments down throughout the world for hundreds of years. It is the type of law that operates in Russia and elsewhere that a Minister may make whatever decisions he likes when he thinks proper and that, also if he thinks proper, he may apply those decisions or he may not. I do not see why any member of any government should have any power under any Bill when that power has not been spelled out for him and the terms and conditions in which he may operate that power also spelled out. I know this is the type of power Ministers like to have, though they may never use it. I am not suggesting the Minister would use such powers in an improper way. Of course, he may, but it is in the atmosphere of such power that organisations such as Taca are built. It is in the atmosphere of such power that we see organisations such as Taca getting their pound of flesh from their £100 a plate dinners.

There is little use in the Taoiseach and his Ministers going around this country to various functions, dinner parties and such like, talking about private enterprise and co-operation in the national interest when they allow such a Bill to be introduced. This type of Bill will kill all initiative, all attempts at co-operation in the farming industry because when the farmers see how successful they have been at co-operation, how successful they have been building businesses in co-operation with townspeople and professional people, when they see how they can do these things and then see the Minister stepping in to victimise them, to make provisions such as those involved in this Bill to control their businesses at his whim, then he can rest assured that the farmers and businessmen will be slow to co-operate. There is no provision in this Bill for appeal to a Court. I was not present when Senator Yeats spoke but I understand he complained about the manner in which the Bill was being attacked. He stated, I think, that the courts are entirely unsuitable——

On a point of order, is it proper for Members to engage in conversation while a Senator is making his speech?

Leave them alone. They are stupid.

Acting Chairman

Unfortunately, it happens on both sides of the House.

Senator Yeats said the courts are entirely unsuitable for consideration of these types of appeals and objections. This is the first time I have heard the case made that the Irish courts are judicially unsuitable instruments to investigate anything.

It is not what I said, but it is a small point.

I have the report in this newspaper.

It is a four-line report of what I said in 40 minutes.

I am sure they picked out what they thought was the most important part of the Senator's speech, that is, if he said anything of any importance. That is why they gave it only four lines.

It is a pity Senator McHugh was not present to hear it. He might have learned something about the Bill.

It is a pity I was not present because sometimes I enjoy myself listening to Fianna Fáil. I cannot just now find the report of Senator Yeats' speech in the newspaper. He admits it was a four-line report of what he took 40 minutes to say. Perhaps he deserved that. He said the courts were unsuitable instruments for this purpose. Another Minister, a colleague of his, found the courts suitable instruments when he approached three judges to investigate a matter which he considered it was necessary to investigate. The courts can try every kind of case from murder to the theft of a bicycle, from civil cases to ordinary trespass to divorce. They can try every case under the sun. Yet, from the heights of his legal knowledge—I understand he has some slight modicum of legal knowledge—Senator Yeats said the courts are completely incapable of judging an appeal from the Minister's decision in relation to marts. I do not know what was meant when it was said that Senator Yeats made the best speech of the day.

The people are tired of this type of Bill. Nobody asked for it. Nobody was consulted about it. I have one or two friends in the Fianna Fáil Party and they told me they were not even consulted about the Bill and that when they complained they were told to shut up. Nobody wants it except the Minister.

This is a bad Bill. In my opinion it will have a very short life. Public opinion will not tolerate a dictatorial Minister or a dictatorial Government.

During the past 30 years, Fine Gael and Labour have made many political blunders, blunders, I may add, that helped to keep them in Opposition for the greater part of that time. When the history of this period is written, I believe it will be recorded that the greatestfaux pas they have made to date has been their stern and stupid opposition to this Bill. As a result of what they have said, many of our farmers are convinced that this measure means absolute ruin for them and that the cattle marts, that have been successful up to now, will not be successful in the future. This, if course, is very far from the truth.

In my opinion, the Bill will do two things of importance. It can prevent the spread of too many marts in a district. In the past few years, cattle marts have been built all over Ireland. There is no guarantee that, in the years ahead, they will not spring up in areas where they will be uneconomic and that they will not spring up in areas where they will do damage to existing marts. In future, when an application is made for a licence, this will be treated as a very important consideration.

It is in the interests of existing marts and of the farmers who use them that not too many are built in one locality. That is why I feel the Bill is urgent. If this measure were postponed until the winter session, with the Committee Stage taken some time before Christmas, it is quite possible that the problems of this abuse which the Bill seeks to prevent could in the meantime be surmounted. There is nothing to stop any of us from applying for planning permission and going into a district and building a cattle mart. I wonder what Senator McHugh's county council labourer who is a shareholder in his mart would say if somebody built another mart in that town which would result in two unsuccessful marts in the one district in a short time.

The other important feature is the degree of inspection that will take place. Any farmer worth his salt and any mart worth its salt will have nothing to hide if there are periods of inspection by the Department. A well-run mart will not be at all concerned about the measures contained in this Bill. The mart where abuses occur will be concerned—and there are abuses in some marts at the moment.

Senator McAuliffe used the word "starving". Many complaints have been made in my town about cattle left in the mart overnight, following closure of the mart, without being fed and left there roaring all night. The local clergy who live beside the cattle mart have complained on innumerable occasions to the urban council, the landlords of the site where the mart is built, that cattle are being left starving overnight in the mart. There is a national school built beside it and there is a boys' secondary school only a few yards away. The teachers have complained many times about the noise, about the roar of the microphones and about the danger to the children beside the mart.

Does that mean that the mart should be denied a licence? One or the other must go.

How is it that planning permission was given?

It was given some years ago.

It is strange.

There can be other abuses. I know, for example, that cattle arrive at this mart at 7.30 a.m. or 8 a.m. and that farmers must queue there with their cattle until they are auctioned off. The longer cattle have to stand, naturally the more they lose their appearance. I know that abuses can occur, and there was an abuse where a farmer arrived at the mart at 10.30 a.m., jumped the queue and had his cattle auctioned immediately, despite the fact that there were farmers there who had been waiting for three hours to have their cattle auctioned. This is very serious when one considers that the farmer concerned was a director of the mart and more serious when one considers that he is the Chairman of the NFA. Simply because a man is in that position, he should not be allowed to encourage abuses in a mart of which he is a director. Admittedly that is an isolated case but abuses can occur——

But you have to remedy that, I gather—yourself and the Minister.

Not necessarily. The farmers will remedy that themselves.

The cat is out of the bag now.

I am quite sure the Minister knows nothing about it.

I saw the look of surprise on his face and it is not easy to get a reaction from him.

The Senator may have misread it.

The Senator is not suggesting that something happened in Donegal and the Minister did not know about it?

Little things.

Marts are comparatively new in this country and there is no reason to assume that in the years to come every mart will be run smoothly. It is right that there should be some measure of control, just as every other business has control. In my business, inspectors come and inspect the place and there is nothing I can do about it. It is natural that in the future marts should be subjected to some control. If we had a general election in the next month or so, Fianna Fáil might suffer because of this Bill, but we must remember we will not have a general election for two and a half years—I hope, and so does everybody else, even on that side —but by that time the farmers will know that this Bill is not the vindictive measure, the damaging proposal, that Fine Gael and Labour have tried to pretend it is. They will know once again that the Fine Gael Party have jumped on the bandwagon as they will jump on any bandwagon, if they feel it will make them popular.

The reason Fine Gael are where they are today is that they think so much of the present instead of the future. It is not too late for them to be a little more realistic and practical and to support a Bill that will not damage the farmers and stop being stupid and ceases creating trouble about a very small Bill.

A very small Bill for very small, petty reasons.

It is rather difficult, coming from the Dáil only a week ago, to know where to begin and to know what is of interest to the Seanad, particularly to the Opposition, who continued here in various forms the tirade we listened to, repeated parrot-like by dozens of their colleagues in the Dáil over the past two or three weeks. It may be more boring to me than it will be to the House if I try to answer many of the points that have been raised.

Perhaps I might at the outset deal with the generalities of the complaints and criticisms levelled. A lot of the criticism was merely a synopsis of the criticism already levelled in the other House and of which we are sick hearing. Fine Gael have emerged out of the total debate as a Party who believe that when they think something should be their way, the minority have greater rights than the majority and the majority must be bent to their will. This was said in the Dáil and admitted by Senator O'Sullivan by way of question and interjection here.

Had we accepted this philosophy three of four weeks ago, it would have saved us a lot of time and would have avoided the Labour Party being misled by Fine Gael propaganda into being half in opposition to this Bill. I am not sure whether they back it or whether they resent it, and if they want it, which parts do they want, and which parts do they not want, and, finally, which side they are on. When I say that I do not mean whether they are on the side of Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael, but are they concerned about the mart owners, the big lads who are making the money out of this business? Are they concerned about this or are they worried that by something in this measure I do not know about, we might injure the profitability of the marts?

Is this the Labour Party's new philosophy? Are they concerned about the farmers for whom these marts are providing a service? If this is so, it is nice to know that the Labour Party's philosophy is really centred on the wellbeing of the farming community, but if on the other hand, it is either of these two, or a combination of both of these interests which are their concern, what may I ask is their outlook in regard to those people who will be the employees of the marts? Are they concerned about the conditions in which they will work in the future? Are they concerned about what they will be paid in serving both the marts and the farmers? This would appear to me to be the true concern of the Labour Party, aligned as they now are directly, and certainly financially, with the trade unions; but if I am puzzled, it is because of the fact that the philosophy which was evident is foreign to a Labour Party as we understand Labour Parties and if it is not why do they not come out and say what they really mean? It is puzzling and certainly not helpful, this rather tantalising exercise by the Labour Party.

I do not know how many Labour people there are in the Dáil but in the Dáil we had 18 votes on an amendment. During the previous week, there were 19 or 20 votes and there should have been 30, if Fine Gael had not got cold feet, or some of them had not gone to the Park, or had not gone for their trains. However, ten votes were skipped. There were 18 Labour Deputies voting last night and in the previous week, on this very vital matter which we are told about by several speakers here, we had Labour voting and the highest recorded number that went through the Lobby was five, and it dropped to as low as one.

Does this indicate a mind in the Labour Party as to whether they are for or against the Bill: a total strength of 18 and a total showing of five in 20 votes last week, the smallest number in the 20 votes being one? This surely is merely token resistance only. Is it that they were misled by Fine Gael propaganda and that they said things that they could not retract without appearing to lose face and therefore had to go through with this facade of opposition when in fact they were not against the Bill at all? This could possibly be a problem that some of you people who have listened to this matter today and read the debates in the Dáil may be able to work out for yourselves. If it is, if the Labour people are capable of working it out, they are not the people who will indicate what the result of their deductions is. That is the Labour Party for the moment, in regard to this Bill in this House and in the Dáil.

The Fine Gael philosophy is that when they are the minority their viewpoint should supersede the view of the majority, by hook or by crook, by obstruction or filibustering. We had this queer attitude of Fine Gael opposing the Bill, making a big issue of it and carrying it on for a couple of weeks longer than its importance would warrant. We find hypocrisy or ignorance displayed—I do not know which. There was a very short discussion on the Second Reading in the Dáil, to which only one Labour Deputy contributed and a few Fine Gael Deputies. It covered only a small number of columns in the Official Report. But on the Money Resolution on the next Stage, when there should not have been a discussion, we had all sorts and lengths of debates such as never were seen before. The attitude adopted on Committee Stage is well known— the number of votes, the repetition, the filibustering and so on.

On a point of order, Sir——

Is it not usual to stand for a point of order?

——the Chair will recall that some time earlier today, criticism was levelled by a Member of this House at the way the Dáil conducted its business. The Chair took exception and pointed out that it was not a function of this House to discuss procedure in the Lower House. I presume that ruling stands, as far as the Minister is concerned in this House?

It does, and it should have been obeyed by Senators.

I ask you, Sir, does the rule of this House apply to all the people who address it?

That is all I want to know.

In so far as the hypocrisy displayed in this House on this Bill is concerned, one can find a parallel only with that already known to me in the days spent in another place. We must have regard to this matter of attitude being adopted, statements being made, reputations being staked on certain statements, and then the impossibility of withdrawal. The Labour Party and Fine Gael continue jointly to labour one point, that is, that this Bill is either directed against the NFA or that because of the delicate situation—I am very appreciative of the concern about the delicate situation between the NFA and the Minister—this matter should be deferred.

I want to know something that everybody in the Opposition seems to know. What is all this talk and claptrap about the situation that exists between the Minister and the NFA? What row is there that exists at the moment? What is there that exists between the NFA and me that should stop the Minister for Agriculture and the Government of this country from doing what they believe it is right to do at this particular time? What sort of mentality have the people in the Opposition who have been brainwashed to the point that they now would appear to have the same idea as some people outside—that the Government of this country are only secondary in importance to some other organisation of a vocational nature outside? I do not agree with that, and I would really shudder to think that the people in the Opposition should agree with it, either. But I am afraid I have heard it repeated so often and for so long by so many people, both Labour and Fine Gael, that I am beginning to believe that they really are brainwashed to the point that they feel that this outside organisation is of greater importance in the running of this country than the elected Government.

I want to say to them—and they can give it a little thought at teatime this evening—that this is not so, that it has not been so, and that it will not be so. It is as much in the interests of the Opposition as it is of the Government that it can never be so. Stop misleading yourselves. Try to get rid of the brainwashing, if it has been done. Try to realise that this is of no service to the country—this weakness and pandering to a certain element. Even though the motives for doing it may be to denigrate the Government, it is not in the public interest to do so. It is not even of passing political advantage to your Parties and you will live to find out—not necessarily too long from now—that what I am saying is true. The public are not mugs and should not be treated as such. This pandering to these elements is not of political advantage but is certainly to the national disadvantage. I have no row with the NFA. I never had and I have not now.

It must be shadowboxing.

Let us have a look at this.

That is true. You inherited it.

I have not been fighting with those people. Well you know it and well they know it. They would know if I were fighting with them, believe me, but I have not been. I have no wish to do so.

There is worse to come.

But I am not, either in my capacity as Minister for Agriculture or as a member of the Government of the day, going to kow-tow to any organisation that tries to usurp the power of the Government and dictate to us where we are to go. If this is rowing, I am rowing; but I do not regard it as rowing. I regard it as merely upholding the right to govern in this country. If Fine Gael want to regard that as a row, that is their interpretation, but it is not mine. I have not been rowing with those people. I have had and have no wish to row with them. They would know it if I were rowing with them. I want that quite clear.

Having said that, shall we get away from this sort of hysteria that has been built up—that there is a world-shaking row going on, that I am embroiled in it up to my neck, that the Government are being shaken to their foundation and that the country is tottering on the brink of some disaster as a result? It is a pity there should be this situation at present. It is not a disaster. It could be ended or mended by those who started it. Nobody is going to hold anything against them. It is as clear and as simple as that. If the people in the Opposition stopped pandering to these and stopped paddling around in these dirty waters, making them more muddy than they have been, this would have ended by now or sooner if this sort of battle ceased. Stop stirring this thing up and it will probably find its own way out. If you keep pushing it into the public gaze and taking attitudes, it will be more difficult to resolve.

That is what this Bill does.

Look, this is a Bill that has been introduced by the Government of this country, who represent for the time being the majority of the people of the country, and, by and large, the entire nation. We have determined that we want to have this Bill. We bring the Bill along to this House—never mind that other one we cannot talk of—it having, of course, been passed by that House. It is, surely, our prerogative as Government to do so. I assert here now, and I challenge the opposition to this measure here that it is for them to prove that the Bill is not wanted rather than that I should prove beyond yea or nay to them that we must have it. It is the opposition to this Bill who are asserting that it should wait, that it is not really necessary and, above all, that in these troubled times, these disastrous times, with all this big trouble on that is really worrying me so sick that I am nearly not here, that we must put it back.

May I put it this way? I believe all this sort of talk, not necessarily from every individual who has spoken in this way but, mainly, is directed, sponsored, initiated and engineered by those who feel that if they could stop it now, they might have the opportunity in some mysterious way, that as months pass something else might happen that would prevent it becoming law. This is the Fine Gael attitude. They do not want the Bill. They have stated that they do not want it, or any part of it, and they obviously displayed, by their lack of initiative in trying to be constructive or going through it properly, that they do not want it. It has been said that if and when—the "when" is the big part, never mind the "if"—they become the Government, they will repeal it. These are the sort of promises an Opposition can afford to make without any likelihood that they will ever be in a position to fulfil them. They can promise, anyway, that they will repeal it shortly. But, if that is so—and this is what I want to point out—if you feel so strongly and if you are so convinced that the "if and when", as it was put across here, is not too far away, you are going to be the Government and you are going to repeal the Bill, what are you worrying about? Why not let it go through, seeing that you are going to repeal it in such short a time?

That would be irresponsible opposition.

Senator, surely, not from the Fine Gael Front Bench in the Seanad would I get any suggestion of my being irresponsible or making suggestions that would be irresponsible to a Party as responsible as his Party have displayed themselves to be over these past three or four weeks and even years and who, back as far I remember, have been so responsible that they would never be accused of anything irresponsible. But, seriously, you are either whistling to cheer yourself up while passing the graveyard, as you have done so often in the past, or you do really believe for some reason or other that there is substance in the hallucinations some of you have been enjoying of late that you will be Government in the not too distant future.

No doubt about it.

If you believe in the hallucinations, if they are real, then by all means do not let us waste your holidays—do not mind about mine; I shall not be getting any—discussing this Bill further. Let us have it. Labour and ourselves will probably sort it out in some way between us. You are going to repeal it. You do not want any part of it. You are going to be the Government and you will have new Ministers and will wipe the whole thing out. Do not be worrying, wasting time and your holidays and keeping people engaged here who could be otherwise far more usefully engaged elsewhere.

The reasons for the Bill I have already given and I will give them again—that we as a Government and I, as Minister, believe that this Bill is in the national interest. It has been said here this evening—I do not know by whom—that this was not even claimed. I am claiming it now, that it is in the public interest and for the national good that this measure should go on the Statute Book, and in a particular special way, that it is in the interests of the farming community and that I, as Minister for Agriculture, am charged with responsibility to secure their welfare to the best of my ability. I bow the knee to no organisation inside or outside this House, as to my wish for the wellbeing of the farming community, and as to those people who go around talking to themselves, as they seem to be mostly doing, talking themselves into the belief that they must fight with me in order to get something for the farmers, how daft can they get? My interest is for all the farmers, including the fellows going around talking to themselves and the fellows saying they have a row with me, when, in fact, I have no row with them.

How can we deal with this situation? How crazy can we get? How far off beam have we gone that the Minister must appear to be attacked by those who say they represent the farming community, in order to help the farming community, when it is the Minister's job, overall, to look after the interests of those people? The whole thing is so crazy that at times one begins to feel that one is nearly as daft as they are. This is the way it appears to work itself out.

But, getting back to the farmers, the powers in this Bill are powers that are necessary, powers that may not be as urgent as that we want them tomorrow, but who knows that we shall not want them tomorrow? Who knows that any farmer may not be denied his right to sell his cattle on an equal footing with any other farmer going into any mart that may be operating this evening or tomorrow? How do we know that he will have that right ensured? How do we know that there will not be chancers in the mart business? How do we know that, now that it has become an established way of sale, the practice, and a remunerative one, in many instances—although there are those who have different stories to tell—that there will not be attracted into the business, as there seem to be into any business where there is money going, people who should not be in it, who for one reason or another may set up a mart to the detriment of an existing well-run mart? Are we not in these circumstances, by this very control we are seeking, enabling the Minister, whose overall responsibility is the well being of the entire agricultural community, to say at this time or some future date: "No, you will not put that mart there because there is already a good mart there; there is a mart that is giving service there, doing its job for the people, and your coming in would add nothing to the welfare of the farming community and might, in fact, bust both marts"?

Surely this is an aspect that must occur to those who are against this measure, who will say that we are imposing obligations on mart owners that are unfair and unjust? Surely they must stop for a moment and begin to reason with themselves that this can be a protection for existing marts, that this can be a protection for the well-run mart, that this, in fact, holds no fears or terrors for the mart that is run properly. Nor will the regulations in any way impinge on the marts that are properly run, as many of them are, as the vast majority are. When I tell you that the two marts associations will be consulted, as they have already agreed to help in the drafting of these regulations, surely this will in some way minimise the exaggerated fears that have been expressed by some Members here, genuinely or otherwise, today.

Will they be as satisfied with them as they were with the Minister's amendments?

You should just wait for them because I have not been asleep all day, as the Senator thought. Getting back to the reasons for the Bill, the existing useful mart owners of today, whether co-operative or private, are doing a good job. If they are doing it well and continue to do it well, they have nothing to fear from this Bill, but this Bill by its provision for a licence, is protection and security to them for continuance in their business in the future. That is not only why we have the Bill but this is a sidelight of it. We have the Bill also to ensure a right that has been established down the generations to the farmers, big and small, to buy and to sell in the fairs, which service is now being taken over by the marts and, I suppose, ultimately may be entirely taken over by the marts but, where marts are operating, the marts are flourishing and the fairs are declining. If this continues, we might have a situation that marts will replace all fairs in due time. I want to ensure that the farmers will have continued into these marts the rights which they have enjoyed up to now.

Why should I seek this? First, because it is my job as Minister for Agriculture to care for the farmers in the best way I can. Secondly, the setting up of marts creates a monopoly even in a localised way. It usurps the service the fair gave in the past, and by virtue of the monopoly that is created by the wiping out of fairs, which seems to be almost inevitable, the marts carry a responsibility. That responsibility primarily is that the farmer in the future will, no less than in the past, have equal rights to buy and to sell in these marts as he did from time immemorial in the fair greens and on the streets of the towns and villages. These are the rights they enjoy today, and the jibing that goes on—why do you not do something about putting them off the streets—is the complete reverse of the arguments that are being made by these same people. Why should I put them off the streets? They have rights on the streets. If the fairs on the streets are dwindling and if the farmers are going to the marts, then their rights must be transferred to those marts. The mart owners in neither the co-operative nor the private associations have denied that there is this responsibility going with that monopoly. I do not think they will deny it; in fact, I believe they agree that this monopoly imposes on them a responsibility to serve the farmers without fear or favour.

Going on from there, we find another matter that is glibly passed over here as of no consequence. There are existing today veterinary regulations to which we must give adherence and which we must observe because we depend to such a degree on the export of our livestock. More of these regulations, rather than less, will be the case in the future. As exporters to the EEC, or ultimately as a member of that Community, we shall have to confirm to the veterinary regulations already drawn up. There is no way out of that, except that at the sales point we should have the benefit of some licensing control so that we may the better be able to do these things.

It should be remembered that if a mart owner says to a Departmental inspector: "We do not want you in here", even though the inspector is going in to inquire about blue cards, or to investigate brucellosis, warble fly or anything else, if the mart owner wants to say that, he can do so, and we have not the slightest right to go in there even to see that the regulations are carried out. We have no right at all in this matter at the moment, and I do not think that should continue. That is merely an adjunct to the Bill, which has other important aspects.

Have inspectors ever been refused admission to a mart up to now?

That is not what I said. I said there is nothing to prevent their being refused, and if they are refused, there is nothing whatever, in present circumstances, we can do about it.

Up to now they have never been refused.

That is not what I said. Do not misquote me on this. We have this element of necessity for the Bill. I claim that the Government have the prerogative to decide what measures should be put through either House. It is not the right of the minority to tell us we cannot do it, either because they do not like it or because they think it might harm the situation—in the present case a situation that does not exist, a row between myself and the NFA. I claim we have the right to use the procedure of the Oireachtas for the purpose of enacting this Bill. As any of the Members will know, particularly those who are longer serving either in this or the other House, you do not get a Bill through the Government and through the drafting office in a matter of days or weeks. Despite that, it is charged that this Bill is being rushed. On 31st May, we got the authority of the House to send the Bill for printing. It was circulated on 14th June, and a fortnight or so after that, it was being ballyragged in the other House we are not supposed to talk about. It cannot be said this Bill was rushed, because it is months since it was put on its way, since it went through the procedure of Cabinet approval and drafting, and in its final form, having been circulated on 14th June, has been discussed almost without a break since then.

On a point of order, I understand that when the House sits from 10.30 a.m. it concludes business at 5 p.m. As it is now 5.25 p.m., could we get any decision as to when a vote may be taken on the motion? It is the Standing Order that we conclude at 5 o'clock.

We are not going to conclude at 5 o'clock. We shall finish this Second Stage, and that was made clear today, if the Senator was not here.

There should have been agreement between the various Leaders.

There was no agreement.

Let me say, without wanting to interfere in the procedure of the House, surely Senator McAuliffe is not suggesting that I should be stopped from talking, seeing that I have some notes on his contribution.

What is to stop the Minister continuing next week?

The Minister, to continue.

That was not indicated this morning.

These points of order are all very orderly, but they have a tendency to put me off. This only prolongs the business, because I have to go back and find out where I was. I was dealing with the charge of overhasty legislation. On the question of deferring this Bill, which was fondly asked—possibly genuinely by some of the Senators for various reasons, none of which I agree is worthwhile—I think the real purpose of suggesting that this Bill be left over until October is that, in addition to the Fine Gael hallucinations, there is a feeling that if it were left over it would somehow disappear and there would be no more about it. There is the hope that it would fade out and there would be no record of all the filibustering down in that unmentionable place, that there would be a situation in which everybody would be quite happy, and there would be no recollection of this big bad bogey legislation proposed by this bad, bad Minister for Agriculture who is causing so much trouble to the farming community.

That reminds me of the amendment, to which I should like to refer. In that amendment, there is something to which I take great exception and with all due respect to the House, I think there is something amiss in the Standing Orders that allow this in as an assertion. I shall read it all, lest it might otherwise confuse those who put it down:

To delete all words after the word "That" and to substitute "the Seanad declines to give a Second Reading to the Livestock Marts Bill, 1967, because it considers that it is not desirable to proceed with the Bill at the present time when strained relations exist between the Minister for Agriculture and the farming community...

This is what I object to.

And rightly so.

And rightly so. I have already said that I have no row with this organisation, of which the Senators opposite were so conscious as to be falling over themselves in trying to sort things out for themselves and for me, but to describe that, in their wildest dreams as "the farming community", is what I take absolute exception to. I have no row with the farming community, never had, and I do not intend to have any row with them because my job is to help them and to do what I consider best for them.

How would the Minister describe his relations with the farming community? What adjective would he use?

Which farming community?

The farming community.

Excellent, of course.

Harmonious.

At one with them. I belong to them, which is more than a lot of the buckos can say who are playing a big part in the discussion. I know them and they know me, and those who do not will, and they will find that it is not such a bad set-up at all, even though they have been codded into the belief that it is otherwise. That applies particularly to one of the people who came on one of the deputations about which there has been so much discussion and with which there have been so many inaccuracies associated. I want to refer—I cannot do it because this thing concerns the other House——

I take it, a Cathaoirleach, that there is no such rule as would put the Minister in the position of not being able to refer to the debate in the other House?

The Minister is responsible for what he did in the House and can defend it in this House.

I had an arrangement with the two marts associations, the private and the co-operative, to come to see me after the Second Reading, in the belief that the Second Reading was concerned with the general principles of the Bill and that the proper time to discuss detailed amendments was before Committee Stage, that this was the time when one could deal with the amendments in a detailed way. The Chairman of the Co-operative Marts Society was rather sore because they had not been consulted. I explained my views on it—one hesitates to say whether they accepted them or not, in view of all the misquotations that have taken place since—but let me say that I rather gathered that he was somewhat mollified by the explanation that I thought that before the Committee Stage was the appropriate time to discuss, in the detail necessary, the amendments to be put down.

I met these two organisations on the last Friday in June. I think it was 30th June and we discussed this Bill quite extensively. No doubt the IAOS and the Cork Marts Group deputation opened up in not the most friendly terms. In due course, I suitably replied in much the same sort of terms but there was no harm in that. We went on talking about the Bill. We had already got from the same deputation, or their office, a fairly long memorandum of what they thought about it and did not think about it. We followed this as an agenda. During the discussion, much that was complained about in the original submission to my office was admitted to be explained by merely talking about it. There is no doubt about that. I do not think anybody has suggested that was not so. On the other hand, nobody has asserted that it was. That may be due to modesty on my part or a natural reluctance on the part of the other organisations to make comment on a matter as touchy as this has been proved to be in recent weeks.

We then discussed the "crunch" parts of the Bill, the parts these people really objected to. We agreed on one thing, that the section dealing with bringing in the Garda should go out. It did state coldly that if an inspector had any suspicion that things were not all right, he could take a garda with him: that was written into the Bill. It was completely stupid. We got that as a precedent from some legislation enacted during the 'fifties when Deputy Dillon was Minister for Agriculture. The provision was lifted straight out of his Bill—mark you, it is still in that Bill and there is not a word about taking it out—but it is not necessary in that Bill or in this one, and so, before I had even got around to meeting these people, on the Second Stage debate in the Dáil when somebody, during the discussion, mentioned that point, I decided there and then, and I even told my officials that there was no need for that section, that it could be taken out. That was decided before the Second Stage was passed. Therefore, we told these people we would take that out.

Then they discussed penalties and complained that these were too heavy. As Senators will see, we have halved the penalties and these fines that were the subject of complaint, purely on the basis that it did not seem necessary to have them as high as they originally were. I conceded that we would consider this and later we discussed it with the other organisations who had somewhat the same views and we agreed to cut the penalties by half.

It also emerged from this meeting that many of the difficulties it was thought might arise from the Bill and many of the points to which objection was raised really related to the regulation section and that what was, or what would be, at issue in reality would be the regulations made under the section rather than the section itself, which is, by and large, only an enabling section providing for the making of regulations concerning certain things. Not only did I undertake to consult these people but I invited them to join with me, because I wished for their help in drafting these regulations about which they know a lot more than I do. It was agreed and accepted by both organisations, with gratitude on my part, that they should come in and help me and that seemed to settle a great deal of what was between us at the start of that discussion.

Other aspects of the Bill were discussed, including the matter of having an appeal to somebody other than the Minister. There was the suggestion of an appeal and I do not know if somebody said: "even an appeal to the Minister." I said: "If there is anything that makes me laugh, it is an appeal to the Minister about something he himself administers." I still think that about this sort of appeal. On the other hand, wiser people have told me since then that even an appeal to the Minister against the decision of his own administration can, and does oblige him personally, perhaps, to consider a particular case on appeal, whereas in the case of the initial decision, he may not have been immediately or closely involved in it and may have merely taken a recommendation. I concede now that my laughing at this appeal was not quite well founded, although I still have not got a great deal of regard for it.

Arising from that discussion, there was this suggestion of getting someone else to deal with any appeal or inquiry, but quite clearly certain things would not go to appeal for good reasons. If there is to be discrimination or victimisation or any of this carry-on at any mart, any appeal procedure, whether to the Minister, to the courts or to some third party arbitration, necessitates time that in itself could defeat the whole purpose of having power to control it. I said to these people that there was the further possibility of things being decided by way of the appeal being shoved off or hived off to someone else. I readily admit that they did not fall over themselves and kiss me on either or both cheeks, but I do say again that they went from my office a much happier lot of people than when they came in.

What bedevilled the situation was the stupid newspaper report shortly after, in which I was quoted as saying something in the Dáil which I did not say, something which is not recorded in the records of the Dáil, that the marts organisations had left me and appeared to have agreed or had agreed to the amended form of the Bill. This I never said, and could not have said, for the simple reason that on the Friday this discussion took place, no amendment had been prepared and no final consideration of any amendment had taken place.

I met the NAC the following Monday, three days later. We discussed all the points already discussed with the two marts associations, and it was only after the NAC meeting on that Monday evening that these amendments were put in train for drafting. Yet this newspaper reported me——

It does not matter.

TheIrish Press.

The only time Fine Gael read that paper is when they want to try to trip someone up.

"Truth in the News".

I will get around to the Senator. I did not realise he was back. The fact is that this was stupidly reported and I say that deliberately because this was the crux of the matter in my estimation, and it brought about what appeared to be a direct denial of what I had genuinely said in the House on Second Reading around 7th or 8th July. I could not, and did not, say anything about agreed amendments arising out of my discussion with the marts association on that particular Friday. I did not say it during the Second Reading debate. I could not have said it, because, as I have already explained, those amendments were not put in train for drafting until four days after I had discussed the whole matter with the NAC. Yet, this was stupidly reported, unfortunately from my point of view, and possibly unfortunately from the point of view of many people.

I did not even know the circumstances in which this apparent denial by the chairman of this particular group had arisen, nor did I know whether he was speaking for himself, or for a committee which might have met, when I was challenged in the Dáil. I am on record in the Dáil as having apologised if I had misled the House in any way. My belief at the Second Reading stage was that the two marts associations had left me a lot happier than they were when they came in, and that while they would probably prefer to be without the Bill, they left me believing—whatever belief they had—that they were not out and out opposed to the Bill.

I used the term "by and large" in the Dáil and eyebrows were raised because, unfortunately, earlier on when I mentioned this matter, I did not use the words "by and large". I am reported as saying that arising from this discussion on that Friday, there was general agreement on the Bill. I freely admit this was an over-interpretation and an exaggeration on my part, but not deliberate, because in the following column, I qualified it by saying "by and large". The newspaper report was not an accurate account, and could not have been an accurate account, of what I said, because of the circumstances at the time. That inaccurate report probably brought those denials which otherwise might not have been so vehemently made. Of course, without this, Fine Gael would have been in a bad way, because they would have had no document to quote from of any significance, if there had not been this exaggerated, untrue and stupid newspaper report. If Fine Gael had not this to quote from, this debate would have been over before it started.

The report quoted from a public statement of this organisation.

I can tell the Senator that I do not go looking for trouble, but if I meet it, I meet it. In this case, I had hoped I had avoided it and I think that, by and large, I had. I was misquoted, and certain statements were made arising out of that misquotation about which I will not give my views at this stage, because it would not be in the interests of the Bill or the organisations concerned. Maybe at another Stage I shall get down to brass tacks and go into it in more detail. I do not want to hold up the Seanad for too long this evening. They must be tired because it takes time getting running on this Bill, as I know. I want to turn now to some of the points that were raised.

We had some really wise remarks from Senator O'Sullivan, like his dirty little dig in the interest of order and respect in this House that I had shown disrespect to the House and to yourself, Sir, by not being here for some hours during the enlightening contributions of his colleagues yesterday evening. There was another gentleman who is not here now. Senator Prendergast normally seems to be all right, except when he is with Fine Gael. He seems to think that there is no use in these tactics. Apparently he came in yesterday to say his little bit and to help things along. It was said that not only was I not here but that I was lolling around the corridors.

The fact of the matter is, for the information of Fine Gael—and this shows the contact there is between themselves and their colleagues—that their ex-Leader, Deputy Dillon, received instructions from the Whip, Deputy L'Estrange, who was in turn instructed or briefed by the solicitor, Deputy Sweetman, who received information from Deputy Clinton, who overheard a Deputy talking to me, and Deputy Clinton informed Deputy Sweetman, who informed Deputy L'Estrange, and Deputy L'Estrange wrote a note in very large type and went over and planted it in front of Deputy Dillon, and it was read from the back lobby by a colleague of mine: "Keep talking until 8.15 and keep Blaney out." Blaney was standing in the corridor waiting to get into the House to make his contribution on agriculture to the Common Market debate. Do not think I am complaining about this—this was legitimate— but these were the operations and machinations of the Fine Gael Party which prevented me from getting in and their colleague, Senator Prendergast, came over here to do his little bit about my disrespect for this House, saying that I was lolling about in the corridor—

This matter was discussed at nine o'clock, three-quarters of an hour after the concluding speeches had begun.

Does it ever occur to the Senator—it would not occur to him but he has colleagues to whom some things may occur occasionally—that the Minister for Agriculture is concerned with agriculture and with the farmers of this country and that occasionally he has something better to do—in saying this, I am not casting any reflection on this House—than to sit in here listening to parrot-like repetition of what was said earlier here or somewhere else the week before? That is what happened last night. I had very important people coming in whom I had to see——

I accept that, but this was nine o'clock.

I explained to the Senator last night.

When Senator Prendergast comes in here and says the Minister is lying around in the corridor and has no regard for this House, he is misrepresenting the position. I have explained why I was in the corridor. That is why I was absent. Senator O'Sullivan, of course, does his best and only he can reach a best of that low level; he had another say and that was that the Bill was not comparable with the Fertilisers Act of 1955 and neither was it comparable with any other Act of a similar character. It is really wonderful what prejudice can do to a man. I assert that Senator O'Sullivan does not now exactly what is in these Acts, but, even if he did have a look at them, he is so prejudiced he would not be able to see the relevancy and the comparability.

We had a long dissertation here from Senator McHugh on the Seeds Production Act. He came in to help Senator O'Sullivan, who apparently did not know the Acts he was talking about, but Senator McHugh knows all about them. He quoted them and gave a rundown of them generally. I suppose the two went to the one school to find out what these Acts are about because I took a note here of the non-comparability as indicated by Senator McHugh and asserted by Senator O'Sullivan to show that there was no relevance or comparability between these Acts, the Fertilisers Act, the Seeds Production Act and the AI Act. None of these, according to the Senators, had any comparability and should not, therefore, be quoted as precedents for our doing in our Bill things similar to those done in those measures. The AI Act was passed for the purpose of ensuring better breeding and, because we were going to ensure better breeding, Senator McHugh and Senator O'Sullivan excused every transgresson of every right that people have in handing over willy-nilly to the Minister, without any question whatsoever, all the powers he wanted to ensure better breeding. According to Senator McHugh, the Poultry Act, about which I do not know much, was designed to prevent unscrupulous people offering cockerels instead of pullets for public sale on the streets. Again, this is a matter of such gravity and importance from the point of view of the well-being of the community that the Senator excuses that particular Act, giving sole discretion to the Minister to make or break a poultry breeder. There is, of course, no comparability between that and this particular Bill.

Then we had the Seed Production Act. This was for quality control. Quality control was so important in relation to the poor little seeds we were going to develop that all the precepts of Fine Gael as to justice, the just society and all the other clichés under which they sail, were all thrown out the window, and they justified this Seed Production Act, which contains all the essence of objection that is now made against this particular Bill, on the grounds of control and the necessity for quality control. That was in 1955. That was in Deputy Dillon's heyday as Minister for Agriculture. I should have said it another way, but I am not allowed to say it here.

We had then the 1955 Fertilisers, Feedingstuffs and Mineral Mixtures Act, to give it its proper title. This was to ensure quality standards. It was a very simple Bill but a very important one. Again, that particular measure was introduced and piloted through the House by Deputy Dillon, who not only did not deny but gloried in the fact that he did put it through—he almost got up and did a dance that particular night—and then, the following day, following on my reference to those Acts in the other House, excused himself on the basis: "Oh, well; that was a different thing. These were emergency orders brought in by Seán Lemass when he was not behaving himself too well during the emergency, and he really just gathered them up and put them into one." I do not know what he was talking about and it certainly did not excuse him to me, or explain him to me, but the fact is the Act dealing with the manufacture of fertilisers and the manufacture of compound feedingstuffs dealt with just two things, and the creation of mineral mixtures.

But they did not stop at that. I remember quoting those Acts in full in the other House and they contained section after section after section giving the Minister full discretion in the same way as this Bill gives me discretion to do things. Not alone was the Minister given power to ensure the quality of fertilisers and the input and analysis of feedingstuffs, but it was also specifically provided that nobody could sell wholesale, retail, and so forth, any or all of certain things without having the Minister's OK. Deputy Dillon did not come back a third day to work his way out of that but he has a few boyos here who, apparently, believe he could not have done wrong, and even though those Acts contain similar provisions, because Fine Gael are prejudiced about this Bill, they are alleged to be different from this Bill in all their aspects, even though they are similar in content.

Is the Minister replying to the Dáil debate or the Seanad debate?

I am replying to some of the information the Senator gave when he was here in the House last night.

I saw where the Minister was.

I know, and I also know the Senators are wiser now. Where the Senator is is the question. If one were rude enough, one might go back to that question as to whether this is a reply to the Dáil or the Seanad and ask whether, in fact, the contributions here were from the Dáil or the Seanad. They have not differed very much, and if I am replying——

The Minister was not here for most of it, anyway.

The Senator is not here very often either. If I am replying to a discussion similar to that which took place elsewhere, it is only to be expected that the reply will have some similarity. I excuse the Senator for not being able to decide as to whether I am replying to the Dáil or to the Seanad, because not being around very much, he would not really know. As far as the Pigs and Bacon Act is concerned and the Dairy Act, 1928, surely nobody in this House will tell me that the power of the Minister to grant licences to creameries at his sole discretion is not comparable in every respect with what is proposed here.

But what is proposed to be done here is in regard to a matter just as important if not more so, and there is not a creamery in this country that is not operating today by virtue of a licence granted by various Ministers of Agriculture and held today at the sole discretion of the Minister for Agriculture without any right of appeal to anybody whomsoever if these licences should be withdrawn or if a new licence is refused. I can tell this House that in the 39 years since the passage of that Act giving these undue powers to the Minister and with all the changes of Ministers for Agriculture we have had since then in the good days and the bad days that various Governments may have had all through those 39 years, there is not recorded one case of complaint or objection seriously made against the administration of the Department or the Minister for Agriculture under the Creameries Act.

There has been no complaint in regard to the Pigs and Bacon Act of 1935 in the 32 years since it was enacted. There has been no complaint of there being undue pressures used by the Minister or his officials or of there being unfair discrimination in the granting, withdrawing or revoking of licences. In fact, there has been no such complaint except one that I have made myself and that is that if there is any complaint to be made about the administration it is that the approach to some of these requirements has been too lenient. That is the only thing that you could derive from a perusal of these documents. If anything could be said it is that they were too lenient.

But the Minister will agree there was not open warfare between agricultural interests and the Minister during those years?

In the earlier years, Fine Gael used to swallow them up so that they really never got into the trenches, and then in more recent years since they have got wise to you and the wiles of your people, and have circumvented this Fine Gael cannibalism of farmers' organisations and an element has infiltrated into them which does not seem to be concerned with farming interests but could be regarded as being in the interests of Fine Gael Work it out for yourselves between now and next week.

Are you talking about Fr. Brady?

Sure, he stopped talking.

He was never a supporter of ours.

Of course, he was not. I know that. Fr. Brady campaigned with me on political matters. You are quite right—he was not a supporter of yours.

Senator McAuliffe made the point that we did not have a great deal of interest in this Bill on the Fianna Fáil side because the bells were ringing all day and this displayed in his estimation no interest on the part of Fianna Fáil. What he does not appreciate is that we had already been through this Bill as a Party and as a Government weeks and weeks before it ever came to the House, as we do with every Bill that is presented. Every Bill that is taken into the House by a Minister, his Government and his Party have had their try out of that Bill before it sees the light of day. This is only right. Therefore Senator McAuliffe should not complain that the ringing of bells on the day of the Divisions displayed any lack of interest on the part of Fianna Fáil. He will recall that we had— though admittedly we had a poor start in the morning but who often does not, it is how you finish that counts— a vote of 64 or 65. We had 20 votes, winning every one of them, each time going a little further ahead and the other fellows falling back until the Cork train whistled somewhere down at Kingsbridge——

Seán Heuston Station.

OK, but I said Kingsbridge, not Kingsbridge Station, and they have not renamed it yet.

The Bridge was renamed years ago.

Anyway, the boys in Fine Gael were kicking and they were asking me: "How many more votes do you think we will have?" I said: "We should have another ten but it is up to you. You do not vote and then we will not have to vote." The finality of it was that this big threat made by the Fine Gael Leader to fight the Bill line by line did not materialise. They welched out at the end of the day.

On a point of order, I can appreciate the Minister wishing to defend what he said in the other House but a discussion on the proceedings in the other House does not seem to be relevant.

We have been listening for two days to you quoting the other House.

I would advise the Minister to disregard the help he is getting from the other House, and then he will finish faster.

I was replying to Senator McAuliffe's assertion—as I promised I would—that the ringing of bells displayed a lack of interest on the part of Fianna Fáil. I am trying to say that we won 20 Divisions that day and it is winning that counts not how many there were and that there should have been ten more and that displays a weakness not on our part but on the part of Fine Gael whose Leader that morning threatened to oppose the Bill line by line and word by word but when the whistles blew down at Kingsbridge or Seán Heuston Station for the Cork train at 6.45, the boys on the other side dropped ten in the divisions and welched out. That is my answer to Senator McAuliffe as to who was interested and who was not in this Bill. We did win 20 times, and that is as near a record as makes no difference.

What has that to do with the Bill?

It was a pity we did not have the other ten to break the record because then we would have had 30 in the one day and nobody would try that again, but with 20, who knows, it might be tried again.

Could we have some points on the Bill?

These sort of things seem important at the time but they are not now.

I have notes here to say that no mart ever prevented anyone from operating at sales. The Senator went on to say that the NFA maybe did so under provocation. Those things are provocative in themselves and to go into them, to try to analyse them without help from the Senator who made the statements, could be misleading. Nobody has any right, neither the NFA nor the mart owners, to discriminate against people in their sales. Certainly the NFA or any other organisation extern to the marts has no right whatever to discriminate against people. His idea, if I remember it rightly, was that it may have prevented people from selling at some marts because they were provoked. I do not know whom they were provoked by but it does not excuse them. I do not think Senator McAuliffe should be excusing those people. If we get this Bill through, I do not think we will have that sort of thing in the future.

The Senator went on to say—this I want to correct—that the Minister will not give concessions under those licensing provisions to his political enemies. There will be no concessions operated under this Bill. This is something I want to make clear. There will be rights but there will be no concessions. Neither will we refuse them to political enemies or give them to political helpers because there will not be any concessions operated under this Bill by me as Minister for Agriculture, or any other Minister for Agriculture in the future, no matter to which Party he belongs.

The first thing is we want this thing to work in the interests of the farming community and the second thing we want to get across is that any suggestion of discrimination by any Minister in the administration of this particular measure above all other things would be the death knell of its usefulness because in itself it is designed to ensure that those who practise the business of marts may not discriminate against the public. If a Minister in those circumstances appeared to have discrimination on a political or other basis, would it not be madness in the extreme? Thanks be to God, whatever Fine Gael may think about me I am not so mad at this particular time and I hope not to be so in the future.

With regard to appeals to the courts, I am not going to make any argument. The courts are a grand institution and long may they reign. They are doing the best they can do and they do their own job well. If both of us do our own job we have plenty of things to do as matters stand. I intend to do my job. There are creamery licences, pigs and bacon licences, seed fertiliser and foodstuff licences and mineral licences and many others. One more will not break the camel's back. The courts have plenty to do.

The Incorporated Law Society have been spoken about here today and how they gave their views. They are entitled to give their views. I said in the Dáil: "Why would they not give their views?" They are legal people and they interpret the law. If they have any views to offer about this or any other measure, they should give them. We do not usually get their advice in that way for nothing. I should like Senator Nash to bring this back. I felt peeved, and rightly so, that this very highly esteemed body should have made those pronouncements and published them in the papers without sending them to myself for my guidance, help and assistance.

That is what this Bill is supposed to be for.

Why will the Senator not take himself home for another while? We would not miss him. He could go out in the corridor lolling about as I was yesterday. The chair I was sitting on was quite a comfortable one. This is holding me up. We had Senator Murphy yesterday afternoon —he has gone, he has sense—and he made a good contribution earlier on. He made some reasonable statements. He said that agriculture should be represented on the NIEC as well as on the National Agricultural Council. All I want to do, for his benefit, is to correct his lack of knowledge in this matter. A decision has been taken, and will be clearly announced, that agriculture is to be represented on the NIEC and probably it will then be called the NEC, not the NIEC. The NAC was never intended to be a substitute for representation on the NIEC but at the time of the setting up of the NAC I indicated that it would be represented on the NIEC, in other words, that amongst those who represent agriculture there would be a representative from the NAC amongst those on the agricultural side. That is all I want to say on this.

Senator J. Fitzgerald mentioned that a fidelity bond was not provided for in the Bill. It is not specifically provided for as such but it is capable of being either attached as a condition to the issue of a licence or included in the rules and regulations under, I think, possibly section 2 or section 6. Let me say, and go on the record here and now, without any question, as saying that one of the uses to which I first intend to put this measure, if it is enacted, is to ensure that there is either an insurance bond, a fidelity bond or whatever you like, that there will be a cover for our farmers who may suffer losses in the future in regard to those marts as some of them have sustained up to the present. I undertake absolutely that this will be part of the paraphernalia, and a very useful part, of this Bill and it will be of great help to small farmers who lose the price of two or three cattle, which may be their entire output for a year. This may not mean much to the bigger man but we cannot afford to have those places going bang.

On this point, does the Minister envisage any safeguards to marts committees themselves? I know of a few cases where cattle dealers or buyers sought the protection of the courts and let the marts be stuck for £20,000 or £30,000. Can the marts expect any protection from this type of operator?

The situation here is that I will be requiring the marts to provide this cover to enable our farmers to be insured against loss lest anything goes wrong in the marts. It is not for me to oblige those people to get protection for themselves. You understand. I am not passing the buck. It is merely that I am going to ask them to provide adequate cover to safeguard the interests of farmers in the marts. I am asked by the Senator what can I do to get cover for the farmer members. This would be a matter for those people themselves.

Will the auctioneers be able to refuse?

They will be covered by the regulations.

This is important.

(Longford): It is important when your interests are vested. It may not be so important when they are not.

This is one of the many things that, of necessity, can only properly be dealt with by regulations, on which regulations I have the agreement of the two marts associations to have full consultations with them and their assistance. More than that there is no point in my saying I hope they will be able to help me a great deal as to what sort of regulations will be best suited to them. They have promised to do this and I accepted their agreement to act in this capacity.

To go into every type of regulation to any great degree is a waste of time and might not be conducive to getting proper regulations drawn up later. I might talk against something and maybe find later on that it is something I should do and on which I should prefer not to have taken a stand at this juncture.

Deputy McQuillan says that I could be associated with the British Ministry of Agriculture and with the NFU. He asserted solemnly this morning that a directive was received from the British Government with regard to our cattle supplies and that this was sponsored by the NFU, who are appalled by the way our farmers are treated, that farmers are jailed by the Minister for Agriculture and are regarded, generally speaking, as just a mob. In the first place, we have no directive from the British Government and this matter of phasing is a matter which probably would have originated from our side as much as from theirs and would be as much in their interest as ours if it could be established. In so far as the NFU is concerned, I leave the care and handling of that organisation to my opposite number in England, Mr. Peart. I have sufficient farming organisations to handle over here——

——without the NFU. To say that farmers are jailed by the Minister for Agriculture is inaccurate and mischievous in the extreme.

With regard to clean marts, and that we should clean our fairs, somebody pointed out that if you have not top boots, and so on, you have not been to the fair. We have a lot of other things to deal with and these things are of no importance at the moment.

We had then the usual jibe. The same needle must be used in the two Parties opposite about the Minister getting his own back on the NFA. That has become a record now and even Senator McQuillan is still quoting it. I am not attempting to get my own back on anybody. I do not work that way. This may surprise people here but it is true.

One Senator I really want to nail is Senator Prendergast—I do not want to nail the Senator but what he says. He said that the whole effort on our part was to ensure that the Bill was designed so that we would staff and arrange it, having inspectors employed just to work on the inside and bring out information for the Revenue Commissioners. This is a tactic that was used months ago. It is months since this here was raised in Galway, suiting the place where the farming interests of the community as a whole would be discussed. It started there and has been chased around the country since. It is as lying a hare as ever ran. There is no truth in the allegation that we would work for the Revenue Commissioners. We would have to have the right to see records in order to get information in certain cases where a mart was being run, and whether it was in a stable position or not. This is for the Minister's information in his administration of this particular measure, if it becomes law. An exact replica of that section is in the Dairy Produce Act, 1928, and nobody can say that one complaint has been lodged in 39 years of a figure ever being taken out of a book that ever got beyond the Minister for Agriculture and his staff. There is no reason why that should happen in the next 40 years either.

Will they be required to submit annual accounts?

About what?

Annual accounts.

I lost the bit I had about Senator Rooney but maybe it is just as well. We will not be an accounting firm. There will be no question of annual accounts being submitted to us. We are not auditing these things. These are records of transactions, not cash transactions. This is just to have access to the records, if the occasion arose, when this information might be got which might not otherwise be forthcoming. This would only be necessary in the case of the bad boy in the mart. It would only arise when there was something that was not right. We will not be chasing around as white-coated gentlemen or black-coated gentlemen, seeking out work for ourselves. We will not have an attendant standing beside every auctioneer and saying to him after he has knocked down a lot of cattle: "You did not do that right; you should have waited one second between the first and the second lot or 1½ seconds between the second and next lot." If I were to have that, we would have one mart in the year, and nothing else. None of this is true.

When this legislation is in operation without being amended in any serious form, you will see that this measure is what it is supposed to be, an effort to help the ordinary marketing of our cattle and the safeguarding of our interests and the rights of our farmers, whether buying or selling. That is all it is intended to be, apart from the facility it will afford in the Department in the new European development that is taking place where greater compulsion will be put on us to ensure veterinary provisions will be carried out.

All the allegations we have heard are without foundation and are the figments of imagination inspired by Fine Gael and are, really and truly, being put forward only to confuse the issue, which at the moment is becoming clearer, I am glad to say, than it was. Once the Bill has become an Act, all these allegations will fall. The Bill will disprove all that has been alleged against it.

I advise the Fine Gael Party to take time off for the summer, and instead of advising me to take three months to get my head clear, they should get their heads clear. They are making a mistake when they think that by going through the lobbies and getting knocked 20 times, they are adding to their stature. If you are knocked down once, you get up again; if you are knocked down twice, the doctor is sent for; but when you are knocked down 20 times, you are punch-drunk. Fine Gael are punch-drunk and need treatment and the sooner they get out of the Seanad and the Dáil, the better their chance of recovery.

I want to ask the Minister whether he will give an assurance that the marts will not be used in connection with a scheme of sales tax or wholesale tax by tax collectors, as shopkeepers are.

There is just one point I should like to put to the Minister, which is relevant to the rest of this debate.

It is a question?

Yes. If I might ask the Minister a question: we are in a genuine difficulty about this Bill, in that it is a Bill on which there will be many amendments, and some of those amendments will be ones worthy of serious consideration. We are in the difficulty that the Dáil has adjourned. If the Minister is determined to push the Bill through——

Perhaps the Senator would raise that after the Second Stage has been disposed of?

Right; it arises in relation to the Committee Stage.

Question put: "That the words proposed to be deleted stand part of the Question".
The Seanad divided: Tá, 29; Níl, 17.

  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brennan, John J.
  • Browne, Seán.
  • Cole, John C.
  • Connolly O'Brien, Nora.
  • Dolan, Séamus.
  • Eachthéirn, Cáit Uí.
  • Farrell, Joseph.
  • Fitzsimons, Patrick.
  • Flanagan, Thomas P.
  • Honan, Dermot P.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • McGlinchey, Bernard.
  • McGowan, Patrick.
  • Martin, James J.
  • Nash, John Joseph.
  • Ó Donnabháin, Seán.
  • O'Kennedy, Michael.
  • Ó Maoláin, Tomás.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick (Longford).
  • Ormonde, John.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Patrick W.
  • Ryan, William.
  • Sheldon, William A. W.
  • Teehan, Patrick J.
  • Yeats, Michael.

Níl

  • Carton, Victor.
  • Conlon, John F.
  • Crowley, Patrick.
  • Davidson, Mary F.
  • FitzGerald, Garret M. D.
  • McAuliffe, Timothy.
  • McDonald, Charles.
  • McHugh, Vincent.
  • McQuillan, Jack.
  • Malone, Patrick.
  • Mannion, John.
  • Ó Conalláin, Dónall.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick. (Cavan).
  • O'Sullivan, Denis J.
  • Prendergast, Micheál A.
  • Quinlan, Patrick M.
  • Rooney, Éamon.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Browne and Farrell; Níl, Senators Davidson and Garret FitzGerald.
Question declared carried.

The Bill has now been read a Second Time. Next Stage?

Tuesday next, 1st August.

I was in the process of asking the Minister about his position in regard to amendments on Committee Stage and you suggested it would best be left over until after the division. It is difficult to ask the Minister a question until he returns.

You locked him out this time.

For the information of the Minister, it has been proposed to take Committee Stage on 1st August.

Leaving polemics aside for the moment, the matter I wish to put to the Minister is that we face the genuine difficulty that there will be a number of amendments which will have merit and be worthy of serious consideration. Our feelings in regard to the Committee Stage must be influenced by whether the Minister can tell us if he has an open mind, and, if amendments which are shown to be worth while are put forward, whether he will close his mind to their acceptance. Will he tell us his attitude, whether he will be prepared to accept any amendment or whether any amendment, no matter how worthy, will not be accepted? Otherwise, it would be a pointless exercise for us to agree to take the Committee Stage next week.

Has the Minister given consideration to the point I raised today on the matter, which perturbs us in the Labour Party, of recourse to the courts in connection with appeals?

In so far as Senator FitzGerald is concerned, of course I am open to a change of mind if there is an amendment which will be put, no matter by whom, argued with conviction as to its merits, which can be shown to be worth while. I would be mad not to be open to it. However, let me put it further. In such an event, I should probably be seeking to get the Dáil back, but that is not any skin off Senators' backs. It would be off mine and somebody else's. I should like to ask, too, for the record, for other people to amendments that are of merit and can be shown to be so by discussion and argument, amendments that can improve this measure in any way, why would I not listen to them and be convinced?

I put the question in the form I did not to prejudice what the Minister's attitude will be. Some of the amendments we shall put forward will be drafting amendments to improve the Bill. If the Minister determines that such amendments would make it necessary for him to recall the Dáil, though they were drafting amendments which would improve the Bill, he might not be disposed to accept them. That is why I had hoped that his view would be that he would accept amendments he considered worth while, whether they be drafting amendments or amendments of substance, or amendments of a kind for which he can reasonably or otherwise recall the Dáil. If he could accept amendments only of a kind to justify the recalling of the Dáil, then I fear that our debate would in large measure be pointless. I am not entirely satisfied with his assurance.

I understand that quite a number of people have made arrangements to be away on Tuesday. The Seanad, in my memory, has not sat on a Tuesday.

Tuesday, 1st August.

I propose that we call the Seanad on Wednesday. If the Minister is as reasonable as Senator FitzGerald has asked him to be, I do not think he will be too much worried about the number of amendments.

How about meeting the Senator behind the stand in Ballybrit?

I would support Senator McAuliffe that Wednesday next would be a more convenient day to meet. There does not seem to be reason for meeting on Tuesday. I also should prefer to meet on Wednesday, if that would be acceptable.

The reason for meeting on Tuesday should be obvious. We have been told here, on the Second Reading, that there will be no end of amendments, and so on. In order to ensure that Senators will have full scope for their abilities and will be given ample time to make the speeches they would like to make, we decided that Tuesday would be the right day to start the Committee Stage. As I announced at the start of Business yesterday or today, I expect that this Bill will be finished on Friday, 4th August, 1967.

With regard to Senator McAuliffe's statement about people having made arrangements, I would point out that we have all made arrangements. Unfortunately, the situation does not allow us to keep them. Certainly, we can avoid being deprived of the sunshine in the remainder of August by adopting the programme I have suggested to the House, that is, to meet on Tuesday next, 1st August, and, if necessary, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and to complete the Bill on Friday evening.

Would it not be more reasonable to meet on Wednesday and to agree to finish on Friday? That would be much better.

If the House will agree to that, it would be eminently satisfactory.

We cannot agree to finish the Bill on Friday. There is the question of the Report Stage. Obviously, we cannot agree to that at this stage.

Surely we require amendments for Committee Stage. I suggest the House meet on Wednesday next, 2nd August, and agree to finish the Committee Stage on Thursday. Give two days to it: I think that should be ample.

I am in favour of Wednesday and Thursday for the Committee Stage and put in the amendments for Report Stage, if necessary.

I cannot agree to prejudice the Report Stage in that way. It may well be necessary, in the light of the Committee Stage, to give further consideration to it and to have Report Stage later. Nor do I think that two days would necessarily be adequate for Committee Stage. I would hope they would be adequate but I do not think that we can guarantee it.

The Leader of the House talked about the sunshine in August. Has he got the weather report?

The Chair is anxious to bring this matter to conclusion. The proposition is that the House meet on Tuesday next at 3 p.m. or is there agreement in the House to sit on Wednesday and Thursday and to finish the Committee Stage on Thursday?

No; I could not guarantee that the Committee Stage would be finished in two days. It might well be finished in three days. I would hope it would be finished in two days, but I could not guarantee it.

I am prepared to accept Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of next week if the Committee Stage is finished on Thursday, without fail. I am prepared to advance the date from 4th to 6th August for the Report and Final Stages.

Could we meet on the Sunday?

We could do so, certainly. I have no objection to meeting on Sunday or Saturday, so long as we do not curb discussion.

Question put: "That the Bill be considered in Committee on Tuesday, 1st August, 1967, at 3 p.m."

The question is: Does the House wish to vote on that question?

Does the Leader or the House wish to change his mind— Wednesday?

I want to give the House ample time to discuss the Bill.

I declare the motion carried.

So there is no agreement.

Question declared carried.
The Seanad adjourned at 7 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Tuesday, 1st August, 1967.