Private Business. - Control of Manufactures Bill, 1932—Recommitted.

Wednesday, 3 August 1932

Seanad Éireann Debate
Vol. 15 No. 30

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Ordered: “That the Title be postponed.”

SECTION I.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas I move amendment 1:

Section 1. To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:

“(3) A person shall be deemed for the purposes of this Act to be resident in Saorstát Eireann if he has spent the greater portion of each year in Saorstát Eireann or if he is resident outside Saorstát Eireann in the employment of a person or corporate body carrying on business in Saorstát Eireann or if he is resident [1884] outside Saorstát Eireann in the service of the State.”

This question was considered when the Bill was in Committee previously. I have given it some consideration since, and I think I am correct in saying that the Minister expressed the view that there was grave danger in any rigid definition of the meaning of “residence.” I felt that we would be in a difficulty without any definition because there would be no rulings, and the courts for a considerable time with the best will in the world, would not be able to say whether or not an individual was resident for a period of five years. For instance, if he spent one year studying at a foreign university, or in the employment of some firm what would be the position? I consulted a legal friend and he pointed out that in most of the Finance Acts the words “ordinary residence” occur. If the amendment were altered accordingly there would be plenty of definitions, in cases in which there were rulings, and it would be easy to find out the position. I had to put down the amendment as worded in order to have it in in the requisite time. Consequently I was not able to see my legal friend. I think it would meet the difficulty if the Minister could see his way to put in the words “ordinary residence.” I would then withdraw my amendment. Senator Comyn would know if this was usual.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn Zoom on Michael Comyn It is. The meaning of “residence” or “ordinarily resident” is pretty well defined and would suit the purpose.

Amendment 1, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly I am willing to agree to the insertion of the word “ordinarily” after the word “been” in Section 1, sub-section (2), line 30, if that meets the point raised by Senator Douglas and I move accordingly.

Amendment agreed to.

Section 1, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

SECTION 2.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas I move amendment 2:

Section 2, sub-section (1). After [1885] the word “on” in line 8 to insert the words “or before.”

If Senators turn to paragraph (d) they will see the words “such business was carried on in Saorstát Eireann on 1st day of June, 1932.” I want to have the words “or before” inserted in order to provide that there will not be too rigid an interpretation of the section in that respect.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly There is a danger in this amendment which makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to accept it. If we put in the words “or before” that could be interpreted as referring to operations carried on in 1910, 1800 or any time you like. We feel that it would be a most dangerous liberty to give as the possibility of such an interpretation might be very destructive to the idea behind the Bill. For instance a firm might have carried on certain operations in 1908 or in 1900 and have long ceased doing so. There is a case where there might be transition from one business to another and such changes having taken place that the original purpose and manufactures had entirely changed. For that reason the introduction of the words “or before” would, I am afraid, raise a serious difficulty to the spirit of the Bill. We could not accept it.

Mr. Wilson: Information on Richard Wilson Zoom on Richard Wilson Would the Minister be prepared to accept the words “on or before —— years”?

Cathaoirleach: I could not accept that.

Mr. Wilson: Information on Richard Wilson Zoom on Richard Wilson Or “immediately before”?

Mr. Jameson: Information on Hon Andrew Jameson Zoom on Hon Andrew Jameson The difficulty is that it is necessary to show that it had some bearing on the business on that date. It cuts just as badly one way as the other. It is an extraordinary clause and as worded it might do a great deal of harm. The Minister's view, I take it, is that the amendment would enlarge the scope of the Bill. There should be some way of doing what Senator Wilson suggested, putting in some period that does not confine the date absolutely to the one in the Bill.

[1886]Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly The point made by Senator Wilson and by Senator Jameson is one that did not occur to me. I doubt if it could be interpreted in that way within the meaning of the Act. Obviously one must fix some date. If the Seanad feels that a week, a fortnight or a month within that period is necessary to meet manufacturers who might not happen to be producing on that particular date——

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas I think that is what is in mind.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly ——we could embody something like this: “Within one month prior to that date in the sub-section.”

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas My object was what the Minister has stated. It was on reading the Bill and the amendments inserted after the last meeting of the Seanad that it occurred to me that there might be a danger that a company might find itself up against these technical difficulties.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly If the words “or within one month prior to that date” were agreeable we would embody them.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas That will meet me. I will withdraw my amendment if these words are inserted.

Amendment 2, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly I move that the words “or within one month immediately preceding that date” be inserted in Section 2, sub-section (1), after the figures “1932” in line 8.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Staines: Information on Michael Staines Zoom on Michael Staines I move amendment 3:

Section 2, sub-section (1). To delete in line 8 the word “had” and to substitute therefor the word “have.”

This amendment is moved in order to correct an error in the drafting.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly This is a drafting amendment which we are accepting.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas I move amendment 4:

Section 2, sub-section (1). After [1887] the word “on” in line 17 to insert the words “or before.”

This is similar to amendment 2.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly If the Senator agrees I will move an amendment in similar terms to that contained in amendment 2.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn Zoom on Michael Comyn Would it not be desirable to say “immediately preceding”?

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly If Senator Comyn has any point in mind I would accept the words “one month immediately preceding.”

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas I will withdraw my amendment.

Amendment 4 withdrawn.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly I move:

Section 2, sub-section (1). After the figures “1932” in line 18 to insert the words “or within one month immediately preceding that date.”

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas I move amendment 5:

Section 2, sub-section (1). After the word “Eireann” in line 20 to insert the words “or at the relevant time is in the ordinary course or forms part of an extension of such business as previously carried on.”

When this Bill was last in Committee additional words, which I considered to be a considerable improvement, were inserted in paragraph (d). It is quite obvious that if that were desirable in the case of a corporate company it is equally desirable in the case of a partnership. The amendment simply adds the same words to paragraph (e).

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly We resisted this amendment on the Committee Stage, but of course it was carried against on a Division. We cannot accept the amendment. If it is carried now we will have to ask the Dáil to reject it, as we feel that it is not in keeping with the principles of the Bill.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas While I am not perfectly [1888] certain that the wording could not be improved upon, I think there is a very vital principle in the amendment. I have accepted the principle of the Bill as being one to control new manufacturers coming to this country, but not designed to interfere with existing manufacturers. All the amendment does is to provide within the relative time for firms in the course of business or wishing to extend business previously carried on. I expected that the Minister would have wanted to make one or two verbal alterations in the amendment, particularly with regard to the word “previously.” If a manufacturer at present carrying on business finds himself in the position which I think a number of manufacturers will find themselves in—I have intimate knowledge of one or two—having to adapt machinery to meet the alterations in trading conditions, if they find they cannot do that without going through the machinery of getting a special permit, I think it would be a disaster. This is not an attempt to enable a shoe manufacturer to make beer. It is perfectly plain he could not do that. It is intended to enable a shoe manufacturer, if he wanted to make buckles or something kindred which might not be a legitimate extension of the same business, to do so without getting a special permit. I could give many such instances. In the case of the few textile factories we have, if by any chance they lost their English trade they will require a considerable amount of adaptation to fit themselves to the conditions of the trade here and elsewhere. If they are going to be limited and have immediately to ask for a permit for the necessary machinery, I am afraid they will not do it.

I think that it is particularly desirable that, in the near future, they should go ahead with any legitimate extensions of the same business. That is what I want to provide for. That was the purpose of this amendment, as introduced by Senator Staines and supported by me. I ask the Minister to accept this amendment or to introduce some other [1889] provision which will make it clear that a manufacturer can extend his own business on the general lines on which he is working. I am satisfied that he cannot do that under the Bill as it stands. This is really an important matter and I think the House should press its view on it.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly My main objection to this amendment is not to the principle of extension at all. I feel that it is dangerous to allow this matter to be emphasised in the way Senator Douglas proposes. Ordinary, legitimate extension will take place naturally and will be allowed. In many cases—in most cases, perhaps I should say—it will not be looked upon as in the nature of differentiation. What we do want to prevent is the possibility of its being used in the way Senator Douglas in rather exaggerated form points out —that a company or person manufacturing before the 1st June, 1932 should be enabled to branch into another industry entirely, perhaps, in the same building. It is not our desire to impose limitations on proper extensions of particular businesses, but conceivably different businesses could be embarked upon by existing companies under the amendment. I think the matter is adequately covered by the Bill and I feel that any discretionary power in the Minister's hands would be wisely used in permitting the fullest possible extension within the trade concerned. We might, however, be up against very real difficulties under this amendment with regard to a firm which wanted to embark on entirely different lines.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas The statement by the Minister makes clear the real difference between us. The Minister says the Government may permit this to be done. I want to provide that it will be allowed without Government permission. The Bill refers to “the doing of such thing”. If you had said, instead of that, “the carrying on of such business”, it would be different. But the reference is to the “doing of such thing” as forming part of the business. I have consulted a legal friend, who agrees with the view I took before on this question. I took a concrete case— that of a shoe manufacturer who, because [1890] of changed circumstances, might find it necessary to manufacture buckles. That would be a matter of enamel or metal and would be a different class of business. The doing of that would not have been in the ordinary course of his business on the 1st June and he would be taking the risk of breaking the law. That is a very definite limitation. Without some such words as are suggested, you will be definitely crippling existing businesses. Unless the provision can be altered or widened in a manner agreeable to the Government, I think we should insist on this amendment. We have not gone outside the scope of the Bill as introduced by the Minister.

Mr. Jameson: Information on Hon Andrew Jameson Zoom on Hon Andrew Jameson I think I can give from my own experience an instance where business might be crippled by this provision. Long ago, I managed a brewery which made only ale. We carried on a big business in England and throughout Ireland. When I found that that business fell away and that the trade had turned entirely to porter, I had to remodel the inside of the building, get a fresh supply of water and turn the building into a porter brewery. In the course of years, many other breweries began to operate— very large concerns—and I was not able to make the concern pay. We were beginning to lose money. We transferred our business to another firm and turned the whole of the premises into a whisky-storing establishment. If we had any such clause in operation then, the last two of these changes would have been quite impossible, because nobody could say that the storage of whisky was the same as the making of ale or stout. It would be a terribly crippling thing if a person were in possession of huge premises and could not make such a change as that. We ought to be very careful of what we are doing in this respect. It would be unfair if a business man could not make these changes by reason of provisions contained in this Bill.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly I appreciate the point made. I also appreciate the danger of allowing this provision to go in as it stands. If it is agreeable to the House, I propose in paragraph (e) of [1891] Section 2, line 19, page 3, after the word “business” to insert the words “or have been a reasonable extension of such business.” I think that would meet the point that was raised and also ensure that nothing of an entirely different nature would be implicit in the Act without the special sanction of the Minister. I want to point out to the House that even if the complete transition of a factory already in existence and working on certain lines were desired, the Minister would be the first to approve of that if it were in the interests of trade and of employment here. Take the case of the looms used for weaving linen. If there were a market for cotton and not for linen and if the looms could be adjusted for the weaving of cotton, the Department of Industry and Commerce would be the first to realise how desirable that would be. I think the amendment I have suggested will meet the point and, if Senator Douglas is agreeable, I propose it now.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas I am not a lawyer but the words suggested by the Minister would seem to meet the point I have in mind. I have not attempted, in these amendments, to go outside the general principle of the Bill. I have tried to safeguard existing businesses in every reasonable way I know. While the Department would, I am sure, be only too glad to give a new manufacture licence in these cases, quite a number of firms might, for the time being at any rate, be reluctant to make changes if those changes necessitated a permit. The amendment suggested by the Minister will go a long way towards meeting the cases I have in mind. I am quite satisfied that the case I mentioned would be met, because nobody could argue that it was not a reasonable extension of the business. The Minister mentioned textiles. He referred to linen and cotton. Many looms, as the Minister knows, used for linen can be used for cotton, but others require changes.

Amendment 5, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly I accordingly move the amendment I suggested:

[1892] Section 2, sub-section (1). After the word “business” in line 19 to insert the words “or have been a reasonable extension of such business.”

Amendment put and agreed to.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas It is desirable that paragraphs (d) and (e) should conform to each other.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly I quite agree, and I accordingly move the following amendments:—

(1) Section 2, sub-section (1). After the word “business” in line 9 to insert the words “or have been a reasonable extension of such business.”

(2) Section 2, sub-section (1). To delete the words “or at the relevant time is in the ordinary course or forms part of an extension of such business as previously carried on,” inserted in Committee after the word “Eireann” in line 20.

Amendments put and agreed to.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas I move amendment 6:

Section 2, sub-section (1). After paragraph (e), line 20, to insert a new paragraph as follows:—

(f) such business was carried on in Saorstát Eireann on the 1st day of June, 1932, and such business is, at the time such thing is done, owned by a body corporate the issued shares of which are beneficially owned to an extent exceeding one half (in nominal value) by the individual or individuals by whom the business was beneficially owned on the 1st day of June, 1932, and the doing of such thing would, if it had been done on or before the 1st day of June, 1932, have been in the ordinary course or formed part of such business as then carried on in Saorstát Eireann or at the relevant time is in the ordinary course or forms part of an extension of such business as previously carried on; or.

I had intended to include this amendment when the Bill was in Committee, but owing to a mistake in my papers it was omitted. In many cases, [1893] it is very desirable in a manufacturing business to have a limited company in preference to a partnership. A partnership is liable to come to an end, when the staff will be thrown out of employment. It is easier to continue a limited company and it is not so much affected by death. I want to make it possible for people who may be in business before the 1st June, 1932, and who wish to become a limited company to do so, provided 51 per cent. of the shares are in the same people. I am not proposing any change of ownership. The Minister will probably be able to meet me in this matter.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly We gave a good deal of consideration to this amendment and we are accepting the main principle involved. We would ask Senator Douglas to agree to the elimination of the words “or before.” That will, however, be covered by the new terms dealing with the 1st June date. We would ask him also to eliminate at the end of the amendment the words “or at the relevant time is in the ordinary course or forms part of an extension of such business as previously carried on.” In view of the discussion we had on the other two amendments, this would not, in any case, arise.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas That brings it into conformity with the other section.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly The amendment would then read:—

(f) such business was carried on in Saorstát Eireann on the 1st day of June, 1932—

There would have to go in there “or within one month immediately preceding that date.”

and such business is at the time such thing is done owned by a body corporate the issued shares of which are beneficially owned to an extent exceeding one-half (in nominal value) by the individual or individuals by whom the business was beneficially owned on the 1st day of June, 1932, and the doing of such thing would if it had been done on

I propose to eliminate the words “or before.”

the 1st day of June, 1932, have been [1894] in the ordinary course or formed part of such business as then carried on in Saorstát Eireann.

From that on would be eliminated in view of what we have already decided.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas Except where you would have to put in “within a month.”

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly At the end, the insertion of the words “would have been a reasonable extension of” will meet the various preceding amendments.

Amendment 6, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly The amendment in its amended form will read as follows:—

Section 2, sub-section (1). After paragraph (e), line 20, to insert a new paragraph as follows:—

(f) such business was carried on in Saorstát Eireann on the 1st day of June, 1932, and such business is, at the time such thing is done, owned by a body corporate the issued shares of which are beneficially owned to an extent exceeding one half (in nominal value) by the individual or individuals by whom the business was beneficially owned on the 1st day of June, 1932, and the doing of such thing would, if it had been done on the said 1st day of June, 1932, or within one month immediately preceding that date, have been in the ordinary course or formed part of such business or have been a reasonable extension of such business as then carried on in Saorstát Eireann; or

Amendment put and agreed to.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas I move amendment No. 7:

Section 2, sub-section (3). To insert before the sub-section a new sub-section as follows:—

(3) For the purposes of paragraph (c) of the immediately preceding sub-section, but not further or otherwise, the following provisions shall have effect—

(a) where the shares of a body corporate are registered in the name of a Bank carrying on business in Saorstát Eireann, such [1895] shares shall be deemed to be in the beneficial ownership of a national of Saorstát Eireann;

(b) where shares in a body corporate which is a public company are transferred to a person who is not a national of Saorstát Eireann and as the result of such transfer the issued shares of such body corporate cease to be to an extent exceeding one half thereof in the beneficial ownership of nationals of Saorstát Eireann, such body corporate shall nevertheless be entitled to continue its business without holding a new manufacturer's licence for a period of six months or such longer period as may be specified by the Minister in writing.

This amendment I put down in order to enable the Minister to substitute new words. I think the general principle of it was agreed to.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly I intend to move as an alternative to add at the end of sub-section (2) of Section 2 the following:—

“and

(e) where the issued shares of a body corporate are transferred to a bank, being a body corporate, by way of security for an advance and such bank is registered as the owner of such shares in the register of shareholders of such body corporate, such transfer and registration shall not operate to transfer the ownership of such shares to such bank; and

(f) whenever the issued shares of a body corporate cease to be held in the manner stated in the said paragraph (c), such shares shall be deemed to continue to be held in accordance with that paragraph for a period of six months after they cease to be in fact so held.”

In our opinion that meets the issue. Our draftsman gave this very considerable consideration, in conjunction with our legal adviser, and we feel that while it accepts and embodies the principles of the Senator's amendment it puts it into proper form.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas In this sub-section?

[1896]Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly Yes. In sub-section (2). “Where the issued shares of a body corporate are transferred to a bank, being a body corporate, by way of security for an advance and such bank is registered as the owner of such shares in the register of shareholders of such body corporate, such transfer and registration shall not operate to transfer the ownership of such shares to such bank.” That is, for the purpose of the Bill, the bank will not be considered the owner. It is eliminating the responsibility from the shoulders of the bank and letting it rest where it belongs.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn Zoom on Michael Comyn Is that satisfactory?

Cathaoirleach: I would have thought not. I would have thought the contrary.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn Zoom on Michael Comyn I am only bringing this matter to the attention of the Minister that that section in its literal meaning would mean that the transfer to the bank register of the name of the bank would not operate in transferring the ownership of the shares. Is the meaning that it would be transferred for the purposes of this Act?

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly That is the point.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas Is that there?

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly I presumed that Senators were reading the whole Bill. The introductory words are “for the purposes of paragraph (a) of the immediately preceding sub-section.” It is only for the purposes of this section.

Cathaoirleach: That would be all right.

Amendment put and agreed to.

Amendment No. 7, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas I move amendment 8:

Section 2, sub-section (3). After the word “who” in line 18 to insert the word “knowingly.”

This is a matter to which I have given some consideration and on which I have taken some advice. I am informed that the insertion of the word “knowingly” would not, in any sense, mean that a person could claim he did [1897] not know the law. Of course, I do not desire that that should be so. As far as this particular amendment is concerned I am not going to press it because in Committee the words “serious offence” were inserted at a later stage. I am sure the insertion of this word would fully carry out what I want. I want to make sure that an offence for which there was a fine, say, of half a crown would not render a man liable to have his manufacturer's licence withdrawn. It could not be called a serious offence if the magistrate inflicted only a small fine and I am of the opinion that the word “knowingly” is of value here.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas I move amendment 9:

Section 2. To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:

“(5) where a body corporate is charged with having committed an offence under this section, it shall be sufficient for such body corporate to prove that it has received statements in writing from the requisite number of its shareholders that they are nationals of Saorstát Eireann within the meaning of this Act and no such body corporate shall be held responsible for any inaccurate information supplied by its shareholders.”

This raises a similar point to what we have had before. If the word “knowingly” were introduced in Section 4 its relevance, I am informed, would be that if a company's secretary made a return, that so and so is a national because of the information given him, and did not knowingly give wrong information, he could not be held responsible. The advice I have received from my learned friend is that this section I am now proposing is of real importance. Whether its wording in its present form is all that is to be desired I do not know. It is clear that the secretary of a company, if he obtained his information in writing, has done what is required. I have inserted the words “in writing”. If the secretary of a company receives a request to prove that 51 per cent. of his shareholders were nationals, he can send a circular in which the question is answered by the shareholders, and if [1898] the shareholders say they are nationals, well then the secretary will not be responsible for any false statement made. If there is any suspicion in the mind of the Department, or the Minister, he can address a specific question to the shareholders concerned. This, I think, would be a safeguard against any fraud. I propose that my amendment therefore be accepted either in the form in which I have put it on the paper or in some other form.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly In place of that amendment I would like to propose an amendment that in the main covers the points raised by Senator Douglas. I will read it:—

Before Section 3 to insert a new section as follows:—

“3. (1) In any proceedings against a body corporate for an offence under the immediately preceding section, the production of a certificate in the prescribed form and containing the prescribed particulars and verified in the prescribed manner, under the hand of a person registered as the proprietor of shares in such body corporate certifying—

(a) that he is the beneficial owner of such shares and is a national of Saorstát Eireann, or

(b) that he holds such shares on behalf of another person and that such other person is a national of Saorstát Eireann

shall be prima facie evidence of the facts so certified.

(2) If any person makes in a certificate under this section any statement which is false or misleading in any material respect, such person shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding ten pounds.”

That really means that under the regulations a standard form will be made available which will entirely eliminate the responsibility of the secretary of the company. I think that meets the Senator's point.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas In the main I think it would, but at the same time I think [1899] there is a snag in it, and that is the difficulty with regard to trustees. We had that in a later section where shares were held in a particular form —for the life of some person, some person who held shares for somebody else in a home or hospital or the like. It is not possible for a trustee to state whether such a person is or is not a national. He could do so in most cases, but where he held for a hospital or such it would be different. If the Minister meets me in that I shall be satisfied.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly I think if Senator Douglas would read sub-section (b) of the proposed amendment it would satisfy him. If he holds such shares on behalf of another person and such person is a national he does not disclose for whom he holds it.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas That is my point. My point is that the trustee is not in a position to know whether the hospital or this particular body is or is not a national. The individual can tell himself. On the Committee Stage we came up against that difficulty, but at a later period the Minister removed the words, recognising the trustee would not be easily able to tell. I do not want something inserted that it would not be possible to comply with. My opinion is roughly that the individual should be able to tell himself whether he is a national. That is a reasonable question. He should be able to state for whom he holds. I do not claim any secrecy in that matter at all. If he gives a certificate that he knows the person to be a national that would satisfy me. But if he is not able to say that a person is a national it should be sufficient for him to state for whom he holds. What is in my mind is the case of companies where there are a good many trusts held.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly I am advised that where a person would not be in a position to give that information, that a certificate giving all the information he is able to give would be adequate for the purposes of this Act.

[1900]Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas That certainly is not in the amendment. The difficulty I am in is, can the Minister tell me how to advise a person to answer that question in the prescribed form?

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly We have puzzled a good deal over that in the last twenty-four hours and we cannot see how it can be covered by any form of amendment that can be drafted. Our feeling is that where such a difficulty arises all we can do in such an extreme case, or in the event of such a thing happening, is to accept the bona fides of the person acting as trustee, and in a case where he cannot really give the information, it is to be left to his good faith. We cannot see any way in which it can be covered otherwise and we have gone a good deal into the matter.

Mr. Jameson: Information on Hon Andrew Jameson Zoom on Hon Andrew Jameson Would not the Minister agree to leave out the words to add the name of the person who holds the shares and leave it to the Minister to come to the body and make his own inquiries? That would free the trustee from liability.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas That could be done. I would make practically the same suggestion. I think that in (b) the Minister might leave out the words “and that such other person is a national of Saorstát Eireann.” I want to avoid the trustee being obliged to show that the other is a national. I agree it might be impossible in an Act to define what a hospital is, but common sense will supply it and I do not want one person placed in the position that he cannot give correct reports.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly I might point out that the certificate will be held as the evidence, and that in the case Senator Douglas made it will not be essential to fill in the particulars such as he mentioned. I am rather slow to accept the suggestion about leaving out the words in paragraph (b) made by the Senator, frankly for the reason that I do not know what legal interpretation might be put upon it. I think the amendment has adequately covered the position in the best [1901] possible way and I suggest that it ought to be accepted.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas I will not press the matter further.

Amendment 9, by leave, withdrawn.

Minister's amendment put, and agreed to.

Sections 2 and 3, as amended, agreed to.

Amendment 10 (Senator Douglas), not moved.

Section 4 agreed to.

Mr. Staines: Information on Michael Staines Zoom on Michael Staines I move amendment 11: Section 5, sub-section (1). After the word “Minister” in line 54 to insert the following words:—“shall refer such application to the Tariff Commission for a report on the desirability or otherwise of granting such new manufacture licence; and the powers, functions and duties of such Commission, as defined in the Tariff Commission Act, 1926 (No. 40 of 1926) in regard thereto shall be the same as if such application were an application of the kind contemplated in Section 2 of the said Act, except in so far as such powers, functions or duties may be modified or adapted by regulations made under this Act. On the receipt and after consideration of such report the Minister.”

I think to give to any Minister authority to issue or refuse licences is placing too much power in his hands, even under the prescribed and published conditions laid down. It would really be leaving too much power in the hands of any Minister because of the risk of pressure. I think for the Minister's own sake there should be a check. A check is desirable if only as a buffer to modify the impact of this application pressure. The late Government, when they adopted a policy of selective protection, set up a tariff commission. I think if the present Government intend to set up a licensing policy that the licensing should be selective and should be referred to a body such as the Tariff Commission. In that way you will ensure that all the applications will be examined in public—they may be [1902] examined in public—by a body of public officials. In that way the Minister will avoid many difficulties. He will get fuller information than he could possibly get in a departmental way. Of course the final decision will rest with the Minister. The Commission here referred to is different to the one we discussed on an earlier stage of the Bill. The principal benefit resulting from having an investigation by the Tariff Commission will be that everybody will know that the application has not been decided on political grounds; that it has been determined entirely apart from any political influence. I ask the Minister to accept the amendment.

Mr. Dowdall: Information on James Charles Dowdall Zoom on James Charles Dowdall Whatever objection there may be to the Minister getting power, I think if Senator Staines had studied the reports of the Tariff Commission as closely as I have done and had followed as I have their vagaries and capers at enormous public expense, he would not have put down such a ridiculous amendment as this in connection with a Bill that deals with a very important and serious matter. The idea of three gentlemen, civil servants, going down the country and looking at a creamery to-day, a bacon curing factory to-morrow, a blanket factory another day and a margarine factory on some other occasion and then going to Denmark and Germany and asking foreign opponents of traders in this country their ideas about the efficiency of this, that and the other thing is really ridiculous. I think that if the whole thing were properly staged it would make an admirable farce. What possible information could anybody who had not been technically trained get by going into a cotton factory? A person, say, goes into a blanket factory and looks at the machine that has been installed that morning. He might think simply because the machine is covered with fluff, that it was very dirty. I have no doubt that people not technically trained would, as a result of such a visit go away with the idea that such a factory was very inefficient. But even if the members of a Tariff Commission were capable of assimilating a mass of [1903] technical information rapidly, the schedules and regulations to the Tariff Commission Act are so restrictive as to make rapid development impossible. I am not saying that I am infatuated with the idea of giving carte blanche to any Minister. I have known many Ministers in my time and I have had occasion from time to time to criticise the whole of them, but I am certainly prepared to trust the worst Minister that one could imagine to any body that could be set up under the Tariff Commission Act.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly I am not accepting this amendment. The remarks of Senator Staines hardly call for any comment. They were adequately dealt with last week. When Senator Staines was not dealing with political pressure his friend Senator Sir John Keane was. It seems to me to indicate that both Senator Sir John Keane and Senator Staines have been so used to political pressure being effectively applied that they cannot imagine either a Minister or an Executive carrying on without being subjected to that political pressure. The Bill itself has been so drafted as to insure that, while the maximum of free power is embodied in it, obviously in this as in other measures, as I have explained here before, certain discretionary powers must, in the last analysis, be placed in the hands of a Minister. In so far as it has been possible, under a Bill of this kind to take all power from the Minister and to make the powers given under it statutory, that has been done.

Senator Staines referred to the fuller information that it would be possible for the Tariff Commission, or a body such as it, to get. I cannot see that such a body could get any more information than the Minister and his Department can get so that I think that suggestion of his is merely foolish. The Senator also pointed out that in the last analysis the decision will rest with the Minister. That is true, and if it is why go to the trouble and expense and everything else that a Commission involves? We have had experience of Tariff Commissions, a rather unfortunate experience of [1904] them where matters were kept in abeyance for years: not for months but for years, where non-technical people accepted more readily the views of those who are opposed to Irish industries than the views of those who are intensely interested in and engaged in Irish industries. We have had experience of other Commissions in other directions, of advisory committees and so on. I must say that the results that I have seen from these in no way encourage me to favour the idea of a Commission. We resisted such a proposal on other stages of the Bill and we are doing it here.

To make the Act work effectively and quickly and to get results, the Act itself defines, as clearly as it is possible to do, the terms and the conditions under which licences must be got. The Minister, no more than anybody else, can flagrantly break the law. The Act is very specific as to the terms and conditions under which licences must be issued. In view of that I do not think I need say any more on the amendment. On previous stages we had a good deal of discussion on the fundamental question of Commissions and so on. As I have already stated, we do not propose to accept the amendment.

Mr. Staines: Information on Michael Staines Zoom on Michael Staines If we place all power in the hands of the Minister he can do what he likes and he will not be breaking the law.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly He can only do what he likes within the terms of the Act.

Mr. Staines: Information on Michael Staines Zoom on Michael Staines Yes, within the terms of the Act. He can grant or refuse licences.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly No, I protest, that is not so. There are very definite and specific conditions laid down for the Minister. It is only in a few instances, and under special sub-sections that a discretionary power is placed in the hands of the Minister. Judging by what the Senator has said, it seems to me that he has not read or studied this Bill.

Mr. Staines: Information on Michael Staines Zoom on Michael Staines I have studied it. My object in proposing the Tariff Commission is so that the thing would be [1905] inquired into in the proper way. There is no use in Senator Dowdall saying that the Tariff Commission was down to Cork or anywhere else and that they examined machinery.

Mr. Dowdall: Information on James Charles Dowdall Zoom on James Charles Dowdall And tried to look wise.

Mr. Staines: Information on Michael Staines Zoom on Michael Staines They know nothing at all about that. It is not that they have to examine machinery any more than the Minister or his staff. The real thing is that they inquire into the financial circumstances and property of the firms that make the application. That is what they have to do in this case. The tariffs are different of course. And I think this is the most terrible Act that has been introduced by the present Government. What is going to happen is that people will come along—we were talking about it here the other day when some Senator mentioned “crooks”—what will happen is that they will come along and drive a coach and four through this Act of Parliament and yet people will not consider them crooks; they will just look on them as they have always looked on the driving of a coach and four through an Act of Parliament, as they did in O'Connell's time. The people that will come along will not be the best type. A decent firm will have to ask for a licence and will be told that they are working under certain conditions. The “crook” firm will not. They will get in somehow and they will drive a coach and four through it.

Mr. Dowdall: Information on James Charles Dowdall Zoom on James Charles Dowdall Will not the effect be the very opposite? Look at Ford's.

Mr. Staines: Information on Michael Staines Zoom on Michael Staines Ford's are already well established but some one else might be thinking of coming in. Do you think they will go on their knees to the Government to get a licence to give employment in this country? They will not do it and very few decent firms will. Besides, if they make a success of their business and they want to sell it they may sell it only to certain people. There is no such thing as an open market for them to sell. If they have to sell they must take [1906] what they can get for it. I hope that the Minister will accept the proposal.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly I do not know whether one is really expected to take seriously such remarks as the last speaker has made. I really cannot feel he is serious in making the arguments he has made, if one can call them arguments. He refers to “crooks” coming in. Of course that is one of the reasons Acts of Parliament or of the Oireachtas have to be passed. I defined “crooks” here last week. My definition was “a person who deliberately does anything that is dishonest.” Senator Sir John Keane raised the question if the evasion of an Act of Parliament was the action of a “crook.” I say yes. Senator Staines talks about driving a coach and four through Acts of Parliament. What does he mean by that? Does he suggest that this Act of the Oireachtas is any more open to driving a coach and four through than any other? Then he talked about firms not coming in on their knees to establish industries here. I am afraid he is entirely wrong as to the way business is done. Decent firms do not go on their hands and knees anywhere; but they do, if they go into a country, try to understand the laws of that country, and they try to comply with them. And no decent firm feels it is going on its knees if it gets an Act of Parliament covering an industry or industries in the country and tries to understand and to comply with that. Any reasonable Ministry will meet them in the same spirit. There is no question of their going on their knees any more than there is a question of our going on our knees to them. Any one who examines it will know that we are trying to protect existing manufactures and trying to protect our nationals. We have tried to do that in this Act, and Senator Staines's suggestion is that everything should be thrown over to a tariff commission and that the Department and the Legislature and everything else be thrown aside. I think really we have adequately discussed this matter, and I cannot accept as a serious contribution to legislation [1907] such remarks as have been made by Senator Staines. As I said before, I [1908] doubt very much if he understands the Act.

Amendment No. 11 was put.

The Committee divided: Tá, 15; Níl, 17.

Tá.

Browne, Miss Kathleen.
Costello, Mrs.
Counihan, John C.
Crosbie, George.
Dillon, James.
Fanning, Michael.
Kennedy, Cornelius.
O'Connor, Joseph.
O'Hanlon, M. F.
O'Rourke, Brian.
Staines, Michael.
Toal, Thomas.
Wilson, Richard.

Níl.

Chléirigh, Caitlín Bean Uí.
Comyn, K.C., Michael.
Connolly, Joseph.
Cummins, William.
Dowdall, J.C.
Farren, Thomas.
Foran, Thomas.
Hickie, Major-General Sir William.
Moore, Colonel.
O'Doherty, Joseph.
O'Neill, L.
Phaoraigh, Siobhán Bean an.
Quirke, William.
Robinson, Séumas.
Ryan, Séumas.

Tellers:—Tá: Senators Staines and Wilson; Níl: Senators O'Doherty and S. Robinson.

Amendments 12, 13 and 14, in the name of Senator Douglas, were not moved.

Cathaoirleach: That Section 5 stand part of the Bill.

Agreed to.

Sections 6 to 15 were also agreed to as part of the Bill.

The Title was passed and it was agreed that the Bill be reported to the House.

Cathaoirleach: As regards the Report Stage of the Bill the Government are very anxious to get this Bill to-morrow and if the House would agree I suggest that the House meet to-morrow afternoon at 3 o'clock for the Report Stage.

Agreed.


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