Dáil Éireann - Volume 63 - 08 July, 1936
Committee on Finance. - Air Navigation and Transport Bill, 1936—Second Stage.
Acting-Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Derrig) Acting-Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Derrig)
Acting-Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Derrig): I move: That the Air Navigation and Transport Bill, 1936, be now read a Second Time. It would be well, I think, at the beginning, to outline briefly the international position of the control of air navigation and the present position in the Saorstát. Aviation, as Deputies know, has provided us with a form of transport, the outstanding characteristic of which is speed. It is over the greatest distances that this feature of speed provides the most advantage, and the limits set by political frontiers to surface transport cannot be applied in the same way to transport in the air. It seems clear, therefore, that for the development of international air transport uniform facilities for the passage of aircraft into and over States are required. As might be expected, therefore, even in the early stages of air transport development, the subject was one for international consideration with a view to its regulation.
A first attempt to effect international regulation of air navigation was made in 1910, but it was found impossible to reach a unanimous agreement on a draft convention. The idea was taken up again at the opening of the Peace Conference in 1919. It became clear that, owing to the war, very considerable advances had been made in aerial transport, and the result was that in October, 1919, there was signed at Paris a Convention relating to the regulation of aerial navigation. The Saorstát is a party to this Convention which laid down principles to serve as a basis for uniform national regulations for the control of international flying. These principles, I think, might be briefly summarised as follows: that every Power has complete and exclusive sovereignty over the air space above its territory; that each contracting State undertakes, in time of peace, to give free air passage to the aircraft of other contracting States; that each contracting State may prohibit flight by aircraft over certain areas of its territory, and that each contracting State may conclude special conventions, not contradictory to the general principles of the International Convention, with non-contracting States.
The Air Navigation Act of 1920 implemented the International Convention and, in addition, provided for certain consequential and supplemental matters not covered by the Convention. This Act is the existing statutory authority for the regulation of flying in the Saorstát, and under it various orders and regulations have been made from time to time. For a considerable time the Government has been closely examining the question of air transport and, in connection therewith, the reconsideration of legislation applying to air navigation came up for consideration. It was considered advisable, having regard to all the circumstances, to introduce the present Bill. I think Deputies will fully appreciate that, if only on account of the passage of time and the general progress of civil aviation which has taken place in the meantime, modifications and amendments  will have to be made in the 1920 Act. But there is also the further important consideration that the steps which are now definitely about to be taken for aviation development in this country, to which I shall refer later, make it even more necessary that new legislative provisions should be made for the regulation of air navigation and transport. The Air Navigation and Transport Bill, 1936, contains no startling innovations. The House has already had experience of the application of the principle of public control and regulation of other forms of transport, as, for example, the road and railway measures which it has passed during recent years. This control which has been found desirable from experience in other forms of transport is now being adapted and modified to suit aerial transport, and is being applied to aviation in the present Bill.
Other matters dealt with in the Bill arise from the International Conventions of Paris, Warsaw, and Rome in connection with air transport. Provisions are outlined in the Bill, by which the contents of these conventions, and the principles laid down in them, may be specifically applied to aerial transport in Saorstát Eireann. Furthermore, co-ordination and economy of air transport development will be secured by centralising such development in one principal company.
There are ten Parts in the Bill, and I think the best course would be if I dealt briefly with each one of these. Part I is preliminary and general, and contains the usual sections covering definitions, fees, orders and expenses. It provides in Section 8 for the repeal of the Air Navigation Act, 1920. It has been decided to repeal that Act because it is thought better to incorporate the whole law in a single statute of the Oireachtas, and in so far as the provisions of the Act of 1920 are still found to be required, they will be re-enacted in this Bill.
Part II deals with the international convention signed in Paris in 1919 and re-enacts a section of the Air Navigation Act, 1920, which empowers the Executive Council to give effect, by Order, to the convention. The section gives power to compel  compliance when an aircraft disobeys signals, and to pay the annual contribution towards expenses of an international commission which was set up under the convention of 1919, which is also re-enacted. Provision is made for the continuance in force of existing certificates, licences, orders and regulations, made under the earlier Act.
Part III provides for the implementation of the international convention for the unification of certain rules relating to international carriage by air which was signed at Warsaw in 1929. The convention was acceded to by the Government of Saorstát Eireann by a formal notification to the Government of the Polish Republic, made on 20th September, 1935, and was presented as a White Paper to the Oireachtas by the Minister for External Affairs. This convention is limited in its application to the international carriage by air of persons, luggage or goods, performed by aircraft for reward. It lays down amongst other matters certain conditions as to the contract of carriage both for passengers and goods. It sets a limit to the carrier's liability in respect of death or injury to passengers, and in case of loss, damage or delay to goods. In Section 18 of the present Bill, the liability imposed on the carrier by the convention is substituted for any liability of the carrier in respect of the death of a passenger under any statute or at common law, and the benefit of such liability is made available for such members of the passenger's family as sustain damage by reason of his death. Power is taken in the Bill to apply the provisions of the Convention of Warsaw by Order of the Executive Council with any necessary modification to carriage by air which is not international.
Part IV makes provision in respect of damage by aircraft to persons on land or water. Liability for surface damage is at present governed by Section 9 of the Air Navigation Act under which absolute liability, subject to the defence of contributory negligence, is imposed on the owner of the aircraft or in certain circumstances on the hirer. This section, which makes proof of negligence or intention on the  part of the owner unnecessary, is re-enacted in the Bill. Under this Part also we come to the important new feature by which provision is made for a system of compulsory insurance by the owner of the aircraft against the liability imposed, and for the limitation of such liability, or, in other words, for compulsory insurance against certain third party risks. The Government has already thought it desirable in the case of motor vehicles to make compulsory a policy of insurance or alternative security for the protection of third parties. In the general interests of the community it is considered that similar provision should be made in respect of aviation and that the third party on the ground should be guaranteed reasonable compensation in the event of damage to person or property from the flying of aircraft. The necessary steps will be taken, before this chapter of the Bill is brought into operation, to ensure that as far as possible reasonable rates of insurance will be made available and that the protection of the injured third party from the adverse effects of omissions or misrepresentations on the part of the insured or the action of the insurer will be secured. I should point out with reference to this question of compulsory insurance against third party risk that an international convention dealing with the question of compulsory insurance and the limitation of liability for damage to a third party on the surface in the case of aircraft engaged in international air transport was signed at Rome in May, 1933, but has not yet come into force. Power is taken in this Part of the Bill to give effect to that convention by order of the Executive Council when it is considered necessary and expedient to do so.
Part V is concerned with the establishment and maintenance of aerodromes by the Minister for Industry and Commerce and by local authorities, and the acquisition of land and water rights, etc., for this purpose. The Minister has already power to establish and maintain aerodromes and to acquire land for that purpose  either by consent or compulsorily. The repeal of the 1920 Act, to which I have referred, makes the re-enactment of this provision necessary. Some minor defects found in the provisions of the 1920 Act have been removed or remedied and advantage is taken of the present opportunity to replace the existing method of the compulsory acquisition of land, which involved the Military Lands Acts, 1892 to 1903, by the more direct and more expeditious procedure of acquisition by order, subject, if considered expedient, to a prior public inquiry, and to the incorporation in such order of the Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act, 1919, and the Land Clauses Acts. It is considered desirable, also, that the efforts of local authorities to establish and maintain aerodromes should be facilitated by extending their present powers of acquisition to cover acquisition by compulsion, subject to the consent of the Minister for Industry and Commerce. The provision of aerodromes and landing-grounds is essential to the development of aviation, and the acquisition of sites therefor should not be held up by the unreasonable demands of property owners. The Bill accordingly provides, in Section 41, for the application of the powers now held by local authorities under the Public Health (Ireland) Acts of 1878 and 1896, and the Local Government Act, 1925, to the acquisition of land for the purposes of this Part of the Act. In order also to encourage co-operation between local authorities in providing aerodromes, provision is included in the Bill for the making of a contribution by a local authority or a harbour authority to the expenses of construction of an aerodrome undertaken by another local authority and for the setting up of a joint committee of management with representatives of the different contributing bodies. Provision is also made to extend the borrowing powers of local authorities to meet expenses incurred in the establishment of aerodromes.
Part VI of the Bill is made up of provisions similar to those in the Air Navigation Act, 1920. It excepts aircraft from action for trespass or nuisance by reason only of flight over  property at a reasonable height and in compliance with air regulations. It also specifies the liability and penalty for unnecessary dangerous flying.
Part VII contains a number of administrative and miscellaneous provisions. The sections in the Act of 1920 dealing with wreek and salvage, investigation of accidents, infringement of patents, and jurisdiction, have been brought up to date without involving changes in principle, and the amended provisions are included in this Part. In addition, the powers at present held under the Merchant Shipping Acts relating to ships in respect of collisions, signals of distress and urgency, and the making of regulatory bye-laws by harbour authorities have been extended to cover their application to sea-planes. Provision is also made in this Part for the detention of aircraft to secure compliance with any of the requirements of the Bill, and to prevent aircraft from flying when unfit to fly. The procedure for the detention of aircraft is on the lines of that applied to vessels by the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894. The Minister for Industry and Commerce is also empowered in Part VII to collect statistics and such other information as he may specify by order from air transport concerns and the holders of licences for customs aerodromes. Finally, air transport undertakings are placed in the same position as regards the carriage of mails as railway, tramway and omnibus undertakings. That is to say that the General Post Office may require them to carry mails.
I now come to the Parts of the Bill which will, I think prove of greatest interest at this stage. They are Parts VIII and IX which provide for the formation of a principal national air transport company and subsidiaries and for the restriction, with a minor exception, of internal air services to those carried on by the company and its subsidiaries. The House, I think, will fully realise the great importance of air transport in our time. In fact, aerial transport might be described as the special expression of the spirit of the age, the spirit of scientific achievement. It has gripped the imagination  of the people of our time in a way that few other things have. This wonderful success, which riders of the air have achieved, in subduing the elements and utilising the powers of nature for the benefit of humanity, has awakened sympathy and interest everywhere. Furthermore, aerial transport has provided a most important link which has brought the nations of the world nearer to one another and has done a great deal to cultivate better international understanding and better feelings amongst the peoples. But apart from these considerations, which are considerations of importance, there are also very practical and economic considerations which Governments of the present day must have regard to, in considering the development of air transport within their territories. Although transport by air is, comparatively speaking, in an early stage of development, wonderful progress has been achieved. What is certain is that Governments everywhere are attaching more and more importance to the development of aviation within their own territories. They are fully alive to the tremendous possibilities of air transport development. In fact, even in the internal transport systems of many countries, air transport has become a serious rival to other forms of transport.
In the international sphere, it is undoubtedly becoming a matter of first-class importance particularly to the larger countries, both from the point of view of their own prestige and of their commercial and political influence in the world, to give more and more attention to the development of the air arm. Very many of them have taken practical steps to encourage aerial development within their own territories and internationally. So far as we here in Saorstát Eireann are concerned, I think we have reached a very important stage in connection with air transport development. In fact, having regard to the international developments that are going on, the position is that this stage is a very significant one for us and one to which we ought to advert in the most complete manner. The routes along which international traffic will pass are now  being determined and it is of importance that the Saorstát should be in a position to utilise such advantage as is afforded by its geographical position on the fringe of the Continent of Europe, to establish its claim to inclusion on these routes in which it is interested.
The Government, I think I may say, have taken, and are taking steps under the present measure, to ensure that, as far as we are concerned, we shall do our utmost to utilise whatever position we may have, and whatever opportunities may offer, to secure our appropriate place in future developments and to participate in the economic and other benefits which may follow for our people and our State. So far as internal air services are concerned, it is of the first importance that there should be sufficient traffic available for the maintenance of such services once they are established. When they are established and working, I think it is clear to everybody that they provide for the acceleration of the carriage of passengers, mails, and urgent freight, and for connections with the main international services. It is clear, therefore, that whilst having regard to international developments in air transport, we must also have regard to domestic developments and make our arrangements accordingly, so that both internal and external developments in so far as we can regulate them or influence them, will proceed hand in hand.
A problem now arises in connection with the whole question of the future policy of Saorstát Eireann with regard to the development of air transport. That is, having made up our minds to follow a certain policy, what steps should the Government take to implement that policy, and what manner of organisation should it set up. What has been the experience in other countries, and what are the best lines for us to follow? The Minister for Industry and Commerce and his Department have been giving a good deal of attention to this matter for a considerable time past, and they have been influenced by the fact that the  tendency in Europe has been towards the formation of large-scale companies to operate all domestic and foreign air transport under close Governmental supervision. In France, for example, the company Air France was formed by a decree of the Minister for Air, in 1933, by an amalgamation of four companies and by taking over the assets of a fifth in liquidation. In Germany a very similar development occurred. After the European War, several air transport companies came into existence. These early companies underwent a process of grouping and regrouping until in 1924 German air transport was in the hands of two rival concerns. Following a period of very rapid development, the rivalry between those two companies developed into harmful competition and duplication, and eventually, as a result of Government intervention, a single combine, the present Deutsche Lufthansa, came into being in April, 1926. In Holland the Government hold a large share of the capital of the principal company, the Royal Dutch Air Lines (K.L.M.).
The tendency, therefore, is for modern Governments, in some form or other, to induce or require restriction of competition in air transport services. I think we may attribute this tendency on the part of modern Governments to a desire to eliminate utterly wasteful competition and to see that as far as possible the highest standards of safety will be observed. In June of last year the Minister told the House that aviation development in the Saorstát would be organised on sound lines with proper equipment and under Irish control. The Government have decided that development on these lines can best be secured by the establishment of a national company which will control directly or through subsidiaries all internal services in the Saorstát and all participation in international services from the Saorstát. We have come to this conclusion, after carefully considering the merits of the case for a long period. We believe that all the advantages are on the side of creating a national transport company in which will be unified and centralised all the air transport activities with which we have to  deal in the Saorstát. We consider that that is the most economical and most effective way and, having regard to all the circumstances of this State, by far the most suitable method of organisation we could set up. Provision for the formation of such a company is made in Part VIII of the Bill, and Part IX restricts the operation of all internal services to this company and its subsidiaries.
The control of any regular services between Saorstát Eireann and any other country is effectively secured by the Air Navigation (International Lines) Order, 1935, which makes it necessary for the authority of the Minister for Industry and Commerce to be obtained before such service may be established by either a Saorstát Eireann or a foreign company. It is proposed to exercise this restrictive power in favour of the national company and to give it the support of the Government in its relations with foreign Governments and competitors. Among other advantages, it is hoped, in this way, to secure for the company reciprocal treatment in the countries concerned.
If we are to have any air development in Saorstát Eireann and if the Government are embarking on a large policy, I think there can be no doubt whatever that we are entitled to see that any efforts we make, and any expenditure we may commit the country to, will be utilised in such a way as to make the future commercial development of the country as economical and effective as possible.
I come now to the finance clauses of the Bill. Part VIII provides for the formation of the company and empowers the Minister for Finance to take up by subscription shares of the company and to underwrite any public issue. The Government is satisfied that if there is to be any development of aviation in this country, on the reasonable scale contemplated, the State will have to take the initiative, and, at least in the early stages, will have to provide the necessary capital. One million pounds has been fixed as the nominal share capital of the principal company. I should explain, with  reference to this, that the share capital will be only called up as and when required.
In Section 72 the Minister for Finance is empowered to guarantee, if he thinks fit, any issue of debentures by the company. It is not possible at this stage to indicate what liability the State may incur under this section, but I should like to call attention to the fact that it is provided in the Second Schedule that so long as the Minister for Finance holds not less than one-tenth of the share capital, the company's right to issue debentures is subject to his consent.
There are two other matters in this financial Part of the Bill which require special mention. One is the provision for the payment of subsidies in Section 76 and the other for the loan by the principal company to Aer Lingus, Teoranta, in Section 77. With regard to the matter of subsidies, Deputies will appreciate that the principle of the subsidy, where it is working, has been accepted by certain other countries because they have considered it essential for the proper development of certain types of air lines. Some such provision may have to be made by Saorstát Eireann for the development of certain routes. Section 76 provides that the House will have an opportunity of examining any proposal to pay subsidies for the development of air service in Saorstát Eireann wherever the Government think such to be suitable and necessary. The procedure will be that under this section of the Bill the Minister for Finance may from time to time by Order authorise the payment of subsidies to the company on such terms and conditions as may be specified in such Order laid before the House. These Orders may be annulled or ratified and provision is made accordingly in the measure now outlined. The section limits the aggregate amount which may be authorised to be paid to the company by way of subsidy to £500,000, and no such Order may be made after the expiration of five years from the date of the passing of this Act.
I should say here, with regard to this financial proposal, that it is impossible at the moment to give details of the expenditure which has to be investigated.  A definite figure—which is at present under consideration — is not available and it is not possible to give the House all the details we would like to give it at the present moment. I hope it will be satisfactory if I point out at the moment that any proposal in connection with the granting of a subsidy will have to come before the House, and to come before it specifically in the way of an Order laid upon the Table and which can be discussed.
There is one other provision of a financial nature and that is in Section 77 of the Bill. It is provided that as soon as may be after the registration of the company, the company may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, lend to Aer Lingus Teoranta, a sum sufficient to discharge any liabilities of that company. This provision is necessary in order to regularise the position created by the formation of a subsidiary company prior to the formation of the parent company itself, which is to finance it. It is entirely a legal matter and the present procedure has been adopted as a result of legal advice.
When moving a Supplementary Estimate in November last, the Minister gave the House an indication of the Government's plans for the initiation, at the earliest possible date, of air transport services between Saorstát Eireann and Great Britain. The arrangements he then outlined for the setting up of a Saorstát company to operate these services, on a basis of joint working with a British company, have since been completed. Services were inaugurated on the 27th of May on the routes Dublin to Bristol, Dublin to Isle of Man, and Dublin to Liverpool via the Isle of Man. In furtherance of the policy to operate strictly on commercial lines, these services link up with express trains on the other side of the Channel. Further schemes for the development of services from the ports of Cork and Galway are under consideration, but I again stress the fact to which the Department has already called public attention, that the provision of suitable aerodromes is an essential preliminary  to the operation of regular air lines. The provision of direct services to Liverpool and London from Dublin is also being considered.
I should say, in connection with this international service, that reciprocity is required by all countries and the grant of landing rights in Great Britain involves the grant of corresponding rights here to a British company. The knowledge and experience of the British company, which is one of high standing, is now made available for the joint committee of management of Irish Sea Airways, and in making the arrangement for a joint working Aer Lingus, Teoranta, has not limited its independence to any greater extent than any ordinary business agreement for joint working limits the independence of both parties to the agreement. As I have already stated, both companies have equal representation on the joint committee of management, and expenses and receipts will be pooled.
The remaining sections of Part VIII deal with the relations of the principal company with the Minister for Finance, and provide for the exemption of the company and its subsidiaries from the application of the Control of Manufactures Acts, as was done in the case of Comhlucht Siuicre Eireann, Teo.
Part X deals with the control and regulation of certain classes of aviation business and is in furtherance of the policy I have already outlined for the restriction of commercial flying to the principal company and its subsidiaries. The interests of the company would be adversely affected by unrestricted operation of the private chartering of aircraft and it is, consequently, proposed as from a day to be appointed to permit such operation only under licence. Persons who were on the 1st of January of this year engaged in the provision of charter services will be entitled, as of right, to a licence to continue to operate. The same restriction is proposed for pleasure flights or, as they are usually called, “joy rides,” and for instructional flying. I should, perhaps,  mention, with reference to this matter of licences, that the Minister will have power to attach conditions to any licence which he may grant. He will have power to refuse an application for renewal of a licence, and he will also have complete discretion to revoke a licence, under Section 95. It is not considered feasible to extend the licensing provision to journeys under charter originating in another country but aircraft engaged in such flights will not be allowed to take up passengers for hire or reward within the Saorstát without a licence. The remaining provisions of this Part of the Bill cover the grant, renewal, transfer and revocation of licences and do not call for any special comment at this stage.
These are the main principles of the Air Navigation and Transport Bill. Although the Bill looks rather formidable, the principles of control, as I have already mentioned, have already been applied to other classes of transport and are well known to and appreciated by the House. The Bill is easy to understand and will not provide any great difficulty in its later stages. Amendment may be necessary on points of detail but, generally speaking, I think it will be conceded, that under the terms of the Bill, the Government are making definite and adequate provision to enable the Saorstát to take its due part in the development of aviation. With the financial aid which the State will provide and the control which it will exercise through the provisions of this Bill when it becomes law, I have no doubt we shall be able to ensure that future development will be carried out by and for the benefit of Saorstát nationals as far as possible. Finally, I think I am safe in prophesying that with the interest, financial and otherwise, which the State will in future have in the development of commercial aviation in and through Saorstát Eireann and with the direction which it will be able to give policy, that development will proceed on lines which will make certain the economic working of commercial services and the highest standards of operation in commercial and private flying.
Mr. Cosgrave Mr. Cosgrave
 Mr. Cosgrave: Has the Minister any information to give as to the personnel of the company which it is proposed to form?
Mr. Derrig Mr. Derrig
Mr. Derrig: The company has not yet been formed. As I explained in my speech, we are not in a position to state definitely what the personnel of the company will be or, indeed, what the programme will be. The Government is considering the programme. I am hopeful that, within a comparatively short time, we shall be in a position to make a statement on the position. I regret I cannot give the Deputy the information he asks. In fact, we are only in the preliminary stages of the enterprise and the company has not yet been set up. I am sure the Minister for Industry and Commerce will take the first opportunity to give the House the fullest information in his possession. The information I can give at the moment is rather limited for the reason I have stated.
Mr. Cosgrave Mr. Cosgrave
Mr. Cosgrave: The Minister can scarcely be congratulated on the attendance of his Party on the Second Reading of this remarkable Bill. For the better part of 40 minutes, two members of his Party listened to what he had to say and, for five more minutes, the number was increased to three. The Minister, in the course of his observations, laid stress on the importance of aerial navigation. In fact, he emphasised its importance. I presume the information at his disposal is exhaustive. His sources of information are, at any rate, much more numerous than those at our disposal. May I state shortly my own experience in this connection? I went by air from Croydon to Paris and there were approximately 20 passengers on board the vessel. If aerial transport is of the importance which the Minister thinks, one would expect that there would be a larger number of passengers. I went from Barcelona to Madrid by air and there were ten or 12 passengers on board. In the light of these circumstances, we are asked to give the Minister a blank check for £1,000,000. We are asked  to do more than that. We are asked, in the absence of information as to the personnel of the directorate, to give our sanction to this measure, which might be divided into three parts—the ratification of certain international agreements or protocols arrived at over a great number of years; the regulation of payment of compensation to persons or their representatives for damage done to them in the course of any flying across this country, and, thirdly, provision for the setting up of a company, the names of the directors not yet having been disclosed.
We have a right to complain of the manner in which this measure has been treated by the Government, in the first instance, and by the Party which supports the Government, in the second instance. Two members of the Government Party, out of a total of 76, were present here this evening during the Minister's speech. That is not very creditable to the Government Party. It is all the more remarkable because the Government newspaper states that, on account of lack of opposition yesterday, the Dáil adjourned at 6 o'clock. Apparently, we are becoming very humorous in this country when that sort of information is dished up to the public. This Bill was first introduced to the Dáil about 12 months ago, when the Minister for Industry and Commerce announced that he had such a measure in mind. It was formally introduced on the 1st July and it was published on Saturday last. Some of the members of the Dáil go to the country on Saturday. They had an opportunity of reading the Bill on Saturday or Sunday. Some of us had not that opportunity. We have only had this Bill in the last couple of days, and at the end of the session at the very last moment we are asked to consider this Bill to regulate air transport, to make provision for it, and to set up a company with a capital of £1,000,000. The Minister whose duty it is to substitute for the Minister for Industry and Commerce neglected to tell us these matters that I have  referred to in connection with the financial proposals. There is provision in some section previous to Section 77 for an expenditure of £5,000 preliminary expenses in connection with the company.
In the course of his remarks, the Minister told us that in most other countries they had come to the point where they were reducing the number of persons engaged in air transport down to one. Obviously, if it were a profitable concern in those countries it might not be necessary to reduce the number to one, but it would appear, on the face of it at any rate, as if the Government were not particularly in earnest in regard to this matter. Having 12 months ago given notice to the Dáil that they had an Air Navigation and Transport Bill, they produced this Bill on the 1st July, and the Dáil is to adjourn, presumably, before the 1st August. I expect the Minister wants all the stages of this Bill before the Recess. While he takes 12 months to produce the baby he expects us to baptise and confirm it in the short space of three or four weeks.
There are provisions in this measure which, a few years ago, would have shocked anybody with any democratic feelings. There is power given to the Minister to make Orders, to revoke Orders, to amend Orders, and to alter them almost at will. Is there any measure in transport or otherwise, apart from a measure introduced during the course of a war, that gives greater power to an Executive Minister or to the Executive Council than are given in this Bill? I suggest to the Minister the advisability of withdrawing the measure and giving it to us in three parts, first its international side if it is an international measure. We would then arrive at the other part after due consideration, and, if it was necessary for us to implement the first part, to pass it. Surely we ought to have had a single measure dealing with that side of the question. The next question is air navigation. Does it matter to the individual whether he is killed by a foreigner or by a member of our Army? Is there provision in this Bill for compensation for any damage done  by an Army officer in the course of manæuvres?
Mr. Derrig Mr. Derrig
Mr. Derrig: No.
Mr. Cosgrave Mr. Cosgrave
Mr. Cosgrave: Well, I suppose that means that there is to be no compensation in respect of a person killed by an Army plane. He has such honour done to him that it is worth while for him to go out in a blaze of glory. Is that the idea? I think no matter who does the damage the citizen ought to be compensated. Presumably we are to have Army aeroplanes. Aeroplanes come over my house occasionally, and it would be all the same to me whether it was one of these crashed or one of the new company.
I am glad the Minister has referred to the fact that we are not reducing our political status by this measure, that we are to give and take, and that we are not in this impossible position of isolation, of solitary and absolute independence. We have in the question of air to come down to earth at some time or other. The Minister realises that we have to do business on earth with other people whether we agree with them or not. But all the time we can wrap the green flag round us and say that everybody else must come down to earth, too.
From the point of view that we are to put £1,000,000 into an Irish company we ought to have before us the names of the directorate. That is not an unreasonable request. We ought to know all about the firm and what it is to do. The Government ought not to take the line that in regard to the powers that are embodied in this Bill to the extent that if subsidies are given or if debentures are going to be given the Dáil is the last place where any information about the company is going to be furnished. This measure in all its compilation makes a mockery of democracy. I noticed that in the 40 or 45 minutes that the Minister was speaking there were present only three members of his Party. That is not creditable to his Party. My own Party was better represented; there was one Independent who lasted out for some time; one solitary member who has resigned from the Fianna Fáil Party,  and one member of the Labour Party. In the ordinary course of events this measure should be a matter that ought to concern all Parties in this State. It ought to be dealt with in a non-Party manner and in the way I have said— that is that the international arrangements should be in one Bill, compensation in the second, and the other matters dealt with in the third Bill, or alternatively that the Bill should be divided into two compartments and the new company with regulations should be set out in the second part of it. I object very strongly to the form in which this Bill is presented. If we are to put £1,000,000 into a concern, the Dáil should know the names of the persons who are to be directors. As the measure stands, it is open to the Minister to select whom he likes after the Bill passes this House. The House has no control and it cannot utter any criticisms. It is not advisable that criticism should be uttered once we are committed to the Bill. But there is no reason why if this is a serious effort towards improving transport in this country that the Minister should not have provided us with the names of the directors and informed us of the other provisions. It is strange that there should be such a provision in the Bill as to embody the principle that subsidies should be paid when the Minister desires.
There is the other proposition about debentures. Debentures may be issued in very sound companies for very good reasons. The ordinary conception of a debenture is that it means a mortgage. That the Government is going to back the flotation of an air navigation company is the fact before us and information is furnished that there may be debentures subsequently issued. The ordinary man who is an investor is very likely to be frightened by the idea of debentures. Is his money that is going to be put into this concern in its earlier stages to be the speculative part, and if there are losses or if the company does not pay, are the debentures then to be brought in to make what we call the solid or stable portion of the company? I suppose the Minister is in a hurry with this measure. However, I  cannot congratulate him on the haste with which it has been introduced nor on the attendance of his Party to listen to his speech in the House. I am quite sure the Minister who is acting as substitute for the Minister for Industry and Commerce has done his best in the circumstances.
Sir Osmond Esmonde Sir Osmond Esmonde
Sir Osmond Esmonde: The Minister for Industry and Commerce has been absent from the House for some time now. Some time ago he promised to introduce this Bill and pass it through the House in all its stages before the Recess. These promises are being carried out in spite of his illness. I think a great deal of the detail in the early stages of the Bill is of a routine character. Regulations are being brought up to date to fit in with the corresponding regulations in other countries. Certainly this Bill has been long delayed. I think it is three years now since the Bill was promised by the Minister. Two Bills have recently been passed in the British House of Commons embodying many suggestions and the regulations which are to be found in this measure. I carefully read through the debates in the British House of Commons on these Bills, and I must say there was nothing very enlightening to be had from the contributions made on these occasions.
This Bill is more in the nature of an enabling Bill to enable the Government to do certain things in future, but even when the Bill becomes an Act everything will remain to be done for the development of commercial air transport in this country. The full responsibility will devolve on the Executive Council and the Minister. As Deputy Cosgrave pointed out, they are given great latitude in making such regulations as they choose. It is to be hoped that they will show care and foresight, which they have not shown on other occasions in connection with other matters, because to make mistakes at the starting of a national air transport service would be a very serious matter and might be irrevocable. There are many amendments and adjustments which can be brought into this measure on the Committee  Stage. It will be found on looking through the Bill that there are a considerable number of contradictions from one section to another. That need not concern us to-day, however. The main matter which the public are interested in will be whether there is any danger of foreign influences getting a monopoly of our air communications. We have had sad experience in the past of monopoly, or more or less monopoly, with regard to shipping, which resulted in great losses over a large number of years to the agricultural community owing to the rates being higher than they would have been if that monopoly had not existed. We have now an internal monopoly, more or less, with regard to land transport. We heard accusations bandied about during the last year that national possessions in our territorial waters or in the subsoil of the country are being gradually surrendered to foreign interests. There is no doubt that the country must insist that in this question of the initiation of air transport there must be a clear acceptance of co-equality between the State and its neighbours. In no other matter is insistence on co-equality more important than in this matter. Some people are alarmed that the Government may not be sufficiently alive to the vital importance of that at the very beginning—that air transport should not be mortgaged or put in such a position that within a certain number of years it will be mortgaged to outside interests.
There are certain sections in the Bill which at first sight might appear to be rather alarming. I notice that under Section 80 the Control of Manufactures Act does not apply in respect of any act or thing done by the company or any subsidiary company. I do not know if such a provision in a Bill of this kind is not of too far-reaching a nature. As I have not got these Acts before me, I do not know exactly how they will apply, but that is a matter which the Minister might look into before the Committee Stage. In any case, the Bill will be quite useless unless it is followed up by active measures on the part of the Government for the development of commercial aviation. In the first place this  Bill will be absolutely useless from the point of view of our international air communications until we make that convention with Great Britain provided for in the final section of the Schedule to the Treaty of 1921. The very final section of that Schedule says that a convention must be arrived at between Great Britain and the Saorstát to regulate air navigation. Until we have that in black and white, we are very much in a vacuum as to what the prospects of air development are. Secondly, I think there will be very little use in this Bill being operated by the Government unless they insist from the very beginning that, as far as this country is concerned, our mutual relations by air with other countries should be on a fifty-fifty basis—that we should have 50 per cent. of the air-borne traffic from the very beginning.
Apart from the Department of Industry and Commerce, this Bill will not be of very much use unless it has the active co-operation of other Departments of State; unless the Post Office authorities go out of their way perhaps to lose some money on their Vote in order to help in establishing this venture. Likewise, the Department of Defence will have to give its co-operation and, perhaps most important of all, the Minister who is in charge of the Bill will have to give the active and financial support of his Department, the Department of Education, in order to provide for the future personnel of this line which is about to be started.
During the last 15 years practically nothing has been done in this country to provide personnel for an eventual national air service of this kind. A few individuals have, out of very meagre resources, endeavoured to give opportunities to the younger generation to learn the art of air navigation, but from the point of view of the Government nothing has been done, whereas in other parts of the world Governments have set aside vast sums to provide their own young people with opportunities of instruction in these highly-technical matters. In this country we have the advantage or disadvantage, according to the political  opinions of people, of being a member of the Commonwealth and so great numbers of young men have been able to learn the elements of aviation in the British service and in the service of other members of the Commonwealth. But that is only a very temporary employment and after five years they cease to find any outlet for the profession which they took up more out of curiosity than otherwise. So that if this is to be a permanent national institution the Minister for Education, in conjunction with the other Departments, must be prepared to take the necessary steps and to provide the necessary money to equip the Irish air line with Irishmen and women to run it efficiently, just as in the case with other national lines in other parts of the world.
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: Deputy Esmonde remarked that nothing had been done to develop, in any kind of a satisfactory or effective way, air services in the State during the last 15 years. The introduction of this measure recalls, however, the fact that it was not from lack of appreciation of the importance of air services that this neglected development arose. One of the first things that was done during the time of the Provisional Government in April or May of 1922 was to set up, in connection with the Department of Defence, a Military Air Council and a Civil Air Council, one being under Commandant MacSwiney and the other under Colonel Russell. In 1922 we had a situation which brought the services of both these officers and of the personnel associated with them into the military side of aviation. The losses and the distractions of 1922 and 1923 prevented, during these years and the years immediately following, the kind of development that we so readily set out to bring about in the earlier years of the State. They emphasise, too, how many of the Sibylline Books have been burned during these last 15 years. When we see the amount of money that is involved in this Bill—when we see that some of the Sibylline Books are still burning—and find that the Minister is setting up this company at a time when there is not so much  money available as there might have been two or three years ago; that there will not be as much money available next year as there is this year, it all shows the way things are going.
That leads me on to direct attention to Sections 39 and 40 in connection with the acquisition of land. Two questions arise in connection with the acquisition of land by this company or, for the setting up of an aerodrome, by the Minister or a local authority. In the first place, we have no information as to what the terms of the capitalisation of this company are going to be. We have no idea of the rate of interest which people who invest their money in the company may expect to get. In connection with the powers taken in the Bill for the compulsory acquisition of land, I would like to ask whether the promoters of this new company—the capitalisers of it I imagine will expect to draw 6 per cent. or some rate like that on their money—are going to be assisted to set it up at the expense of a few farmers in the country who may have their land taken from them at the miserable price that, say, the Land Commission is paying for land at the present time. I do not think that, in setting up a company of this particular kind, the Minister either on his own behalf or on behalf of the company should vest himself with power that will enable him to select any land in the country that he thinks he wants, and then take it from the present owners at a price other than the market price.
I want also to have a very clear statement from the Minister on a question that has already been raised here regarding the taking of some part of the Phænix Park and setting up there an air port. I think it was an officer of Aer Lingus, Teoranta, who, in correspondence in the Press, disclosed that communications had taken place, or were taking place, between ourselves, or somebody interested in them, and the Minister for Finance, urging the taking of a substantial part of the Phænix Park, and turning it into an air port. Now, the financial stringency in which the Minister and this company  may find themselves may induce the Ministry to consider doing that. I want to say that it would be a disgrace and an outrage, apart altogether from the injury it would do to the capital to have any part of the Phænix Park taken away as an amenity from general use by the people. It would be a disgrace to have that amenity taken away from them, but it would be much worse to have it taken away and turned into an air port, and at a point of the city, too, in which, in my opinion, it would be most unsuitable to have an air port established. That question was raised here on the Estimate for the Board of Works. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance would not commit himself to any statement on the matter then beyond saying that no communication had been addressed to him. But it is explicit in the statements that have been made in the correspondence appearing in the Press that the matter has been raised as between the representatives of or the persons interested in Aer Lingus, Teoranta, and the Minister for Finance.
I want the Acting Minister for Industry and Commerce to address himself to the matter when replying, and to assure us, in the first place, that no section of the Phænix Park is going to be taken from the people to be used for this purpose, and that, if an air port is going to be established in the neighbourhood of the City of Dublin, the Minister for Industry and Commerce will consult with the Minister for Local Government and Public Health, who is the Governmental expert on town planning, to see that it will not be in the wrong place, either from the point of view of its own particular requirements as an airport, or of the city as a whole.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle Patrick (Clare) Hogan
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Minister to reply.
Mr. Derrig Mr. Derrig
Mr. Derrig: I think it is rather strange that both Deputy Esmonde and Deputy Cosgrave should complain that this Bill is being rushed through. There is no attempt to rush the Bill through. Deputies will have ample time to consider the Bill fully, and to move whatever amendments they wish  on the Committee Stage. Deputy Cosgrave seemed to find fault with the Minister for Industry and Commerce because the Minister had indicated 12 months ago that this Bill was forthcoming. Deputy Esmonde suggested that the Bill was promised so far back as three years ago, and now both Deputies tell us that it is being rushed through. I cannot see that the Bill is being rushed through. There is very little other business on the Clár, and if the attendance in the House is disappointing in view of the importance of the measure, I think I can say that the nature of the criticisms which have been levelled against the measure is still more disappointing. They would seem to indicate that if the heat has kept a large number of Deputies away from the House, it has also had some effect on those who remained, and prevented them from giving of their best to the consideration of an important measure of this kind. This is a measure which, obviously, is not merely a matter for this Government or even for the next Government. It is a matter in which all future Governments will have to be interested.
One point that Deputy Cosgrave raised was the question of the directorate. I must say that, at first glance, I thought his demand for the names of the directorate of the new company was reasonable, but on reflection I do not think it is convincing. Even if we had reached the stage when we had actually established the company and had the names available, I do not think that we could bring them here to have a discussion on them. I do not think that has been the practice in connection with the appointment of directors to any public corporation of this kind. I think it has never been suggested on any previous occasion when Governments were taking steps to set up big corporations such as the Electricity Supply Board, the Agricultural Credit Corporation, the Industrial Credit Corporation or Comhlucht Siúicre Eireann Teoranta, that the names of the directors should be brought up here and that we should have a discussion on them. The practice has been, I think, that before the Government  can appoint the directors in a company of this nature the Bill which provides for the establishment of the company must first be passed into law. Even when it has passed into law, there would obviously be a difficulty in discussing the personnel here in the House. I think we have to assume that the Government, when the Bill has passed into law, and when they have received the decision of the House in favour of going ahead with their proposals, will select the best personnel they can possibly secure for this important work. We all know the difficulties that attend the procuring of suitable personnel for a highly technical undertaking of this nature. There is the difficulty of securing Irish nationals with the necessary high technical qualifications, training and experience, and there may be other difficulties.
I think Deputies should at least be thankful to the Minister and the Department of Industry and Commerce for having brought us so far that we now, at any rate, have definite proposals laid before the House. If the actual concrete programme of work which is envisaged by these proposals has not advanced as far as we would like, possibly the explanation is that it is a matter of the greatest difficulty and the greatest complexity. Obviously the Government have to walk warily and examine cautiously every step they take. Any step we take at the present juncture is likely to be considered a precedent in the future. We cannot always say, as has been the experience in connection with the setting up of those other big public companies, what the reactions or the results of the steps we are taking will be in all cases. We have to try to envisage what the ultimate consequences will be and I think Deputies will appreciate that any delay that has arisen is due to the fact that the Government are going into the matter most carefully and are using the most expert opinion they can secure to give them advice in regard to the flotation of the company and the development of commercial aviation in the Saorstát.
I do not think Deputy Cosgrave was in earnest when he suggested that this was an antidemocratic measure. It  has not been the proud privilege of this Government, it has not been their special prerogative, to come to the Dáil with Bills which give Ministers power to make Orders. That has been a feature of all modern legislation and, while jurists may quibble at the extended authority that that brings to Ministers and Departmental officials, I think it will have to be recognised, on the other hand, that it would be impossible for a modern Government to deal with all the complex matters that come up for consideration unless Ministers were granted this power of making Orders and Regulations. When an Order is made by a Minister the Dáil always has the opportunity for discussion, by a Deputy putting down a motion calling for its annulment; any member of the Dáil can always secure a discussion on any particular Order if he so wishes. Deputy Cosgrave has not submitted a single point against the Bill except that with regard to the board of the company, and even there I doubt if he is in earnest. He has not put forward a single argument to show that he takes exception to anything in the Bill. His general attitude seems to be to make any points against it that may come into his head and then let it go through with the least possible delay.
This Bill has been in process of preparation for several years. Again and again it has come before the Executive Council and has been sent back to the Department of Industry and Commerce. A special committee has been working on this question of air transport. Discussions and conferences have been going on continuously for the past two and even three years. This Bill is the fruit of all that labour. If Deputy Cosgrave had a grievance because there is not sufficient criticism or because the House is not more interested in the measure, I can only assume, having regard to the policy which the Government are embarking upon, that the House considers the Bill is in a satisfactory state, that it represents national policy fairly well and that on the whole it should get general national support. That is undoubtedly very welcome to me as representing the Minister for Industry  and Commerce. I am glad to see that all Parties, in so far as we have had a discussion, seem united in desiring that aerial transport and all matters connected with aerial navigation should be taken up by the Government and that an energetic policy should be pursued.
Deputy Cosgrave and also Deputy Mulcahy raised a question with regard to cost. Of course air transport, the development of commercial aviation, is a most expensive business. The Government have considered that fully and there are two alternatives, either to do nothing, to allow the state of affairs we have had in the country for many years past to continue—a policy which Deputy Esmonde certainly is not satisfied with, and even Deputy Mulcahy is not satisfied with—or to take our courage in our hands and go forward, making the fullest use of whatever opportunities now offer. That is our position. Undoubtedly these services are uneconomic; undoubtedly they are extremely costly to maintain. Our country is not in a very fortunate position as regards wealth. We have not a long tradition of industry behind us. At the same time, I think there is a spirit of enterprise in the Ireland of the present day and a desire to take advantage of any opportunities that may present themselves to extend our influence, to put ourselves on the map, and to show that we are prepared to take our place amongst the States of the world. If, in order to do so, we have to face certain responsibilities, make certain sacrifices, spend certain sums of money, then we have to be prepared to make those sacrifices. We have to carry out our responsibilities and to put our country on the map, and that is the attitude of the Government.
Deputy Esmonde referred to the question of co-equality. I think I can assure him that since the moment when the Government first undertook the consideration of this whole question of air transport, and how best it might be developed, they have had in the very forefront the idea of establishing equality with any other country with which we may have to enter on business relations.  That is what the Government have been striving for. As regards the convention in the Treaty of 1921, I do not think it is necessary for me to enter into that question. At the present moment there are cross-Channel services in operation. There has been agreement and friendly co-operation between the British Government and ourselves in the running of those services, and we can only hope that in the future, if there is to be further development in which the British Government and ourselves will participate, or any other Government for that matter, there will be this agreement. So long as you have cordial working agreements of that character I do not think we need worry very much about the Appendix to the 1921 Treaty.
As regards Section 80 of the Bill, to which the Deputy referred, regarding the Control of Manufactures Act, I am advised that the Control of Manufactures Act does not apply in this instance, because the Minister for Finance is a corporation sole, and as such is not a Saorstát national. His holding of a majority of shares in the company would possibly necessitate the issue of a licence by the Minister for Industry and Commerce under the Control of Manufactures Act. I presume that it is in order to eliminate the necessity for the issue of a licence by the Minister for Industry and Commerce to the Minister for Finance that this section has been put into the Bill.
With regard to the question of the training of personnel for the development of air services, we are somewhat handicapped in this country. I think I should take the opportunity to say that the Government and anybody who is interested in this question must pay a tribute—and I gladly do—to Deputy Esmonde, to the Army officers and to those private citizens who have been interested in the development of air transport, who have tried to focus public attention on the possibilities of developing that service in An Saorstát, and who have been for a considerable time past, at their own expense, on their own volition and without any Government assistance, carrying on a campaign to arouse more public interest in this whole question. We  are thankful to them for what they have done. I hope that in the future they will continue that work and that we shall have voluntary organisations co-operating with the Government in creating an air feeling amongst the people and in getting them to realise that it is absolutely necessary that the population generally should endeavour to co-operate with private persons or voluntary organisations in spreading the idea of flying and in making flying more popular here.
We have to depend very largely on the Army for the training of our personnel, and I think that recently the Army have been taking apprentices in their engineering shops and training them. I think they have taken quite a large number from the technical schools. That is a very good instance of what can be done, and I hope it will continue and expand. The technical schools in themselves would find it very difficult to provide technical training. They would not have the necessary finances to provide machinery and so on, but a good foundation can be laid in the ordinary motor engineering classes which are carried on in most of the technical schools throughout the country. Boys can get a very good foundation there if they continue the motor engineering classes for a period of years. If at the end of the course they get a motor engineering certificate, I am sure that if commercial aviation is to develop in this country, and if the Army are to develop this course of training which they have initiated, the possession of such a certificate would be a passport to further training, enabling a boy to get higher qualifications, and probably to get employment. If he could not get employment in this country, at least anywhere he might go he would be amply equipped to take up employment.
We would require, therefore, the co-operation of the Army and the co-operation of the new company with the Department of Education before we could do very much in the way of training personnel. I hope that in the same way as Comhlucht Siúicre Eireann has set up a scheme for the training of apprentices, one of the first things the new company will turn its hand to will be the training of personnel. By training  the ordinary rank and file we are doing the surest and best thing to ensure that finally the control of the industry will be in the hands of purely Irish technicians. If at the present moment, and for some years to come, we have any difficulty in getting Irish technicians of the most highly-trained character, and with the highest qualifications, we will, at any rate, be able to look forward to the time when any foreigners we may have to employ—and I hope we will not have to employ a great number—will be replaced by Irish nationals. Deputy Esmonde knows that the Minister for Industry and Commerce has been particularly keen on that aspect of national policy in regard to those ventures in which he has had some share of responsibility, and I feel quite certain that the overwhelming importance of the air transport service will demand that very special attention indeed will have to be given to the training of personnel, and to the provision of facilities to enable Irish nationals to get the fullest possible training in all processes relating to air transport.
I do not, A Leas-Chinn Comhairle, think that there are any further points with which I have to deal. I do not agree with Deputy Cosgrave that amalgamations in foreign countries are a proof that air transport is not profitable. Undoubtedly, as I say, there are losses attaching to it, particularly in the preliminary stages. We have scarcely passed out of the preliminary stages yet. In some of the most important international routes we are only entering on the preliminary and experimental stages. It is obvious that there must be certain financial losses for some years, but eventually there can be no doubt that air transport will be firmly established, and will be a competitor, as I have already said, with other forms of transport in every sphere, and in every international line of communication.
The point which Deputy Cosgrave raised with regard to Army plane accidents is rather a trivial one. As a matter of fact I think the present Minister for Industry and Commerce introduced a clause in one of his Transport Acts providing that compensation  for accidents caused by Army or other Government motor vehicles should be available in the same way as in the case of ordinary private vehicles. If it is necessary, I am sure it can be arranged that persons who suffer in life or property from accidents in which Army planes are concerned will be entitled to seek compensation, but I think the number of such accidents up to the present has been very small. As far as I know, it is the Army personnel who have suffered in any accidents which have occurred. I do not think the point is of importance, or indeed that it should have been raised here. It is really a matter for either the Minister for Defence or the Minister for Finance if Deputy Cosgrave is seriously concerned.
Deputy Mulcahy has raised the question of the possible occupation of the Phænix Park as an air port or aerodrome. I cannot say definitely that the Phænix Park will not be chosen. A Departmental Committee has been working on the question. I cannot at the moment say any more than that in coming to a decision as to what site in the vicinity of Dublin will be most suitable, I am sure the committee will have due regard to the fact that the Phænix Park constitutes a very important amenity for the people of Dublin. I am sure that the committee, unless it is absolutely necessary, will scarcely advise that that particular site should be taken over as an aerodrome. I cannot give the Deputy any further information at the moment.
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: Can the Minister say if the inter-Departmental Committee to which he referred had actualy been considering the Phænix Park?
Mr. Derrig Mr. Derrig
Mr. Derrig: I presume the committee have considered all the sites in the neighbourhood of Dublin, but I have nothing to show that, when it comes to making a decision, they are going to go out of their way to suggest the Phænix Park as against other sites unless there is something which induces the belief in them that  the Phænix Park is really the only suitable site. However, I have no information at the moment, but the Deputy can put down a question.
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: Can the Minister tell us when the committee was set up, to whom the committee will report, and whether its report will be published?
Mr. Derrig Mr. Derrig
Mr. Derrig: I understand that the committee will report almost immediately to the Minister for Industry and Commerce.
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: And will that report be published?
Mr. Derrig Mr. Derrig
Mr. Derrig: No. The Deputy can put down a question.
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: Very good. Can the Minister give a reply to the point with regard to the purchase price of land under Section 39?
Mr. Derrig Mr. Derrig
Mr. Derrig: The same procedure has been followed as under the Assessment of Compensation Act—I think that is the name of the Act—and the Minister may, if he considers it expedient, hold a public inquiry. I think the desire of the Minister for Industry and Commerce is not to do anything that could be regarded as unjust to the owners of land, but simply to have powers, in cases of urgency, and, in his anxiety to get the work going at the earliest possible moment, to afford him sufficient powers, in case of failure to agree, to compel the owners, if they were making unreasonable demands as they do sometimes when they feel that the Government is interested, to give up possession. I think the matter might be gone into more fully on the Committee Stage.
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: Very good.
Question—“That the Bill be read a Second Time”—put and agreed to.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle Patrick (Clare) Hogan
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: When is it proposed to take the Committee Stage?
Mr. Derrig Mr. Derrig
Mr. Derrig: I suggest next Wednesday, Sir, if the House is agreeable.
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: Sir, the Minister  has already pointed out that this is a matter that has been under consideration by the Government for a number of years. The Dáil was only asked to have the Bill printed on the 1st July, and the Bill was not circulated until a few days ago. The fact that the Bill has not had a very adequate discussion on the Second Stage, I think, is all the greater reason for reasonable time to be given for further consideration of the Bill and for the insertion of amendments that may be found to be necessary.
Mr. Derrig Mr. Derrig
Mr. Derrig: May I point out to the Deputy that his Party have agreed to take the Committee Stage of the Land Bill on Wednesday next although they divided on the First Reading?
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: I was not here when that arrangement was made. As far as I know, the arrangement was to take the Appropriation Bill. However, whatever may be said about the Land Bill, the Minister, in introducing the Land Bill, minimised the provisions of that Bill as matters of very minor importance and as matters that had already been fully discussed in the House before, only indicating that the fully-discussed intention of the Government before had not materialised in the actual drafting. Accordingly, I think it is quite unreasonable to ask for the Committee Stage of this Bill to be taken so soon.
Mr. Derrig Mr. Derrig
Mr. Derrig: Well, if we put it in for the following week, I presume that, in case the Dáil would be adjourning for the Recess shortly, the Deputy would facilitate us in getting the Bill through?
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: I think the Minister could be much more easily facilitated after the Committee Stage than between the Second Stage and the Committee Stage, in view of the short time that has elapsed since this Bill was put in Deputies' hands.
Mr. Derrig Mr. Derrig
Mr. Derrig: Very well. Let us say Tuesday week, then.
Committee Stage ordered for Tuesday, 21st July.
Dáil Éireann 63 Committee on Finance. Air Navigation and Transport Bill, 1936—Second Stage.