Control of Manufactures Bill, 1932—Report Stage.

Thursday, 4 August 1932

Seanad Éireann Debate
Vol. 15 No. 31

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Leas-Chathaoirleach: The question is: “That the Control of Manufactures Bill, 1932 be received for final consideration.”

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Connolly): Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly I rather think that Senator Jameson wants to say something on this. I see him coming into the House now and perhaps he wishes to say something.

Mr. Jameson: Information on Hon Andrew Jameson Zoom on Hon Andrew Jameson I did not see until this morning the text of the amendments inserted on recommittal. We should have looked at the matter more carefully yesterday, for when I came to consider amendment, No. 11 on the Paper, to Section 2, sub-section (2), it seemed to me that the last three lines prevented the shares becoming a security to the bank. The amendment reads:—

Section 2, sub-section (2). The following added at the end of the sub-section:—

“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 [1974] 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...”

The Minister told me on the telephone that he believed it was governed by the first line of sub-section (2)—“for the purpose of paragraph (b) of the immediately preceding section”—and that it was only for the purpose of this additional clause that non-ownership acted. I asked our law agent at the bank to let me have his opinion on it, as if asking himself could I advance money on that security, and his opinion was that, as the clause was drawn, a court decision would have to be taken to make it perfectly clear that a bank could have the right to sell those shares. It was confused, and he, individually, as a solicitor, could not give his opinion straight off the reel unless there was a court decision that a bank would be safe in lending money on those shares. I telephoned to the Minister about this, and no doubt he will tell us what the result of his deliberations is.

Leas-Chathaoirleach: Are you moving an amendment.

Mr. Jameson: Information on Hon Andrew Jameson Zoom on Hon Andrew Jameson I am asking the Minister what he thinks about it.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas I take it that the first portion of my amendment yesterday stood, that is, “for the purpose of paragraph (c) of the immediately preceding sub-section but not further or otherwise.” I take it that that was standing part?

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly The situation is as Senator Jameson has stated it. Following our conversation on the telephone I got a message from the legal representative of the Bank of Ireland. I had already got our own draftsman and lawyer on the matter and they felt quite satisfied that it is quite in legal form as it stands in the Bill, and that the introductory portion of sub-section (2) of Section 2 covers adequately the point raised by Senator Jameson, that is to say, “for the [1975] purpose of paragraph (b) of the immediately preceding sub-section but not further or otherwise, the following provision shall have effect” etc. We are perfectly satisfied that it is only for the purpose of paragraph (b) and not further or otherwise, and that is adequately covered. We had gone into the matter very carefully when the drafting of the amendment was being considered and we have further considered them and our opinion is now that it is still good and that it is adequately covered, but to meet beyond question the point raised by Senator Jameson, we would, with your permission, introduce in the last line but one of the amendment, following the word “shall”, the words “be deemed not to operate.” I think that will put it beyond yea or nay that the point raised by Senator Jameson is entirely covered.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas Might we have the whole paragraph with these words inserted?

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly Certainly. The sub-section will read:

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 be deemed not to operate to transfer the ownership of such shares to such bank; and

That is to say, that will have to be read in conjunction with sub-section (2) of Section 2 and I think it puts it beyond question that it is only for the purpose of this Act, and for this section of the Act, and not further or otherwise, that this will operate.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn Zoom on Michael Comyn I think that gets rid of the doubt. I think that is all right now and can be absolutely relied on.

Mr. Jameson: Information on Hon Andrew Jameson Zoom on Hon Andrew Jameson The Minister knows that what we are doing is to try to make the shares available for a bank to lend money on.

[1976]Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly I appreciate that.

Mr. Jameson: Information on Hon Andrew Jameson Zoom on Hon Andrew Jameson That is what we are at but, if the Minister is satisfied, we cannot be accused afterwards, if the Minister happens to be wrong and a law case has to be taken, of not looking after the clearing up of it. I am prepared to take the Minister's word that his advisers are right. Our Law Agent did say that it was such a distance off that we would find it very hard to interpret it unless we read a great deal. It was so completely at the end of the section that it would be difficult, but I think that the words now put in make it clear that it is only for this purpose.

Leas-Chathaoirleach: I cannot accept such an amendment to-day. The only amendment I can accept is that the Report Stage be postponed to a further day.

Mr. Jameson: Information on Hon Andrew Jameson Zoom on Hon Andrew Jameson What can we do as regards that?

Leas-Chathaoirleach: There is nothing to be done except, if you choose to have this clause amended, to propose the postponement of the Report Stage to another day.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly Could we not recommit the Bill and go on with the Report Stage?

Leas-Chathaoirleach: We can take the Report Stage.

Mr. Dowdall: Information on James Charles Dowdall Zoom on James Charles Dowdall I suggest to Senator Jameson that he should allow the Bill to go through with the agreed amendment of yesterday and, when the Bill gets to the Dáil, that they should make the verbal change there.

Mr. Jameson: Information on Hon Andrew Jameson Zoom on Hon Andrew Jameson I think it is more than a verbal change.

Mr. Dowdall: Information on James Charles Dowdall Zoom on James Charles Dowdall I feel fairly convinced that if I went with such shares to Senator Jameson's bank a technicality would not prevent him from making me an advance.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas As a possible way out of the difficulty, might I suggest that we recommit the Bill? That can be done, admittedly, at any time during [1977] Report Stage, and if we can get the unanimous consent of the House to the suspension of Standing Orders we can pass the Report Stage to-day.

Mr. Staines: Information on Michael Staines Zoom on Michael Staines I second that. I think it is time we got finished with this Bill, but I do not agree with Senator Dowdall that the thing could be done in the Dáil. I think that if it is possible to do it here, we should recommit the Bill and get finished with it.

Leas-Chathaoirleach: A precedent was established by the Cathaoirleach yesterday that, on this matter, we could not suspend Standing Orders and take the Report Stage.

The Countess of Desart: Information on Countess of Desart Zoom on Countess of Desart But we can if it is an urgent matter, and this is obviously an urgent matter.

Leas-Chathaoirleach: It is no more urgent to-day than yesterday.

The Countess of Desart: Information on Countess of Desart Zoom on Countess of Desart We, on this side, all thought it urgent yesterday.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas Without questioning your ruling for a moment, but, possibly, to help you in your decision, might I suggest that it might be regarded as more urgent to-day, for the simple reason that it was well known yesterday that the Dáil would be sitting for two or three days? The postponement of the Bill until to-morrow, simply for the sake of meeting for two or three minutes, might easily mean very considerable expense to the State. On that ground, we might make a plea of urgency.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly I might have resisted this suggestion of Senator Jameson's and I might even have got it through before he got to his seat but I wanted to play fair in this matter. He rang me up about this point and, while we still do not believe there is the slightest ground for the legal point made by his legal adviser, but that we are adequately covered, as we agreed we were yesterday, in the covering clause of sub-section (2), we simply tried to facilitate him and to meet his views as agreeably as we could by putting in these words. In my opinion, they do not make the slightest difference because [1978] it is adequately covered already, and it is rather unpleasant to find that when we have tried to meet him, we are going to be held up on a legal technicality in regard to three or four words going in at this stage. The Dáil is meeting at present and it has definitely decided that this Bill will be taken immediately the Finance Bill is dealt with, which might be this afternoon or to-night. It is the intention of the Dáil to go on with this Bill and finish it if they finish the Finance Bill in time. If it could be arranged that Senator Jameson could get these words in by recommitting the Bill for a few moments, and if we can then go on with the Report Stage, I think it would be reasonable.

Mr. Jameson: Information on Hon Andrew Jameson Zoom on Hon Andrew Jameson If we could do that he would be best; to recommit the Bill and complete the matter in a few minutes.

Leas-Chathaoirleach: The precedent was definitely established by the Cathaoirleach yesterday that that could not be done.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn Zoom on Michael Comyn Could we not recommit one section?

Leas-Chathaoirleach: Yes, but the Report Stage could not be taken to-day.

Mr. Foran: Information on Thomas Foran Zoom on Thomas Foran What do the Standing Orders say in case of emergency?

Leas-Chathaoirleach: This is not a case of emergency. The Cathaoirleach ruled that it was not a case of emergency, and in any case the word used in the Standing Order is “necessity,” not “emergency.” This is obviously not a case of necessity.

Mr. Foran: Information on Thomas Foran Zoom on Thomas Foran To-day there is an emergency.

Leas-Chathaoirleach: Not more than yesterday.

Mr. Foran: Information on Thomas Foran Zoom on Thomas Foran The Dáil is meeting to-day.

Leas-Chathaoirleach: Standing Order 91 reads:—

When a Bill is to be considered on Report, proposed amendments shall be notified before 4 p.m. on the second preceding day and shall be arranged in proper order.

[1979] We cannot take this alteration on the Report Stage, and if the Bill is recommitted the Report Stage cannot be taken to-day.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas We did not specifically move yesterday that the Standing Orders be suspended, and I think the Chair will find, subject to being satisfied that this is a matter of sufficient urgency, that the alteration can be accepted provided the House is unanimous.

Leas-Chathaoirleach: There is no foundation in the Standing Orders for that suggestion.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn Zoom on Michael Comyn I think this is merely a verbal alteration, for the reason that the Minister is quite satisfied that the section as it stands conveys the meaning that the transfer is a valid transfer of the shares, and shall be deemed to be a transfer merely for the purposes of the section. I agree with the Minister. I think that is the true construction of the sentence, and in order to relieve the doubts which Senator Jameson has in his mind, the words “shall be deemed not to operate” are to be inserted. That is merely a verbal amendment and does not alter the meaning of the section. There are plenty of precedents in this House for showing that such a matter can be disposed of at any stage, without going through the necessary formalities. I remember several of them in the last three years. It is merely a verbal alteration to satisfy Senator Jameson, although the Minister is of opinion, and his legal advisers are of opinion, that this technical alteration is not necessary in order to make clear what the Minister says is already sufficiently clear, and to satisfy Senator Jameson and the banking institutions, which, of course, will be very careful with regard to the securities they take. I think this is a matter which ought to be dealt with now, and that a postponement until to-morrow is wholly unnecessary. These formalities are very necessary in the case of an amendment of substance, but ought not to be resorted to now.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas I am sure no one wishes to press the Leas-Chathaoirleach [1980] to alter his decision. If he could see his way to agree with Senator Comyn that this is a verbal amendment, I suggest that on the Fifth Stage such an amendment could be made. In that case I think we could pass the Report Stage now.

Leas-Chathaoirleach: Senator Jameson regards this as an amendment of considerable importance.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn Zoom on Michael Comyn It does not alter the meaning of the section. It is merely a verbal amendment.

Mr. Toal: Information on Thomas Toal Zoom on Thomas Toal If it is possible to meet the wishes of the Minister everyone would be anxious to do so. If the Leas-Chathaoirleach could see his way to accept the suggested change I think he should try to do so.

Mr. Fanning: Information on Michael Fanning Zoom on Michael Fanning This is a matter of vital importance, and I see no reason why everything should not be done in the most regular way. I see no difficulty in adjourning consideration of the Bill until to-morrow. Let us do our business properly or leave it alone.

Mr. Farren: Information on Thomas Farren Zoom on Thomas Farren I think it is most unreasonable to put back this Bill for another day, in view of the fact that it has to go to the other House, because of the amendments passed here. While we may be meticulous about points of order we have, as sensible people, to consider the position of the public. If the Dáil and if this House have to be summoned again, it means considerable expense over what is merely a verbal change. The substance of the amendment is not being altered but, in order to facilitate the people most interested, the Minister has agreed to insert some words to make matters clear from their point of view. It is unreasonable that this Bill should be put back to another day, and unreasonable to expect that the country should be put to the expense of summoning the Dáil and the Seanad to meet again. With all respect I think the Leas-Chathaoirleach could agree at any stage to take such an alteration. I am here since the inception of this House, and on many important occasions I have seen similar alterations made without previous notice. That has always been the custom here, no matter who is in charge. [1981] I do not think we ought to take one course when one set of people are in power, and another course when other people are in power. I protest against this Bill being adjourned, and against the attempt to hold it up, which will only put the country to expense. On many occasions on different stages verbal amendments have been admitted on the Report Stage and on the Final Stage when it was found necessary to make them.

Leas-Chathaoirleach: I object to the Senator's remarks that there is any attempt to hold up the Bill, or to put the country to further expense. I may say that such remarks are entirely unnecessary. I am responsible for seeing that the Standing Orders are carried out. That is my position while in the Chair and I will carry it out to the best of my ability. I resent any such remarks as being uncalled for. The precedent was established yesterday and all I want is to stand rigidly by the Standing Orders. If the House regards this as a purely verbal amendment, under such circumstances I may be prepared to regard it as such, but not otherwise. I think it is the duty of the Chair to see that by no subterfuge can the Standing Orders be evaded. To recommit the Bill a second time would be an evasion of my responsibility. If the House is satisfied that the alteration is merely a verbal one, and of little or no consequence, I am prepared to accept it, but not otherwise.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn Zoom on Michael Comyn All sides are agreed that the words will not alter the meaning of the section.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas Zoom on James Green Douglas That is my opinion too. While I think the words are important I regard the alteration as a purely verbal one.

Mr. Counihan: Information on John Joseph Counihan Zoom on John Joseph Counihan I certainly agree with the Chair in regard to the remarks made by Senator Farren. I think the question of expense should not have any effect on the ruling of the Chair.

Mr. Farren: Information on Thomas Farren Zoom on Thomas Farren With all respect I did not discuss the ruling of the Chair.

[1982]Leas-Chathaoirleach: We discussed the conduct of the House.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn Zoom on Michael Comyn It seems to be the opinion on all sides that we should facilitate the Government and I think it would be the wish to take the suggestion made by the Minister.

Mr. Fanning: Information on Michael Fanning Zoom on Michael Fanning Apart from agreement or otherwise, I submit that the cost that would be entailed by the Dáil and the Seanad being brought back for an additional day is of very little importance, having regard to the future interpretation that might be given to our action to-day.

Mr. O'Doherty: Information on Joseph O'Doherty Zoom on Joseph O'Doherty When the House has agreed generally upon a matter like this has the Chair not absolute discretion?

Leas-Chathaoirleach: If the House expresses its opinion I welcome it.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly I would like to make it clear that this is in no way facilitating the Minister. It facilitates Senator Jameson. As I stated, I could have had the Report Stage through before Senator Jameson took his seat and I could have resisted or ignored the amendment. Rather than have the Bill held up I am prepared to resist it now. I want to meet Senator Jameson's point of view. Senator Fanning may have other views.

Mr. Fanning: Information on Michael Fanning Zoom on Michael Fanning I have no interest except the regularisation of the proceedings of the Seanad.

Leas-Chathaoirleach: I am accepting the amendment on the distinct understanding that the House is unanimously of opinion that the alteration is a purely verbal one. Otherwise I should resist it. The responsibility is on the House, because I accept it rather reluctantly.

Question—“That the Bill be received for final consideration”—put and agreed to.

Question proposed: “That the Bill do now pass.”

Mr. Connolly: Information on Joseph Connolly Zoom on Joseph Connolly I move the following verbal amendment:—

Section 2, sub-section (2). In [1983] paragraph (e), inserted on recommittal, to delete in line 7 the word “not” and to substitute therefor the words “be deemed not to.”

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn Zoom on Michael Comyn I second the amendment.

Question put and agreed to.

Main Question put and agreed to.

[1984]Leas-Chathaoirleach: The House now stands adjourned sine die, and in the ordinary course it will not be summoned until late in October. But in the event of the Dáil not accepting all or any of the amendments to this Bill made by the Seanad it is likely that the Cathaoirleach will be asked to summon the Seanad at an earlier date.

The Seanad adjourned at 3.30 p.m. until October 19th, 1932.


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