SECTION 120.

(1) Of the ordinary members three (in this Part of this Act referred to as elected members) shall be elected in accordance with this Act by the Bacon Marketing Board and three (in this Part of this Act referred to as nominated members) shall be nominated in accordance with this Act.
(2) The elected members shall be persons who are ordinary members of the Bacon Marketing Board.
(3) The nominated members shall be persons who are representative of pig producers in Saorstát Eireann.

I beg to move amendment No. 112:—

Before Section 120 to insert a new section as follows:—

The Minister shall divide the area of Saorstát Eireann by counties into three areas to be known as pig-producing areas; each area shall consist of a number of adjacent counties so grouped that the aggregate number of pigs produced in each area during the three years 1932, 1933 and 1934, shall be approximately one-third of the total number of pigs produced in Saorstát Eireann during the same period.

I think it would be the best arrangement to divide the area of the Free State by counties into three areas and that machinery would be set up for the election of representatives on the Pigs Marketing Board from those areas. The Minister said, on an earlier occasion, that he might have a scheme. Perhaps he has one in mind which would meet the situation. I would be in favour of representation for every part of the country. If it is left to organised pig feeders it could happen that two or three counties in one corner of the country would elect all the representatives of the producers and other parts of the country would have no representation. In certain parts of the country the pig producers are men who feed a limited number of pigs, perhaps two to ten pigs, while in other areas a few farmers would feed quite a large number of animals. I think the fairest way would be to divide it in the manner my amendment suggests.

Minister for Agriculture

The most I could promise would be to bring in a section on the Report Stage requiring the Minister to set up some sort of machinery for election before the Board would be elected. You could, of course, provide that a scheme would be laid on the Table of the House so that it could be discussed before it would come into operation. If we were obliged to outline the machinery, it would take the draftsman a very long time.

If a scheme were laid on the Table, could we reject it ?

Minister for Agriculture

Yes.

Unless it was done privately with the Minister, there could be no suggestions offered in the House for the amendment of the scheme.

There could be no objection if a Deputy desired to make representations to the Minister and, if it was thought desirable subsequently, the Minister could bring in a new set of rules.

Minister for Agriculture

All that we could promise at this stage is that we will try to have a section brought in on Report requiring the Minister to set up election machinery for the 1937 Board.

There is nothing to prevent you increasing the number of members of the Board ?

Minister for Agriculture

Not under that system. They cannot expect a scheme before this Bill is through. They can only expect a clause requiring the Minister to produce a scheme.

Amendment No. 112, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments Nos. 113 and 114 not moved.

I beg to move amendment No. 115:—

In sub-section (1), line 46, to delete the word " three " and substitute the word " one," and in line 47 to delete the word " elected " and substitute the word " nominated," and in line 48 to delete the word " three " and substitute the word " six," and in lines 49 and 50 to delete the word " nominated " and substitute the word " elected."

The object of this amendment is to give the Bacon Marketing Board one direct representative on the Pigs Marketing Board. Let the other five or six, as the case may be, be elected or nominated.

Minister for Agriculture

The point the Deputy aims at is to have the ratio on the Pigs Marketing Board one to six instead of three to three. I see what the Deputy wants.

Frankly, I do not. What is the amendment designed to effect ?

If the Deputy will read the section and the amendment he will know. I think one representative of the curers on the producers' board would be quite sufficient, especially in view of what was revealed to us to-day—the terrible suspicion they have of one another. There is no use in dumping them in on the Pigs Marketing Board to create suspicion there. If we cannot trust them to do what is right by one another, we cannot trust them to do what is right by those who might have conflicting interests in the industry. I am a strong believer in advocating the same doctrine behind closed doors as on a platform. I stand by the producers' and the farmers' interests here, as well as autside.

Minister for Agriculture

The big function of the Pigs Marketing Board is the fixing of the price. They have other matters to deal with, such as buying allowances, etc. I thought Deputy Belton was in favour of the Joint Board fixing the price, where you would have even representation.

I suggest you put in one bacon curer here. According to the powers conferred on this Board by the Act, the curers are enabled to look after their interests. One man would suffice, inasmuch as he can dissent, and then the Chairman can fix the price. That is, if the producers on the Board are going too far, and want to fix too high a price. The one man can be a corrective.

One man can dissent just the same as three, and three can dissent just the same as one, and it falls to the Chairman to fix the price.

I quite agree that the Board is a farce, but it is the only Board on which the producers can get any look in. I would much rather exclude them altogether, but you could not exclude the bacon curers from this Board unless you had a joint board to fix prices and that joint board proposal is gone. It is giving the pig producers the best show they can get in the circumstances and it is the show that the pig producers all over the country who have considered the matter are pressing for. It was only the other day at a meeting of the Committee of Agriculture in Kerry they invited a local pig feeder to address the Board on this Bill, and he condemned in its entirety the constitution of the Pigs Marketing Board and advocated that there should be a Board for producers and other machinery for fixing the price. He recognised, apparently, that this Board, constituted entirely of pig producers, should not have the last word and should not have the decision on the price of pigs.

What were they to decide, then ?

Minister for Agriculture

That is the point. They will not give any function to a Board composed entirely of producers, except to talk; they will not give them any decision.

Is there any function given to this Board except the fixing of the price of pigs ?

Minister for Agriculture

And charges.

If there is no function contained in Sections 117 to 153, then there is a terrible waste of words.

Minister for Agriculture

Is not fixing the price of pigs a very big function ? I think we all know our minds on this point.

Perhaps somebody will tell us what the Deputy's amendment means ? Is it that the Board should consist of six producers and one member of the Bacon Marketing Board, instead of three producers and three members of the Bacon Marketing Board ? The Deputy knows that of the board are not unanimous the decision must be taken by the Chairman, so that it does not matter whether you have one, two or three representatives of any interest. If one dissents, the matter is thrown into the hands of the Chair. In effect, the amendment really amounts to nothing.

I suggest that we make provision to appoint four pig producers to two of the others.

Minister for Agriculture

The proposal to have three members of each would be better.

Deputy Dillon thinks my comprehension must be greatly at fault when he tries to remind me that from the constitution of this Board if one representative dissents the Chairman fixes the price. I am grateful to him for reminding me of that, but I want to tell him in return that I knew it before, so that the Deputy has wasted the time of the Committee in explaining it. Deputy Dillon yesterday turned down an amendment that proposed to give full representation to the pig producers on a board of their own. This is the nearest approach that I could get, in the circumstances, to giving the pig producers anything like fair representation in order that they might look after matters that are their special concern. One man on the board will protect the bacon curers as effectively as if there were 101 on it from anything in the nature of an extortionate price being fixed for pigs on behalf of pig producers. That is the only use he will be on the board. He will be there as a watchdog for the curers and will have no other use or business on the board. As Deputy Dillon saw fit to deprive the farmers of representation on a board of their own, notwithstanding the fact that he claims to be a public representative of the farmers I, who am not a farmers' public representative, want to see justice done to them.

Surely, Deputy Belton ought to be aware of the fact that the newspapers are not present reporting the proceedings of this Committee.

Deputy Dillon ought to be as meticulous about points of order now as he was yesterday. He knows very well that it is not with his permission that I speak here or anywhere else. Anyway, I want the Deputy now to take a full draught of his own medicine and to swallow it, and to be as brave when he advises the farmers outside as he is here. He has shown himself to be brave here in selling their interests.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided:—Tá, 4; Níl, 5.

Tá.

  • Deputy Beegan.
  • Deputy Haslett.
  • Deputy Belton.
  • Deputy McGovern.

Níl.

  • Minister for Agriculture.
  • Deputy Moore.
  • Deputy Dillon.
  • Deputy O’Reilly.
  • Deputy Maguire.
Amendment declared lost.

I move amendment No. 116:—

In sub-section (1), line 48, after the words " Bacon Marketing Board " to insert the words " one member shall be elected by the pig dealers ordinarily resident in Saorstát Eireann ".

This amendment is designed to secure representation for the pig jobbers on this Board. It was represented to me that an organisation representative of the pig dealers in this country might have interests that would be vitally affected at a later stage by the operation of this Bill. Anyone familiar with the pig trade in this country knows that their function in the distribution of pigs is indispensable, and that their disappearance in other countries at the instance of curers has resulted in very material losses to the pig producers. The reason is that it has always been a tendency with the manufacturers of meat products to destroy the local fairs, and to try and centralise all dealings in live stock in the stockyards and in the slaughtering pens of the curers. Furthermore, it was thought that the information the pig dealers, as a result of their travels through the country attending fairs, would have at their disposal might, with advantage, be imparted to the other members of the Board. It has also been represented that the pig dealers are joined together in a fairly effective association, and that the difficulty of getting a representative of their interests would not present so formidable an obstacle as might be presented by seeking to get effective representation of any other interest concerned in the trade. I would be glad to know from the Minister who, I understand, interviewed representatives of the pig dealers' association, what the departmental view is in regard to their claim.

Minister for Agriculture

We had an interview with the pig dealers and, after a discussion with them, they came to recognise that they were not concerned with the fixing of prices: that it does not matter a great deal to them what price is fixed. Provided they are able to buy and that they are not wiped out as a class under the Bill, it makes very little difference to them whether they are paying 40/- or 60/- per cwt. for pigs. They recognised that they have no claim and, in fact, I think, no great desire in the end to be represented on the Board when we promised to meet them by another amendment, namely, amendment No. 149, which makes provision for a buying allowance. That, of course, was also asked for by the curers because it was felt that there was no difference between the pigs bought at a fair and the pigs brought into the factory. It was felt that there should be an allowance for buying I do not think that the amendment is necessary. There may be individuals claiming that they should be represented on the Board, but I think that as a class they are not claiming to be represented.

Is the Minister satisfied from his contact with the other interests concerned—the producers and the curers—that they would derive no assistance from the representative of a representative of the Pig Dealers' Association—from the advice that such a representative, with his special knowledge of the conditions prevailing at the local fairs, would be able to give ?

Minister for Agriculture

I am. I would prefer to leave the Board as it is.

I ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment by leave withdrawn.

The decision on that amendment disposes of amendments Nos. 109 to 125.

Section 120 agreed to.
Sections 118 to 124 agreed to.